Keeping and raising of Goniurosaurus
It is not very difficult to keep and raise Goniurosaurus. If anything goes wrong and the animals die, it is usually due to the fact that they are kept without considering the appropriate humidity and the temperature (either too dry or too hot). There are a few rules you must follow when keeping this genus. The size of the terrarium they live in depends on the size and number of animals. Concerning Goniurosaurus araneus, luii, catbaensis, huuliensis and Goniurosaurus bawanglingensis (members of the G. luii-group), it is recommendable to have a terrarium of at least 80x40x50 cm (length x width x height) for one male and two females. Regarding all other geckoes (all members of the G. lichtenfelderi-group and kuroiwae-group), I suggest a terrarium of 50x50x50 cm (length x width x height) for one male and two females.
I always use pine bark (grain size: 5-10 mm) as terrarium substrate. The bottom material should be 3 cm thick, if possible 5-6 cm. Of course, Goniurosaurus do need a cave. I gained good experience by using trivets. A plastic trivet is used as bottom of the cave filled with coconut material. I chose a glazed trivet made out of clay as top, which is very handy because the cave does not dehumidify that easily. The air can only escape through the very small and narrow entrance. Besides, trivets made of clay are perfect because they are heavy enough to keep the cave in the same position even if the gecko moves fast underneath or on top of the cave. It is very important to keep the cave kind of moist, which is necessary for the gecko. You can as well use pine bark to put into the cave, yet I prefer to use coconut fiber (size 5-10 mm). This material absorbs water very well and keeps moist for a long period. I usually wet the material inside the cave twice a week. Furthermore, it is very important to place a watering dish in front of the entrance. You should put new water in there every other day.
Do not forget to build some climbing possibilities for your geckoes. I myself put cork on the back wall and partially on the sides of the terrarium. Then I clued some ledges made of cork onto the back and side walls. Of course, you can as well use some branches of a cork oak instead. Another possibility is to integrate some living plants in your terrarium. That looks quite decorative, furthermore creates a natural atmosphere keeping up the climate. Choose as you like.
I do not keep the young Goniurosaurus in a terrarium. During the first months, they live in little plastic boxes. The ground is covered with terrarium mold or humus. Of course, I put a cave and a watering dish in their box as well. Nevertheless, I do not put too much stuff in there, so that the offspring can easily find its food. I always place the boxes in a warm corner (24-26°C) of the room I keep my geckoes in. You should stab some holes in the box lid. The boxes keep their humidity for one week usually.
The major reason for the death of so many G. is keeping them under the wrong temperature. In the summer time, Goniurosaurus needs 25°C, at most 27°C during the day and 20-22°C at night. In the winter time (lasting 3 months here where I live), I have 18-20°C during the day and 14-16°C during the night. To heat with the appropriate temperature, there are two possibilities: either infrared heat lamps or heating the room itself with the temperature needed. When using an infrared heat lamp, you should pay attention to the right position and dimension of the lamp. During the day, the temperature should not be higher than 26-27°C. Goniurosaurus easily dehydrates. The lamp should not be directed at the cave so that the substrate does not lose its humidity. When heating the whole room, you merely need to make sure that every terrarium has got its own illumination. The advantage of this technique is that the terrariums are not overheated and the geckoes do not dehydrate. During the summer, I usually achieve the perfect temperature only by switching on the regular lamps. The room heats up (26-27°C) without any additional heating and an illuminating duration of 14-16 hours. When the days are becoming shorter (towards the winter time), I usually reduce the illumination time every two weeks by 1 hour. By doing this, the room slowly cools down and you have a smooth transition between summer and winter time.
I feed all my Goniurosaurus two times in the week. Each of the bigger species (Goniurosaurus luii, araneus, hainanensis, and lichtenfelderi) gets three crickets every time I feed them. The insects you feed should have an appropriate size proportional to the gecko. All Japanese Goniurosaurus merely need 2 crickets. I always put some dry, vitamin and calcium containing chemicals on the insects to ensure that every gecko keeps healthy. The best one here is a mixture of Reptical and Korvimin (proportion 50:50). This mixture contains everything the gecko needs, especially when the females are laying their eggs. Some breeders furthermore put vitamins into the drinking water. I myself have never done that so far.
Important tips and advices for hygiene
Feeding G. regularly, of course every individual defecates. You should frequently clean the terrarium of dirt and excrement. This is not very difficult because the geckoes usually have certain spots for defecation. It is furthermore very important that new water is put into the dish every other day. Old water can threaten the health of all geckoes. You should clean the whole terrarium once a year, i.e. taking out everything and cleaning all items very well. Of course, you should put new substrate into every terrarium when doing this.