There is nothing better -- or more cost effective -- than recycling items you already have for new purposes. If you used to have fish and still have all your aquarium decor, you can certainly use it for your lizard terrarium after a little soaking in a bleach solution to kill any remaining bacteria. If you don't have any decor, heading to the aquarium section of your local pet store will turn up plenty of good terrarium buys.
What Lizards Need
All lizards require heat for digestion of food and some source of ultraviolet light. They also like to have areas within the terrarium that provide differing temperatures, so be sure to purchase a thermometer to keep an eye on what's going on in your habitat. Lizards like to have a place to hide, so be sure to have an area he can disappear from view for a while. All lizards need the proper diet for their species, fresh water and an area of dry land, even in an aquatic terrarium.
Choosing Your Habitat
Depending on the type of lizard you purchase, you will have to select the appropriate habitat for his species. However, there are four basic environments for lizards: woodland, desert, semiaquatic and aquatic. Do some research on the type of lizard you're interested in keeping, and consider the environment you already have -- meaning where you live -- before deciding on one. Some necessities, like warmth and lighting, might be a problem if you live in a small apartment with limited windows and inadequate heating. Adversely, if you have a bright, sunny, warm house, a lizard that prefers cooler, darker spaces will not be happy.
Size It Up
Your lizard will need an enclosure large enough to provide plenty of space for the required decor and for him to move about. If you purchase an iguana, a small glass tank simply will not do; however, if you decide on geckos, it may end up being the perfect size. You will also need a stand to set the terrarium on. This can be something custom-made for the enclosure you're purchasing or even a desk or dresser top will do. Just make sure it's sturdy enough to hold the weight of everything once it's put together -- you don't want to risk your terrarium ending up broken on the floor and an escaped or injured lizard on your hands.
There are many aquarium decorations that are perfect for lizards, such as basking platforms, bridges, plants, branches, caves and logs. If you have a castle you used for fish and your lizard is small enough to fit inside, use it -- it just might be the perfect hideaway for him. Certain aquarium gravel is also great to use in a terrarium. That skeleton holding a pirate chest decoration just might be tall enough for your lizard to climb atop and bask on. Take stock of what you have and don't dismiss any of it until you're positive it simply won't work for your lizard's needs. And definitely don't forget to clean it all in a bleach solution prior to putting it into your terrarium.
Alana Krall has been writing professionally since 2008. Her work has been published in "North Valley Magazine," "Vancouver View Magazine," as well as online at VancouverBC.com, YoungEntrepreneur.com and other sources. Krall is currently pursuing a certificate in medical billing and coding.