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General argentine tegu and 55 gallon aquarium question?

mparra04

New Member
Hi everyone,

I went to Ripticon last weekend and fell in love with the argentine tegus. I have seen videos, but to actually pet and hold one was amazing! I’ve had beardie and a leopard gecko in the past but at the time I was working two jobs and didn’t have the time to give them the proper attention besides the necessary care. So I gave them to a friend that has experience and time to give them. Fast forward and I have better job now and have been thinking about adopting another lizard to care for. Well argentine tegus have captured my eye now and I want to make sure I do the proper research before committing to caring for this little guy. One my questions is that I currently have an unoccupied standard 55 gallon aquarium. I know that’s too small for an adult. My question is how long can I keep a baby before I can build a custom enclosure for him? I do prefer the male because I like jowls and that they get bigger. And other advice well be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Walter1

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Hi and welcome. For a hatchling or vary young, I imagine 2-3 mo. tops in a 55 g. Regardless, the tegu will need a thermal gradient running from 110f gasking spot, mid-80sF ambient, and a cooler 70sF hide on other end.
 

mparra04

New Member
Wow I thought that would buy more time to come up with a custom enclosure. I live in central Florida, so do you think a outdoor enclosure will be best for him?
 

Walter1

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Wow I thought that would buy more time to come up with a custom enclosure. I live in central Florida, so do you think a outdoor enclosure will be best for him?
I know 5hat's surprising. They should hit the meter mark in one year. He would do well outside but please be aware that they are terribly invasive. An escape, though heartbreaking, is worse for nature.
 

mparra04

New Member
I read they are very clever escape artist, and to make sure there isn’t anyway for them to get out. If I decide to have him outside well I still need a basking light or should the natural hot humidity be enough for him to thrive?
 

Walter1

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I read they are very clever escape artist, and to make sure there isn’t anyway for them to get out. If I decide to have him outside well I still need a basking light or should the natural hot humidity be enough for him to thrive?
As long as he has maximal sun and an ability to escape it, including a winter hide away feom frost, he'll do well as is.
 

mparra04

New Member
I found a 100 gallon tank 6’L x 2’H x 28”W wide for a good price. My question is how long can I have a baby in that before upgrade his enclosure?
 

Walter1

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6, 7 mo. tops. The grow to 36-40" quickly in a year. They need 8ft+ and 3-4 ft turn around space.

This site has many a good thread on making a proper enclosure. Can be constructed in a short time.
 

mparra04

New Member
Well it’ll be cheaper to build one at the correct measurements then trying to find a temporary holding tank it seems. I’ve been looking how to build a simple and effective design that I can keep outside.
 

James Smith

Active Member
I personally do not advise anyone to use a Aquarium for their Gu, because of Multiple reasons, however it is useful for juveniles in your situation, just finish up their permanent custom build enclosure. Just to let you know Tegu need a lot of care and time. Tegus are not bearded, gecko, or a snake. All three animals I just mentioned need their own unique care, however a Tegu needs more...a lot more. To often people express their love for a Gu but do not know what they are asking for. I just want you to know there is a lot to do, to take care of a Tegu.
 

Walter1

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True enough, James. A tank is stop gap at best. They need room for thermal gradient and movement.
 
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Mamasaurus

Member
I wouldn't use an aquarium at all since it's only useful for a blink and would probably just wait until you have it setup then add a Gu. I honestly would advise against an outdoor enclosure without a heat source; especially where you live. Even if the temperature gradient is correct he will still need a basking spot that can reach 135 degrees F once full grown and humidity around 80+% at all times as well. You could even repurpose a large grow tent with a minimum of 6x3 ft. Others have had success with it. Also, just a caution that if he gets out they are legally allowed to shoot them. I wouldn't risk it but that's just me. You could rescue one nearby also if you want to build first. I got my little dude from Tegusonly in FL. He was wild caught but such a good boy still. So glad I went that route. Best of luck!
 

Walter1

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I almost used the word triage for a tank, and after reading your message I wish I did. An enclosure of the very last resort because you absolutely had to even though you shouldn't have to.
 

James Smith

Active Member
I did my enclosure in halves. I was working on the second half when BOGA arrived. I planned it that way so I could put him in the first half while finishing up on the second. This was a mistake for a couple of reasons and I do not advise this anyway if you are not a experienced builder, because you have to design it in a way that you could remove the joining wall to butt up the second half, without the whole structure collapsing. Second reason I would advise against this method is your Tegu is new to the environment, to you, and still nervous of the travel. You do not want him living near a construction site because of the noise. I lucked out with BOGA for some reason. I said all that to say this...get everything setup completely before your Tegu arrive. Fight the urge to purchase before you research and build his or her new home.
 

bocacash

Member
5 Year Member
Welcome to the love fest group for Tegus ! They ARE special...and worth it ! Unless you are breeding and/or planning on keeping several Tegus...I would advise against housing outdoors. I live in S. FL. so have even more tropical climate than you...but, keep my Argentine B/W male indoors. One BIG reason is, in my humble opinion, if they are outside you probably will NOT interact with him/her enough...they will not see/smell/hear you enough...kinda' 'out of sight - out of mind sorta' thing. They tame down SOOOO much faster/better if they are part of YOUR environment...they can/will become house familiar pets...so much more rewarding ! Second BIG reason is the real possibility of escape...they ARE escape artists...fast...amazing diggers...and very intelligent about how things work, especially things like sliders, doors, when you are not paying attention ! Just the process of moving them from outdoors to indoors for handling/ bathing/feeding will be fraught with escape possibilities ! If/when they escape IN your house it's just a matter of finding them...if/when they escape outdoors it's GOODBYE ! Experience. Like Walter said...they are invasive to FL and spreading fast...best not to add to that ! Good Luck.
 
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