How To Clean Leopard Gecko Tank: Detailed Instructions And Cleaning Tips

You’re here because you want to learn “How To Clean Leopard Gecko Tank”. You’re at the right place. This article promises to give you best tips on how to clean and keep your pet leopard gecko tank clean. Here are a few tips: discard uneaten food, removing any obvious feces, check and remove the shed skin, etc.

It is vitally important to keep your leopard gecko and its surroundings clean for a positive outcome. Proper hygiene is a key parameter to keeping any pet fit, happy, and healthy.

Providing a clean and conducive environment with ample living space for your gecko makes you a good pet owner. It’s a sign that you care about the well-being of your best friend.

Cleaning helps to remove the unpleasant smell from feces and urine of leopard geckos and keep the house pleasantly fresh. It also keeps the terrarium free from bacteria and viruses. 

Therefore, having a cleaning schedule for your leopard gecko tank is imperative. This article explains how to clean a leopard gecko tank, how often you should clean the terrarium and the best time to do it.

x
Cute Reptiles as Pets

When Do You Need to Clean a Leopard Gecko’s Tank?

Dirty terrariums can be hosts to parasites, viruses, and bacteria that cause infections to leopard geckos. Therefore, cleaning a leopard gecko’s tank will guard against the spread of germs and diseases to the gecko.

Moreover, keeping the pet healthy will also help keep you healthy since you contact your friend from time to time. Your gecko also needs to stay in a place that is free of feces and rotting foods.

Failure to clean the tank can result in strong and unpleasant odors from the lizard’s urine and droppings. The room becomes messy even for the gecko to stay; they feel uncomfortable and don’t enjoy being in such an environment.

You will need to clean all accessories, the tank, and the lizard regularly. How often to do the cleaning depends on the task itself. Some areas need to be cleaned daily, others weekly, and others monthly.

How To Clean Leopard Gecko Tank: Spot Cleaning: Things That Need to Clean Daily

Spot cleaning is the simplest and quickest task to keep a leopard gecko terrarium from becoming nasty

It is a quick task where you don’t need to disturb your lizard. Things that need to clean daily in a leopard gecko habitat include;

  • Remove the food materials that fall on the floor when feeding,
  • Discard uneaten food,
  • Removing any obvious feces,
  • Check and remove the shed skin,

Removing the feces and other unwanted materials helps avoid a larger mess or creating a dirtier and unconducive environment. Spot cleaning can be done once per day, or you can do it several times when necessary.

Use disposable latex or reusable rubber gloves in the cleaning process of your lizard’s tank. If you’re using reusable gloves, always disinfect them after every use, and dedicate them for this purpose only.

Disinfecting the gloves helps guard against the spread of any bacterial infections that may be transmitted through feces

If your gecko defecates at a particular place in the tank, provide a paper towel in this area, and then remove and replace it daily.

Things That Need to Clean Weekly

Weekly cleaning deserves a little more effort than spot cleaning. A more thorough cleaning once per week will be necessary for all leopard geckos. 

At this time, it requires you to clean several things in your leopard gecko’s terrarium. Stuff to clean weekly include; 

  • All habitat surfaces, including the flooring,
  • Wipe out the rocks, fixtures/toys, and woods.
  • Remove any decaying plants,
  • Wash the food, calcium, and water bowls,
  • Search for any unseen bug or poop around the cage.
How To Clean Leopard Gecko Tank with a scoop
The scoop is a very useful when cleaning your leopard gecko tank. It helps you pack the old substrate out

Remove and rinse all the bowls, disinfect, and then soak them in a bucket of dish soap and hot water.

To avoid disturbing your gecko and effectively clean the tank, remove the lizard temporarily from the habitat and place it in a holding cage to clean the habitat.

Scrub and rinse the bowls with clean water, and dry them. Allow the tank to dry before returning the lizard and the bowls. Have a specific day for cleaning in all weeks.

Deep Cleaning: Things That Need to Clean Monthly

It requires you to do a deep cleaning at least once per month. For this cleaning, all things in the habitat need to be removed and cleaned.

Dedicate a particular day of every month to do the cleanings. Don’t wash the habitat in a hurry; you need sufficient time to do everything correctly and successfully.

Below are tasks to perform every month when cleaning your leopard gecko’s enclosure;

  • Cleaning the entire tank with all surfaces scrubbed,
  • Cleaning the flooring, removing and replacing substrate,
  • Soak, disinfect, and clean food, calcium, and water dishes,
  • Clean all the accessories, including furniture, hides, and plants. Soak them in hot soapy water, scrub them clean with a sponge, and allow them to dry.

Things That Need Maintenance or Replace

The substrate or the material you use on the flooring needs to be replaced every 2-4 months. People often use tiles, reptile carpets, or paper towels as they are suitable substrates.

Another essential part to check in the tank is the hiding boxes. Please make sure the hides are in good condition always, and replace them when necessary.

Also, all the decorations, including plants, branches, and rocks in the habitat, need maintenance and be kept in perfect condition.

Ensure the door is fine and the walls of the terrarium do not have any cracking. Replace the old feedings bowls with new ones and always keep them clean.

cleaning your leopard gecko tank
Parts of the tank that needs daily cleaning is the water dish and also ensuring that left over food are removed from the tank after each meal.

How To Clean a Leopard Gecko Tank?

Cleaning your gecko’s tank isn’t complicated; it’s a straightforward process that demands only a couple of your time to get things done.

Having a consistent schedule you are following prevents you from forgetting the day of cleaning.

Likewise, understanding the cleaning tasks and procedures will help you keep the house clean and do the cleaning activities without disturbing the pet.

When cleaning, remove your gecko to another place, take all the equipment and accessories from the tank, and unplug the electrical devices. You also need to have the right tools and detergents, as we are going to see below.

Prepare The Right Tools and Cleaners

There are different supplies and cleaning solutions for a leopard gecko tank, and each product performs a particular purpose.

Ensure you have everything in place whenever you are cleaning your Leo’s terrarium. Gather all the tools and cleaners first, then embark on cleaning.

Types of Cleaning Agents/Solutions for Leopard Gecko Tank

The most common and effective cleaning agents/solutions for leopard gecko tanks are pet disinfectants, hydrogen peroxide, diluted bleach solution, antibacterial soap liquid, vinegar and water solution, steam cleaner, and sanitizers.

Pet Disinfectants

These are antimicrobial agents helpful in killing microorganisms, e.g., bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, from the tank and accessories.

Pet disinfectants are designed explicitly for reptile habitats, and this makes them safe and effective to use.

Diluted Bleach Solution

Another perfect example of a powerful disinfectant is bleach. Always mix it in water, 1-part bleach, and 16-part water before using.

Avoid mixing bleach with other products like dish soap and vinegar since it will produce toxic gases that are fatal. Be careful when handling all disinfectants, as they can be harmful.

Sanitizers

Similarly, sterilizers also help to kill microorganisms from surfaces or items. They are potent disinfectants that help to kill viruses and bacterial spores from the surfaces.

Sterilization

Sterilization is also another viable way to kill microorganisms from surfaces. Sterilize the rocks and branches. You can use boiling water, autoclaving, or some chemicals for sterilization.

Hydrogen Peroxide

The use of 3% hydrogen peroxide is also an effective disinfectant to clean a gecko’s tank. The solution contains 97% purified water, so you don’t have to dilute it any further.

Hydrogen peroxide helps to destroy bacteria and viruses from an object. It will help to keep the terrarium free from these disease-causing organisms. Effective for weekly cleaning.

Supplies To Clean Leopard Gecko Tank

The supplies for cleaning Leo’s tank are many. Besides the cleaning solutions/agents we have mentioned, you will need other materials to use in the cleaning. Below are the supplies to clean leopard gecko tanks.

  • Rubber gloves or disposable latex gloves, apron, and goggles to wear when cleaning,
  • Antibacterial dish soap, e.g., Dawn, for soaking and washing accessories,
  • Buckets for holding and socking accessories,
  • A holding cage where you will temporarily place the gecko when cleaning,
  • Sponges, One set for cleaning, other for rinsing, and another for disinfecting,
  • Steam cleaner (best for killing bacteria),
  • A scoop to help remove poop and dirt when there is a loose substrate.
  • Brushes; small and medium-sized brushes depending on the tank’s size. A toothbrush is most convenient for corners and crevices in decor,
  • Paper towels,
  • Toothpicks, Q-tips, and putty knives. They will help to reach the smallest spaces.

Last update on 2021-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Do not use these cleaning tools and equipment elsewhere in your home or for any other work. Keep and lock them in a safe location out of reach of other pets and children. Dedicate them to only cleaning your gecko’s habitat.

Remove Your Leopard Gecko to Another place

Before you embark on cleaning, you first need to remove the leopard gecko from the cage and place it in a holding box until you’re through with cleaning.

Put some paper towels on the bottom of the box before introducing the lizard. It is recommended to bring the gecko to a different room if you’re using any chemicals to clean the habitat.

These reptile pets are sensitive to chemical fumes, and therefore will require a place with good ventilation.

Unplug Any Electrical Devices

Standard electrical devices for leopard geckos are lighting lamps, heat lamps, and heat pads/mats.

These electrical devices have wires close to each other, and if they come close to a wet substance, it can result in short-circuiting.

The best thing for your safety would be to put all the electrical devices off, allow them to cool, and then unplug them before you start cleaning the tank.

But if it seems exhaustive to move the devices, still make sure to turn them off and give them time to cool. When cool, the bulb will not break even if some water or debris splashes on it.

Take Everything Out of The Tank

Empty the terrarium and make sure to put all the equipment in a bucket or on paper towels to avoid them coming into contact with your floor or counter.

It will help to protect your floor from any bacteria. Use a scooper and brush to remove the substrate, and if planning to throw it, please put it properly in the trash.

Taking everything out from the tank is needed to help clean all parts of the terrarium, even the corners.

Proceed To Clean Individual Part

Everything in the tank and all your leopard gecko belongings needs to be cleaned separately. Before you even start working on your gecko’s house, the first action is to put on gloves and goggles.

Remember that you’re dealing with a reptile, and the lizard can be a carrier of salmonella and perhaps other bacteria.

Be free to follow the following cleaning steps to get a perfect and thorough cleaning.

leopard gecko in tank
leopard gecko in tank

For Inside a Tank– Glass

After emptying the tank, the next thing will be to disinfect the entire tank. Follow the instructions of the disinfectant you are using. And after disinfecting, leave the cage for some time for the disinfectant to work, about 20-30mins.

Spray everywhere inside the tank using a steam cleaner (can also help in disinfecting) to rinse it with water, including the glass and flooring. Then wipe the tank and floor with a paper towel. Steamer cleaner would be suitable for quick and deep cleaning.

If you don’t have a steam cleaner, use a solution of unscented dish soap mixed in hot water (not too hot). Rinse a sponge, wring it until no water is dripping, then use it to wipe the glass and flooring.

Rinse the room thoroughly to discard any fumes as they can be harmful to your beloved gecko.

A toothbrush will do a great job removing dirt and substrate from corners and crevices in the habitat. Moreover, Q-tips are other better alternatives to reach corners and clean them.

Rinse And Condition the Substrate 

Disinfect the tiles and then wash them with hot soapy water. A steam cleaner can also be a perfect choice to clean the tiles.

If your substrate is a reptile carpet, wash it with Dawn antibacterial soap solution, rinse it a couple of times, and then hang it to dry. Before it dries, you will need a spare carpet for the gecko to use.

However, those using loose substrates should check for feces and dead bugs and remove them. Add some substrates if needed. Such substrate needs replacement every 3-4 months.

For Accessories and Hides

First, rinse the calcium, water, and food bowls with clean water to remove any debris. Disinfect everything and give sufficient time for the disinfectant to work well.

You will then need to soak the bowls in a hot soapy solution before you clean them. You can also soak the bowls in a water and vinegar solution. All bowls need to be washed weekly.

Scrub the bowls with a sponge and make sure to rinse them well with clean water. You will eventually need to dry the bowls. Avoid washing the accessories in your kitchen sink. Wash them only in a bucket you dedicate for this purpose.

WeI recommend first disinfecting all the rocks you remove from the terrarium and boiling them in a hot water pot for around 30 minutes.

If you have porous materials such as wood branches and ropes that you intend to return to the habitat, you should disinfect and rinse them. Then bake them in an oven at 225-250 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wash And Disinfect Any Items That Are Going Into the Tank

A disinfector provides more cleaning power to the accessories and the tank. Each time you clean your pet’s cage, don’t skip anything, including the rocks, caves, beddings, plants, etc., be sure to wash and disinfect them.

The big mistake you can make is leaving some items uncleaned and then returning them to the tank. Not cleaning even one item reverses the whole cleaning process, which you spent hours doing.

If there is any bacteria or unwanted material in the item you didn’t clean, they will spread and re-infect the terrarium you have just cleaned.

All the effort you make will be pointless, plus the environment is harmful to your leopard gecko. Furthermore, always rinse the items well to remove all traces of soap and disinfectant and prevent your lizard from contacting these chemicals.

Make Sure Accessories and Tank Are Fully Dry and Don’t Smell

The next and foremost step will be to dry the cage and all the accessories after cleaning. You can use a paper towel to dry every item, as it absorbs water well.

Having a wet tank and accessories will make the humidity and condensation too high, which can expose your gecko to health problems, e.g., respiratory infection and pneumonia.

Materials that are appropriately dried don’t encourage the growth of bacteria. After drying, allow the accessories to sit out to air dry thoroughly.

If possible, make sure you have about two sets of dishes for feeding your leopard gecko to alternate them. When you’re cleaning one set, the other will be used in the cage.

How to clean your pet leopard gecko tank [source: leopard Gecko]

Put Everything Back to Its Position and Give Your Leopard Gecko Back

After successfully washing and disinfecting the cage and all your Leo’s belongings are sparkling clean, return everything to its position.

If you change the position of any item by any chance, it might disorient or stress your leopard gecko and make them act strangely. This may also include adding new decors to the cage. These lizards mostly feel insecure around new things.

They will not fail to notice even a minor change after you clean the enclosure, and it’s normal for them to act weird in such situations. Your lizard should adapt to the changes within 1-2 weeks, although this can vary according to a gecko.

We would recommend you not change your gecko’s tank appearance if your lizard reacts poorly to changes. But if your leopard gecko acts normal even after a change, there’s nothing wrong with you enhancing the habitat.

Tips And Safety Rules When Cleaning a Leopard Gecko’s Tank

As much as you are trying to cleanse your leopard gecko’s tank, remember that your safety is all-important. You don’t want to succeed in keeping your dear pet clean and healthy and end up putting yourself to health issues.

Likewise, risking your friend’s life is the last thing you want. That said, below are some tips and safety rules to observe when cleaning a leopard gecko’s tank.

  • Wear gloves to avoid directly touching things with your hands. Also, put on Goggles to protect your eyes from chemicals when spraying.
  • Have specific cleaning tools for your gecko’s habitat and accessories, and do not use them to clean other places.
  • Don’t use your main kitchen sink to clean the accessories from your leopard gecko terrarium.
  • Keep the leopard gecko away from every cleaning chemical.
  • Consider sanitizing and washing your hands after the cleaning process.
  • Avoid touching your face, putting your fingers in the mouth, and not letting another person touch them.

Ideally, you want to do everything in your control to avoid spreading any bacteria present in Leo’s beddings, accessories, etc.

FAQs

How often do I need to clean my leopard gecko tank?

Every day, try and spot clean your leopard gecko habitat at least 1-3 times. Some thorough cleaning is needed every week, and deep clean the tank at least once every month.

Can you use Dawn to clean a gecko tank?

Yes, Dawn has proven to be effective in cleaning a gecko tank. The best thing about Dawn is that it is phosphate-free, hence safe for cleaning. Rinse the dishes well to remove all the soap sud.

Is vinegar safe for leopard geckos?

Vinegar is safe for leopard geckos. It helps to wipe out bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli from the glass walls and floor of your gecko tank. You can mix it with water at 50:50.

Conclusion

Cleaning your leopard gecko habitat is one of the key requirements in owning and caring for these fascinating lizards.

As a responsible owner, ensure you have the proper timing and schedule for cleaning your pet’s tank and cleaning it regularly. Let the lizard live in a clean, dry, and odor-free habitat.

That is all we have for you about how to clean a leopard gecko tank. We hope the information in this article will help you take good care of your beloved pet.