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How To Clean A Bearded Dragon Tank

Owning a bearded dragon is fun but keeping the reptile healthy and happy takes plenty of vigilant upkeep. Particularly, the tank needs to remain super clean to prevent the spread of Salmonella bacteria present in their droppings.


Fortunately, even adult bearded dragons may poop only once a day, making it pretty easy to spot-clean their habitat. However, if you don’t stay on top of this chore, the pet can quickly become messy as its tail and feet drag in the smelly droppings.


This guide will show you how to clean a bearded dragon tank and answer some common questions about the tank-cleaning routine.


Cleaning Supplies for Cleaning a Bearded Dragon Tank


You will need the following supplies to do a thorough cleaning job:

  • Cloth, sponge, or paper towel (for wiping the furniture and walls of the tank)

  • Scraper tool or putty knife (for scraping off gunk and dried debris on furniture or tank surface)

  • Disinfectant (vinegar-water mix or store-bought solution)

  • Fresh bearded dragon substrate (change this monthly or at least three times per year)

How to Spot-Clean Your Bearded Dragon Tank Daily


Spot-cleaning your pet’s tank is the best way to reduce dirt buildup. The cleaning routine doesn’t take a lot of time and is pretty straightforward.


Here is how to spot-clean your dragon’s enclosure:

  1. Remove the water and food bowls. Throw away any leftover food and water, and then thoroughly wash the bowls with water. Fill the water bowl with fresh, clean water.

  2. Look around and remove any droppings, scales, dirt, and debris. The reptile can poop in different spots unless you have trained it to use one area.

  3. If you place paper towels on the substrate or floor, make sure to replace the towels every day.

Keep in mind that bearded dragons may appear clean but still carry parasites. Do not ignore daily tank maintenance, even if the tank seems clean. Germs from your pet’s droppings can easily spread to its body and contaminate the entire habitat.


Weekly Cleaning Routine


In addition to daily spot-cleaning, make sure to routinely clean the entire terrarium or vivarium (whichever glass tank you prefer) once a week. Weekly cleaning will keep the tank in great shape between the deep cleaning routine every month. Also, it will reduce the cleaning effort during the monthly cleaning.


Before you start the weekly cleaning, remove your lizard companion from the tank. This will allow you to do a thorough job without the pet getting in your way. Also, you won’t disturb the peace of your bearded dragon.


Make sure to clean and disinfect the walls of your pet bearded dragon's glass tank. For this, you can use a mixture of vinegar and warm water in equal parts. If you use a reptile carpet, take it out once a week and clean it. It is a good practice to disinfect the carpet, too.


You may need to replace the substrate if you use a loose option such as sand. However, we do not recommend using sand as a substrate in your pet’s tank because it can cause impaction and promote bacterial growth since it can easily get soaked with bearded dragon poop. All of these can increase the smell in the tank.


Don’t forget to wipe down all pieces of furniture and décor in your pet’s tank during the weekly cleaning. Thoroughly wash and rinse all bowls, too. Some bearded dragons enjoy playing in the water. If that’s the case with your pet, this might be a good time to bathe it and perform other bearded dragon care while you clean the tank. Keep bath time short, though. Remember that bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals.


How to Deep Clean a Bearded Dragon Tank

bearded dragon staring

Deep clean your pet’s habitat once every month to ensure excellent hygiene. Here is how to do it.


Step 1: Remove Your Beardie from the Tank


First, take your lizard companion out of the enclosure. Support the pet by slipping your hands underneath the chest and tummy area as you gently lift it out of the tank.


Put the pet in another tank if you have a spare one. Alternatively, you can put it inside a plastic tub with high walls. Wherever you temporarily put the pet, you want to ensure it can’t climb out and risk being stepped on.


Step 2: Remove the Items, Furniture, and Substrate


With the pet safely resting in another enclosure, remove all the items in the tank. These include decorations, pieces of furniture, substrate, and reptile carpet. Remove the water and food bowls, too.


You want to empty the tank as much as possible to give you enough room to reach all the corners. However, don’t uninstall fixtures such as lighting and thermostats. Instead, examine them to see if they need replacement.


Also, look for signs of wear and tear on the furniture pieces and replace them if necessary, especially if your pet has had them for over a year.


Step 3: Clean and Disinfect the Tank


Next, follow the instructions for mixing your preferred cleaning solution. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe down the floor and walls of the tank. Remember to clean the outside of the vivarium, too. Use any scraping tool such as a putty knife to remove gunk and stuck-on debris from surfaces of the enclosure.


Spray the disinfectant generously all over the tank. Allow the disinfectant to sit for about five to ten minutes before proceeding to the next step.


Step 4: Rinse the Rank


Use a fresh, damp cloth or paper towel to go over the tank. Make sure to wipe down every inch of the floor and walls, both inside and outside. You might need to re-soak the cloth or use a few moist paper towels to rinse the tank.


You want to take your time with this step to remove all chemical remnants and smell from the tank. A fresh-smelling tank is safer for your pet.


Step 5: Clean and Disinfect the Furniture and All Tank Items


Use the cloth to wipe down each item and piece of furniture that must go back into the tank. Remember to disinfect them and let them sit for up to ten minutes before rinsing.


Step 6: Put Back the Substrate, Items, and Furniture


Allow all the items to dry completely before returning them to the tank. Examine the substrate to see if it is still in good shape. Put the substrate back if it is still okay or replace it.


In any case, it is a good practice to replace the flooring at least three to four times every year.


Step 7: Put Your Beardie Back in the Tank


Lastly, gently return your bearded dragon to its fresh, clean tank.


How Often Should You Clean a Bearded Dragon Tank?

two bearded dragons sitting on rock

Give your pet’s tank light cleaning (spot-clearing) every day. You can do a more thorough cleaning job once every week. However, the tank-cleaning frequency will increase if you have two or more reptiles.


Don’t wait until it is time to do the monthly cleaning before removing dirty carpet, droppings, and other dirt.


Are There Safe Soaps for Bearded Dragons?


Never use any soap for your pet because there are no safe soaps for bearded dragons. Soaps usually contain sodium hydroxide or lye, making them unsafe for bearded dragons and all reptiles, for that matter. The animals will absorb the chemicals through their skin, which can be toxic.


Make sure to clean your pet’s tank with unscented cleaning liquids. Also, use safe disinfectants and thoroughly rinse off these chemicals to eliminate any residual smells.

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