Bearded dragons make fantastic pets! These moderately-sized lizards, native to Australia, come in many different colors but are usually light tan or brown with a thick tail and spiky, beard-like collar. Generally, they are very docile and only display aggression when they feel threatened. They are typically friendly with their owners and are active during the day. Bonus points if you get lucky and your beardie likes to hang out, perched on top of your shoulder!
While their temperaments make them easy to keep, they require special care, specific equipment, and somewhat complex nutritional and environmental needs. Because they are native to Australia’s deserts, they require full-spectrum lights within their habitat, as well as a basking bulb and perch, a thermometer to measure the temperature and humidity within the tank, of course, a substrate such as shredded newspaper or a reptile carpet.
As your beardie’s environment is crucial to its health, it is essential to maintain a clean and healthy tank where he or she can thrive! Messy tanks create stress for your dragon. With an unclean tank, you are creating serious health risks such as parasites, respiratory infections, and impaction. Cleaning your beardie’s tank should be a top priority and regular practice for you as their owner. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about creating a happy and healthy atmosphere for your bearded dragon.
How to Clean a Bearded Dragon’s Tank
What to do with your Bearded Dragon while you clean their tank:
While you’re cleaning your Bearded Dragon’s home, you should ensure they stay safe during the process. The best way to guarantee their safety is to use a temporary enclosure for them while you clean their tank. You can use the same container that you use to bathe your bearded dragon; just don’t put any water in it. Or you can use a reptile carrier to keep them safe and comfortable during cleaning.
Most importantly, keep your Bearded Dragon somewhere away from the area you are using to clean their tanks. Some of the chemicals you use to clean their homes can create harmful for your beardie.
How often should you clean a Bearded Dragon’s tank?
On a daily basis, you should perform a light cleaning to remove any faeces, uneaten food, and any other required spot cleaning. Clean the hard surfaces within the tank once a week. Deep cleanings should be performed on a monthly basis. This is when you’ll completely disinfect each part of your Bearded Dragon’s habitat. Remembering to also clean the glass and floor of the tank.
What you need to clean a Bearded Dragon’s Tank
Keeping your bearded dragon’s home clean is a fundamental part of protecting them from disease and infection. However, many of the products used to clean tanks and other glass materials can be toxic. So, it’s vital you use the right products to clean your beardie’s home.
First things first, stay away from anything containing fragrances. They may smell pleasant, but many scented cleaning products contain unnecessary chemicals and possibly phthalates. Phthalates help carry the scent but have been connected to many health issues, including headaches, reproductive problems, and even cancer. Here are a few safe options to use to clean your bearded dragon’s tank.
Disinfectants work well to clean cages and tanks. F10, a veterinary grade disinfectant, is a well-known cleaner explicitly created for use on surfaces in which animals come into contact. F10 is an effective virucidal, fungicidal, bactericidal, and sporicidal. It is also non-toxic, biodegradable, and won’t irritate your pet.
To use, mix with water per the recommended ratio. You can also use the disinfectant solution to fill a water bottle and spray on your bearded dragon’s cage and other toys or accessories. Just make sure to leave the disinfectant on your surfaces for the recommended amount of time before drying.
Bleach is another disinfectant you can use to clean your Bearded Dragon’s tank. When using household bleach, ensure that you are following the recommended ratio for the solution. It should be about 50mL of bleach to 1L of water. Make sure to leave the solution on surfaces for 10-60 minutes before rinsing and wiping dry. Removing the disinfectant too quickly can result in ineffective cleaning.
It is important to note that bleach is ineffective when organic material is present on surfaces, be sure to wipe any and all surfaces clean before disinfecting with bleach. Bleach is also corrosive and will damage any material made of metal or containing paint.
Ammonia and Vinegar
Ammonia can be used as a disinfectant against coccidia and cryptosporidium; however, it is ineffective after 18 hours of application. Vinegar can also be used to clean your tank, but it may not be as effective as a chemical-based cleaner. Vinegar can also be used to eliminate mineral deposits.
Don’t Forget the Steamer!
Steaming is an excellent, chemical-free way to disinfect and clean your bearded dragon’s tank. You can use steam to control pathogens and parasites, such as coccidia and mites. Steam cleaning is incredibly useful when performed correctly and executed slowly. When cleaning the tank, make sure that you are nearly touching the surfaces with a steamer to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Other Required Materials:
In addition to a robust disinfectant, you are going to need a few more tools to get the job done right!
- Chemical resistant gloves
- Paper towels, for spills and drying
- A window wiper
- Two microfiber cloths – one for cleaning and the other for polishing
- Spray bottle with chosen disinfectant solution
- Bucket for your disinfectant solution
- Handheld steamer or steam wand.
How to Clean Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank:
After you have secured all of your cleaning products and safely relocated your bearded dragon, it is time to get to work! Following the process below ensures thorough and effective cleaning of your pet’s habitat. Keep reading to get started!
1. Remove Faeces and Other Waste
You are likely already doing this daily (if you aren’t, get to it!), but before performing a deep clean, make sure you have removed all faeces and uneaten food from the tank. Also, be sure to remove any soiled and unsoiled substrate, such as newspaper, before cleaning the tank. Leaving soils and unwanted particles in the tank makes cleaning completely pointless! Remove the soils!
2. Remove Accessories and Furniture
For a deep clean, you will need to take everything out of your bearded dragon’s tank.
After removing everything, soak all accessories in a bleach-water or disinfectant solution for no less than 20 minutes.
Once they are finished soaking, use a brush or cloth to thoroughly scrub the accessories. After washing, rinse thoroughly. Finally, leave the accessories to dry.
3. Vacuum the Enclosure
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining substrate bits, uneaten pieces of food, or other particles from the tank that you may have initially missed.
4. Clean Hard Surfaces
As well as cleaning the hard surfaces each week, you should also clean them again during your monthly deep clean. You can use a steamer for the glass, as mentioned above. A vinegar and water solution, or a veterinary-grade disinfectant are also acceptable for cleaning the glass within the tank.
5. Scrub the Tank
Use a bleach or disinfectant solution to scrub every inch of the tank, inside and out. This includes the floor, the sides, and all the corners. Be sure to use enough solution to soak each part of the tank for at least 20 minutes.
7. Rinse and Clean
After allowing the solution to soak for the required amount of time, rinse the tank thoroughly. This will likely take several rounds of rinsing to eliminate all disinfectant fumes and residue. After you are finished rinsing, go back with a microfiber cloth and vinegar-water solution to clean the glass, leaving a streak-free shine!
8. Return The Furniture
Once the tank is thoroughly cleaned and dry, add fresh, clean substrate to the tank. Place all of the clean accessories back where they belong and add clean, conditioned water to the tank.
After the habitat has been completely restored, make sure the tank is warm. Once all this is done you can put your bearded friend back in his home!
It is your responsibility to ensure that your bearded dragon is kept safe and well. To guarantee your beardie’s happiness keep their homes clean and their belly’s full!
Now that you are well-equipped with the knowledge you need to clean your beardie’s tank, are you ready to get started?
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