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How to Clean Fish Tanks and Reptile Cages Properly.

Updated on March 27, 2017

Iguana Habitat

Anastasia finding comfort in my purse at the vet
Anastasia finding comfort in my purse at the vet

Why Cleaning Them Properly is Important

Iguanas and Bearded Dragons are becoming popular pets, however when cleaning their quarters, you must make sure it is done properly. Well some people would say why? Because almost all reptiles carry salmonella in their guts and if not cleaned properly you can catch it. Most lizzards also carry worms of some sort, but these need to be addressed by a vet. Most herpe (reptile) vets will test their feces and medicate them properly. Even though these things are warranted in the wild, they are not warranted for lizzards in captivity.

Iguanas and other lizards are very clean animals (unlike people think). They will only go to the bathroom in one place because like any other animal they want their habitat clean. Our iguanas cage is very big, but made of wood so cleaning it is challenging because wet wood left wet means mildew. Before I clean her cage, she gets a bath and I scrub the bottom of her with a toothbrush. Sometimes they walk in their own feces and it gets in their scales. It has to be cleaned off of them.

The bottom of the cage is covered in newpaper and that is where she uses the bathroom. It's easier to clean then reptile carpet and is absorbant too. I change the paper everyday, but give the cage a good cleaning once a week. Never put any other kind of bedding in an iguana cage, because they will eat it.

I start out taking everything out of her cage. All bowls, branches, and other decorations get washed with antibacterial soap and completely dried before putting it back in her cage. I use a wet dry vac to vacuum any debris such as shedding, dried up food, and any other loose things hanging around. Once the cage is vacuumed to my satisfaction, I wipe it out with clorox clean ups. YOU CAN NOT JUST LEAVE IT AT THAT. After I wipe it down with clorox clean ups, I use hot water to remove the product from her cage. Iguanas like to lick everything, so exposing her to chemicals is not cool. I give it a twice or three times over with very hot water with a rag only used and washed for her. Once the cage is cleaned, then I dry it with a towel that is only hers. Any cleaning rags you use should be washed in hot water and bleach and dried in the dryer to kill any bacteria on it.

Reptile cages need to be kept clean. Not only will it keep the smell away but will keep your lizzard or other reptiles from catching something they don't need.

How to Clean Fish Tanks

People love to have fish and so do I . I have two betta's, a chichilid and a 55 gallon tank filled with tin foil barbs, kissing fish, and other fish. However when cleaning your fish tanks and filters you must take proper care because fish carry bacteria that can be detrimental to our health and they also at times have worms too.

First remove any jewelry you are wearing especially rings. At some point you might have to stick your hands in the tank. For my betta's, everything comes out of their tanks and has to be cleaned. Their tanks are cleaned with scalding hot water and all their belongings inside. I even scald the filter too. Because bettas and chichilids are aggressive fish, It is hard to put algae eaters in the tanks without them being a target for food. I tried some cory cat fish, but that was short lived. Their tanks are not really big enough for the larger algae eaters, so there is nothing to eat the excess food and debris in the tanks so they must be changed at least every couple of weeks providing you have good filters on them. If there is no filter then every couple of days.

Once you are done with all the cleaning of the fish tanks WASH YOUR HANDS, CLEAN UNDER YOUR FINGER NAILS, AND USE SOME GERMEX. Make sure you wash down any area that any tank water went even the sink with some kind of cleaner with bleach. That way any bacteria will be killed.

Yes we all think that cleaning these things is a breeze but there is proper technique when doing so. Although lizzards are fairly safe from any human catching salmonella, the chance is still there. If you don't feel comfortable cleaning with your bare hands, then use gloves.

Owning Exotic Pets

Owning an iguana can be a rewarding hobby when they are taken care of properly. Iguanas are very smart animals and do not like to live in dirty quarters. Our iguana, when not happy, throws all her food around the cage to let us know something is not perfect for the princess. Owners of iguanas run into problems when they leave them left in feces and urine. They will surely get an infection and will cost a lot of money to take care of them.

If you want to own exotic animals then it comes with a price and you must find the proper vet to take care of them.


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