Why Does My Leopard Gecko Tank Smell? [Cleaning Guide]

Petting Leopard Geckos is always fun until foul odor starts coming from their tank. When this stinky smell starts hovering around your house, the first question you might have on your mind is- Why does my Leopard Gecko tank smell?

The reason behind smelly Leopard Gecko tank is their feces or urine that has been uncleaned for days. A dirty environment with rotten food and mold, gas produced after eating food, and disease can also cause unbearable odor inside the tank of your Leopard Gecko.

If you are into knowing the causes behind the smell and how to get rid of this, make sure to read till the end.

Why Does My Gecko Cage Smell?

The tank of your Leopard Gecko might smell bad at times due to feces and urine. An unclean or dirty environment inside the tank is another important reason that causes a bad smell. Including these reasons, some other factors cause this lousy odor:

  • Leftover foods and insects
  • The disease of Leopard Geckos
  • Unreplaced substrate
  • High protein diet
  • Mold formation
  • Crickets
  • Low temperature

Leftover foods and insects

Since a Leopard Gecko’s tank needs to have holes for them to hide and its natural habitat. Many people take this decoration seriously and end up building a tank with multiple places to hide, making it easier for Geckos to leave their food in those places.

As a result, the foods or untouched insects do not stay fresh for a long time and get rotten, creating a foul odor inside the tank. This is one of the common issues faced by most of the owners.

Feces and urine

When a Leopard Gecko poops or urinates, it is evident that bad smells will come out of it. But if it is not cleaned for a long time and becomes wet due to humidity, it will start to smell bad. However, dried feces become odorless with time.

The disease of Leopard Geckos

Many Leopard Geckos go through diseases caused by bacteria, protozoa, other microorganisms, and insects. These insects attack the natural flora of their intestine and cause issues in digesting food.

The unprocessed foods cause your Gecko to pass feces and urine, which smells extremely bad and may also look different in color and consistency.

Unreplaced substrate

Keeping substrates inside the tank for a long time and not removing them can also cause a foul odor. Inside the substrates, fecal matter or unfertilized eggs cannot be seen until the smell hovers around.

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Natural substrates made of wood or plants can also cause mold formation inside the tank, leading to foul smells.

Substrates also hold a lot of bacteria, including those from feces and urines. Thus, the replacement of substrate is essential.

High protein diet

Diet food containing protein can cause the formation of gas in Leopard Geckos. When protein-rich foods are broken down, they tend to smell bad due to sulfur in them.

Such as crickets.

Hence when your Gecko steps on it or even eats them, the smell tends to come either due to the gas formation or stepping on it.

Also, fiber-rich food for Geckos can also cause the same issue as it takes a long time to digest. As a result, gasses form during digestion, and your Leopard will release the gas, which can cause the odor.

Mold formation

When the tank inside which your Leopard lives is not cleaned up on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, it will obviously smell bad. Molds form inside the tank due to excess humidity, low temperature, and contamination, which can also cause the buildup of lousy odor with time.


Crickets are also a high source of protein and fiber that can be a reason for the foul smell in Gecko’s tank. Sometimes these crickets hide inside the enclosure or under natural substrates and die after a certain time. Thus, the sulfur in these insects is broken down eventually and causes a foul odor.

Low temperature

Leopard Geckos need a warm environment to digest their foods properly. Without this, the digestion process becomes slower than usual, forming gat gasses and making the tank smelly when released.

How Often Should You Change Substrate For Leopard Gecko?

Substrates are those materials on which Leopard Gecko lives, walks, and does all its activity. If these substrates are not regularly maintained, bacteria and other microorganisms from feces and urines can make the substrate smelly.

Few substrates are commonly used to decor the enclosure for Leopard Geckos, and they need to be replaced according to the substrate’s type:

Substrate nameChanging time and placement
Paper towelsPut 1-2 layers and replace 1-2 times a week
Ceramic tilesMonthly deep clean and daily spot clean
NewspaperPut 5-6 layers and replace 1-2 times a week
Reptile carpetMonthly cleaning and replacing 2-3 times a month
Loose substrateReplace in every 3-4 months

Do Leopard Geckos Smell?

Leopard Geckos are not smelly animals and love to clean themselves using their tongues. If the tank environment is dirty and smelly due to feces, urine, dead insects, molds, etc., living inside of it can make the Geckos smelly.

Why Does My Leopard Gecko Smell Like Pee?

Your Leopard gecko might smell like pee due to the presence of urates in the tank for a long time. Leopard Gecko pees in a solid form and pass alongside the feces in a white chalky form.

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If you see the urine, you must clean it with a paper towel, so it doesn’t stay there for long. Otherwise, being in such dirty environments will make your Leopard Gecko smell like pee.

Why Does My Leopard Gecko’s Poop Stink?

Generally, the feces of the Leopard Gecko smells terrible, but it doesn’t stink up an entire tank or room if cleaned on time. One reason could be wet feces due to humidity or low temperature in the tank, which can cause the odor.

Another reason could be that Gecko’s diet is enriched with protein or fiber. When protein matters are broken down, or the fibers take a long time to digest, gasses form and pass with feces. That is another reason behind the stinky poop.

Are Leopard Geckos Dirty?

Leopard Geckos are not dirty and love to stay in clean environments. A dirty enclosure also makes a Leopard Gecko unhappy and sluggish in nature. Hence, they use their tongue to lick themselves and stay clean.

How Do I Get My Leopard Gecko To Stop Smelling?

Leopard Geckos usually don’t smell unless surrounded by a dirty environment. Keeping the tank clean or giving your Leopard Gecko a bath when they become dirty can make your Leopard Gecko stop smelling.

How To Clean A Leopard Gecko Tank?

Cleaning Leopard Gecko tanks is necessary to avoid foul odors and dirty environments. There are three ways to clean a Leopard Gecko tank, which are:

  • Spot cleaning
  • Monthly cleaning
  • Deep cleaning

Some common materials will be required to clean a Leopard Gecko tank:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Paper towel
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Purified water
  • Scrubber
  • Clean rag
  • Reptile carrier
  • Scooper

There are some things to do before cleaning the tank, which include:

  • Removing your Gecko to another place
  • Unplug all devices of the tank
  • Choose appropriate cleaning solutions
  • Empty the tank completely

Removing your Gecko to another place

This is the first and vital step in cleaning any Leopard gecko tank. You must take out your Gecko and put it inside a reptile carrier. Thus the cleaning process won’t get disrupted by their presence.

You can also keep them inside a plastic box with proper amounts of holes in it. Make sure to place some paper towels or newspaper on the surface of the carrier.

If you are using any chemical solution for cleaning, keep your Leopard Gecko outside the room. Otherwise, the chemical fumes can affect their health.

Unplug all devices of the tank

There are heat lamps, lighting lamps, heat mattresses, and other electronic devices that need to be switched off. Without it, they may come in contact with water and cause electric shock.

Make sure to let the devices cool after turning them off and place them somewhere else.

Choose appropriate cleaning solutions

Cleaning solutions are necessary to disinfect the whole tank and make it clean & new again. Pet disinfectant, vinegar and water solution, soapy water, etc., are some of the cleaning solutions.

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Empty the tank completely

All the items inside the enclosure need to be taken out before starting the cleaning process. After you take them out, place them on a paper towel or somewhere else so that it doesn’t come in contact with you.

Later, disinfect each item entirely before putting it back inside the tank.

How To Spot Clean Inside Leopard Geckos Tank?

Spot cleaning is a straightforward way to clean your Geckos tank. You basically need to clean the tank every day. For spot cleaning,

  1. Wear disposable gloves before cleaning the cage. There are bacteria such as – Salmonella that can attack you. Wearing gloves can help you to protect yourself from those microorganisms.

If you go for reusable gloves, make sure to clean, disinfect and dry them.

  1. Look for feces, urates, or waste materials that need to be cleaned. You will need a paper towel to remove the waste, including shredded skin, dead insects, and uneaten foods.
  1. Replace the substrate if possible. Substrates such as paper towels or newspapers can easily be removed and replaced.

How To Weekly Clean Inside A Leopard Gecko Tank?

For Weekly cleaning, you need to put extra effort than spot cleaning.

  1. Take your Leopard Gecko and keep it inside the reptile carrier or another cage.
  2. Take out bowls and dishes and clean them with water.
  3. Keep the bowls and dishes inside hot soapy water
  4. Clean the flooring of the tank.
  5. Check out for any leftover food or insects inside the substrates.
  6. After cleaning, place your Leopard Gecko inside the tank again.

How To Deep Clean Inside a Leopard Gecko Tank?

Deep cleaning is generally done every month. You can clean the tank of Leopard Gecko every first day of the month to avoid forgetting this part.

For deep cleaning,

  1. Wear nitrile or latex gloves to avoid contact with bacteria inside the tank.
  1. Everything, including your Leopard Gecko, must be removed from the tank. You can use a reptile carrier or a plastic box with holes to move your Leopard Gecko.

Use a scooper to take out feces and sands from inside.

  1. Clean everything with soapy water and a scrubber at first. Make sure to reach every corner and every material inside the tank.
  1. Thoroughly dry the entire cage and move to the disinfectant part.
  1. For disinfectants, you can use bleach and water solution (1:16), hydrogen peroxide (3%), vinegar, and water solution (1:1) to disinfect all items of the tank and the tank itself. Keep the cleaners (if spray) for 30-60 minutes.

You can use steam cleaners for the effective killing of bacteria.

  1. Use purified water to clean the solutions that you used to clean the tank.
  1. Dry the entire tank again, including the materials, with a clean rag or paper towel.
  1. Keep your Leopard Gecko inside and turn on all electronic devices.
  1. Wash your hands for at least 20-30 seconds.

Final words

Leopard Geckos are generally very clean reptiles and love keeping themselves clean. If their tank smells, that indicates mainly an untidy environment. To ensure a safe and tidy environment for your Leopard Gecko, you need to clean the tank with the proper steps. This will make your Leopard Gecko tank smell better and your Leopard happy.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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