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The 9 Best Substrates For Crested Geckos

Crested geckos require a certain substrate, and you may be on the hunt for it.

Therefore, the substrate of the crested gecko terrarium must be able to maintain an adequate moisture level.

For the sake of your gecko's health, it should be simple to clean and sanitize.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) offers the best substrates for crested geckos for your crested gecko.

Review here to help you find not only different items, but different product categories as well.

The best products on the market will help you build the best, healthiest living environment for your reptile friend.

Finding the best product for your gecko tank may require some experimentation.

Like you, your gecko probably has a favorite way to clean and a favorite texture for its shell. 

Instruction Manual


  • To Whom It May Concern: Does Your Gecko Have a History of Trying to Eat Unsafe Foods? To help you decide whether to acquire a loose substrate or a mat-type substrate for your gecko, consider the fact that some reptiles may consume substrate in their tank, either unintentionally or on purpose.
  • The size of your tank is a major consideration when deciding on a substrate. Avoid having too much substrate that won’t be used or too little when you’re scrubbing the tank. Mats vary in their ability to be trimmed to size without fraying or shredding.
  • Crested geckos require a humid but not damp environment for survival. Humidity and moisture levels can be kept at varying degrees depending on the substrate used. When selecting a substrate for your crested gecko, it’s important to think about how you’ll be keeping the environment moist and humid.
  • In terms of cleanliness, the substrate you choose for your crested gecko should not develop mold or mildew after being moist for a few days, nor should it encourage the growth of insects, parasites, or germs. You need to pick a substrate that can handle the high amounts of humidity without rotting.
  • How often do you currently clean and maintain your crested gecko’s tank? If you have a procedure down pat, it’s in your best interest to find a substrate that performs a comparable function to the one you’re already employing. Substrates may be changed in a variety of ways, from simply scooping out the damp or dirty substrate and replacing it with clean back in, to dismantling the tank completely.

Crested Geckos Can Choose From a Variety of Suitable Substrates.

  • Substrate with a fine texture is preferable since it is gentle on your gecko’s skin and won’t scratch or rub. More finely ground substrates, however, have a tendency to clump together when wet, much like kitty litter does. Because of this, cleaning may be more of a hassle.
  • Substrate with a chunky texture is recommended since it allows for more air circulation than finer substrate. Improved ventilation reduces the potential for musty odors and mold and mildew growth. However, not all geckos thrive on chunky surfaces because of the sharp corners on some of them.
  • Substrates can be either liquid or solid, with the latter being mats designed expressly for use in aquariums. They’re practical since they may be used again and again and are simple to clean. However, these mats often don’t aid in keeping humidity levels, so you’ll need to make sure the tank’s setup is sufficient to maintain humidity without the mats’ assistance.



To keep your chameleon happy and healthy, you should provide it with the best possible substrate. You can choose from a wide variety of products to try to discover something that both your chameleon appreciates and that you can easily care for.

Zoo Med Eco Earth compacted coir substrate is the best overall choice because of its environmental friendliness, usefulness, portability, and simplicity in storage and cleaning.

The Zilla Terrarium Substrate Liner is the best as you will get your money’s worth in a few weeks or months. The ReptiChip Premium Coconut Reptile Substrate is our best premium product pick for its excellent functionality and low maintenance requirements.

These summaries by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) are intended to serve as a guide while you review your many basic capabilities.

In the end, you’ll want to get something that both you and your gecko will enjoy. As a responsible pet owner, you want to give your chameleon the best substrates for crested geckos to meet their hygiene needs without compromising the humidity in their habitat.


Substrate Made of Compressed Coconut Fiber, Sold by Zoo Med as Eco Earth, Is the Best Option

Zoo Med’s Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber Substrate is the greatest all-around option for crested geckos. Coconut fiber, sometimes called coco coir, is extracted from coconut shells to create this finished product.

Since coconut fiber is biodegradable, it’s a great option for a sustainable product. You may buy this substrate as a 3-pack of compressed blocks or a 4-pack of 3-count blocks.

Each block is equivalent to around 7-8 liters, which is just enough to fill a 10-gallon tank about an inch deep.

This material is very absorbent, yet it retains its airiness and breathability, making it ideal for use in a variety of environments.

It can be composted when its odor-eliminating purpose has been served. The product’s main flaw is that it’s not always easy to transform the compact blocks into the fluffy substrate your gecko needs for its aquarium.


  • Renewable resources that are kind to the environment
  • Compressed blocks come in sets of 3, or a case of 12.
  • About 7-8 liters may be stored in each block.
  • capable of soaking up liquids
  • Allows air to get through even when wet
  • Absorbs and gets rid of smells
  • Compostable


  • Conflictual to separate


Substrate Liner for Zilla Plant Terrariums – Cheapest Around

Cost effectively, the Zilla Terrarium Liner Substrate is the perfect substrate for crested geckos. It’s a pad that can be tailored to different tank dimensions. It comes in four different sizes to accommodate tanks ranging in capacity from 10 to 50 gallons.

Though not the cheapest option, this product offers the best value because of its long lifespan and low per-use cost. Your crested gecko’s foot and tummy will be safe because of the natural texture, which is not abrasive.

This mat has been treated with a biodegradable enzyme that helps eliminate smells. Your crested gecko will not be able to mistakenly absorb this substrate, which is one of its finest features.

It takes little more than a quick rinsing with cold water to restore this carpet to its original condition.

This substrate won’t do much to increase the humidity in your gecko’s tank because it doesn’t absorb water the way other substrates may. Since it won’t absorb much, it won’t be a good choice for cleaning up spills or trash.


  • Highest quality at the lowest possible cost
  • Tanks of all shapes and sizes are accommodated.
  • Sizes range from Small to Extra-Extra Large.
  • Long-lasting reuse
  • Simplicity in maintenance
  • Having a biodegradable enzyme applied to it helps control smells.


  • Not absorb water
  • Averse to soaking up a lot of wetness


Choice Reptile Substrate, ReptiChip Premium Coconut

When looking for a high-quality substrate for your crested gecko, you might choose the ReptiChip Premium Coconut Reptile Substrate.

This substrate is eco-friendly and renewable because it is crafted from coconut husk chips. A 72-quart (or 10-pound) compacted block of coco chips is available for purchase.

It comes in single, three-, five-, and ten-count packs. Humidity-loving reptiles, such as crested geckos, will thrive in this substrate because of its ability to retain moisture. In addition to absorbing moisture and masking scents, it also helps keep the air at a comfortable temperature.

Softened by water, this substrate shouldn’t bother your gecko’s skin.

This substrate is prone to collecting dust, but after it has been wetted, it should cease to be an issue.


  • Coco husks, a renewable and eco-friendly resource
  • Packaged in fours and sold separately
  • Eliminating odors naturally
  • Extremely receptive
  • Preserves moisture
  • Pleasant to the skin of your gecko.


  • Costing a pretty penny
  • Dusty


Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate by Zoo Med Eco Earth

As an alternative to the crushed coconut fiber bricks sold by Zoo Med, the Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate is a fantastic choice.

It comes in both 8- and 24-quart bags. This product, like its compressed counterpart, is created from naturally renewable coconut fiber.

It is a fantastic choice for retaining humidity and mopping up spills and trash because of the substrate’s high moisture retention.

It is not compressed, therefore it does not have to be unwrapped before usage. Soft on your gecko’s delicate skin, it also helps naturally minimize smells. This material can be reused or broken down into compost.

Because of how finely it is milled, it may adhere to the enclosure if it gets wet, making it significantly more difficult to clean than the compressed form. Due to its fine texture, the product may potentially generate dust.


  • Two different sized bags are on hand.
  • Renewable resources that are kind to the environment
  • capable of soaking up liquids
  • Superior humidity retention
  • Absorbs and gets rid of smells
  • Compostable


  • It could be trickier to clean than other choices.
  • Possible to remain inside the confines
  • Dusty


Insects and Reptiles Love This Organic Coconut Bedding

For bigger terrariums, we recommend the Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Organic Substrate. There is only one pack size and bag size available, both of which hold 21 quarts.

This bag ought to be able to fill a 40-gallon tank to around 1 inch thick. This substrate is produced with a minimal amount of carbon dioxide gas by using fine coco coir, making it renewable and good for the environment.

Substrate is odor-controlling, dust-free, and fragrance-free as designed. It doesn’t easily deteriorate from exposure to moisture and humidity.

It is excellent for managing moisture and humidity since it can soak up to four times its weight in water. This substrate may be used for both plant growth and composting. Its smooth surface is ideal for delicate crested geckos.

It gathers in clumps, making cleanup simple but also increasing the risk of it clinging to the cage. As it isn’t totally dust free, your crested gecko may need some time to adjust before being returned to its tank.


  • Non-detrimental to the environment, renewable, and low in carbon emissions
  • Reducing odors
  • Gentle on your gecko’s skin, I hope.
  • Without any added scents
  • Mold- and mildew-resistant, breathable, and excellent at absorbing moisture
  • Compostable


  • There is just one bag size.
  • Possible to remain inside the confines
  • Lacking in total lack of dust
  • Costing a pretty penny


Pet Bed Made with Natural SunGrow Coco Fiber

If you want to make swapping out the substrate for your crested gecko as simple as unrolling a mat, the SunGrow Coco Fiber Mat for Pets is an excellent option.

This mat is 13 by 10 inches and is half an inch thick. It’s durable coco coir construction means it’s good for the environment, can be recycled, and is a renewable resource.

This substrate mat is designed to wick water away from its surface rather than letting it pool there. It can assist keep the humidity level in the tank high without making it too moist for your crested gecko.

Your gecko can’t eat any of the mat since it’s solid. This mat can be thrown in the washing machine when it becomes dirty, and you may use it again and again for months.

Due to its hard structure, this mat comes folded, and it may be difficult to unfold it without causing the edges to buckle.

You should also keep an eye on your gecko because the texture might cause skin irritation. Mats are sold individually, so if your cage is very large, you may need to buy many mats.


  • Conveniently low maintenance
  • non-toxic, biodegradable, and a sustainable material
  • resists the accumulation of water
  • Aids in maintaining moisture levels
  • No edible form


  • After shipment, it may be necessary to add weight to the corners to ensure they stay in place.
  • Possible requirement for several mats
  • Dog and Cat Mat made of Rough-Textured Fiber

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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