Crested geckos are unique and charming little reptiles that make great pets. With their big eyes, expressive eyebrows, and fuzzy skin, they have very endearing appearances. As a responsible pet owner, you want to make sure you are meeting all of your crested gecko’s needs, including providing safe and clean drinking water.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: crested geckos can drink tap water, but it’s generally recommended to use bottled or filtered water instead. Tap water often contains minerals, chemicals, and contaminants that can be harmful if consumed regularly.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, we will cover everything you need to know about giving tap water to crested geckos. We will discuss:

The Potential Risks of Tap Water for Crested Geckos

Contaminants and Minerals

Tap water often contains contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, nitrates, solvents, and pharmaceuticals according to EPA. These can be toxic to crested geckos even in small amounts. Tap water also tends to have excess minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphates.

Chlorine and Chloramines

Most municipal tap water is treated with chlorine or chloramines to kill bacteria. However, these chemicals are toxic to reptiles and can irritate geckos’ skin and respiratory system. According to Reptifiles, a 30 second exposure to tap water can be deadly for geckos.

Hard Water

Hard tap water with excess minerals can leave residue on crested geckos’ skin, eyes, and vivarium décor. It can clog the misting system over time. The optimal water hardness for these geckos is under 75ppm.

Bacteria, Fungi and Algae

There could be bacteria like E. coli, fungi like aspergillus, or algae spores in tap water that can rapidly spread in the warm, humid environment of a crested gecko’s enclosure. This can cause potentially deadly skin, eye, and respiratory infections. Bottled spring water avoids this risk.

Options for Suitable Crested Gecko Drinking Water

Bottled Spring or Purified Water

Using bottled spring or purified water is an excellent way to provide crested geckos with safe, clean drinking water (ReptiFiles). These types of water go through more filtration and treatment processes to remove impurities, contaminants, minerals, and chemicals compared to tap water.

As a result, they tend to have a more neutral pH level that is healthy for geckos to ingest.

Many reptile keepers use bottled water as their primary source of drinking water. Some popular and reputable options include Poland Spring, Deer Park, Nursery, and Distilled Water. When choosing a brand, check the label and aim for water with a pH between 6.5-7.5.

Changing out and refreshing the water 2-3 times per week is also recommended.

Filtered Water

Using standard water filters like those made by Brita, ZeroWater, and PUR can significantly improve the quality and safety of regular tap water for bearded dragons. These filters work by removing contaminants like chlorine, chemicals, heavy metals, and minerals that can be harmful if consumed excessively.

The filtration process helps bring down elevated pH levels to create a more neutral drinking water for reptiles. Just be sure to change the filter cartridges according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, typically every 2-3 months.

Well Water

Well water refers to water that comes from underground aquifers, springs, or wells rather than treated surface water from lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Using untreated well water for crested geckos is generally not recommended.

Well water often contains heavy metals like arsenic, chromium, mercury, excessive minerals, parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium, and chemical residues from fertilizers or pesticides that can cause health issues if consumed (CDC).

If you want to use well water as the source, investing in a high-quality home water filtration system is strongly advised. Look for systems with reverse osmosis, UV light treatment, carbon filtration, and micron filtering capabilities to remove the most contaminants possible.

Rain Water

Collecting and using natural rainwater can be a chemical-free and eco-friendly way to obtain water. However, some important precautions need to be taken. The cleanliness of rainwater depends heavily on one’s geographical location and the level of atmosphere pollution.

Always test harvested rainwater before providing it to crested geckos. Check essential water parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrates, copper, zinc. Also, use tight screen covers on collection barrels to keep out debris, plants, insects.

And never collect water from first rain events or severe storms as they tend to be the most contaminated.

Reverse Osmosis Water

Reverse osmosis (RO) water is created by pushing tap water through a semi-permeable filtering membrane to remove dissolved salts, metals, minerals and other impurities (Free Drinking Water). The advanced purification process results in water with a neutral pH around 7.0 that’s great for reptiles.

RO systems can be installed under sinks or used countertop carafe styles. They are more effective at removing contaminants than basic carbon filtration or ultraviolet light systems. Just be aware they also strip out healthy minerals during processing.

So alternation RO water with spring or purified water is ideal.

Watering Best Practices for Crested Geckos

Use a Shallow Water Dish

Crested geckos drink water by lapping it up with their tongues, so a shallow water dish works best. The water should be no deeper than the gecko’s armpits to prevent accidental drowning. An ideal crested gecko water dish is wide and stable, with a maximum depth of 1/2 inch.

Change the Water Frequently

It’s important to replace your crested gecko’s water every 1-2 days. Stagnant water can promote bacterial growth which can make your gecko sick if ingested. Refreshing the water ensures it stays clean and appetizing for drinking.

Keep the Water Dish Clean

In addition to changing the water often, thoroughly clean and disinfect the water dish itself on a weekly basis. Use a small amount of reptile-safe disinfectant. Rinse thoroughly afterwards. This prevents buildup of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms.

Monitor Your Gecko’s Hydration

Observe your gecko periodically to ensure it is drinking adequately. Well-hydrated crested geckos will have full, plump tails and elastic skin. Dehydration causes sunken eyes, lethargy, wrinkled skin, and a thinner tail.

If you notice any dehydration signs, mist more often and consider offering bottled spring water in addition to the usual tap water.

When Tap Water Might Be Okay for Crested Geckos

While tap water is generally not recommended for crested geckos, there are some exceptions when it may be okay to use in moderation. Here are a few instances when tap water could work:

Using Spring or Well Water

If you live in a rural area and have access to spring or well water, this type of water often has fewer chemicals and contaminants than standard tap water. Spring and well water tends to have neutral pH levels and moderate mineral content, making it less likely to cause health issues for crested geckos.

However, you’ll still want to test the water quality first before regularly using it.

Using Tap Water Occasionally

It’s generally fine to use tap water occasionally for misting or bathing your crested gecko, such as once a week. The key is not to use it as their main water source. The small exposure from intermittent tap water usage is unlikely to cause major health problems.

Using Tap Water in Emergencies

In an emergency situation where you have no access to spring, filtered, or bottled water, it’s understandable to resort to tap water for your crested gecko until you can obtain a better water source. While not ideal, using tap water briefly is better than allowing dehydration.

Just be sure to acquire an appropriate crested gecko water source as soon as possible.

Using Tap Water with Water Conditioners

There are reptile water conditioners available that claim to remove chlorine, heavy metals, and toxins from tap water. If you want to utilize tap water for your crested gecko, using a water conditioner can help make the water safer.

Some popular brands include ReptiSafe Instant Water Conditioner and Exo Terra Aquatize. However, water conditioners don’t remove all potential contaminants, so filtered or spring water is still the best option.

The bottom line is that while tap water is risky for crested geckos, there are some scenarios where limited or conditional use may be acceptable. Always monitor your gecko closely when introducing new water sources. When in doubt, filtered, bottled, or spring water is the safest choice.

FAQs on Crested Geckos and Drinking Water

Can I Use Distilled Water for My Crested Gecko?

Distilled water can certainly be used for crested geckos, as it contains no impurities that could potentially harm them. However, plain distilled water lacks the minerals and nutrients found in spring or filtered water, which are beneficial for geckos.

A better option is to use distilled water reconstituted with a reptile vitamin supplement powder, as this will add essential electrolytes and nutrients back into the water.

What Temperature Should My Crested Gecko’s Water Be?

Crested geckos prefer their water to be room temperature, between 70-80°F. Water that is too cold can potentially send them into shock. On the flip side, water that is too warm can increase the risk of bacteria growth.

Checking the water temperature with a thermometer regularly is the best way to maintain proper hydration for your gecko.

How Often Do Crested Geckos Need Water?

Crested geckos need access to fresh, clean water at all times. Their water should be changed out and replaced completely at least 2-3 times per week. This helps prevent bacterial growth and ensures your gecko stays well-hydrated.

Some signs of dehydration in crested geckos include sunken eyes, lethargy, wrinkled skin, and sticking shed. Providing an adequate sized bowl that can’t be tipped over easily, and misting the enclosure daily will help meet their hydration needs.


Providing proper hydration is crucial for your crested gecko’s health and wellbeing. By understanding the risks of tap water and exploring better drinking water options, you can ensure your little lizard stays happy and healthy.

In most cases, bottled spring or purified water, or highly filtered tap water tend to be the best options for crested geckos. But with some precautions, tap water can potentially also be suitable in certain scenarios.

Follow the drinking water guidelines, best practices, and FAQ tips covered in this guide, and your beloved crested gecko will continue to thrive.

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