If you have chosen to take a wonderful exotic pet into your home then the vivarium in which you keep it is going to need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep it in tiptop condition. The amount of maintenance will vary depending on the type and amount of exotic pets you intend to keep; in addition to the size of your vivarium, the substrates and plants used inside.
As always we recommend you ask your exotic pet specialist for advice on your particular breed, but here we list some basic maintenance requirements that apply to many of the commonly kept reptiles and amphibians.
Caring for your vivarium plants is extremely important, as unhealthy plants can quickly lead to an unhealthy pet. Check the plants in your vivarium thoroughly and regularly, and remove any rotting leaves immediately. If you find any signs of parasites remove the plants immediately and seek advice from you exotic pet specialist.
Waste removal is just as vital and is a process that should be completed regularly to keep your vivarium clean and prevent the build up of unhealthy bacteria. Insectivorous reptiles and amphibians may leave ‘leftovers’ behind, so clean this up along with any dead insects to prevent moulding. If your exotic pet sheds its skin, take care to remove any shed skin along with faeces as they wil accumulate.
Water changing is another essential part of vivarium maintenance and one that is often overlooked by non-experienced exotic pet owners. Whether you have water bowls or a small pond type reservoir, it is important to replenish the supply often with high-oxygenated water, and replace all together when it becomes cloudy.
Changing the substrates in your Vivarium will keep unhealthy bacteria at bay, and prevent the build up of any unwanted waste. Again, this depends on the type of exotic pet you own with many specialists recommending you completely change the substrate at least once per week.
Finally, it is recommended that you ‘spring clean’ your vivarium several times per year by removing your pets, plants, interior accessories and substrates and give the entire vivarium a good clean with warm water and a pet friendly cleaning solution (seek advice from your specialist).
Wearing gloves and taking extra care with your exotic pets when you clean their environment will help reduce the risk of infection or disease, and limit the stress caused to your unique pet.