We can get sick if we drink contaminated water, but what happens to crested geckos if we give them the wrong water? Can your crested gecko become boujee as it only prefers to drink expensive bottled water? Or is it okay to save your money and just go with tap water?
The best water for crested geckos is purified or distilled water. These do not have any contaminants due to the purification process. The most natural source of water is fresh rainwater which is what they get in the wild. Tap water is fine, given that its main source does not contain chlorine.
Oh no! So is it time to save more money for the water of your crested geckos? Hold your horses! No need to worry about added expenses as we will discuss the pros and cons of using a specific type of water. Surely, you can give the best water for your cresties without damaging your wallet in the process. So read on!
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Why Most People Give Their Crested Geckos Distilled Water
Distilled water is definitely the crowd favorite for a lot of crested gecko owners, and for good reason! You are assured that you are giving the cleanest water possible to your crested gecko.
Not only that, but you can also use it to mist their enclosure and you can bid goodbye to water stains.
So why is distilled water being branded as this magic water? What is it actually?
A lot of people think that distilled water is a type of water in itself, but it is actually a type of purified water. It is purified water that went through a process called distillation hence “distilled water.” This is a process where the water is boiled and condensed in steam.
In turn, the solid contaminants of the water are left behind. Therefore, after distillation, you are only left with pure water.
Remember when we said earlier that distilled water is favored by crested gecko owners as it does not leave any water stains?
The reason for this is that naturally occurring minerals in water are little to none in distilled water, and these minerals are the culprits of water stains.
With that said, distilled water is the purest form of water, however, keep in mind that purest does not essentially mean healthiest for crested geckos. Keep in mind that it is just pure water, so its benefit to your crested gecko is simply pure moisture and hydration.
Is Purified Water Better For Crested Geckos?
We discussed earlier that distilled water is just a cleaner and purer type of purified water. However, we also noted that this type of water no longer has the naturally occurring minerals in water that can serve as extra nutrients for your crested gecko.
So, does that mean that purified water is better than distilled water in terms of having those nutrients?
Most definitely, yes! If your added concern in giving your crestie water is for it to have those essential nutrients that can help it with its daily activities, it is better to go with purified water.
Researchers have found that based on the purification process of your purified water and also given that the naturally occurring minerals are retained, it is possible to get the needed daily intake of calcium and magnesium.
This is definitely good news for your crestie as these are extra nutrients that it can utilize besides getting proper hydration.
So what are these purification processes and how will you know how much nutrients are left in the water? Take a look at the following.
Using Carbon Filters
This is a purification process that makes use of carbon filters in order to remove contaminants (mostly chlorine) in water. In the process, it can also improve the smell and taste of the water.
Depending on the type of carbon filter, chemicals like mercury and lead can also be filtered. Given that the main focus of this process is to remove contaminants in water, this is the process where the naturally occurring minerals in water are still preserved.
So with this process, you can get the most nutrients out of water. But at the same time, it is also not the cleanest out there. It is not a good idea to give this type of water to your already sick crested gecko as ingestion of chemicals that were not successfully filtered out, may cause more issues.
Further, it can be a hassle to wipe the water stains of this water as surely there are still some traces of those chemicals that can cause water stains in the enclosure.
Systems Of Reverse Osmosis
This one is a purification process where any other molecule that is larger than a water molecule is filtered out. Therefore, unlike that of the carbon filter purification process, it is less likely for the water to be contaminated by harmful chemicals.
This is good news for your cresties as they will not wrongfully ingest lead, mercury, or chlorine. But how about the nutrients?
As the minerals present in water are compound minerals (minerals mixed with other minerals) their molecules tend to be larger than water molecules, so a part of those are filtered out.
Nevertheless, there are still minerals present in the end result. So this type of purified water is great for crested geckos as not only is it clean, but it still has some trace nutrients in it. As for water stains, there are minimal to no water stains for this type of purified water.
Use of Ion Exchange Filters
This purification process is different from the other two processes we discussed earlier in such a way that it makes use of a chemical process. This process is best used for hard water aka water that has high concentration levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
What happens is that the process will reduce the levels of the minerals and may also replace that with sodium. So are we now saying that we are going to let our crested geckos drink water that is somehow infused with soy sauce?
Not really. The sodium that is added to the water is just in trace amounts in order to stabilize the remaining amounts of minerals in the water.
Therefore, what you are left with is clean water that still has nutrients in them plus trace amounts of sodium.
Trace amounts of sodium are not that bad for crested geckos as it is also present in their ready-to-eat food. But if you are someone who is iffy about it, it’s good to know that this type of purified water had sodium in it.
So this water is also good for cresties as nutrients are retained in the water. However, it will be a nightmare to clean the water stains as this will contribute to that due to the presence of sodium.
Can I Give Tap Water To My Crested Gecko?
A lot of people would not think twice about giving their pets tap water as still, tap water is still water. But is it safe for them?
By now you know that there are contaminants present in water that can affect your crestie’s health. Tap water is of course water that comes directly from your sink.
It depends on your location on whether there are filtration processes that the water goes through to ensure that tap water is safe for drinking.
So let us say that you know that tap water is safe for drinking because your place says so and you have been drinking tap water for like forever, it is safe to say that your crestie will not die from drinking tap water, right? Not necessarily.
This is where the confusion lies as even though tap water is deemed safe to drink, it is still possible that it has contaminants like chlorine and lead.
It is only because humans have a complicated system that we are able to break down these compounds and not suffer harshly from them.
On the other hand, the system of crested geckos cannot process large amounts of chlorine or lead and they will end up getting sick or much worse, they might end up dead. You may say, well we are talking about trace amounts here. We agree trace amounts are not that harmful.
However, it becomes dangerous when they are constantly ingesting these contaminants. Even in trace amounts, the build-up of chemicals in their body is most likely to occur and they will still end up sick.
To be safe, even if you know that your tap water is safe for drinking, conduct a test just to see how are the levels of chlorine or any other chemicals are in your area. There are chlorine test strips that you can buy and a colorimeter is available in general hardware stores.
Who knows? Your tap water might just be the cleanest water for your crested gecko if the test results are good. Definitely, it saves money and is very accessible.
You just have to make sure that you are not poisoning your crestie via the water that you are giving it. So take out those water test strips!
Is It Better To Use Bottled Water For My Crested Gecko?
A lot of owners use bottled water for the crested geckos both for their water dishes and for misting. Going this route assures you that there are no longer contaminants in the water that may make your crestie sick.
However, the biggest downside of this is that it can get expensive over time. But what is really in bottled water and how different is it from distilled and purified water?
Bottled water can either be purified or distilled water. Usually, you can determine this by looking at its packaging. More often than not, bottled water is distilled water.
The biggest difference is they also state the source of the water, which can be any of the following:
- Well water
- Spring water
- Mineral water
Now when it comes to water stains when you want to use it for misting, if it is purified bottled water, then based on its purification process there is little to no chance of water staining.
The same goes for distilled bottled water, it will not leave any water stains on the glass of the enclosure.
Is Rain Water Bad For My Crested Gecko?
It may surprise you that some crested gecko owners use fresh water. By logic, this really is not a problem as in the wild, rainwater is the source of water of cresties.
If you think about it, rainwater is the most natural water that you can give them if you are into simulating their lives in the wild.
So is this a good idea? If you live in the countryside or a place where there is not much pollution, giving your crested gecko fresh rainwater is not a problem.
If you live in a city where there is a lot of smoke pollution and the like, rainwater may be contaminated with chemicals, so it is best not to use rainwater.
Keep in mind, the keyword here is “fresh.” You should gather the water while it is raining and give that immediately to your crestie. Afterward, you cannot leave the same water in the water bowl until the next day.
The reason for this is that it is a given that there is some sort of bacteria in rainwater. Leaving it out to settle in a certain place while it is exposed to other elements can help with the accumulation of bacteria.
So the longer the rainwater stays inside the enclosure, the higher the possibility that bacteria will continue to multiply.
So in the event that you want to give rainwater to your crestie, it is not advisable to store the water. Just collect some of it and offer it immediately, then discard it.
Do I Need To Add A Water Conditioner?
It is good to use a water conditioner if you want to remove the contaminants that are present in the water.
So for those people who are planning to use tap water or purified water that utilized carbon filters, if you want to make sure that you remove anything toxic for your crestie, go get yourself a water conditioner.
On the other hand, if you already have distilled water, bottled water, or purified water that made use of the other two purification processes that we discussed earlier, there is no need to use a water conditioner. This is already overkilling it.
A good water conditioner is the one from Zoo Med and they call it ReptiSafe. You just need to add a few drops to your water and it can instantly remove chlorine and chloramine. This will definitely save you some money as compared to buying bottles of distilled water.
A little goes a long way with this water conditioner, so be sure to follow the recommended drops per milliliter or liter of water shown in the packaging. If you want to check out this water conditioner, you can click here.
What Happens To My Crested Gecko If It Drinks The Wrong Water?
No need to panic if you feel like you have been giving the wrong water to your crested gecko. Chances are, everything is going to work out fine, and it will not suddenly become sick. Just as long as you immediately change their water once you realize your mistake.
However, if your cresties have been drinking contaminated water for a long time, they may suffer from intestinal issues. This can contribute to impaction as the organ was weakened due to constant exposure to chemicals.
As you know, impaction can also lead to other more serious illnesses especially if your crestie no longer wants to eat.
Some owners have had experiences where they do not add water conditioner to tap water, they realize that the skin of their crestie would sometimes look flaky or grayed out. However, there is still no research on this so this is just all observation from other owners.
If worst comes to worst, your crestie may die due to poisoning. If you have hard water in your area, then surely, your water has a lot of contaminants in it. Just like humans, your crestie will get seriously sick if it drank contaminated water.
But do not worry as the chances of this immediately happening to your crestie are slim. You still have enough time to change their water.
The best water option for your crested gecko should be one that is free from contaminants and will not stain the glass of the enclosure. In this way, it is a win-win situation not only for your crestie, but you as well!
The type of water that fits this bill is distilled water and purified water (based on the purification process used)
Do not worry if you just want to use tap water. All you need to do is to remove the contaminants by using a water conditioner. Make sure to test the chlorine levels of your conditioned water before giving it to your crestie!