Best Bioactive Substrate For Leopard Gecko in 2020: Smart Choices & Buying Tips

best bioactive substrate for leopard gecko

For absolute starters in raising a little adorable gecko, the best bioactive substrate for a leopard gecko to search for should take most of your effort to answer.

In particular, your mission is to figure out the most comfortable bottom layer of material for your tank.

That is what substrate refers to. How about bioactive?

Not only does a bioactive bedding layer offer a suitable playground for your pets, but it also provides a home for decomposers. These tiny living creatures help decay organic waste in the enclosure and therefore save your immense effort in cleanup and maintenance.

We know it is not easy at all to raise your special child. Let us be your trustworthy companion in this challenging and also wonderful journey.

Today, we would like to introduce to you the most highly-recommended bioactive substrates for gecko and guidelines for choosing suitable ones.

The 5 Top-Rated Best Bioactive Substrates Review (Recommendations)

#1 TOP PICKZoo Med Eco Earth
#2 RUNNER UPTerrarium Moss for Amphibians/Reptiles
#3 BEST BUDGETGalapagos Sheets of Real Moss


Guide For The Best Bioactive Substratewhat kind of substrate for leopard gecko

Currently, on the market, there is a diverse range of bioactive types for your lovely pet, with different ingredients and characteristics.

Also, the type of substrate used decides how many times you are going to replace and clean it. So, buyers can easily be confused without any buying guide or specific requirements for a high-quality product.

First and foremost, there is a need to know how to position the product.

1. Position Of The Bioactive Substrate

When applying a bedding substance for your terrarium or enclosure, different kinds of them have different abilities to retain humidity. Remember, your gecko is a semi-desert animal. So, it does not want to live in somewhere too wet.

Therefore, when setting up any type of substrate, ensure putting a thermometer probe beneath it so that you can always monitor the humidity level inside the tank.

best substrate for leopard gecko

2. Types Of Bioactive Substrate

a. Single-layer

This type of bioactive substrate solely requires one of these materials: sand, soil, coconut fiber, and so on in order to form a layer of bedding for your gecko. With this, you can only keep your little pet and micro-fauna.

b. Multi-layer

This kind of substrate is designed for the growth of plants as well as micro-fauna in your terrarium. It includes 2 layers of materials. The top layer is made of soil, sand, or other single-layer substrates. And the bottom layer is in charge of draining.

Best Bioactive Substrate For Leopard Gecko Shortlist

Product imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice
Zoo Med Eco Earth4.7Check
Terrarium Moss for Amphibians/Reptiles4.5Check
Galapagos Sheets of Real Moss4.7Check
Josh’s Frogs Dig-It5.0Check
Josh’s Frogs Coco Cradle4.9Check
Zoo Med Eco Earth (Single Brick)4.6Check
Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding4.6Check

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

The Best Bioactive Substrate For Leopard Gecko

sand substrate for leopard gecko

#1. Zoo Med Eco Earth – TOP PICK

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The first best bioactive substrate for leopard gecko belongs to brand Zoo Med. Among many types of loose substances for a gecko, Zoo Med Eco Earth loose coconut fiber bedding layer emerges as one of the most powerful competitors.

Base on the tank size, you can consider which is the most suitable and economical size between the two currently available. The first one is 8 quart while the other is up to 24 quart.

This great product is ideal for the setup of a mimicking natural habitat in a terrarium. It has a natural ability to deodorize as well as take in wastes either from animals or plants.

Additionally, it keeps the humidity to maintain at a proper level for your little gecko to stay healthy and content all the time.

For a gecko that enjoys burrowing and digging so much, there is no reason you should miss this safe substance for geckos. The height of a coconut fiber layer should be as 1.5 to 2 times as that of your pet.


  • The price is highly favorable
  • There are two different sizes available for you to purchase
  • Great odor control and ability to take in waste products
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Your pet can comfortably burrow and dig in.


  • Always pay attention to the humidity level of your tank after the loose substrate soaked into the water and squeezed in order not for the animal to get sick

#2. Terrarium Moss for Amphibians/Reptiles – RUNNER UP

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Let’s continue with our series with another product from brand Zoo Med!

If you are worrying that you are going to spend too much or not enough money on a natural type of bedding substance, do not miss this one.

Zoo Med Terrarium Moss offers purchasers 5 options of size to choose from. Within a short period, you can quickly come up with a smart choice just by considering the volume of your tank.

There is even a mini compressed size for several gecko tanks.

It is made from natural sphagnum moss. With this totally organic product, you can perfectly mimic the natural living environment of your leopard gecko.

Not yet. It is also ideal for your gecko to lay eggs on and for the incubating process. In addition to that, you can use this kind of bedding layer for your pet’s moist hide. 


  • Environmentally friendly
  • It contains no dyes, no chemicals or pesticides
  • Multiple options to choose in terms of size
  • Multiple functions


  • A bit difficult for you to clean
  • The color of the moss may change when time passes by

#3. Galapagos Sheets of Real Moss – BEST BUDGET

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The third best bioactive substrate for leopard gecko recommended today is Galapagos Sheets of Real Moss. Let check out its characteristics with us!

Besides functioning as a good bedding substance, it is also a wonderful decorative item. Consisting of completely natural moss, it is so environment-friendly. 

The product can be used for a long time because it is made from large sheets of moss. Also, it creates a natural environment-like place for your housed pet to enjoy.

Moreover, it has a great ability to retain humidity.


  • Easy to clean
  • Eco-friendly
  • Free of toxins and chemicals


  • The price is pretty higher than the same type from other brands


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Welcome to the next best bedding substance for your beloved gecko! Ready to get an inside into this premium reptile bedding substance? 

Your energetic gecko will surely be fun of burrowing and tunneling in it. 

There are two different functions you can exploit in this one and only Dig-It. Not only can it be the bottom layer for your tank, but also it can be used as a lay box bedding layer thanks to the ingredient of vermiculite. 

Dig-It organic substrate contains vermiculite and peat moss, which are safe and eco-friendly as well as much softer than coconut fiber. 

2 pounds of the purchase provides your facility for animals with around 9.5 liters of substrate. 


  • Easy to clean after use
  • Very soft and comfortable
  • It has 2 in 1 function
  • Less possibility to harm your pet’s feet according to its great softness


  • Slightly expensive

#5. Josh’s Frogs Coco Cradle – BEST COCONUT HUSK SUBSTRATE

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Another merchandise from Josh’s Frogs that also appears in the best bioactive substrate for the leopard gecko list is Coco Cradle. Unlike most types available on the market, it is eco-friendly and biodegradable. 

If this reason is inadequate for you to consider this product line.

Let’s check out these features below.

Coconut husk or coconut fiber is the one and the only ingredient that creates this safe substance for the bedding layer. As a result, it has a great performance in odor absorption and waste decomposition.   

Different from the compressed bedding layer, this type is the loose one, and therefore, it does not keep you busy with complex preparation in advance. It is available right at the moment you have it.

Only soaking it into the water to the extent you decide to use.

Do not turn your beautiful enclosure into a pond with an amount of excess water after squeezing the moistened substrate.  

Excellent ability to keep and maintain moisture in your tiny garden helps this best bedding substance for geckos become famous.

It can take in nutrients, wastes, and aerate the soil, encouraging plant roots to develop.


  • Easy to keep your tank hygienic
  • Coconut fiber is soft, which allows your little creature to freely burrow in
  • The setup is easy as it is loose
  • Easy to maintain
  • Environment-friendly and biodegradable


  • The price is rather high

#6. Zoo Med Eco Earth (Single Brick)

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The sixth best bioactive substrate for leopard gecko belongs to brand Zoo Med, once again. And this Eco Earth brick, an environment-friendly product, is made of compressed coconut fiber. 

This type is especially favorable to your little burrowing creature. Each 1.4 pound-brick like this can expand to 7 or 8 liters of the substance. 

For arid and semi-desert lizards, it would be best to keep the bedding layer dry. After soaking the pet substrate into the water, remember to squeeze the excess water and place it in a warm area.

Plus, the Eco Earth bioactive substrate can deodorize as well as decompose waste products.    


  • Easy to use and keep hygienic
  • Keep the tank smell nice and fresh
  • Convenient to control the humidity level either by adding water or leaving it dry
  • It is fine and not easily get compacted in your gecko’ digestive system
  • The price is favorable


  • It can become packed down over time
  • Must be augmented as it breaks down in a long run

#7. Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding

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The last position in our checklist belongs to a famous product from brand Critters Comfort. It is soft and fluffy like a pillow!

As the ingredient is coconut coir, this naturalistic type is free of toxins and chemicals. Furthermore, it does not produce dust. As a result, you can have a good sleep every night without worrying about your gecko’s safety.

The reptile bedding performs a great odor control ability. Particularly, it is because coconut coir is an incredible material to take in moisture and decay waste products.

If Zoo Med Eco Earth type is compressed, Critters Comfort, on the other hand, offers the best loose bedding substance that is always ready to use.

With this purchase, you will be getting about 20 liters of substrate for your tank.


  • Environment-friendly and biodegradable
  • No essential oils included
  • Free of pesticides and parasites
  • Ready to use, no need to soak it into the water
  • Earth-like texture provides a comfortable and natural living condition


  • Carefully make sure the tank has enough ventilation in order to maintain a good supply of fresh air and a comfortable humidity level

Criteria For A Good Bioactive Substrate For Leopard Gecko

bioactive substrate for leopard geckos

To help you face up with this challenging task, we would love to share with you the standard requirements for the best bioactive substrate for leopard gecko. Let check these out!

1. Be Safe

Materials used for making the substrate must be free of toxins, chemicals, pesticides, dyes, or any other similar types. The playground as well as space where your gecko eats and walk must be harmless and cause no inflammation to your pet’s skin.

In terms of safety, it also means that the substrate you apply for the tank should cause no potential risks for the gecko’s respiratory system and the digestive systems.

A loose one is more likely to pose a threat to your little pet’s respiratory system as it may produce dust. Additionally, a food-like substrate such as sand can cause harm to your gecko when it takes sand as their yummy food.

2. Be Easy To Clean

 To reduce your monthly maintenance and the tank upkeep cost, it is important to search for a substrate that is easy to be removed and to be easy for cleanup.

However, these criteria actually can vary depending on your animal’s age: 

For juvenile geckos, sand posts a huge threat to them in case of swallowing and impaction even the little pet eats sands intentionally to get some calcium, or accidentally.

As calcium is a very essential element to a pet’s diet, as shown down below in the chart. However, the amount of calcium in normal insects is inadequate for them.

best food for leopard geckos

However, things work differently for adult geckos.

There is hardly a chance for a healthy adult gecko to eat sand. Being careful is ever necessary. If you buy a sand substrate, it must be fine-grained sand to reduce the dust from it.

Besides, you should feed your pets in a tray so that there will be no chance for them to treat sand as their food.

Commonly Asked Questions About Bioactive Substrate For Leopard Gecko

best substrate for a leopard gecko

1. What Substrate To Use For A Leopard Gecko?

There are many types you can choose from.

Base on the above-mentioned criteria of safety, convenience to clean as well as your gecko’s age, you can figure out what type is suitable the most with your little pet.

2. What Type Of Substrate For Leopard Gecko Are Unsafe To Use?

You should avoid using these due to their potential risks: gravel, wood chips, walnut shells… because they are unsafe and likely to cause harm to your pet’s respiratory system and its digestion.

3. What Type of Bedding Substance Is Best For My Geckos?

best loose substrate for leopard geckos

They are reptile carpet, paper towels, stone slates, coconut fiber, and excavator clay substrate for leopard gecko.

4. How Much Bedding Substance I Should Use For My Gecko?

The amount used should be compatible with your tank size. According to this table, you can choose the most suitable and economical type for your beloved gecko.

Aquarium Size in GallonsIbs of Substrate Needed
10 Gallon10-20
20 Gallon20-40
40 Gallon40-80
50 Gallon50-100
70 Gallon75-150
90 Gallon90-180
125 Gallon125-250
150 Gallon150-300

5. Why Sand Is Bad For Leopard Gecko?

loose substrate for leopard geckos

Sand is edible, which can cause digestion and impaction accidentally. Plus, it easily grows mold and bacteria in a wet environment. Therefore, sand is bad for them, especially for juveniles.

6. Can I use Coconut Substrate For Leopard Geckos?

Even though it is a bit controversial for use, it is commonly recommended for a series of strengths: not expensive, eco-friendly and a great humidity absorber and also a deodorizer. Therefore, it is considered the best option for a gecko.

The controversy starts as it is edible and sometimes, it can cause impaction after them, especially the juvenile, eat it.

7. I Need A Substrate For Leopard Gecko Eggs. What Type Should I Use?

Taking care of its eggs can become easier with the one made from vermiculite or perlite or both of them.

8. What Is The Best Substrate For Leopard Gecko Moist Hide?

There are various comfortable types. And one of the best is sphagnum moss.


When raising a little gecko, it is a must to consider every small detail. And during the journey of nurturing such a little kid from beginning till the end, we would love to stand beside you.

If you need a bioactive bedding layer that is easy to clean and save your efforts in the tank maintenance, may we recommend the Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Substrate.

Or if you need the one that can mimic your gecko’s natural environment, we highly recommend you use the Terrarium Moss for Amphibians/Reptiles.

With a few sharing today, we hope you have already equipped yourself with the smart choices of the best bioactive substrate for leopard gecko and requirements for a standard bioactive substrate. Good luck and see you next time!

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