It’s been a few months since I changed the substrate in my leopard gecko enclosure from paper towel to tile. And I feel like it’s time to share my experience. The pros and cons, the differences with paper towel and if it’s the best choice for you.
Hygienic and easy to clean
Tiles are super hygienic. They don’t hold moist and they don’t get dirty the way reptile carpet does. Once you get the tiles out, cleaning them is a piece of cake. If you’re interested in how I clean mine, you can read my ‘Cleaning my reptile enclosure’ post HERE.
Looks amazing and has a natural look
This, of course, is my personal opinion but you can’t deny that it looks clean. I feel like it gives the enclosure a more natural look. Especially if you compare it to paper towel.
In the picture below you can see what I mean.
Very easy to maintain heat
I was worried about how difficult it would be to control the temperature on the tiles. It took a long time to get to the right temperatures, but it was very easy to maintain. The tiles hold the heat way better than paper towel.
One time cost
Unlike paper towel, for example, tiles are a one time purchase. Paper towel needs to be replaced with every cleaning. But tiles are cleaned the same way you clean the enclosure itself.
Can be hard to take out of the enclosure for cleaning
The tiles can be tricky to get in and out of the enclosure when you need the clean them. It took me a while to get the hang of it. With paper towel, I could just throw it away and lay in new ones. But I think it’s worth that little bit of extra work. I’m cleaning the enclosure anyway, cleaning the tiles doesn’t take up that much more time.
Depending the type of tile you choose, they can be heavy. Look out for that when you’re choosing tiles. You also have to be careful not to drop them when taking them out.
But with a bit of practice, this won’t be a problem.
Can be pricey
Depending on where you buy your tiles, they will cost a bit more than another type of substrate. But like mentioned in the pros, it is a one time cost. You will have saved money in the long run.
A big tip: Ask around if anyone is tiling their kitchen, living room, bathroom… There are always leftovers and you don’t need a lot of tiles to fill an enclosure. This way, you don’t even have to pay anything.
Better than paper towel?
For me personally, 100% yes!
It looks way better, is more hygienic, holds heat better, one time purchase… Way more ups than downs.
Is it the best substrate?
I think this is the best substrate (for me) for all the reasons I mentioned above. I compared all the available substrates for leopard geckos and this one jumps out as the winner.
Tiles are an excellent choice if you want something that’s easy, hygienic and natural looking. My leopard gecko seems to like it. Since I’ve put in the tiles, he is sleeping out in the open way more, which is fun for me.
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