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Understanding UVA, UVB, and UVC Reptile Lighting

 picture of ubv fluorescent bulb inside the package

Why is Lighting Important for Your Reptile?


Lighting and heating is important for all living creatures, both physically and psychologically. The daily agenda for reptiles and other living things is at least partially dictated by the sun. Sunlight not only helps you feel warm and happy, it also provides necessary vitamins. This holds true for your favorite pets. A bearded dragon, for example, doesn’t have an adorable little clock in the terrarium to keep it on schedule, he or she relies on lighting to help stay on track. Light and heat dictate the circadian rhythm, which helps your pet know when to eat and when to sleep. Without a proper circadian rhythm, your pet will experience increased stress and their body will respond negatively.     

Luckily, this is an easy problem to avoid. Providing proper heating and lighting for your pet is as important as providing food and water. Choosing the correct bulbs and fixtures may seem overwhelming but with our helpful tips, you can find the right option for your pet. 

 

Understand Lighting


Reptiles and amphibians need both UVB and UVA light to live healthy lifestyles. These are both types of ultraviolet (and UV) light. Each type of light has a different role to play in keeping your pet happy and healthy. The UV spectrum is broken up into three parts: UVA, UVB and UVC. All three of these types of light are found in natural sunlight.

UVA light helps regulate behaviors such as feeding, diurnal movement, mating and similar activities.
UVB light allows the synthesis of vitamin D3, which helps to absorb calcium.
UVC light is not required for reptiles, but it can help kill bacteria. It’s important to note that at high levels of exposure this light can be harmful to most animals.

UV wavelengths are filtered by glass and plastic, so to get the most out of your bulbs be sure they have direct exposure to the habitat. Over time UV output will diminish. We recommend replacing your fluorescent bulbs every 3,500 hours or around 12 months.  

 

  

 spectrograph showing xray, uvc, uvb, uva, and visible light on a chart     

 

 

How to Choose the Right Lighting/Heat Fixture for Your Terrarium

There are bulbs that provide heat, bulbs that provide light, and bulbs that provide both. If you have a pet that requires higher amounts of UVB light (such as a turtle, tortoise, bearded dragon, iguana, chameleon, etc.) then you need a specific UVB bulb. All reptiles and amphibians, however, benefit from UVB and it should be provided. There are lower output UVB bulbs available. Make sure that UVB bulbs are used during the day and turned off during the night to mimic daytime and nighttime. Every type of reptile or amphibian has slightly different needs but a general rule of thumb is to keep the UVB light/heat source on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours, a programmable power center can manage the time rotation. When this light is off there should still be a nighttime heat source so your pet can remain comfortable while they rest. The best bulbs to use for nighttime heat are black or red bulbs, a heat mat, or a ceramic heat emitter which do not give off bright light. 

Each reptile has his or her own specific needs, and it’s up to you to help them meet those needs. It’s best to research types of lighting and heating that fit the particular terrarium you’d like to build. To help with the process we have a Lighting & Heating Guide and a Habitat Guide which lists various heating, lighting and humidity requirements for 35 common pet reptiles. 

Do you have more questions related to creating the best habitat for your reptile or amphibian? Visit our FAQs page or contact us and we will do what we can to be sure you and your pet have a long and happy life together.   

zilla reptile cage front opening terrarium with lizard inside basking under light

Ask Questions!


Asking questions is the best way to learn how to create the best habitat for your reptile or amphibian.  Whether you are a novice or expert, there is always more to discover. Over time you can find more ways to improve your terrarium and give your pet a home in which he or she will thrive. Here are a few places to start.

1. What is your pet’s natural habitat?

To build the best home for your pet you need to know as much as possible about where they originate. Recreating their natural environment will help them feel comfortable and help them ease into their natural habits. Does your pet originate from a tropical or desert environment? What’s the humidity like? Are there a lot of rocks? Sand? These questions will help you with every aspect of your terrarium, lighting or otherwise.

2. How big is your terrarium?

Different bulbs give off various ranges and levels of heat and light. You want to create a balance in your pet’s home, as too much of anything could be harmful to your reptile or amphibian.

3. Should you factor in a day/night cycle?

All animals need a day/night cycle to keep a healthy circadian rhythm. This rhythm keeps sleep cycles and hormone release in check. To learn about how to create a proper day/night cycle in your reptile terrarium, check out this blog for more information.

 

Please join our newsletter, connect with us on Facebook or contact us for more information.

Sours: https://www.zillarules.com/articles/understanding-uva-uvb-uvc-reptile-lighting

Compact Fluorescent UVB Bulbs & LED Bulbs

Zoo Med Mini Compact Fluorescent 5.0 Bulb 13 watt

Zoo Med Mini Compact Fluorescent 5.0 Bulb 13 watt

The ReptiSun® Mini Compact Fluorescent lamps use a special UVB transmitting quartz glass for maximum UVB. Cool burning mini compact fluorescent bulbs screw into standard threaded sockets, eliminating the need for a separate ballast.

Zoo Med Mini Compact Fluorescent 10.0 Bulb 13 watt

Zoo Med Mini Compact Fluorescent 10.0 Bulb 13 watt

The new ReptiSun® Compact Fluorescent lamps use a special UVB transmitting quartz glass for maximum UVB penetration. Cool burning compact fluorescent bulbs screw into standard threaded sockets, eliminating the need for a separate ballast

Zoo Med Paludarium 3 in 1 Lamp

Zoo Med Paludarium 3 in 1 Lamp

Combines the plant boosting performance from our FloraSun and UltraSun bulbs with the UVB found in our ReptiSun, all in one!

Arcadia D3 7% UVB Compact Bulb

Arcadia D3 7% UVB Compact Bulb

A revolutionary new range of high performance reptile lamps from Arcadia. Offering a significant increase in both visible light and UV output compared with compact lamps of similar wattage.

Arcadia D3 12% UVB Compact Bulb

Arcadia D3 12% UVB Compact Bulb

A revolutionary new range of high performance reptile lamps from Arcadia. Offering a significant increase in both visible light and UV output compared with compact lamps of similar wattage.

Exo Terra Compact Fluorescent 13wt Natural Light

Exo Terra Compact Fluorescent 13wt Natural Light

The Exo Terra Natural Light is a full spectrum daylight bulb with a very high visual light output and high color rendering index (98 CRI). Stimulates plant growth and is the ideal daylight spectrum for all reptiles!

Exo Terra Compact Fluorescent 13watt UVB 150

Exo Terra Compact Fluorescent 13watt UVB 150

The Exo Terra Reptile UVB150 has a very high UVB output similar to sunlight in deserts. These locations receive more direct sunlight, therefore desert reptiles are more exposed to UV radiation than any other type of reptile.

Exo Terra Compact Fluorescent 26wt UVB 150

Exo Terra Compact Fluorescent 26wt UVB 150

The Exo Terra Reptile UVB150 has a very high UVB output similar to sunlight in deserts. These locations receive more direct sunlight, therefore desert reptiles are more exposed to UV radiation than any other type of reptile.

Exo Terra UVB 200 Intense Compact Fluorescent 13wt

Exo Terra UVB 200 Intense Compact Fluorescent 13wt

The Reptile UVB200 Bulb is especially designed to simulate conditions for reptiles with very high UV requirements, like diurnal reptiles from desert environments. These areas receive direct unfiltered sunlight with high levels of UVB.

Exo Terra Vision Compact Fluorescent Bulb 13wt

Exo Terra Vision Compact Fluorescent Bulb 13wt

The reptile eye is more sensitive than the human eye to other wavelengths within the light spectrum. Previously, bulbs have been developed towards human vision. The spectrum of the Reptile Vision Bulb peaks in those wavelengths important to reptiles.

Exo Terra Vision Compact Fluorescent Bulb 26wt

Exo Terra Vision Compact Fluorescent Bulb 26wt

The reptile eye is more sensitive than the human eye to other wavelengths within the light spectrum. Previously, bulbs have been developed towards human vision. The spectrum of the Reptile Vision Bulb peaks in those wavelengths important to reptiles.

Exo Terra UVB 200 Intense Compact Fluorescent 26wt

Exo Terra UVB 200 Intense Compact Fluorescent 26wt

The Reptile UVB200 Bulb is especially designed to simulate conditions for reptiles with very high UV requirements, like diurnal reptiles from desert environments. These areas receive direct unfiltered sunlight with high levels of UVB.

Exo Terra Ionic Compact Bulb 15 watt

Exo Terra Ionic Compact Bulb 15 watt

The Exo Terra Natural Light ION creates healthy environment for reptiles and amphibians in the terrarium while reducing odors drastically. The Exo Terra Natural Light ION is a general light source with built-in negative ion generator.

Exo Terra Deep Forest Tropical Plant Growth LED

Exo Terra Deep Forest Tropical Plant Growth LED

High amount of visible light Stimulates the growth of living plants and mosses Energy-efficient plant growth LED 4,500 K simulate the conditions of natural sunlight in the undergrowth of a tropical forest

Exo Terra Forest Canopy Tropical Plant Growth LED

Exo Terra Forest Canopy Tropical Plant Growth LED

Exo Terra Forest Canopy Tropical Plant Growth LED - 8W 6500K simulates sunlight conditions in the tropical forest canopy Energy efficient plant growth LED Ideal light source for bio active planted terrariums

Zoo Med Bearded Dragon Lamp Combo Pack

Zoo Med Bearded Dragon Lamp Combo Pack

Size: 75 watt basking bulb and 13 watt Repti Sun 10.0 bulb

This combo pack includes a 75 watt basking bulb and a ReptiSun 10.0 13 watt Mini Compact Fluorescent - ideal for Bearded Dragons!

Zilla Desert Compact Fluorescent Bulb 20 watt

Zilla Desert Compact Fluorescent Bulb 20 watt

Delivers UVB light levels essential for desert reptile health. Full-spectrum illumination accents subtle pet colors. Fits most styles of fluorescent and incandescent light fixtures.

Zilla Tropical Compact Fluorescent Bulb 20 watt

Zilla Tropical Compact Fluorescent Bulb 20 watt

Tropical 25 Bulbs offer a full dosage of UVB along with essential UVA light- a vital component of healthy bone development. Full-spectrum visible light output helps bring out subtle colors in a reptile's skin that makes everyday viewing more dramatic.

Sours: https://www.lllreptile.com/catalog/184-compact-fluorescent-uvb-bulbs-and-led-bulbs
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5 Best UVB Lights & Bulbs For Your Bearded Dragon

Finding the best UVB light for your bearded dragon is absolutely essential if you’re an owner. These creatures need this light in order to survive, which makes picking a reliable product quite important.

But where do you start?

There are so many different options on the market that it can be challenging to find which ones are the best. After all, the features and benefits each product boasts are pretty much the same.

That’s where this review guide comes in. We’ve gone ahead and put together a list of the best UVB lights and bulbs for your bearded dragon so you can save time and get back to having fun with your pet!

Our List Of The Best UVB Lights For Your Bearded Dragon

Fortunately, a lot of the best UVB lights are well-known in the herp community. We’ve actually crossed paths with many of the ones below before we started to do research for this list!

With that being said, we still approached the research process from square one. We challenged our assumptions about bulbs we liked, and entertained products we hadn’t used before.

We also sourced great feedback from the community to help pull in even more information!

After a while, the clear winners emerged. We’re quite happy with our list of recommended UVB lights below, and think you’ll find great success with them!

1. UVB High-Intensity Self-Ballasted Light For Bearded Dragons By TEKIZOO

Right off the bat, we have a great UVB light that’s been around for quite a while. The manufacturer has a great track record, and we’ve used their products before.

The nice thing about this bulb is that it’s UVB as well as UVA. This allows you to cover all your bases with a single bulb. Your bearded dragon will receive all the benefits of natural sunlight!

One of the things we really like about this light is how versatile it is. You can use it with a wide variety of enclosures (tanks, vivariums, cages, terrariums, etc.) which means you don’t need to worry before buying it. Some lights need a very specific mount in order to work, but that’s not an issue here.

The reviews of this UVB light are great and plenty of owners vouch for the reliability and safety factor. This is an area we take very seriously, so it’s been great to see that we’re not the only ones with this opinion.

The dimensions of this lamp are 4.5 inches wide and 6.3 inches long. This is relatively compact which is partly why it can be used with so many different setups.

Pros:

  • Both UVB and UVA
  • Can be used in a variety of enclosures
  • Fantastic build quality

Cons:

  • Needs very specific positioning in order to spread light

2. Reptisun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent By Zoo Med

This is, without a doubt, one of the most popular UVB light options for bearded dragons. Zoo Med is a company that’s been in the game for a while and has a reputation for making high-quality products.

The Reptisun was actually the first UVB light we got for our bearded dragon. While there are a couple different variations of this fluorescent lamp, we decided to review the compact version due to the flexibility it affords.

With the compact build, you can make it work no matter what kind of habitat setup you’ve created. They’re only 6 x 2.6 inches, which gives you some options. You can even use a few of them if you have a really large space (although their larger version would work as well).

These lights are built quite well and feel well-made when you handle them. They have quartz glass which aids the process of UVB penetration quite well, and won’t easily break.

You should get a lot of use out of them (around 4-6 months) which is not bad at all. This is especially true when you consider that you’ll likely be changing them out around this time regardless if they’re still working or not (more on that later).

Pros:

  • Well-designed compact build
  • Reliable and durable
  • Great UVB output

Cons:

  • It’s best to go with their larger version if you have a big tank

3. Compact 70 Watt Mercury Vapor Bulb By Mega-Ray

Even though this is one of the best UVB lights for bearded dragons, we think it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. While the other products on our list are obviously great choices, the lack of interest in this product by Mega-Ray is a bit confusing.

Here’s why:

Pound for pound, we think this is one of the most efficient and powerful bulbs you can get. It’s only 4 x 4 inches and weighs just under 5 ounces!

But despite that, it just works. This light has great UVB output (it handles UVA as well) as long as you place it in the optimal position.

Tons of owners have reported a noticeable improvement in the health and activity of their bearded dragons when using this light. Many we spoke to swear they’ll never use another UVB bulb again!

The one downside to this bulb is it doesn’t seem to be as durable as some of the other options out there. While we think the positives outweigh the negatives, it’s worth considering if you don’t want to risk replacing them.

As long as you read the instructions and install it at the right distance/position, we think you’ll be very happy with this light.

Pros:

  • Best pound for pound output
  • Compact design allows you to use it in many different ways

Cons:

  • Not as durable as some of the other bulbs on our list
  • A bit more expensive

4. Bearded Dragon UVB Fluorescent Bulb 18 Inch By Zilla

This is a great longer-style UVB light for your bearded dragon. In our opinion, this should be one of the bulbs you consider if you don’t want one with a compact design.

This product has a great light output that you can rely on. It also provides full-spectrum lighting that helps bring out the colors of your bearded dragon and the rest of its habitat.

The amount of use you can get out of this bulb is really impressive as well. It’s definitely one of the longer-lasting lights on our list, with the company claiming you’ll only have to replace this every 12 months!

During our research process, we found a variety of longevity claims from owners, but they average out to be quite long (much longer than 6 months).

You can fit this light in most of the major fluorescent fixtures, so the main factor to consider is the size of your tank. If you have a tiny tank then you’re probably better off with one of the compact options just for the sake of convenience.

Many owners have reported that using this UVB light has brought out a whole new level of activity in their bearded dragons. We didn’t notice this as much, but that’s likely because the lighting situation before was pretty solid.

Pros:

  • Best long bulb on the market
  • Great for enhancing colors
  • Long-lasting

Cons:

  • Length limits the kind of tank you can conveniently use it with

5. 100 Watt UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb For Reptiles By Evergreen Pet Supplies

If you’re looking for a high-quality UVB light that your bearded dragon will thrive in, this bulb by Evergreen Pet Supplies is a great choice. Out of all the lights on our list, this one had the most feedback (and it’s great).

This is a dual-threat light that covers your UVB and UVA requirements. It will do a fantastic job of keeping your bearded dragon healthy and enriched with the necessary vitamins they need to stay healthy.

One of the nice things about this bulb is that it can be used with a wide range of different enclosures. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a tank, vivarium, terrarium, or any other option. This bulb can be mounted without any problems.

We really like the reliability background that this light has. Evergreen does a great job with this by running a handful of tests on each of these lights before they ship. This weeds out any potential defects or safety issues. They also make sure it’s backed up with a top-notch warranty in case you run into any issues later on.

Pros:

  • Reliable and safe
  • UVB and UVA
  • Compatible with many different enclosures

Cons:

  • Not quite as compact as some of the others

The Importance Of UVB Light For Bearded Dragons

Before we jump into the list, it’s important to explain the importance of having a UVB light if you have a bearded dragon. In our experience, many new owners know they should get a UVB bulb, but they’re not sure why.

Here it is:

UVB light helps your bearded dragon synthesize vitamin D3 from vitamin D. By doing this they’re able to absorb calcium and maintain their bone health.

If your bearded dragon doesn’t get enough UVB light each day, their health will ultimately fail (resulting in a shorter lifespan). It can even lead to other conditions like tail rot.

Unlike UVA light that is emitted from basically all standard bulbs, UVB needs a specialized source of output. That’s where the UVB bulb/lamp comes in.

Because this kind of light is so important, you want to make sure you’re using a trusted and reliable bulb. Low-quality bulbs will generate an inconsistent or inaccurate amount of UVB light, making it harder to maintain the health of your bearded dragon.

Additional Considerations

Now that you know what the best UVB lights for bearded dragons are, it’s time to dig into the details a bit. You see, there are a few things you need to know about proper UVB usage to ensure your pet fully benefits.

Create A Schedule For How Much UVB Time Your Bearded Dragon Gets

This is a question we receive a lot from new owners purchasing their first UVB light. They know their bearded dragon needs it, but they’re not sure how much light they should actually give them!

Fortunately, the answer is pretty simple.

Since bearded dragons don’t need this light at night, you can turn it off when it’s time to go to bed. Aim for 12-14 hours per day with the light on, and the remaining time with it off.

Pretty easy huh?

The most important thing to do is to make sure they have some room in their enclosure where they can get out of the light if they choose. As long as you position the light properly and give them a shady spot, you’ll be just fine.

Figure Out The Ideal Wattage

As you probably saw, there are a few common options for wattage when it comes to picking a UVB light for your bearded dragon.

This might cause some confusion if you’ve never purchased one of these before (or if you’re a new owner in general). But thankfully, the solution to this problem is actually quite painless.

While wattage obviously impacts the strength of the light, it’s actually the least impactful factor! Instead, focus on getting a bulb that fits your enclosure.

The things that impact how powerful the light shines on your bearded dragon are placement (how far away it is from them), if there are any objects or screens in front of the bulb, and if you’re using any reflectors.

Set Up The Light Properly

As we hinted to above, the placement of your UVB light is by far the biggest influencer in how much light your bearded dragon received on a daily basis.

The general rule of thumb if you’re using a standard bulb is to find a mounting spot 7 to 10 inches away from the basking area your pet will be using. It’s important to be providing enough light when your bearded dragon wants it, but also give them a shady spot to hide if they need a break.

If you’re using a mercury vapor bulb you need to take a different approach. Normal strength mercury vapor bulbs should actually be on the outside of the enclosure (roughly 3-4 inches away from the cover).

If the mercury vapor UVB bulb you’re using is quite powerful then you’ll need to increase the distance between it and the cover of the enclosure.

Replacement Frequency

The number of times you need to replace your bulb is obviously quite important since it will impact overall cost and convenience.

Most reliable UVB lights that you’ll be using for your bearded dragon will get anywhere between 5 and 12 months of use before they stop working.

However, we recommend that you swap them out twice a year anyway. Even though some bulbs can last longer than that, their efficiency and output will often start to suffer after this point.

Instead of risking the health of your bearded dragon, stick to a schedule of changing them out before they become a problem.

Why You Should Stay Away From Coil UVB Bulbs

While it’s not common, we sometimes get questions about coil UVB products from new owners. They’re not found or recommended often (for good reason), but you will bump into them from time to time.

But you should stay far away from them.

The reason they’re not ideal for a bearded dragon is these bulbs have a very high output. Not only are they too powerful, but the output can also be inconsistent.

This can cause serious health complications for your bearded dragon. Damaged vision is most common, but there are other problems that can manifest when given enough time as well.

Simply put, stay clear of coil bulbs and stick with the lights we included on our list.

It’s Time To Pick One Up

Now that you know a bit about each of the best UVB lights for bearded dragons, all that’s left is to pick your favorite!

No matter what kind of enclosure you have, at least one of the products above will fit your requirements.

Remember to think about convenience, reliability, and safety above all else. Also please follow the included instructions to ensure that everything is mounted properly (you don’t want any accidents).

UVB light is one of the most important pieces of the lighting puzzle when it comes to this animal. Take this purchasing process seriously, and your bearded dragon will thank you for it!

Hunter Briggs

Hunter Briggs is an experienced reptile breeder who has been keeping and raising various species over the past seven years. What initially started as curiosity quickly turned into a deep passion for herpetology, and a connection with the reptile community as a whole.

Sours: https://www.reptiledirect.com/best-bearded-dragon-uvb-light-bulbs/
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