Reptiles or amphibians are cold-blooded animals. Hence, they need supplemental sources of heat and light to help them regulate their body temperatures. It will also help them properly digest the foods that they eat.
These animals have specific light and heat requirements, however. You cannot just use any available lighting to provide them with heat and light. Failing to provide them with the appropriate temperatures they need to synthesize their food. It can also decrease appetite, as well as cause a high level of stress for your pet and can make it more prone to health issues.
To ensure that you are providing adequate heat and light for your herp, follow these essential guidelines as these will provide you with a better understanding of the best UVB light that you can provide for your pet reptile or amphibian.
The best UVB light for pet reptile
There are several variations to choose from when it comes to the best UVB light that you can use to provide your pet reptile or amphibian with UVB lighting. Four of these types are found to take much of the market share: the linear fluorescent lighting, the compact fluorescent lighting, the mercury vapor lighting, and the metal halide lighting. There will soon be more options available in the future with technological advances and as production costs go down.
1. Linear Fluorescent Lighting
This type of UVB lighting is considered to be the least expensive. It is also made to fit a variety of fluorescent fixtures, and also provide an even UVB as well as visible lighting over a wide area. It has been around for quite some time now. Linear fluorescent bulbs fit into most fluorescent fixtures that use T8 bulb.
This type of bulb works well in producing low to moderate levels of UVB and has a decent color rendering index (CRI). It can provide even illumination across a wide area of up to 48″. These bulbs are great for use with animals that have low to moderate UVB requirements and can bask within 12-20″ of the bulbs only. Those who have used this bulb indicated one of the concerns of this UVB bulb that it should be replaced every 6 to 12 months. It also produces a relatively weak.
Linear Fluorescent Bulbs are available in three different strengths and a variety of lengths. 2.0 bulbs can be used as a 6700K (close to daylight) visible light source. However, it puts off very little usable UVB. But they are great for use with live plants as well as for those reptiles and amphibians that need low UVB to none, like poison dart frogs.
5.0 bulbs are designed to produce moderate UVB levels, such as those required by reptiles and other animals that live on the forest floor. These Linear Fluorescent Bulbs are ideal for green iguanas, anoles, as well as other jungle or forest animals with moderate UVB requirements.
10.0 bulbs, on the other hand, duplicate the intense UVB produced by full sun conditions, such as deserts. Such UVB bulb is best suited for pet reptiles such as bearded dragons. If you will use a 10.0 Linear Fluorescent Bulb, you need to make sure that your pet reptile is able to bask 8-12″ away from the bulb.
2. Compact Fluorescent Lighting
The earlier design of the compact fluorescent lighting was met with criticism as users of the earlier model reported that their pet’s vision was damaged after exposure to the light emitted by this lighting fixture. Modern compact fluorescent UVB bulbs, however, are perfectly safe to use with your pet reptiles and amphibians.
They are like linear fluorescent bulbs, except that they are designed to be wrapped and folded around the bulbs themselves several times. Much of the UVB that this bulb emits is transmitted back to the bulb. As such, you may need a fixture with a reflector to increase the amount of UVB reaching your reptile’s enclosure if you decide to install a compact fluorescent lighting for your pet.
This type of UVB bulb is also inexpensive as compared to other similar products. As these bulbs are self-ballasted, they’ll screw into most standard incandescent sockets. Another good thing about these bulbs is that they are energy efficient. They come with bulbs that use only 13-26 watts. Reptiles to be placed for basking under this bulb should be able to bask within 12″ of the bulb. Like the Linear Fluorescent Bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs also need to be replaced after every 6 months.
The previous model of the compact type usually come in the same three strengths that linear fluorescent bulbs do. Today, however, modern CFL UVB bulbs are available in 100, 150, and 200 model. Each model progressively emits higher UVB levels than the model below it. UVB 100 bulbs are, thus, approximately equivalent to the previous 5.0 bulbs. UVB 150 bulbs roughly equate to the former 10.0 bulbs. Finally, UVB 200 bulbs are said to emit a much more intense UVB light and are said to produce UVB that can be used up to about 18″ away.
Exo Terra, a well-known brand in this category, has also recently released a ‘Reptile Vision’ CFL bulb. This is designed to be used together with a UVB bulb. This bulb emits a high level of UVA light, which plays a significant role in how reptiles and amphibians see their environment.
3. Mercury Vapor Lighting
Recent developments in this category have introduced another innovation in the lighting category for reptiles and amphibians. Mercury Vapor Bulbs are noted for their long life. These bulbs are said to be replaced only after 12-18 months of use. As these bulbs emit high levels of UVB, they are well-suited for full sun animals like monitors and bearded dragons.
Since they have a high operating temperature, they can only be used with a wire clamp lamp type fixture as these fixtures promote airflow around the bulb and allow heat to dissipate more readily than a typical clamp lamp or deep dome fixture.
4. Metal Halide Lighting
Metal Halide UVB bulbs are quite a new design in the US pet trade. However, they have already been used overseas for some time. These bulbs produce some of the most intense UVB, hence are considered to be well-fit for bearded dragons, dwarf monitors, veiled chameleons, and other sun-loving reptiles.
As they also require low electrical usage compared to Mercury Vapor bulbs, metal halide bulbs are considered an energy efficient solution for an ‘all in one’ UVA/UVB and heat source for your pet reptiles. They also last longer than most UVB bulbs (up to 24 months). They do cost more and also requires an expensive metal halide fixture. However, the bulbs are priced cheaper than mercury vapor bulbs.
Things to consider with regards to UVB bulbs
Regardless of the UVB bulb type that you decide to use for your pet, there are several things to remember so that your pet will receive the maximum benefit from what you have prepared.
1. All UVB will need to be replaced. Take note of the dates when you first used your lighting fixtures and your bulbs. You will also need to constantly check thermometers installed inside your pet’s enclosure to ensure that the heat and lighting sources are providing adequate heat and light that they need.
Distance from the UVB source is also an important element in providing appropriate heat and lighting levels to your pet. Make sure to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations when finding the right bulb to use. You will also need to take note of the indicated distance that your pet should be from the UVB bulb before finally deciding which UVB bulb to buy.
2. Glass and Plexi/acrylic block UVB rays. To ensure that your pet is receiving adequate supplemental UVB rays, you may need to take it out of the glass if the bulb is directly set up with the glass/acrylic blocking the emitted light.
3. A screen can reduce the amount of UVB transferred to your pet reptile or amphibian. If you intend to use a mesh as a screen top, make sure that it will be a large mesh size as possib
Hopefully, this guide can help you decide which will best be suited for your pet reptile or amphibian.