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Are all UV bulbs created equal? Can the quality affect tortoises?

willee638

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I recently replaced my UVA+UVB full spectrum bulb that failed with another brand UVA+UVB mercury vapor bulb & my baby tortoise stopped feeding & became inactive, when I first bought her home she was eating, relieving herself & active but a drastic change after UV bulb replacement. She could be in brumation since it's February but the temperatures here are 17-21 degrees celcius & I use a UV light kept on for most of the day, could the quality or brand of the bulb be a factor? Is there such thing as an inappropriate or inadequate UV bulb or lighting conditions? I read an extensive article on UV lights in this forum but unfortunately it stopped receiving comments on the topic, I took my tortoise out to the park under natural sunbeam rays it was active again & started feeding but as soon as she returned to her enclosure she reverted to the same situation as before.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Those MVB bulbs can either give out too much UVB or too little and are very, very harsh.
Get a T5 UVB strip lamp. It's not much more $ than another MVB.
And depending on the enclosure that you have, you can use a standard household incandescent bulb for heat, a small floodlight or a CHE.
I'm not sure what type of tortoise you have, but, yes.
Those bulbs can effect a tortoise. Especially one that loves shade like a Redfoot.
 

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willee638

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Thanks very much for the expert advice, yes sir it's a red foot & even when I take her out to the park for natural sunlight after about 15-20 minutes she heads straight to the shades of near by grasses. Having only own it for 10 days there's lots to learn, I will definitely take your suggestion of using 2 separate bulbs one for heat & the other for UVB would probably reduce the intensity of harshness of the lights.
 

willee638

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I've PMed you some specific Redfoot care tips.
Redfoot hate bright lights and they're very sensitive to higher temperatures also.
And if your RF gets a few hours of real sunlight a week. You don't need a UV bulb at all.
Thank you, please tell me without an artificial UVA light are tortoises able to discern food colours & still recognise it? Slow or completely stopped feeding is my biggest concern also....
 

ZEROPILOT

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UVA is just more light.
It is not beneficial to your Redfoot.
UVB is needed to help absorb Calcium.
The UVA/UVB and HEAT MVB bulbs are so bright. So harsh, that my theory is its what's making your tortoise not eat.
Redfoot hate bright lights and high heat. And that thing is doing both of those.
Redfoot are attracted to bright colors with red being a favorite. But a healthy Redfoot is an eating machine. And there are few things that one won't eat.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Just a couple hours a week outside in the sun and you really don't need a UVB light. My youngest Redfoot is a little over a year and I've not used any artificial UVB at all. You can get by with a regular incandescent bulb indoors.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Just a couple hours a week outside in the sun and you really don't need a UVB light. My youngest Redfoot is a little over a year and I've not used any artificial UVB at all. You can get by with a regular incandescent bulb indoors.
I agree
 

willee638

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Just a couple hours a week outside in the sun and you really don't need a UVB light. My youngest Redfoot is a little over a year and I've not used any artificial UVB at all. You can get by with a regular incandescent bulb indoors.
Thanks for the info, I would also like to know if artificial UVA or UVB bulbs are not used can the tortoise still recognises the food colours & feed normally? Is the season & weather temperatures of your location be a factor & is your tortoises raised outdoors & is provided with constant natural sun lights? I have mild winters of as low as 10-18 degrees celcius so my tortoise seem to bromate most of the time & not feed at all even with an artificial UV lights on for 10 hours daily. But as soon as I take her out to a park at around noon when the sun rays is strong she starts feeding, defecating & became very active...It's strange that when I was at the pet shop all the baby tortoises were very alert & actively moving around even under an artificial light source but I noticed they didn't have a hiding place or any shades.
 

ZEROPILOT

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You can provide a separate florescent tube in the 6500 wavelength.
Those simulate daylight.
There are also multi tube fixtures that would allow you to place both a reptile UVB tube and a day 6500 tube.
I'd like to say that Redfoot do not need UVA at all (And not much UVB) But that might not be true. And I don't want you to be misled.
The truth is that my Redfoot all live outside. None of mine EVER lived indoors for more than a few months.
@Markw84 knows a lot about lighting and such.
I'll make a new post and ask the question. I'm curious as well.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Thanks for the info, I would also like to know if artificial UVA or UVB bulbs are not used can the tortoise still recognises the food colours & feed normally? Is the season & weather temperatures of your location be a factor & is your tortoises raised outdoors & is provided with constant natural sun lights? I have mild winters of as low as 10-18 degrees celcius so my tortoise seem to bromate most of the time & not feed at all even with an artificial UV lights on for 10 hours daily. But as soon as I take her out to a park at around noon when the sun rays is strong she starts feeding, defecating & became very active...It's strange that when I was at the pet shop all the baby tortoises were very alert & actively moving around even under an artificial light source but I noticed they didn't have a hiding place or any shades.
I'm sure that light does effect them somehow I don't know for sure. What I can tell you is my Redfoots feed just fine without UVB. My Tortoises aren't outside full time. They spend the days outside in the summer and come in at night. It does get chilly here in the winter and they're indoors for about 3-4 months. I'm usually able to get them outside a few times every couple weeks on some warm days but for the most part they're indoors all winter. Your baby should spend 95% of it's time hiding and sleeping. The reason they're active with no hide or at the park is because they don't like being in the open and they're trying to find a spot to hide. Also if your tortoise is a Redfoot they don't brumate. They're a tropical species.
 

Sa Ga

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Those MVB bulbs can either give out too much UVB or too little and are very, very harsh.
Get a T5 UVB strip lamp. It's not much more $ than another MVB.
And depending on the enclosure that you have, you can use a standard household incandescent bulb for heat, a small floodlight or a CHE.
I'm not sure what type of tortoise you have, but, yes.
Those bulbs can effect a tortoise. Especially one that loves shade like a Redfoot.
Yes! Zeropilot has made my Morla VERY happy!!! I had a merc vapor bulb and his info in a diffr post let me know how harsh they are. Morla's head was always so scaly and dry, and her eye area swollenish.

I took out the MVB per his suggestion, and her head is SO much better, and her eyelids are normal!
 

ZEROPILOT

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Yes! Zeropilot has made my Morla VERY happy!!! I had a merc vapor bulb and his info in a diffr post let me know how harsh they are. Morla's head was always so scaly and dry, and her eye area swollenish.

I took out the MVB per his suggestion, and her head is SO much better, and her eyelids are normal!
That's great to hear
 

ZEROPILOT

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I'm sure that light does effect them somehow I don't know for sure. What I can tell you is my Redfoots feed just fine without UVB. My Tortoises aren't outside full time. They spend the days outside in the summer and come in at night. It does get chilly here in the winter and they're indoors for about 3-4 months. I'm usually able to get them outside a few times every couple weeks on some warm days but for the most part they're indoors all winter. Your baby should spend 95% of it's time hiding and sleeping. The reason they're active with no hide or at the park is because they don't like being in the open and they're trying to find a spot to hide. Also if your tortoise is a Redfoot they don't brumate. They're a tropical species.
The OP is curious about UVA. Not UVB.
More specifically if UVA is at all needed for a Redfoot tortoise.
And now, I am also curious.
I didn't feel comfortable saying NO just on my own experience.
I don't have a lot of experience keeping them indoors.
 

Markw84

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I recently replaced my UVA+UVB full spectrum bulb that failed with another brand UVA+UVB mercury vapor bulb & my baby tortoise stopped feeding & became inactive, when I first bought her home she was eating, relieving herself & active but a drastic change after UV bulb replacement. She could be in brumation since it's February but the temperatures here are 17-21 degrees celcius & I use a UV light kept on for most of the day, could the quality or brand of the bulb be a factor? Is there such thing as an inappropriate or inadequate UV bulb or lighting conditions? I read an extensive article on UV lights in this forum but unfortunately it stopped receiving comments on the topic, I took my tortoise out to the park under natural sunbeam rays it was active again & started feeding but as soon as she returned to her enclosure she reverted to the same situation as before.
UVA is quite important to tortoises. However, just like all types of light, we must not overdo it! So be careful to not go overboard.

Tortoises have excellent color vision. Much better than we do! Their eyes have a 4th type of cone that is good at seeing UVA spectrum lighting. Bees use this for example as it makes colors more vibrant and much more contrasting so very useful in distinguising types of flowers they frequent for making honey. Many plants and flowers have special colors that really show up under UVA light and look quite different under UVA. These are signals some animals use to distinguish different plants and flowers as food potential. Tortoise are one of the animals who probably use their greater UVA assisted vision for seeing the world and making their choices.

I also find UVA light can help trigger basking reflexes and tortoise use this to find basking spots. The UVA spectrum is also most affected by the height of the sun in the sky and I believe very much controls the cirannual rhythms of tortoises. UVA has been linked to a very definity overall "well-being" of reptiles and having.

The other side of the issue, is that UVA is also used extensively for curing paints, acrylics, etc. It is commonly used to acrylic nail polish in nail salons. It has a know aging affect on skin (which is a form of keratin). It is the UVA in sunlight that deteriorates the cloth is outdoor furniture and umbrellas, and ages our windshield wipers so quickly. So, I think we can overkill on UVA and it may well have a "curing" effect on new keratin growth. This could add to potential pyramiding problems if we put too much UVA in an enclosure without proper shade and hide areas best created by lots of plant cover.
 

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