Coil/compact UVB bulbs in 2021

Bridgebob

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Hello everyone! I am a new tort mom and also a new member of this forum :)

I've been caring for a baby sulcata for the past 2 months now and all is going good. I let him/her get some sun as much as I can (usually in the weekends) when I have the time. Lately though I have not been able to do so because I leave early in the morning for work and come home in the evening. I recently looked into UVB lights and I have read so many bad things about coil/compact uvb bulbs. Are these still true to this day? Or have they already corrected and fixed this issue/s?
My Eastern Box had swollen itchy eyes with a screw in bulb. I bought an LED light system with even a moonlight mode which she responds instantly to. With her heat lamp and this LED system her shell is getting darker and her eyes aren't so swollen.
 

TeamZissou

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I disagree! Quite similar. Most all folks parroting that compacts cause eye damage have no experience with them at all and have never used one nor had one damage a tortoise's eyes. Several folks I have delt with over the last few years have claimed to have personally used closed chambers and had a tortoise get a respiratory issue - so will not use. Tyler Stewart is an example who said that directly to me. Many claim their vet - knowledgeable about tortoise and "even has tortoise of their own for years" recommends against closed chambers. They've "seen personally" lots of issues with closed chambers and tortoises dying. ...sound similar?

One big difference is with compact fluorescents there should be a smoking gun. An easy proof of culpability! A bulb in hand that caused the eye issues everyone has "seen personally" but still cannot produce a bulb! With even a solarmeter it can be checked to show dangerous levels of UV. Tom - you have had a personal challenge out for many years now that you will pay shipping and have the bulb tested if someone will send in the bulb that has caused the problems. How many bulbs have been produced with so many "personally seen"? Zero.

I am not talking about bulbs made in China. We have found some that are way off and under a solar meter will show reading over 35. I would not even buy a CHE made in China as they burn with uneven temperatures and often crack soon after first use.

Why aren't there equal warnings about MVB bulbs? They are constantly testing as unreliable. When first pugged in they will read low - UVI of about 3.0 then slowly over about 5 minutes pike to UVI readings of 20.0, finally settling down to a 5.0 desired. Many tested continue to produce over 2x the amount of others of the exact brand and wattage. However, compacts tested don't show that type of inconsistency. But when have you seen anyone on the forum when finding a MVB is being used warn of potential eye damage? A far more realistic possibility. We do have many now concerned about the desiccation issue with MVB, but the compact fluorescent is still the only eye issue boogieman.

All UVB emitting devices are potentially very dangerous. That needs to be the takeaway. Proper placement and checking with a meter should be the first warning. Stronger and more "efficient" bulbs are available now than ever were when the compact fluorescent issue was indeed a real thing over a decade ago. Yet most people still simply buy one and stick it over their tortoise, or worse yet over a lizzard who can climb right up to it! Using a reflective hood can double UV levels. Placing near a white wall or glass wall will substantialy increase UV levels. Through a screen or unobstructed is at least a 30% - 60% difference.

Why isn't "TOO CLOSE CAN CAUSE EYE DAMAGE" the standard reply as opposed to "Compacts cause eye Damage"? The first is infinitely more accurate.

As a parroter who has never used a CFL, I wholeheartedly apologize. I believed that was the consensus view and also read about coil bulbs causing photokeratitis in a tortoise vet book, so it seemed like reliable information.

Had you discussed or written about CFLs being OK prior to this that we should have been aware of? I try not to go on FB anymore, so do not keep up with the Reptile Lighting group and Frances Baines. You seem quite fired up about the bad rap that CFLs have gotten over the last few years. I just did not know it was such a hot button issue.
 

Tom

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I disagree! Quite similar. Most all folks parroting that compacts cause eye damage have no experience with them at all and have never used one nor had one damage a tortoise's eyes. Several folks I have delt with over the last few years have claimed to have personally used closed chambers and had a tortoise get a respiratory issue - so will not use. Tyler Stewart is an example who said that directly to me. Many claim their vet - knowledgeable about tortoise and "even has tortoise of their own for years" recommends against closed chambers. They've "seen personally" lots of issues with closed chambers and tortoises dying. ...sound similar?

One big difference is with compact fluorescents there should be a smoking gun. An easy proof of culpability! A bulb in hand that caused the eye issues everyone has "seen personally" but still cannot produce a bulb! With even a solarmeter it can be checked to show dangerous levels of UV. Tom - you have had a personal challenge out for many years now that you will pay shipping and have the bulb tested if someone will send in the bulb that has caused the problems. How many bulbs have been produced with so many "personally seen"? Zero.

I am not talking about bulbs made in China. We have found some that are way off and under a solar meter will show reading over 35. I would not even buy a CHE made in China as they burn with uneven temperatures and often crack soon after first use.

Why aren't there equal warnings about MVB bulbs? They are constantly testing as unreliable. When first pugged in they will read low - UVI of about 3.0 then slowly over about 5 minutes pike to UVI readings of 20.0, finally settling down to a 5.0 desired. Many tested continue to produce over 2x the amount of others of the exact brand and wattage. However, compacts tested don't show that type of inconsistency. But when have you seen anyone on the forum when finding a MVB is being used warn of potential eye damage? A far more realistic possibility. We do have many now concerned about the desiccation issue with MVB, but the compact fluorescent is still the only eye issue boogieman.

All UVB emitting devices are potentially very dangerous. That needs to be the takeaway. Proper placement and checking with a meter should be the first warning. Stronger and more "efficient" bulbs are available now than ever were when the compact fluorescent issue was indeed a real thing over a decade ago. Yet most people still simply buy one and stick it over their tortoise, or worse yet over a lizzard who can climb right up to it! Using a reflective hood can double UV levels. Placing near a white wall or glass wall will substantialy increase UV levels. Through a screen or unobstructed is at least a 30% - 60% difference.

Why isn't "TOO CLOSE CAN CAUSE EYE DAMAGE" the standard reply as opposed to "Compacts cause eye Damage"? The first is infinitely more accurate.
I stopped pursuing this many years ago. The issue is settled in my mind because of what I and others have seen first hand. I haven't talked about testing a bad bulb for years. Now that you've taken this stance, I will once again look for one of the damaging bulbs, and I will forward relevant threads to you.

I agree that any bulb of any kind needs to be used correctly, but I also know that some of the CFL bulbs are still burning reptile eyes. I don't have any idea where they are manufactured. I figured all of them were made in China just like so many other things.

You go ahead and advise people however you'd like. I will continue to warn people to use something else.
 

Tom

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As a parroter who has never used a CFL, I wholeheartedly apologize. I believed that was the consensus view and also read about coil bulbs causing photokeratitis in a tortoise vet book, so it seemed like reliable information.
It IS reliable information.
 

Bridgebob

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Food for thought/discussion (& possible heresy)
  • I've been testing a UV coil-bulb over one of my Russians since April of this year.
  • The readings on my solarmeter have been both adequate and consistent in that time.
  • No blindness or summoning of The Old Ones from nether dimensions has been experienced, either by me or my torts.

The bulb has almost 1000 reviews, 70% of them 5-stars.
  • I'm not saying that there weren't problems with early generations of coil bulbs that came out years ago.
  • I'm not saying that some coil bulbs may not still be problematic.
  • I'm not saying that everyone/anyone should switch from what works for them, or what they feel safe with.

I am saying that I've been trying something new, in a very limited way, with (to date) positive results.

I'm also saying that tortoise husbandry and caretaking tends to be slow to move forward, slow to change... there are lots of reasons for, and examples of, this over the past 50 years.

We, tortoise-keepers, stick with the old ways for a long time; one of the things that I particularly value about TFO is the general openness to questioning dogma.

Jamie
I bought a Reptile/Plant light. She is doing well with it, along with her heat lamp.

She even has a moonlight mode, which she responds to instantly! She instantly goes to sleep.

The photo is very strange because there is only ONE very blue LED
 

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ZEROPILOT

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My warnings also include a warning about MVB.
I just generally (parrot) that new members should just avoid any "screw in UVB bulb".
MVB bulbs I do have first hand experience with and I tried very hard to make them work due to how much they cost me.
I tested them with a UV meter. And mounted them at several different heights and in different fixtures.
They did nothing reliably.

I find truth in both sides of this gentleman's conversation partially because I know that Mark knows what he's doing. Part because my own vet....Dr Kelleher sells coiled UVB bulbs for her customers with reptiles. Including tortoises.
I mentioned our many cases here where those lights had been linked to tortoise eye issues and she looked at me like I was speaking in Mandarin.
So, while I can be possibly swayed towards coiled compacts, the fact that a "better"and safer alternative already exists is my tipping point.
So, I'm in the Tom corner....And I still feel uncomfortable about recommending CFL
 
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Bridgebob

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I have an LED which I think can emit light in the UV spectrum very accurately for reptiles and the lights are easily replaced.

I haven't measured the UV output though or investigated how long the lights last.

I know her shell darkens when exposed to this LED light. I wish I took photos.
 

maggie3fan

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I am not an expert by any understanding. I mostly don't parrot information and I use my own experience when I give advice. In this picture the 2 Sulcata in the middle were rescues. I was simply rehabbing them to adopt out. The bigger of the 2 in the middle was named Tony, and shortly after getting those 2 they started getting red eyelids and runny eyes. I thought dust and several others things. I can't give you guys a buncha details because I just can't. But Tony went totally blind in a few months, I had moved the other one and a round with Terramycin eye ointment saved the one. IMG 0294
This bulb was one the tort who recovered was under, and it was pointed straight down...
100 1320 Tony was under the coil bulb and he was blinded and sent to a bigger rescue than me...
100 1321
and yes these are the very bulbs as I don't throw away anything that works. They've been in a box...
 

Tom

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I find truth in both sides of this gentleman's conversation partially because I know that Mark knows what he's doing.
I agree on the MVBs. I think we all agree on not using or recommending those.

What I see in this conversation is that Mark has examined some bulbs, used a few bulbs himself, and has not seem the problem we all speak of. I believe him 100%. The problem is that I HAVE seen the problem repeatedly, and so have some of the vets I work with, though not all of the vets that I've asked have seen this issue. It does not happen with every bulb. Is it 1 out of 100? 1 out of 1,000? 1 out of 100,000? I have no idea, but I know its a problem with SOME of them. Mark has not seen this problem for himself yet, so he's is not willing to jump on the bandwagon with me. I've got no problem with that. I'll resume the search and put the word out again to get one of the problem bulbs for him to see for himself. I frankly stopped looking because I didn't realize that I still needed to convince anyone.
 

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I am not an expert by any understanding. I mostly don't parrot information and I use my own experience when I give advice. In this picture the 2 Sulcata in the middle were rescues. I was simply rehabbing them to adopt out. The bigger of the 2 in the middle was named Tony, and shortly after getting those 2 they started getting red eyelids and runny eyes. I thought dust and several others things. I can't give you guys a buncha details because I just can't. But Tony went totally blind in a few months, I had moved the other one and a round with Terramycin eye ointment saved the one. View attachment 337294
This bulb was one the tort who recovered was under, and it was pointed straight down...
View attachment 337295 Tony was under the coil bulb and he was blinded and sent to a bigger rescue than me...
View attachment 337296
and yes these are the very bulbs as I don't throw away anything that works. They've been in a box...
I've got all of my bulb disappointments in a box too.
Why?
I have no idea.
Maybe you can get that one to @Tom ? Or directly to @Markw84 for inspection.
 
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ZEROPILOT

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I agree on the MVBs. I think we all agree on not using or recommending those.

What I see in this conversation is that Mark has examined some bulbs, used a few bulbs himself, and has not seem the problem we all speak of. I believe him 100%. The problem is that I HAVE seen the problem repeatedly, and so have some of the vets I work with, though not all of the vets that I've asked have seen this issue. It does not happen with every bulb. Is it 1 out of 100? 1 out of 1,000? 1 out of 100,000? I have no idea, but I know its a problem with SOME of them. Mark has not seen this problem for himself yet, so he's is not willing to jump on the bandwagon with me. I've got no problem with that. I'll resume the search and put the word out again to get one of the problem bulbs for him to see for himself. I frankly stopped looking because I didn't realize that I still needed to convince anyone.
While I appreciate your passion for these issues. And I admire the fact that you never half *** answer a question. It seems like maybe @maggie3fan has one in a box.
This may save you a bunch of time.....That I KNOW you are willing to spend.
She has a bulb that flat out blinded a tortoise. And kept it.
 

Yvonne G

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I really respect Mark and his knowledge and usually I am easily swayed, however, on this subject I 'm keeping to the coil-shaped-bulbs-are-bad school of thought.
 

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Are there recent articles talking about the issue?

J
Very recently.
Weekly.
I recall a few very recent posts of Red. Swollen eye torts recovering in just days after the bulb was swapped for a linear tube or was just removed altogether.
Not only are most coiled CFL mounted improperly, but the bulbs made before they were "improved" (if there is such a thing) are not distinguishable from the new and improved versions and are almost certainly still being sold side by side any possible safer type ones.
If this is the case, its Russian roulette with those CFL.
 

turtlesteve

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All of this raises my curiosity as to WHY these bulbs are occasionally defective. As mentioned somewhere above, there is no reason to use different phosphors in straight vs. coiled bulbs. If I had to make an educated guess, I suspect the coiled bulbs are just not getting an even phosphor coat and that it's difficult to coat a coiled tube evenly. A fluorescent light without phosphors makes a LOT of UV light (this is basically what's inside a UV sterilizer). The phosphors convert most or all of it to visible light depending on what kind of bulb is desired. So, if the tube were poorly coated it could explain excess UVC output and the associated symptoms. It would follow that individual bulbs could be uniformly bad or bad only in specific directions.

I have not had a chance to experience problems because I've avoided using them. Unfortunately we don't have a cheap and effective way to test these bulbs for quality, and nobody has any idea what percent of them are defective. It's PROBABLY a small percentage. But like online reviews you never hear from those that don't have problems.

If anyone finds a bulb that is suspected to be defective, I would encourage them to save it for testing. I am hopeful that we will eventually have cheap and more versatile UV meters for reptiles, but by that time it may be a moot point as this type of bulb may go extinct. I am frankly quite dismayed at the slow pace of innovation in the reptile hobby when compared to others (such as saltwater aquaria).

Steve
 
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Bridgebob

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I am not an expert by any understanding. I mostly don't parrot information and I use my own experience when I give advice. In this picture the 2 Sulcata in the middle were rescues. I was simply rehabbing them to adopt out. The bigger of the 2 in the middle was named Tony, and shortly after getting those 2 they started getting red eyelids and runny eyes. I thought dust and several others things. I can't give you guys a buncha details because I just can't. But Tony went totally blind in a few months, I had moved the other one and a round with Terramycin eye ointment saved the one. View attachment 337294
This bulb was one the tort who recovered was under, and it was pointed straight down...
View attachment 337295 Tony was under the coil bulb and he was blinded and sent to a bigger rescue than me...
View attachment 337296
and yes these are the very bulbs as I don't throw away anything that works. They've been in a box...
Looks like one tortoise has a bad pyramided shell. A sign of a nutritional issue.

My EBT has hawk eyes.

Your lights are exactly the ones I replaced with an LED. I have to do more research but I think you can really tune LED to the wavelengths Tortoises/Turtles need.
 

maggie3fan

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Looks like one tortoise has a bad pyramided shell. A sign of a nutritional issue.

My EBT has hawk eyes.

Your lights are exactly the ones I replaced with an LED. I have to do more research but I think you can really tune LED to the wavelengths Tortoises/Turtles need.
All of them were already pyramided...those light bulbs are years old , not used today. All of my chelonia are rescues here is one today.. 100 0753
 

maggie3fan

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While I appreciate your passion for these issues. And I admire the fact that you never half *** answer a question. It seems like maybe @maggie3fan has one in a box.
This may save you a bunch of time.....That I KNOW you are willing to spend.
She has a bulb that flat out blinded a tortoise. And kept it.
Yes I have that bulb...posted photos...nobody seems interested so I put them away...the one on the right
 

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Bridgebob

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My EBT is a rescue. She was run.over by a bicycle I think. She is missing a front foot and a mangled back foot

Fortunately I found her early in her life.
 

Bridgebob

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Here is the screw in UV light I replaced.

She was always rubbing her eyes in her pond and I replaced this screw in with an LED.
 

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Bridgebob

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Here is her new LED which she seems love.

Her heat lamp is jerry rigged and gets to hot. I have to fix this. A ceramic fixture with high temp silicone would work. The bulb outlet is bakelite now.
 

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