Filtered sunlight enough for UVB?

gopstop

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I'm planning an indoor enclosure for a 1- or 2-year old Russian that I'll probably be getting, but I'm not sure what to do about UVB lighting. I can let the tort roam around my back patio for half an hour or so most days, but there is foliage from neighboring trees blocking the sun, so any sunlight that reaches the patio will be filtered. Will the tort be able to receive enough UVB from the indirect and dampened sunlight, or should I set up a UVB fixture in the enclosure as well?
 

Saleama

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UVB is easily refracted, I think that is the correct word, so filtered by foliage is fine as long as there is not a total black out. UVB will not pass through glass or plastic though unless you get that really expensive stuff that allows it to pass through.
 

jaizei

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Depending on your location, dappled sunlight or even a shaded area may expose your animal to more UVB than most of the bulbs available. But without testing it, there is no way to know for sure.
 

gopstop

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Thanks for the replies; I guess I'll plan for a bulb just in case. Are there any warning signs of MBD onset or other problems due to insufficient UVB that I should look out for?
 

Team Gomberg

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I like what jaizei said.

I don't use artificial lighting at all. If your tort can get a few hours a week outside (even in dappled sunlight/shade) I think he'll be fine.

On the other hand, having a UV bulb wont do you harm. If you want to spend $30-50 every six months for UV lighting, go for it. I can think of better uses for that cash :D and choose to stick with the free sun! :cool:

signs of MBD could be a soft shell, curly toe nails or uneven shell growth.

Deadheadvet just posted his test on some UV bulbs. He bought a UV reader and a few different bulbs. Many of the bulbs had a 0 reading after 3 months.
 

deadheadvet

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Heather:
You are correct that nothing replaces sunshine, but please keep in mind that this forum is a global use site and the majority of the keepers here at some point in the year are going to have to use artificial lighting. For you to say there are better places to spend money because you have he luxury of being in southern calif is a bit naive. It is in every tortoise keeper's best interest to provide the best set up possible when artificial means are necessary. It becomes our experience to offer guidance as to what products might offer that so these animals in collections will thrive. I happen to live where sunshine is only possible 5 months out of the year and need to provide the best artificial support the rest of the time. Please keep that in mind when offering an opinion to those who are in a similar situation as I am.
 

mikeh

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While filtered sunlight does provide some UVB it is by far no match and does not make up for direct sunlight. If you can't provide direct sunlight few hours a week especially for arid species as Russians, supplemental UVB desert series long tube fluorescent such as proven Zoomed T5 HO 10% is a good idea.
 

Tom

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I think your UV needs will probably be met by the outside time, but no harm in having a UV tube or a MVB inside too. For that matter you probably don't need a calcium supplement with D3 in it, but again, it will do no harm to use a calcium supplement with D3, so why not?
 

gopstop

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Thanks everyone. And a (perhaps silly) followup question: how do you protect yourself (skin and eyes) from the artificial UVB when you fiddle with the tort or his surroundings? Turn off the lamp each time? Or is the amount of exposure so miniscule that it's not worth worrying about?
 
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