Lighting for large indoor enclosure

OMary

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Boy, I typed up the post, previewed it and somehow deleted it. Here is goes again. LOL
I am making a large indoor enclosure for 2 leopard tortoises. It is 13' X 9'.
I am using Arcadia T5 HO 46" 12% bulbs, plus a large basking area. I am ordering a solarmeter today.
Originally, I was going to place several of the 46" UVB bulbs in the enclosure, spaced about 2' apart, maybe with a couple daylight bulbs mixed in for extra lighting. However, this morning I ran across this article:
The zoo housing the Galapagos tortoises indoors (see their photo) is using the exact same lights I am, even same size, but they are using way more of course. They are lumping them all together and have them very far away from the tortoises. So, I am assuming that placing several bulbs next to each other has a cumulative effect on the UVB, so that they can be placed further away from the animals? Doing this on a smaller scale would allow me to place the lighting higher up, providing me easier access to the enclosure. Am I right about the cumulative effect?
 

OMary

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I read the article again. It states, "The effect of overlapping beams is additive, so zoos have been able to create enormous UVB zones for giant reptiles by using multiple T5-HO lamps in horticultural reflector fixtures, hung high above the animals (Figure 7)." Figure 7 is the Galapagos enclosure. So it seems that I can do this on a smaller scale. I haven't used a solarmeter (and just ordered it). So how do I know what is reaching the tortoises?
From a safety perspective, I really like the idea of the heat panels they are using too. I have these in a couple lizard cages...
This is my first time setting up an enclosure anywhere near this size, so any help is greatly appreciated!
 
L

LasTortugasNinja

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I have had plenty of Monitor lizards over the years, that are also big reptiles that require a lot of UVB. I let them tell me how much they need. I start with one or two basking lights to bring the basking temperature to 120 or so. I put a UVB florescent but found it upset the lizard, and he avoided it.
I put a shade box under the UVB florescent and he happily goes between basking on the UVB. Sometimes just his butt & tail in the light, other times he'll be completely in the back of the shade in pure shadow. I have the UVB on a timer, for only a few hours a day, since he usually basks early in the morning and runs around the rest of the day. Most of my lighting is just that... low wattage lighting. Tempurature is brought up using spaced ceramic heaters of various wattage. Most reptiles in nature sun themselves directly in the morning, and spend the rest of the day in the shade or indirect sunlight. Tortoises have a much slower metabolism compared to a monitor lizard, but I still wouldn't think having a ton of UVB light would do much other than cause extra expense. Maybe two basking spots to prevent bullying, but that should be all you'd need. The rest could be regular lights, with several shade spots that range from slight shade to almost lightless, just so they can regulate their temperature as well as their perceived security.
 

Tom

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Oh Mary... It sounds like you already know what to do, what equipment to use, and how to mount it using your incoming new meter.

My only suggestion would be to break up the pair. Pairs aren't good. Very stressful for both of them.
 

jaizei

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I read the article again. It states, "The effect of overlapping beams is additive, so zoos have been able to create enormous UVB zones for giant reptiles by using multiple T5-HO lamps in horticultural reflector fixtures, hung high above the animals (Figure 7)." Figure 7 is the Galapagos enclosure. So it seems that I can do this on a smaller scale. I haven't used a solarmeter (and just ordered it). So how do I know what is reaching the tortoises?
From a safety perspective, I really like the idea of the heat panels they are using too. I have these in a couple lizard cages...
This is my first time setting up an enclosure anywhere near this size, so any help is greatly appreciated!

I don't think theres an easy way to calculate the cumulative effects without or in lieu of a meter.

The author of the article, Francis Baines, was a member of the forum and looks like she described the same exhibit here in more detail.
 
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