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Mercury Vapor Bulbs for UVB and Basking

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by Dovey, Oct 26, 2019.

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  1. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    I have a great mercury vapor bulb that I use for my bearded dragon. It generates both heat and a good level of UVB and at last a lot longer than a straight UVB bulb of any sort. My dragon is in brumation right now, and his fixture is available. What is your feeling about using mercury vapor bulbs for tortoises?
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  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    They work fine for lizards, but they have a lot of problems. The biggest problem for tortoises is that the bulbs are extremely desiccating and cause pyramiding. The other problem is that at least some of them stop producing UV wishing 3 months.
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  3. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I use them with my forest tortoise enclosures, and think it makes sense given the givens, but with some caveats and an understanding of conditions...

    My Redfoot, Black Mountain, and Hingeback Toirtoises all need less UV than many other torts, so I don't worry too much about the MV bulb output. The closed enclosures stay at over 90% humidity, and I soak all of my torts multiple times each week, so I also don't worry much about dehydrating them.

    As I use them, they provide enough UV for the forest torts, along with an increase in ambient enclosure warmth during the scheduled daytimes. I use a 25W MVB with the Hingeback, a 50W MVB with the Black Mountain Tortoise, and a 75W MVB with the Redfoot. I have sensors in each enclosure to track temperature and humidity cycling over hours/days/weeks.

    I am by no means an expert in tortoise husbandry, but I guess this post is a long way of saying that I believe MVBs can be used, so long as you're aware of their limitations and can monitor & work around them.

    Jamie
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I've never heard of a 25 or 50 watt mercury vapor bulb. Are these new to the market and I haven't seen them yet?
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  5. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I'm not sure.

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  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Are you sure it is a mercury vapor bulb and not a halogen, or something? What brand are they?
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  7. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I'll find out and post back.

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  8. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Seems like the marketers have caught on that consumers with reptiles want to see bulbs that offer "UV". I despise this sort of trickery and fraudulent advertising.

    People just need to know whether or not their bulbs are providing UV for their animals, or not. Most RFs are getting a fair amount of D3 in the diet, but most herbivorous species are not.

    I'd love to put a meter under your bulbs and see what we get.
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  10. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    My MV bulb for my dragon is 60 watts.
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  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    60 or 160?
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  12. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    Pardon. Checked bulb. 70 watts.
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  13. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    Industry has discovered that not all buyers are lighting a gymnasium! :)
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  14. Viola B

    Viola B Active Member

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    I agree, it would be very interesting to see what a meter would read under these bulbs.
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  15. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    Thoughts on inexpensive UV test cards?
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  16. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    They don't work for our purposes. They don't measure the specific wavelengths of UV that our tortoises need.
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  17. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    Yeah, I figured.
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