Real world UVB test done

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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I've conducted a UVB test and the results have surprised me.
I've included photos of what I tested and tested with...
A very popular T5 HO (5.0) florescent fixture and a SOLARMETER 6.5R.
When I first set up my Chameleons enclosures, the new lights put out a reading of almost 8.0 at the top branches. About 4" down.
I wish I'd done a comprehensive test back then as a baseline!
This test is about 6 to 8 months later.
Through a thin Exo Terra screen top, these lights now read:
4" 5.6
8" 2.2
12" 1.1
And anything further away in nomimal.
This light, if used for a tortoise and mounted on top of a screen would need to be 8" or less away from your tortoises after 6 minths.

Without a screen did a bit better. But not a lot:
4" 6.5
8" 3.3
12" 1,7
16" 1.0
This light not mounted on top of a screen would need to be a foot away from your tortoise after the light is 6 months old.

This has shown me how quickly UVB florescent lights lose their effectiveness over a short period of time.
That they must be constantly measured and adjusted or replaced.
AND that 5.0 tubes are not the best choice for tortoises unless the lights will be no more than a foot away from them.
(I've been told that previously.)
I'm very curious to know what an ARCADIA system measures at.
And what a 10.0 HO T5 tube measures at these same distances.
As for me, I've just ordered 3 T5 10.0 tubes to replace my 5.0s.
When they arrive, I'll re measure the UVB and adjust my branches accordingly.
Outside sunlight is the best. But, as of today, I'm no longer suggesting that 5.0 be used unless it's in a very low hanging light.
T5 HO 10.0 is the way to go. And a UVB meter is a required tool for measuring the output of your lights.
 

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ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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When you get a meter under them, you'll find that the Arcadia 12% HO tubes put out a lot more UV than that.
No doubt.
These results disappointed me.
And all 3 had very similar readings.
(Unlike my previous test of MVB bulbs)
By the way, thank you for getting me to give up on my old T8 tubes.
God only knows how little UVB my animals got back then.
 

turtlesteve

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No doubt.
These results disappointed me.
And all 3 had very similar readings.
(Unlike my previous test of MVB bulbs)
By the way, thank you for getting me to give up on my old T8 tubes.
God only knows how little UVB my animals got back then.

Yeah I’ve had similar disappointing findings after getting a meter. MVB bulbs are low out of the box and drop to zero UVB after a year. I had the exact same result with T8, they have to be 8” away to get a decent reading. So, I use them for hatchlings in very low profile enclosures. At least the T8s are not losing output, so I can probably run them until they burn out.

The reptisun 10.0 T5’s seem to be decent so far. I get a reading of 3.0 at about 24”. I haven’t had them long enough to know how long they will last. I might do a side by side comparison versus the Arcadia 12% next time I buy bulbs.
 

Tom

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Yeah I’ve had similar disappointing findings after getting a meter. MVB bulbs are low out of the box and drop to zero UVB after a year. I had the exact same result with T8, they have to be 8” away to get a decent reading. So, I use them for hatchlings in very low profile enclosures. At least the T8s are not losing output, so I can probably run them until they burn out.

The reptisun 10.0 T5’s seem to be decent so far. I get a reading of 3.0 at about 24”. I haven’t had them long enough to know how long they will last. I might do a side by side comparison versus the Arcadia 12% next time I buy bulbs.
My T-8s were putting out almost the same UV for 3 years.

My Arcadia 12% bulbs lost a little output after 2 years, but were still making high levels of UV. I lowered them a couple inches and got the same readings as when they were brand new.
 

ZEROPILOT

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My T-8s were putting out almost the same UV for 3 years.

My Arcadia 12% bulbs lost a little output after 2 years, but were still making high levels of UV. I lowered them a couple inches and got the same readings as when they were brand new.
I'm not too proud to say that I learn new things all the time.
Literally as i go.
The new REPTISUN 22" T5 10.0 tubes are about $30 each.
The entire fixture with a T5 5.0 included were just $50.
I will measure thier UVB right out of the box.
It's possible that the less expensive REPTISUN might actually be the more expensive one if the tubes crap out at 8 months.
 

jensem17

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I'm not too proud to say that I learn new things all the time.
Literally as i go.
The new REPTISUN 22" T5 10.0 tubes are about $30 each.
The entire fixture with a T5 5.0 included were just $50.
I will measure thier UVB right out of the box.
It's possible that the less expensive REPTISUN might actually be the more expensive one if the tubes crap out at 8 months.

Thank you for posting your results! This is really good info.

Also! Happy birthday!!
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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The 10.0 REPTISUN T5 HO results are in!
Without passing through a screen top:
4" 11.2
8" 8.9
12" 5.5
20" 2.0

With a screen top:
4" 10.3
8" 7.7
12" 4.6
20" 1.1
So, a pretty big increase. But these 10.0 are new. And the 5.0 were not.
The effects of the screen is about the same percentage down the line.
This is probably a case for using the 10.0 for most species and just adjusting the height as needed or the light duration.
This might also show that the more expensive ARCADIA tubes might actually be less expensive because of some evidence that they are more effective for longer.
Your thoughts and readings are welcome
 
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ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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My T-8s were putting out almost the same UV for 3 years.

My Arcadia 12% bulbs lost a little output after 2 years, but were still making high levels of UV. I lowered them a couple inches and got the same readings as when they were brand new.
I've got some old T8s sitting around. I'll test them next!
 

Markw84

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I'm not too proud to say that I learn new things all the time.
Literally as i go.
The new REPTISUN 22" T5 10.0 tubes are about $30 each.
The entire fixture with a T5 5.0 included were just $50.
I will measure thier UVB right out of the box.
It's possible that the less expensive REPTISUN might actually be the more expensive one if the tubes crap out at 8 months.

Just a note for reference:

I sell Arcadia T5 12% 22" bulbs for $22. The Arcadia Pro T5 fixture with 12% bulb for $60
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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Just a note for reference:

I sell Arcadia T5 12% 22" bulbs for $22. The Arcadia Pro T5 fixture with 12% bulb for $60
Are the Arcadia 22" compatible with the 22" REPTISUN fixture/ballast?
At less than $10 more, I think that the Arcadia is the way to go.
I'd buy 3 stand by replacement tubes again.
But buying another $180 worth of lighting right now is probably not going to happen.
The replacement T5 10.0 Reptisun where over $38 each tube.
Those 12% seem like a bargain
 
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jensem17

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Are the Arcadia 22" compatible with the 22" REPTISUN fixture/ballast?
At less than $10 more, I think that the Arcadia is the way to go.
I'd buy 3 stand by replacement tubes again.
But buying another $180 worth of lighting right now is probably not going to happen.
The replacement T5 10.0 Reptisun where over $38 each tube.
Those 12% seem like a bargain
I just replaced my ReptiSun T5 34" with an Arcadia 12% 34" in my ReptiSun 36" T5 fixture without issue. I would assume the 22" would replace the ZooMed T5 the same.
 

Markw84

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Are the Arcadia 22" compatible with the 22" REPTISUN fixture/ballast?
At less than $10 more, I think that the Arcadia is the way to go.
I'd buy 3 stand by replacement tubes again.
But buying another $180 worth of lighting right now is probably not going to happen.
The replacement T5 10.0 Reptisun where over $38 each tube.
Those 12% seem like a bargain

All T5 fixtures are the same - accepting all T5 bulbs. The 22" will fit in another 22" fixture. The quality and ballast of the Reptisun should be good and there should be no issue at all using an Arcadia bulb in the Reptisun Fixture. The design of the reflector will affect the UVI output and distrubution under the bulb - so it will be an interesting test for you to do with this thread.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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All T5 fixtures are the same - accepting all T5 bulbs. The 22" will fit in another 22" fixture. The quality and ballast of the Reptisun should be good and there should be no issue at all using an Arcadia bulb in the Reptisun Fixture. The design of the reflector will affect the UVI output and distrubution under the bulb - so it will be an interesting test for you to do with this thread.
In about 6 months, if I see these new REPTISUN tubes crapping out, or whenever they eventually do, I'll replace them with Arcadia.
 

Tes

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Is it known how much UVB output is needed/good for tortoises? Or is it the more the merrier?
 
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