Solar meter 6.5 readings?

leigti

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I just received my solar meter 6.5 unit in the mail. Does anybody know how to take the readings under my UV lamps and what the readings should be for a Russian tortoise and a box turtle? Separate enclosures, don't worry :) I know the zoo med 6.5 unit comes with reptile specific info but I couldn't find it anywhere so I went with this one because I read on this forum that they are the same thing. Thanks for any information you may have.
 

Tom

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Its not really about what they "should be". It just tells you what you've got and you make necessary adjustments. You want to point the sensor right at your bulb and you want the sensor to be about the same height as the tortoise. I had to dig a hole in the substrate to accomplish this. A 1 is very low UV. Good for forest tortoises possibly. 3-4 would be moderate UV and good for just about any species and most applications. 6-7 would simulate full sun at noon in summer. This would be a bit too strong for most applications, but it does depend on whether just one spot has that much UV or if you have a bank of florescent HO units and the entire enclosure is at that level. Few reptiles are going to spend anytime in the sun at noon in summer.

What readings are you getting and out of what bulbs at what distances?

I've had tremendous fun actually checking UV levels in the sun. Try it early morning. You can be in full direct sun with almost no UV. Same thing late afternoon. You can feel the hot sun burning you, but there is almost no UV late in the day. Its fun to watch the UV climb and fall daily.
 

Abdulla6169

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Its not really about what they "should be". It just tells you what you've got and you make necessary adjustments. You want to point the sensor right at your bulb and you want the sensor to be about the same height as the tortoise. I had to dig a hole in the substrate to accomplish this. A 1 is very low UV. Good for forest tortoises possibly. 3-4 would be moderate UV and good for just about any species and most applications. 6-7 would simulate full sun at noon in summer. This would be a bit too strong for most applications, but it does depend on whether just one spot has that much UV or if you have a bank of florescent HO units and the entire enclosure is at that level. Few reptiles are going to spend anytime in the sun at noon in summer.

What readings are you getting and out of what bulbs at what distances?

I've had tremendous fun actually checking UV levels in the sun. Try it early morning. You can be in full direct sun with almost no UV. Same thing late afternoon. You can feel the hot sun burning you, but there is almost no UV late in the day. Its fun to watch the UV climb and fall daily.
Late afternoon? What is the UV reading? I'm curious since it's the best time for outside time for the tort :D
 

Tom

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Late afternoon? What is the UV reading? I'm curious since it's the best time for outside time for the tort :D

Depends on the time and season. UV levels just drop and drop the later in the day it gets. When I first got my meters it was about 4:40pm, before the time change (Dark at around 5-5:30pm.). I took it out of the box, pointed it at the sun in direct sunlight, pushed the button, and it read zero. I thought it was broken or I wasn't using it correctly. I stuck it under my florescent UV tubes and got a good reading. The next day I went out in the morning and checked again. Almost zero. I checked every hour or so for that first full day. The UV reading rose slowly at first and then accelerated. Sort of like a bell curve. It was pretty cool. I frequently sun my tortoises in our warm afternoons, and I thought they were getting good UV. I didn't realize how quickly UV levels drop off in the afternoon.

I have a lot of fun just checking the levels all the time. In the shade, under trees, out in the open, under wire caging, under shade cloth... I find it interesting.

Another fun thing: Have you heard that MVBs need to be replaced every 6 months, or every 12 months because UVB levels drop off? Well I have an old one that I've been using for around 4 or 5 years. I just use it for heat now, since my tortoises get sun everyday, but just for fun I stuck the light meter under it. At a distance of about 16" through a screen top I was getting reading between 6.8 and 7.1. This is extremely high. Readings like that are usually only found under a tropical sun in summer. I wonder how strong it was when the bulb was new. I wonder what UV levels are being achieved under most people's UV lighting set ups.
 

leigti

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Its not really about what they "should be". It just tells you what you've got and you make necessary adjustments. You want to point the sensor right at your bulb and you want the sensor to be about the same height as the tortoise. I had to dig a hole in the substrate to accomplish this. A 1 is very low UV. Good for forest tortoises possibly. 3-4 would be moderate UV and good for just about any species and most applications. 6-7 would simulate full sun at noon in summer. This would be a bit too strong for most applications, but it does depend on whether just one spot has that much UV or if you have a bank of florescent HO units and the entire enclosure is at that level. Few reptiles are going to spend anytime in the sun at noon in summer.

What readings are you getting and out of what bulbs at what distances?

I've had tremendous fun actually checking UV levels in the sun. Try it early morning. You can be in full direct sun with almost no UV. Same thing late afternoon. You can feel the hot sun burning you, but there is almost no UV late in the day. Its fun to watch the UV climb and fall daily.
Thanks Tom. Okay the readings for the Russian Tortoise enclosure with a power son 100 W bulb 16 inches away from the top of the Tortoise was .9, 12 inches away was 1.1. This bald is seven months old, I was hoping it would get me through until the fall when I bring the Tortoise in full-time. She spends much of the time outdoors through the summer months. Should I replace the ball now? Or should I wait until later on in the fall when the Tortoise comes in full-time? For the box turtle enclosure I have a Zila 5.0 bald. 11 inches away the reading is 2.2. Both of these readings were taken directly under the ball, it sounds like I should probably replace both but should I do it now or wait till the fall? And when I do replace them what do you suggest I plot replace them with?
 

leigti

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I'm sorry for all the typos, I blame Siri :) I accidentally hit reply before I correct them all so I hope it is readable. Should I replace the power side with 160 W and the Zila with a 10.0? I don't quite understand how these lights work especially the strip light.
 

Tom

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If they are getting sunshine, then you don;t need any indoor UV bulbs, so these ones will hold you over just fine. The time to have new fresh bulbs is in the fall when they come indoors full time for the winter. That way they last and make strong UV for the whole winter.
 

leigti

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Okay, what do you suggest I replace them with? By the way the Zilla bulb is only two weeks old :-( I wanted a zoomed but this is the only one the store had.
 
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