Solar meter

Anyfoot

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@Tom has mentioned getting a solar meter many times in the past because he says you are just guessing without one and @zovick told me it's a must piece of equipment. So I've finally bought one. 6.5R model, better late than never:rolleyes:
Well to say this has surprised me is the understatement of the year.
In my radiated enclosure I have a brand new 3ft 10.0 sun-glo tube uvb. I didn't have a reflector shield over the tube either which is amateurish, I know. I have the tube set at 6" above the tortoises carapace and the reading I was getting was 1.9 compared to the 3.0 that I want. I've just put an old rubbish reflector I had over it and the new reading is 2.8.
So if anyone out there is using these bulbs with no reflector and at 12" high and your tort is a zone 3 on the Ferguson zone then I think you'll find your tort is not getting the required amount of UVB.

Just ordered some new Arcadia reflectors to see what happens.

So Tom, I now have the right to say " So says my solar meter". :D
 

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@Tom has mentioned getting a solar meter many times in the past because he says you are just guessing without one and @zovick told me it's a must piece of equipment. So I've finally bought one. 6.5R model, better late than never:rolleyes:
Well to say this has surprised me is the understatement of the year.
In my radiated enclosure I have a brand new 3ft 10.0 sun-glo tube uvb. I didn't have a reflector shield over the tube either which is amateurish, I know. I have the tube set at 6" above the tortoises carapace and the reading I was getting was 1.9 compared to the 3.0 that I want. I've just put an old rubbish reflector I had over it and the new reading is 2.8.
So if anyone out there is using these bulbs with no reflector and at 12" high and your tort is a zone 3 on the Ferguson zone then I think you'll find your tort is not getting the required amount of UVB.

Just ordered some new Arcadia reflectors to see what happens.

So Tom, I now have the right to say " So says my solar meter". :D
Some day I may have to get me one. What stinks, it seems each bulb will/can differ from each other even if they are the same kind of bulb working out of the same fixture.
It stinks because that makes those of us that don't have a meter unable to follow the bulb/fixture/height of those that have a meter. LOL
 

Anyfoot

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I just received my Arcadia reflector for my uvb tubes and quite a difference it makes.
Without the reflector I got 1.8 at carapace height and with it I got 3.2.
I've not moved the solar meter at all in these photos. My tube is 8" from substrate.
Reflectors are only £12 each.

Just had a thought. This solar meter doesn't compensate for the actual solar meter height does it? I've tried to get the solar sensor the same height as my torts. Is that the right thing to do?

Excuse my scruffy hands I just got in from work.

IMG_1968.JPG IMG_1969.JPG IMG_1971.JPG IMG_1972.JPG
 

Tom

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Just had a thought. This solar meter doesn't compensate for the actual solar meter height does it? I've tried to get the solar sensor the same height as my torts. Is that the right thing to do?
No it does not. I do what you do there in your pic. I dig a hole in the substrate and get the meter as low as I can. This usually works out fine as it measures at a distance near carapace height for most tortoises. You'd have to assume a hatchling will be just a little farther from the bulb and adjust accordingly.
 

Anyfoot

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Just put a reflector on my baby redfoots UVB.
This one is a 3ft 5.0 Arcadia, set at 8" from substrate. Without the reflector it was reading 0.7 and with 1.2.

I know it's obvious we should use reflectors, I just got lazy and started not bothering. No more.
 
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Tom

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Just put a reflector on my baby redfoots UVB.
This one is a 3ft 5.0 Arcadia, set at 8" from substrate. Without the reflector it was reading 0.7 and with 1.2.

I know it's obvious we should use reflectors, I just got lazy and started not bothering. No more.
This is helpful info. I've never not used a reflector. I've heard there was a big difference, but I've never actually measured the difference.
 

Anyfoot

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@Tom @Sterant

How come I'm having to go as low as 8" to get a reading of 3.2 with a 10.0 T8 and I've seen others getting readings at 14" with a T5 of around 4 to 5.
Are T5's that much better than T8's?

I understand there will be a difference between manufacturers but that's a lot. Is it purely that T5 is so much stronger?
 

Tom

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@Tom @Sterant

How come I'm having to go as low as 8" to get a reading of 3.2 with a 10.0 T8 and I've seen others getting readings at 14" with a T5 of around 4 to 5.
Are T5's that much better than T8's?

I understand there will be a difference between manufacturers but that's a lot. Is it purely that T5 is so much stronger?
HUGE difference between a regular T8 bulb and the newer HO T5 bulbs, as you are seeing. The T5s are higher wattage too.

I only get about 1.1 UVI from my 24" ZooMed 10.0 T8 bulbs at about 10". I get 7.1 UVI from my Arcadia 12% HO bulbs at about 20".
 

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T8 bulbs are 32 watt. T5 is 54 watt. Add a good reflector and you will get a lot of UV even upwards of 18” off the substrate.
 

Sterant

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With babies I use a UVI of 3 to 4. With adults, 5 to 6.

One thing to watch for with T5 fixtures is that they put out a lot of heat. This can be useful, in something like an enclosed chamber, but it can also throw things off if you weren’t expecting it. I have 9 fixtures in my tortoise room...each holding 4 of the 48” tubes, and during certain times of the year the room heat barely turns on. Just look out for that.
 

Anyfoot

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With babies I use a UVI of 3 to 4. With adults, 5 to 6.

One thing to watch for with T5 fixtures is that they put out a lot of heat. This can be useful, in something like an enclosed chamber, but it can also throw things off if you weren’t expecting it. I have 9 fixtures in my tortoise room...each holding 4 of the 48” tubes, and during certain times of the year the room heat barely turns on. Just look out for that.
What is the maximum uvb projection you get with the 4 tube holders?
 

Sterant

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I only run one UVB bulb and 2 or 3 6500k grow lights. Depends on the height, but with more than one UV bulb I could easily get a uvi reading in the 20’s if I wanted. Never wanted to though. Occasionally if I want to run the fixture really high for some reason I add a second uvb bulb. Then I can get a 5 reading with the fixture up over 24 inches.
 

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As a note to all of this. I did my monthly check of all of my bulbs yesterday with my Solarmeter. I am running 10 of the 48" ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 T5 HO bulbs in my tortoise room that I purchased in February of 2015. They are just now showing UVB output that is lower than I can comfortably work with (I can't lower the fixtures anymore without risk of the tortoises hitting them).

So, running 14 hours a day, 7 months a year, they kept an acceptable level of output for 3 years.
 

Tom

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As a note to all of this. I did my monthly check of all of my bulbs yesterday with my Solarmeter. I am running 10 of the 48" ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 T5 HO bulbs in my tortoise room that I purchased in February of 2015. They are just now showing UVB output that is lower than I can comfortably work with (I can't lower the fixtures anymore without risk of the tortoises hitting them).

So, running 14 hours a day, 7 months a year, they kept an acceptable level of output for 3 years.
Those solar meters are too expensive and a waste of money. You should have just replaced all 10 bulbs every 6 months to be safe.
 
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