UVB & Basking - What Do You Recommend?

GabiS

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Hi All,

I am in the process of researching and setting up my home for a hatchling that will be arriving in a couple of months. There is so much information available online regarding basking and UVB lighting/heating, and some of it is very contradictory. I will be speaking with the breeder themselves about what they recommend and use, but I am very interested in what brands, wattage, and type of UVB and basking lights and lamps you use. I have looked at the starter kit page, which was helpful, but I can't really see what specific lights should be used. Thanks for any guidance you can provide!
 

KarenSoCal

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Yes, there is a lot of contradictory info out there!

The only UVB light that works as it should is the fluorescent tube type. Curly or compact UVB's frequently burn babies' eyes and should never be used. Spot type UVB's can easily burn the top of the carapace. Many members here prefer the Arcadia brand. They are most likely to actually output the UVB that they're supposed to, and as advertised. ZooMed also makes tube lights, as well as Zilla. Whatever brand, you want the HO (high output) option.

For basking, the best is an ordinary incandescent flood bulb. No spot, flood. The wattage will be determined by your thermometer to get the right temp, usually 95-100°F.

Here is a link to a lighting/heating guide sheet. It should be helpful.

 

GabiS

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Thank you very much for this! Quick question - I’ve seen that MVBs are drying to a tortoise, but can this be combatted by providing proper soaking and really watching the water situation? I still see tortoise keepers using these.
 

Tom

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Hi All,

I am in the process of researching and setting up my home for a hatchling that will be arriving in a couple of months. There is so much information available online regarding basking and UVB lighting/heating, and some of it is very contradictory. I will be speaking with the breeder themselves about what they recommend and use, but I am very interested in what brands, wattage, and type of UVB and basking lights and lamps you use. I have looked at the starter kit page, which was helpful, but I can't really see what specific lights should be used. Thanks for any guidance you can provide!
What species?
 

KarenSoCal

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Thank you very much for this! Quick question - I’ve seen that MVBs are drying to a tortoise, but can this be combatted by providing proper soaking and really watching the water situation? I still see tortoise keepers using these.
I'm going to leave this one for @Tom. I'm especially interested in this as well.

Here in CA it has been made illegal to sell incandescent bulbs, including flood bulbs. We also can't buy them online, since it pops up "can't be shipped to your location" or something like that. So I don't know what to buy for basking either.

We'll see what he says.
 

solidsounds17

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I'm going to leave this one for @Tom. I'm especially interested in this as well.

Here in CA it has been made illegal to sell incandescent bulbs, including flood bulbs. We also can't buy them online, since it pops up "can't be shipped to your location" or something like that. So I don't know what to buy for basking either.

We'll see what he says.
What do you use for basking?
 

Tom

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Hi Tom,

Hermann’s.
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer for 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. Unless your house gets unusually cold at night, you can skip this step for a Russian or other Testudo species. Night lows above 60 require no night heat for Testudo species. A little warmer for babies is not a bad idea. If you do need night heat because you let your house get cold at night, then get a ceramic heating element or a radiant heat panel and run it on a thermostat set to keep ambient in the mid 60s, or around 70 for a little baby.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. LEDs are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb. If your tortoise's room is already adequately lit, you don't need this one either.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside in a safe secure enclosure for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you live in a cold climate or want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb. Regular "T 8" type UV tubes produce hardly any UV. CFL type UV bulbs are also ineffective, and sometimes dangerous, and should not be used.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hi,
I am very interested in this, thank you for the super summary!

Fluorescent tube high output - something like this?
It costs just £4 or so...?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001WQ2UZ4/?tag=

So the T8 tubes from pet stores are no good?
it really is a minefield!

Thanks!!
Marie
That's a T5, yes.
But it's not a T5 UVB lamp
T8s do not work as well as the newer T5s
This is an American market T5 HO uvb
I own several. I also have at least a half dozen old T8s laying around as spares. They do not broadcast UVB as well, or as far. But they can be used in an application where the fixture would be 10" or less away from the animal. (Not for a screened top)
A T5 can broadcast very useable UVB over 24" away. Even through a screen top
 

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Toddrickfl1

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I'm going to leave this one for @Tom. I'm especially interested in this as well.

Here in CA it has been made illegal to sell incandescent bulbs, including flood bulbs. We also can't buy them online, since it pops up "can't be shipped to your location" or something like that. So I don't know what to buy for basking either.

We'll see what he says.
Good thing you guys got a bulb plug in GA 😁
 

KarenSoCal

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Do you have a local Dollar store?
I've got several 4 packs of 60 watt incandescents from mine to use with my Chameleons.
They're not illegal in Florida. But you'd be hard pressed to find any.
Yes on the Dollar stores. No on the bulbs. :(

I had to resort to ordering them online and having them shipped to a family member in PA. He will repackage as necessary and ship to me. Just ridiculous...nothing but idiots in Sacramento. My only other option would be to drive to AZ. Only about 2 hours from me.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Yes on the Dollar stores. No on the bulbs. :(

I had to resort to ordering them online and having them shipped to a family member in PA. He will repackage as necessary and ship to me. Just ridiculous...nothing but idiots in Sacramento. My only other option would be to drive to AZ. Only about 2 hours from me.
I wonder if I sent you some if it would be considered a crime?
 

Tom

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I wonder if I sent you some if it would be considered a crime?
I've looked for the exact text of the law and didn't find it. I think it s illegal to SELL them in CA. Pretty sure possession of them is still not a crime.

I can't believe we're even having this conversation in a "free" country... Our government, with the force of law enforced by men and women with guns and badges is now telling us which type of light bulbs we can and can't use. I know I'm not the only one who sees a problem with this, but somehow more and more of the lefty loonies keep getting elected. People used to point their fingers at CA and NY and say we deserved what we got for letting those tyrannical, treasonous, criminals get elected, but guess what? The Marxist movement is infecting cities all over the country now. I guess all those people deserve it too.
 

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