Lighting & heating Bearded Dragon
Im awaiting delivery of a vivarium (4 foot). I have read the sticky guide for bearded dragons but im still confused. I gather I need 3 different bulbs.
1, UVB tube type
2, Basking light
3, heating bulb for night time use
What wattage and UV % is recommended for a young Dragon? Different brands seem to have different rating systems.
I would prefer to buy a Kit so are there any places that sell a bearded dragon lighting and heating kit? If not how do I go about sizing up a bulb that fits its housing etc?
Lastly is it expected that you must drill out holes in a vivarium to fit these lights and heating bulbs. Its not an issue If I have to I just want to make sure its the done thing
For heating, you only really need one bulb assuming both the room that the vivarium is in and the vivarium will not get too cold. You want a standard white spot lamp pointed onto a piece of natural rock, such as slate. This needs to be attached to a thermostat, the type is up to you, but dimming thermostats will increase the life span of the bulb compared to a standard on/off thermostat. If the tank itself gets too cold either during winter or at night you should supplement with a ceramic heat emitter or radiator to increase air temperatures during cold periods. Again should be attached to a thermostat, but this can be on a on/off thermostat.
You are aiming for a 45C surface basking temperature and as most thermostat work by measuring air temperature you need to get an IR temperature gun to measure accurately and then work out what setting you need to have the thermostat. A digital style thermometer should be positioned in the cool end to make sure temperatures don't drop below around 18C, if it does this is when you should supplement heating.
For normal bulb fitting, assuming in the UK, the most common type of fitting is the E27 fitting which is your standard screw fitting. Most holders designed for reptiles will be this standard fitting and will say on the product information what fitting it is. There isn't really any kits for heating bulbs as there are so many different options to have. For what wattage you need is really does depend on many factors, and you may have to play around with it, I think a good start is 100W. However if it can't get up to the correct temperature you would have to go up, and if seems to be always off drop the wattage down.
UVB tubes the best option is to look at the Arcadia T5 bulbs, they have a specific bulb that is 14% UV index for bearded dragons (and other desert species), the wattage will vary upon the length of the bulb. So for a 4ft enclosure you will be aiming for around a 24" bulb. These come in two all in one kits that will contain every apart from a timer, one slimline and one normal.
If you have any other questions, just ask
You would only need a third (which would be a ceramic) if the vivarium drops below 16c all the time during the night, which is very unlikely.
This would be in much colder climates and normally mean no central heating.
That third bulb then sets a base temperature during the night.
In a 4ft viv you will need a UV tube roughly two thirds the length of the viv and a basking bulb (which a wide variety of bulbs would suit).
How you setup the inside of the viv and the actual distance inside the viv from the bulb to the basking platform level and groud level is how you then choose which UV strength you need.
10.0 is a 10% bulb, the rating systems are all the same really, only a couple of companies have better tech bulbs and you then get 12% and 14% (12.0 and 14.0)
You can do witha 10.0 bulb, but it has to be positioned closer than what you want really.
This should tell you what strength/positioning you need:
4ft viv means you are unlikely to be able to fit a 14% as you wil not have the height, you are looking at a 12% T5 set at about 14/15 inches from basking, which should also then be several inches higher than ground level.
Ok thats clears thing up for me. Thank you for the information. Im in Ireland so similar climate to the UK. So I really need to sort a basking platform before positioning the light.
Firstly, you need to know the full dimensions of the viv, then you can plan how you are going to set it up.
Do you intend to use a substrate layer, if so, how thick.
Do you intend to put natural stone in, or cork, or branches ?(what do you want to use in the viv).
If you arent buying "kits" for the basking lamp and fixtures etc, you need to source parts.
The UV controllers/starters are complete things, and you just need to buy a bulb (no wiring etc to do). Its also advisable to buy a reflector for the bulb you get, so you get the most out of the bulb output.
You can buy "kits" to put the basking lamp in with, none are particularly great or cheap for what they are.
I did my own, at about half the price, but remember if you do this then the basking lamp will need a suitable socket (cant use plastic fittings, need ceramic/porcelain so they dont melt). Wire, plugs all pretty cheap from a diy store, you can buy ceramic/porcelain bulb sockets for a few quid.
Decide how youre gonna provide a platform (you can buy some things, again not cheapest option and also wont give biggest size either...) A lot of people look at making things out of plaster, kingspan, slate... all sorts.
I made basking areas out of natural slate tiles and also large flat rocks ive found. Eveen built platforms out of slate tiles broken up and glued together with aquarium silicon... lots of ways to do it.
Have a look in the habitat section on here.
And yes, Its unlikely you would need night time heating in ireland.
The height of the vivarium is 14.5 inches. So would a 6% bulb suit better?
You've bought a 4ft long viv, but its only just over a ft high?
Dude... you cant use that...
That isnt high enough to give anything for the animal to climb on, any kind of raised area or even to have the bulbs youll need for the basking temps, lot alone the UV...
Minimum size is 4ft long, 2ft deep 2ft high, this is not just for the floor space they need, but they instictively climb as well.
The viv choice is unsuitable, you need to look at changing it. It would last a young dragon up to about 3 months old before it then has issues with how shallow it is.
The viv I ordered is 48″(L) 14.57″(D) 15.75″(H)
I plan on just getting a substrate from a local pet store just to keep things simple whilst starting out. I never considered depth. Would 1 inch be standard?
Would a patio slab be an option for a basking stone?
I dont mind going down the diy route but ill leave that to a later stage.
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