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Old 28-10-2012, 09:39 PM
Egg
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Default Bearded Dragon Set Up - Lighting Advice Please

Hi
I have bought my son a 3ft x2ft x 2ft viv as he wants a bearded dragon. It has 2 lamp holders but I presume these are for a heat lamp and basking light? Ive read the strip light 10% uvb is needed also. Im confused as to how big the uvb light should be i.e. does it need to run the full width and where to position.
Also on a seperate note, what substrate do you suggest?
Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 28-10-2012, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by smiley View Post
Hi
I have bought my son a 3ft x2ft x 2ft viv as he wants a bearded dragon. It has 2 lamp holders but I presume these are for a heat lamp and basking light? Ive read the strip light 10% uvb is needed also. Im confused as to how big the uvb light should be i.e. does it need to run the full width and where to position.
Also on a seperate note, what substrate do you suggest?
Any help would be appreciated!
I'm afraid 3ft isn't big enough for an adult beardy - minimum should be 4ft x 2ft.

As for the lighting there should be 2 lights, one a normal light bulb (for basking and heat) and the other the UVB tube. Have a look at Arcadia's reptile website, there is a perfect UV lighting guide on there. The UVB should run around 3/4 to 1/3 the length of the viv starting from the hot end (so the cool end doesn't have UV). The heat bulb should be connected to a thermostat, this controls the temperature so it doesn't get too hot or cold. Temperatures should be measured with digital thermometers (dial thermometers and the thermostat dial are not accurate).

Substrate is a preference thing - you can use sand (not calci-sand), lino, slate, newspaper and several more.
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Old 28-10-2012, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by smiley View Post
Hi
I have bought my son a 3ft x2ft x 2ft viv as he wants a bearded dragon. It has 2 lamp holders but I presume these are for a heat lamp and basking light? Ive read the strip light 10% uvb is needed also. Im confused as to how big the uvb light should be i.e. does it need to run the full width and where to position.
Also on a seperate note, what substrate do you suggest?
Any help would be appreciated!
Ideally you want a minimum of a 4x2x2 for one adult beardy. Assuming your buying a baby then the 3x2x2 will suffice for now but an upgrade will be necessary in the future. I don't know why it has two bulb holders, for a bearded dragon in a viv that size you want a single light emitting heat source, either an ordinary reflective spot bulb from tesco b&q etc or a halogen, again tesco etc. don't waste your time or money on reptile specific branded bulbs, they do just the same job.

Regarding uv you can go down the 10% route but it is highly recommended nowadays to purchase the T5 12% uv from Arcadia. It is a much better product and is currently the best available, well worth the extra £, looks much better too, very bright. If you go down the T5 route you would normally purchase a tube 1ft smaller than the width of your viv and mount it on the hot side of the viv where your basking spot is. This will then created a shaded area in the cool side of the viv (a photogradient) which the beardy will benefit from immensely. Basically it will recognise a shaded area and go there to cool down. So you want a 2ft T5. If you do choose to go down the 10% route (don't!) then you will need it to stretch the whole length of the viv as it is not powerful enough to work properly over a foot away (unlike the T5).

Do you know what temps should be and how to measure and adjust them, etc? Do you have a stat? It is extremely relevant that you research like a mentalist BEFORE purchasing a bearded dragon or any reptile. Please be aware that I don't know how long you have spent researching, could be 5 mins, could be 5 years so I don't mean to sound rude in the slightest so I apologise if it sounds that way!

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Old 28-10-2012, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by vgorst View Post
I'm afraid 3ft isn't big enough for an adult beardy - minimum should be 4ft x 2ft.

As for the lighting there should be 2 lights, one a normal light bulb (for basking and heat) and the other the UVB tube. Have a look at Arcadia's reptile website, there is a perfect UV lighting guide on there. The UVB should run around 3/4 to 1/3 the length of the viv starting from the hot end (so the cool end doesn't have UV). The heat bulb should be connected to a thermostat, this controls the temperature so it doesn't get too hot or cold. Temperatures should be measured with digital thermometers (dial thermometers and the thermostat dial are not accurate).

Substrate is a preference thing - you can use sand (not calci-sand), lino, slate, newspaper and several more.
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Old 28-10-2012, 10:21 PM
Egg
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Ok thanks that's really helpful. I have been researching but must admit its confusing. I believe the temp should be 35-43 in basking area and 26-30 in the cool end - is that right? (please correct me if wrong as this is why I have joined this forum!).
Not sure about regulation of temp - am getting 2 digital thermometers to put each end.
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Old 28-10-2012, 10:27 PM
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Ok thanks that's really helpful. I have been researching but must admit its confusing. I believe the temp should be 35-43 in basking area and 26-30 in the cool end - is that right? (please correct me if wrong as this is why I have joined this forum!).
Not sure about regulation of temp - am getting 2 digital thermometers to put each end.
Ok, you should have 3 digital thermometers to measure the basking spot (hottest spot directly under the spot light), hot side wall, cool side wall. You power the heat source through a stat and position the stat probe in the centre or cool end of the viv to stop the viv overheating. The stat temp is a rough guide so don't use it as a thermometer, use the digital thermometers to get the correct temps. Under the basking spot you want 105-115f, so 40-45c. Hot side roughly 35. Cool side roughly 25, although I'd imagine you may struggle in a 3ft viv. You'll want to use a low wattage bulb otherwise it will be too warm in the cool end, I'd suggest 60w tops.

Edit: regarding the basking spot, 105-115 is a rough guide to start you off. Each beardy will differ in temp preferences. You want to have your beardy basking for roughly 5 minutes at a time (disregarding initial heating up in the morning). So, set it up to have a basking temp of 105, if you find your beardy is basking for longer than 5 minutes then it needs upping a bit. Increase it by a couple of degree and monitor your dragons reaction over the next few days. Repeat the process if your beardy is still basking for longer that 5 minutes. If you find your beardy basking for less than 5 minutes on average then it's the same principal just decrease the temps rather than increase them. Remember to wait a few days to test the outcome properly.

Glad to see someone research and asking questions prior to purchasing, this is a great forum, stick around and you'll learn loads in preparation for the other lizards you will eventually purchase too!
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Last edited by tomcannon; 28-10-2012 at 10:34 PM..
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Old 28-10-2012, 10:36 PM
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You remembered!!


OP, Tom's got it all spot on
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Old 29-10-2012, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tomcannon View Post
Ok, you should have 3 digital thermometers to measure the basking spot (hottest spot directly under the spot light), hot side wall, cool side wall. You power the heat source through a stat and position the stat probe in the centre or cool end of the viv to stop the viv overheating. The stat temp is a rough guide so don't use it as a thermometer, use the digital thermometers to get the correct temps. Under the basking spot you want 105-115f, so 40-45c. Hot side roughly 35. Cool side roughly 25, although I'd imagine you may struggle in a 3ft viv. You'll want to use a low wattage bulb otherwise it will be too warm in the cool end, I'd suggest 60w tops.

Edit: regarding the basking spot, 105-115 is a rough guide to start you off. Each beardy will differ in temp preferences. You want to have your beardy basking for roughly 5 minutes at a time (disregarding initial heating up in the morning). So, set it up to have a basking temp of 105, if you find your beardy is basking for longer than 5 minutes then it needs upping a bit. Increase it by a couple of degree and monitor your dragons reaction over the next few days. Repeat the process if your beardy is still basking for longer that 5 minutes. If you find your beardy basking for less than 5 minutes on average then it's the same principal just decrease the temps rather than increase them. Remember to wait a few days to test the outcome properly.

Glad to see someone research and asking questions prior to purchasing, this is a great forum, stick around and you'll learn loads in preparation for the other lizards you will eventually purchase too!

You don't need 3 thermometers. A single one in the warm end is fine for monitoring (most people can't or don't calibrate a thermometer properly anyway, so having any is pretty pointless!). The stat probe should never be down the cold end either, or it won't be able to control the temperature properly (would you place the thermostat that controls your oven outside the oven doors?). The bulb wattage advice is also skewed by your lack of understanding of how a thermostat works.

The heat source and thermostat need to be PART of a balanced set-up. The viv design is just as important as anything else if you want to set up and maintain optimum temperatures. Everything will also vary, depending on the ambient conditions as well.
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Old 29-10-2012, 02:44 AM
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You don't need 3 thermometers. A single one in the warm end is fine for monitoring (most people can't or don't calibrate a thermometer properly anyway, so having any is pretty pointless!). The stat probe should never be down the cold end either, or it won't be able to control the temperature properly (would you place the thermostat that controls your oven outside the oven doors?). The bulb wattage advice is also skewed by your lack of understanding of how a thermostat works.

The heat source and thermostat need to be PART of a balanced set-up. The viv design is just as important as anything else if you want to set up and maintain optimum temperatures. Everything will also vary, depending on the ambient conditions as well.
Well I guess that's where we differ. Everyone has different ways of doing things. To be fair I don't have three thermometers either, I have one in the hot and cool end and use an infra red temp gun to measure surface temps of basking areas. However I recommended the use of three thermometers to keep things simple and assumed a temp gun wasn't available. I disagree that the stat probe should never be down the cool end. I have it placed there on the basis that it is a fail safe and will stop my viv from ever over heating (he will always have the cool side of the viv to go to if he's hot. No I wouldn't place a stat for an oven outside the oven doors but that's because you'd use an oven stat to get an oven up to temp, not to ensure a certain part of it doesn't go over a certain max temp. I use the stat in my viv to keep the cool end below a maximum temp so if the probe was situated in the hot end then I would have no way of keeping it stable. If outside forces were to increase ambient temps by a few degrees it would affect all areas of the viv. My lights simply dim more if the cool side is getting too hot, this in turn obviously lowers the basking temp with it as that would have increased slightly too in situ with the ambient.

The bulb wattage advice isn't skewed, again it just reiterates how we do things differently, I understand exactly how a thermostat works and it does the exact job I intend it too perfectly. It brings my basking spot up to temp and keeps it there while keeping my cool side at a low enough temp to allow effective thermo regulation and ensure's it will always be at an optimum temperature so I must be doing something right!

Please feel free to share as to why you believe I am doing it incorrectly as all the evidence clearly states differently. I am still learning so would like to hear if there is anything I can better, however I know how I do it works perfectly for me (and many others). I'm not denying your way doesn't as I'm sure it does for you. you set your stat up to control the basking temp level and this in turn keeps your ambient a steady temp whereas I set my stat up to control my max cool side temp which in turn keeps my basking temps steady. As said different strokes for different folks!
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Last edited by tomcannon; 29-10-2012 at 03:18 AM.. Reason: I can't spell sometimes!
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Old 29-10-2012, 08:18 AM
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Sound advise Tom !

Remember people, there are different ways to get the setup working properly, so lets not argue and confuse the op too much with our different opinions ayye

Personally I'm with Jeffers3 all my stats are in my hot ends. That's the way I set up all my vivs.

Over and out !
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