Which Type of UVB Lamp Should I Use For My Reptile?

by Luke Tansley on in Products

UVB lighting is one of the core components of any exotic pet enclosure but it can be quite difficult to know which is best for your enclosure and species. In this blog, we will outline the 3 main types of UVB, what they are good at and where they fall short. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the perfect lamp so if you are starting from scratch I would advise you use our set up lists as a guide.

Compact UVB lighting

Lifespan: 6 months

Range: 6-12 inches

Best for: Some geckos, many amphibians, invertebrates in mesh or glass with mesh lid enclosures.

Compact lamps are the easiest way to incorporate UVB into your enclosure. While tubes will require a starter unit and connectors reaching to each side, compact lamps can simply be screwed into a normal lamp fitting. The majority of the compact lamps we currently sell are a standard E27 screw fitting. They are relatively cheap and can be a great choice for species that don’t need too much UVB or are in a small space. The compact lamp will not cover a particularly wide area so they can produce a very sharp lighting gradient.

T8 UVB lighting

Lifespan: 6 months

Range: 9-12 inches

Best for: Some geckos, many amphibians, invertebrates and nocturnal or crepuscular lizards in medium to small enclosures.

T8 UVB lamps are around an inch thick and are available in a range of widths to suit your enclosure. Normally, when using a tube we look to cover at least 2/3 of the width of the enclosure but this can vary depending on how deep the enclosure is. The T8 lamp can be purchased in a range of strengths but the maximum range will remain around 12 inches so it is important to include structures that allow your pet to get within 6-12 inches of the lamp. Their range can be slightly extended by using a reflector but we always treat this kind of light as having a 12-inch maximum range.

T5 UVB lighting

Lifespan: 12 months

Range: 18-24 inches

Best for: Geckos, dragons, tortoises, turtles, other lizards, amphibians and invertebrates in enclosures at least 20 inches tall.

T5 UVB tubes are around half an inch thick. Though they are smaller than T8 tubes they are normally much brighter, have double the effective range and last twice as long. T5 lamps are currently the best option for lighting as long as the pet has enough space to get away from the light and both full and partial hiding placed throughout the enclosure. They are available in a range of widths and strengths to suit most species.

Factors such as the vivariums dimensions, required decor and whether the light has to pass through mesh or glass before reaching the animal will change its effectiveness. If you aren’t sure which of the above would be best for your pet please contact us at sales@reptilecentre.com or call us on 01604753823 and we will be happy to advise.

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About Luke Tansley

Luke works within the customer service department at reptilecentre.com. At home he keeps hognose snakes, bearded dragons and kingsnakes.