Lighting in a terrarium

Fluorescent tubes and spotlights in a terrarium are more than just a source of light. They also provide your pets with warmth and essential UV rays, and you’ll often need to include a combination to ensure your pets get what they need. We’ll tell you which lighting options are available to pet owners these days.

To care for terrarium animals carefully, the right lighting is particularly important. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals. For their metabolism to function, they need to be able to warm themselves under a source of light and warmth as a substitute for the sun. Most require about twelve hours of light per day, except when they are in hibernation. For reptiles who are active in the day and at twilight, a UV lamp is indispensable as reptiles can see in the UVA light range and need this spectrum to feel well.

Another vitally important factor is UVB lighting as this contains vitamin D, which is essential for helping them process calcium. Vitamin supplements are also a good idea, but they’re usually not sufficient on their own. This article will give you an overview of the various types of lighting.

Fluorescent lamps

Fluorescent lamps are frequently used in terraria. Depending on the type of tubes you use and the different colour tones (colour temperature), they provide a lot of light, and are also relatively energy efficient. However they produce barely any warmth and are only suitable for making the terrarium bright enough. Lots of tubes also produce UV rays, but still not enough for the level of UVB required. Reflectors are good for increasing the output.

Energy-saving lamps

Energy-saving lamps are compact fluorescent lamps that can be screwed into a light bulb thread. They are both economical and productive in terms of light output but they don’t produce enough warmth. There are special UV compact lamps, but their range is limited and this type of lighting produces rays that often cause skin and eye damage to the animals.

Halogen bulbs and hot spots
Halogen bulbs and hot spots are ideal for creating little sunny areas and are used in most terraria as a result. They give reptiles the chance to sunbathe directly under the spot and warm their bodies. However, they don’t produce enough UV light.

HQI and HQL lamps
HQI lamps emit warmth and come in a wide spectrum of colours. This combination makes them ideal for either a desert terrarium or a rainforest terrarium. That said, their price tag is comparatively high. HQL lamps are a good alternative. They’re cheaper, but they do have a lower light output and a more limited colour spectrum. These kinds of mixed-light lamps are great for ambient lighting in a terrarium with UV lighting.

UV lighting
An additional lamp is advisable to ensure that your pets get enough UV light with all this equipment. Position the lamp at a distance of half a metre, or outside the terrarium if necessary, and give your pets half an hour exposure each day. There are strong, 300 watt UV lamps for this purpose. In large terraria, such as those for green iguanas, these lamps can be installed directly. When all’s said and done, the best light of all for reptiles is direct sunlight, but because window panes filter UV rays out, it might prove difficult to coordinate this without running the risk of your pets escaping.

Call into your local store today to discuss your reptile’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.

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