Cold-climate UVB lighting and T5-HO fixture HELP!

Yvonne G

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I have several indoor baby habitats, and I have 100 watt Zoo Med Mercury Vapor Bulbs in some and the tube type fluorescent UVB bulbs with reflector in others. I prefer the MVB because then I only have to have two fixtures - one for the MVB for day time and one for the night time heat. With the tube I need three - one with a 100 watt incandescent bulb for heat, the tube plus the night time fixture. With all those fixtures hanging over the enclosure it's hard to change water, etc without taking down a fixture.
 

leigti

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An adult Russian will not need night heat in the house unless your house it's extremely cold in the winter.
 

Nicole M

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I understand. Tell us exactly which type of bulb and fixture you get and someone here who has a meter and first hand experience with that bulb can help to make an educated guess about mounting height. Not as good as actually having the meter in your hand, but better than guessing.

Please don't be put off by the discussion here. Barb and I are friends and this is just tortoise conversation. Each side explaining their POV. Nobody is mad (hopefully…) and hopefully this discussion will help people decide which way to go with their own lighting needs.
No, not mad here either.
The post you answered here is why I said not practical for most. The start up cost is the biggest expense all at once. Then saying "you really need" a meter to that, I think is a hard pill to swallow. I agree the meter is a good buy. I agree it would be nice for everyone to have and should work towards getting. I think it's impractical to think most will get one. So, I think it's more practical to help them out to get things as close to correct as possible without one, which for me is trying to get the tortoise to be able to get outside as much as possible and suggesting the best bulbs and fixture to buy, as any new owner will (hopefully) have the understanding they need a light for their tort.
My opinion is not in disagreement about the meter or how practical and possibly cost efficient it would be to have. My opinion is it's not practical ($$) for most, they just won't spend that kind of money for one or two torts, specially if they are new to having a tortoise. So suggesting which lights and bulbs are the best to buy, the suggested height that has worked over the past, or to follow the bulb directions, that getting the tortoise outside as much as possible is the best UVB there is, specially this time of year, when most are having summer and could go without a UVB bulb for now and possibly use that money for a meter is just more practical to me and more achievable. Then the mention of the meter being a "good" item to add would be beneficial and more practical for them to achieve, then saying "You really need a UV meter. This is the only way to set your bulb heights correctly with either a MVB or the HO tube". Its a little off putting. It kinda makes one to possibly feel that all the effort one has done, money spent or saved to buy the best lights, is all for nothing cause they can't use them right without this expensive meter that they can't afford to buy at this point.

I have a hard time always explaining myself in writing. I hope you are picking up what I'm trying to put down here. ;)

I agree though about a UVB meter. Everyone should try to achieve ownership of one.:)
I'm certainly not "put off" by any of the conversation here! On the contrary, it's been extremely helpful, and I'm thrilled to be learning from others with experience (who clearly care very deeply about tortoises and their wellbeing).

Thank you both *immensely* for you input and understanding! So long as everyone isn't sick of me yet, I'll be back with info on the exact bulb and fixture I get (thus far I'm planning for one of the T5-HO's) to see if I can get more info on mounting heights from someone with a meter.
 
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Nicole M

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I have several indoor baby habitats, and I have 100 watt Zoo Med Mercury Vapor Bulbs in some and the tube type fluorescent UVB bulbs with reflector in others. I prefer the MVB because then I only have to have two fixtures - one for the MVB for day time and one for the night time heat. With the tube I need three - one with a 100 watt incandescent bulb for heat, the tube plus the night time fixture. With all those fixtures hanging over the enclosure it's hard to change water, etc without taking down a fixture.
Oh, very good point. I hadn't considered night heat... Partially because I don't know how cold it will be in our apartment this winter. It gets freezing here in NY, but we do have gas heating. Maybe I'll have to invest in a CHE and get one of those double light fixtures to place a CHE and basking bulb in (if I can put those two things in the same fixture).

My worry with the MVB is that I don't have a UV meter, and I'm afraid I'll place the bulb too high to avoid overheating, and the tort won't be getting any UV. It seems difficult to balance the UV and heat in placing those, especially without a meter... Am I wrong about that?
 

Tom

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Oh, very good point. I hadn't considered night heat... Partially because I don't know how cold it will be in our apartment this winter. It gets freezing here in NY, but we do have gas heating. Maybe I'll have to invest in a CHE and get one of those double light fixtures to place a CHE and basking bulb in (if I can put those two things in the same fixture).

My worry with the MVB is that I don't have a UV meter, and I'm afraid I'll place the bulb too high to avoid overheating, and the tort won't be getting any UV. It seems difficult to balance the UV and heat in placing those, especially without a meter... Am I wrong about that?

Unless your house is dropping much below 60 F, you shouldn't need night heat for an adult russian.

Also, many people hibernate their tortoises during the cold winter. This is an option worth considering since your species would hibernate in the wild.
 

Nicole M

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Unless your house is dropping much below 60 F, you shouldn't need night heat for an adult russian.

Also, many people hibernate their tortoises during the cold winter. This is an option worth considering since your species would hibernate in the wild.
I'll likely hibernate eventually, but I figured it's best not to this winter, since I'll have only had the tortoise for a few months. I'm not planning to provide heat unless it our house gets too cold (below 60, as you said--thank you!), but since it does get extremely cold in upstate NY during the winter, it it a possibility. -15 to -20 is not unheard of, and last year we even had a -40 wind chill, though this past winter was actually pretty warm and unpredictable. Would it be a good idea to budget for a CHE in the coming months just in case I need to use it, or should I not worry about it unless the temp is dropping regularly?
 

Tom

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I'll likely hibernate eventually, but I figured it's best not to this winter, since I'll have only had the tortoise for a few months. I'm not planning to provide heat unless it our house gets too cold (below 60, as you said--thank you!), but since it does get extremely cold in upstate NY during the winter, it it a possibility. -15 to -20 is not unheard of, and last year we even had a -40 wind chill, though this past winter was actually pretty warm and unpredictable. Would it be a good idea to budget for a CHE in the coming months just in case I need to use it, or should I not worry about it unless the temp is dropping regularly?

It just depends on how you heat your house in winter. I set my thermostat to 68-69. It can be in the 20's outside at night, and I walk around in a T-shirt, shorts and no socks inside my house. Some people like it cold and let their house temp dip pretty low at night. If you will be letting it drop below 60 and you don't want to hibernate him, then a CHE in its own hood and set on a thermostat is a good way to go. If you keep your house at 70 all winter like some people, then you don't need it.
 

Nicole M

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I understand. Tell us exactly which type of bulb and fixture you get and someone here who has a meter and first hand experience with that bulb can help to make an educated guess about mounting height. Not as good as actually having the meter in your hand, but better than guessing.

Please don't be put off by the discussion here. Barb and I are friends and this is just tortoise conversation. Each side explaining their POV. Nobody is mad (hopefully…) and hopefully this discussion will help people decide which way to go with their own lighting needs.
Currently looking at MVB bulbs and it seems that the bulbs with the greatest UVB output are MegaRay bulbs, while the PowerSun and Solar-Glo bulbs have very minimal readings only 12" away from the bulb (in the 20s and 30s, while the MegaRay at 12" away is in the 140s). The issue is that I don't know what the optimal UV meter reading would be for any bulb at tortoise height.

Can anyone with a UV meter and/or extensive experience with these bulbs help me?
 

Tom

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Currently looking at MVB bulbs and it seems that the bulbs with the greatest UVB output are MegaRay bulbs, while the PowerSun and Solar-Glo bulbs have very minimal readings only 12" away from the bulb (in the 20s and 30s, while the MegaRay at 12" away is in the 140s). The issue is that I don't know what the optimal UV meter reading would be for any bulb at tortoise height.

Can anyone with a UV meter and/or extensive experience with these bulbs help me?

All of the MVBs that I have put a meter under made good UV. I wouldn't worry about that. The current issue is that some of them now only produce UV for about 3 months. They used to last much longer. So the bulb will turn on and offer heat, but UV output drops off fairly quickly. The only way to know how quickly or how much, is with a meter.

I do not know how long Mega Rays last in relation to others. Can you still get Mega Ray bulbs?

On another note: I set MVB heights with a thermometer, not a UV meter.
 

leigti

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Currently looking at MVB bulbs and it seems that the bulbs with the greatest UVB output are MegaRay bulbs, while the PowerSun and Solar-Glo bulbs have very minimal readings only 12" away from the bulb (in the 20s and 30s, while the MegaRay at 12" away is in the 140s). The issue is that I don't know what the optimal UV meter reading would be for any bulb at tortoise height.

Can anyone with a UV meter and/or extensive experience with these bulbs help me?
My meter reads differently, for example 3.5 instead of 83. I don't know how the two solar meters numbers coordinate, for example a reading with a 6.2 m versus 6.5 index meter I know some people actually have both meters. Hopefully one of them will come along and be able to answer your question.
 

jaizei

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My meter reads differently, for example 3.5 instead of 83. I don't know how the two solar meters numbers coordinate, for example a reading with a 6.2 m versus 6.5 index meter I know some people actually have both meters. Hopefully one of them will come along and be able to answer your question.

6.2 tells you total UVB; 6.5 tells you the UV index. UVB from the lower end of the spectrum will give you a higher UVI, even if the total amount of UVB is the same.

100 μW/cm² of UVB @ 290 nm will give you a higher reading on the 6.5 than 100 μW/cm² @ 310 nm. One of the problems with some lamps was that their UVB was from the lower end of the spectrum.
 

Nicole M

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6.2 tells you total UVB; 6.5 tells you the UV index. UVB from the lower end of the spectrum will give you a higher UVI, even if the total amount of UVB is the same.

100 μW/cm² of UVB @ 290 nm will give you a higher reading on the 6.5 than 100 μW/cm² @ 310 nm. One of the problems with some lamps was that their UVB was from the lower end of the spectrum.
Thank you for explaining this to me! That makes a lot of sense. Very helpful. :)
 
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