Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: THE Discussion!

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Edna

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StudentoftheReptile said:
Just to clarify from your post, you were using a ZooMed ReptiSun 5.0 CFL and had no issues until the bulb itself simply broke. Then you switched to using normal household CFLs and also use a MVB for UV lighting. Your only issue was a bulb breaking, not problems with the animals, correct?

Mostly correct. ReptiSun 5.0 CFL, 2010, Hermanns hatchling, and the only problem I had with it was it eventually broke. I switched to MVBs for light and heat, and have only very recently used household CFLs for additional general lighting in the enclosure.

StudentoftheReptile said:
To answer your question, I personally am interested on anyone who has used Compact Fluorescent Bulbs in any capacity, regardless of species, brand, mounting position, etc. Indeed, anyone who experienced heath issues with their animals using these bulbs are a little more paramount, but I think it is also important to hear of any positive experiences as well. This way, any future readers to this thread can get a more well-rounded perspective if exactly which bulbs are working well for which species under which circumstances...and those that are not.

I'm glad you have opened up this topic as a discussion thread. It seems like our forum has a way of dealing with questions about CFLs that would tend to bring a halt to discussion and any discovery of truth. When we ascribe motives to to the questioner, such as thrift or convenience, that discourages questions. When we simply repeat the mantra "CFLs are bad" over and over again, that stands in the way of information.
 

DeanS

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NEVER! Absolutley NEVER! Too much risk involved...not worth it. I can only recommend sticking to the tried and true. I've always used the Powersun...the ONLY way I would consider change is if Dennis's Arcadias prove superior!
 

wellington

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I would like to know how early anyone's problems started. I am not sure if the 6-8 months is long enough for the problem to occur or be noticed. Maggie3fan, do you remember how long you were using them, before you noticed a problem? Just curious. Still think it's risky.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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While I appreciate (and agree with) the better-safe-than-sorry approach, I think those that share that view, we KNOW where you stand.....so can we please kinda keep this thread focused on those who have actually used the bulbs in questions, and their experiences, positive or negative?

I don't want every fifth post to be along the lines of "I would NEVER use a compact fluorescent bulb! MVBs and tubes all the way, baby!" I get that, loud and clear. Like I said, I don't disagree with you. I just don't want this thread turning into...that. This isn't about discussing which lighting situation is best for your indoor tortoise habitat; that is discussed countless times elsewhere and is kinda unique to someone's situation. This is about the issues with CFLs exclusively and keeper's DIRECT experiences with them.

Thank you. :D:tort:
 

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wellington said:
I would like to know how early anyone's problems started. I am not sure if the 6-8 months is long enough for the problem to occur or be noticed. Maggie3fan, do you remember how long you were using them, before you noticed a problem? Just curious. Still think it's risky.

You can view the case study results in the link I posted. It seems that most symptoms and issues appeared in less than 1 week
 

Tom

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Edna said:
Edna said:
When I bought my first Hermanns as a hatchling (Jan., 2010) I purchased all the equipment for his initial set up at Petco, per their recommendations. That included a Zoo Med heat/light combo pack with a CFL 5.0 and a heat bulb. I mounted both bulbs in mini-dome fixtures and clamped them to the sides of his enclosure. That was his arrangement for 6-8 months, when I broke the CFL.
He was fine, eating and active and no hint of a problem. He is just waking up downstairs as I type and is still happy and healthy.
I am currently using some household CFLs for general lighting. The problems reported in 2008 with reptile CFLs were due to UV exposure, particularly UVC. CFLs for household use are designed to minimize UV light. My tortoises have an MVB for their UV needs.
I found the radiographs on the following page useful and relevant.

http://ledmuseum.candlepower.us/led/spectra7.htm

I'm replying to myself because no one else seems to have noticed this post.
Is this going to be a discussion in which all sides and experiences are welcome, or is it a thread where only the problems with the bulbs are important?

I read your post. Spent about 10 minutes looking over the myriad graphs. I didn't have anything to say back about it. No one is disputing that some people use these cfl bulbs and never have a problem. It happens all the time. I'm glad you were one of the lucky ones. The point of this discussion, and frankly all the other ones too, seems to be how often they DO have problems. Especially in contrast to all the other options.

Mike, I never looked at the brand names. The last case I saw was a few months ago, and it was a new bulb from Petco. She still had the package and it was the typical Reptile UV with some reptile pictured, but in all honesty I cannot remember which brand it was. I saw a coil bulb up in the fixture and thats all I needed to know. She removed the bulb and within a few weeks her animal recovered. If there is any permanent damage to the vision, we can't tell.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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Thanks, Tom.

For future reference to anyone, it appears that regarding CFLs, Petco only carries Zilla & Zoomed (ReptiSun), and PETsMART offers Exo-Terra (Repti-Glo) and ZooMed.
 

Tom

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I've gotta say... I'm a bit sick of this issue. I don't understand what the problem is.

I've never seen anyone say to someone who has used a CFL bulb with no problems, "Yes you did have a problem..." There is no doubt that some percentage of people have used them without issue, right?

Now, is someone arguing that those that DID have a problem really didn't? Is that what we are arguing here?

I don't get it. SOMETIMES these bulbs blind reptiles and cause eye irritation. Sometimes. Not all the time. Only sometimes. This is not some problem from when these bulbs first hit the scene and needed some bugs worked out. I'm still seeing these issues within the last few months. The best policy, the only sensible policy, is to just not use them. If a noob asks a question of someone with experience, isn't it simple to just say, "Sometimes those cause problems. I recommend against them. Simply use this, this, or this instead..." What is wrong with that? Why all the discussion? There are other products available that do NOT cause these problems.

Our local unhelpful troll posts another pointless argumentative post on some other thread, and it leads to ANOTHER discussion about this same issue? Frustrating.
 

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The problem I have with this debate is that most of the arguments I have seen against CFL's have lacked the specifics and details as to what brand of bulb was used and how it was used, and instead have labeled all CFL's as inherently evil. On the same hand, there have been MVB’s that have had issues which have had equally severe consequences as the CFL’s have had…yet we never read any threads or tirades over them.


I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree with the better safe than sorry mindset...I certainly have no need for them currently, and do not recommend them. But, I often change lighting set ups, and to help any future decisions I make I would be curious to see if the issues have been with all brands of bulbs being set up as they were designed, or if it is some type of operator error. As of yet, I have not seen enough details to really establish some sort of conclusion about CFL’s.
 

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I'll admit it...I'm biased against ALL CFLs. But, given the results I've had with MVBs...why would I switch. One case of blindness with a CFL...unfortunate...two case? coincidental...after that? Damned for all time!
 

StudentoftheReptile

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Tom, I'm with you on this one, as well as Barb and Dean and many others. There are simply other much better products to use without resorting to these bulbs.

My main objective of this thread was to help clear at least SOME of the confusion surrounding them, mostly for those who still had questions and/or were still stubborn enough to still use them. I figured since there are:
- 4 principle brands
- 2 principle bulb shapes (coil/spiral and straight/U-shape)
- 2 different mounting orientations

...there could be some pattern behind this madness, given all the possible variables. While I'm not necessarily trying to justify or advocate these bulbs, I feel it behooves us as hobbyists to make sure what we're saying is true. It almost is like saying "Don't ever feed your tortoise lettuce!" Okay...well, yeah iceberg lettuce has virtually no nutritional value and obviously, no lettuce should be used as the sole food source. But other lettuces are not harmful if used to compliment a well-rounded balanced diet.

I look at the statement "All CFLs are bad!" kind of the same way. Are they really?

I could say "All tube fluorescent bulbs are bad" because one blinded my tortoises. Well, the truth of the matter is that I was using a Zilla Desert 50 T-5 bulb on a tropical forest species (redfoots). Not the brightest idea I've had, but I learned and the tortoises got better, thankfully. My point being, it would not be accurate for me to dismiss all tube florescents because of that one experience, would you not agree? If I was using a Zilla Tropical 25, would the same thing have happened? Who knows?

So back to the CFLs...are all of them really bad because of one brand? is it because people weren't mounting them properly? Were they using 10.0 desert series bulbs on tropical species?

Neal said:
The problem I have with this debate is that most of the arguments I have seen against CFL's have lacked the specifics and details as to what brand of bulb was used and how it was used, and instead have labeled all CFL's as inherently evil. On the same hand, there have been MVB’s that have had issues which have had equally severe consequences as the CFL’s have had…yet we never read any threads or tirades over them.

I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree with the better safe than sorry mindset...I certainly have no need for them currently, and do not recommend them. But, I often change lighting set ups, and to help any future decisions I make I would be curious to see if the issues have been with all brands of bulbs being set up as they were designed, or if it is some type of operator error. As of yet, I have not seen enough details to really establish some sort of conclusion about CFL’s.

Thanks, Neal.

Once again, you have the same questions I have. To be honest, I refrain from using them with tortoises not necessarily because of the blindness issue, but because they simply do not cover a wide enough range IMO. I mean, I have a 3 ft x 4 ft cage. One 18" tube florescent mounted 12" from the substrate is half the cost of two CFLs and provides about equal (if not more) UV emission.

And for years, I've been a die-hard MVB fan, but in light of my own enclosure needs and the recent studies from TT, I don't think they are as ideal for tortoises as I originally thought. I still wouldn't hesitate to use them on lizards...just not on tortoises much.
 

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Neal said:
The problem I have with this debate is that most of the arguments I have seen against CFL's have lacked the specifics and details as to what brand of bulb was used and how it was used, and instead have labeled all CFL's as inherently evil. On the same hand, there have been MVB’s that have had issues which have had equally severe consequences as the CFL’s have had…yet we never read any threads or tirades over them.

I have never seen anyone say that ALL cfl bulbs are "inherently evil". That's the sort of dramatic statement I would use NEAL. I like it better when you stay on your usual higher plane... (Since you can't get tone from the typed word, everyone should know that Neal and I are friends and I'm just funnin' with him here). I recommend against anyone using them because they sometimes cause eye irritation or blindness. I keep hearing how MVBs have also had issues, but I have seen 10 times more MVBs in use than I have cfl's, and I personally, have NEVER seen said issues with MVB's. Now don't go wasting any time posting links to websites where these problems are listed. I've already seen them. My point is that in real life I have seen LOTS of issues with relatively FEW cfl bulbs in use, where I have also seen LOTS of MVBs in use with ZERO issues ever.

Dean's latest post sort of spelled it out. Once is a bummer, twice makes me go "Hmmm...", the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, etc... is enough for me to say, "Okay, there is a problem with this item, lets just not use it." If I had ever seen any problems with a MVB or any other product, I'd say the same thing. For example, I DO say the same thing about those death trap water bowls with the tall slick sides that the pet stores sell for tortoises.
 

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Tom said:
Dean's latest post sort of spelled it out. Once is a bummer, twice makes me go "Hmmm...", the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, etc... is enough for me to say, "Okay, there is a problem with this item, lets just not use it." If I had ever seen any problems with a MVB or any other product, I'd say the same thing. For example, I DO say the same thing about those death trap water bowls with the tall slick sides that the pet stores sell for tortoises.

I get what you're saying and where you're coming from. And I know you don't like to get bogged down with specifics...but some of us do...and that's what I have felt has lacked with these other CFL discussions.
 

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Neal said:
Tom said:
Dean's latest post sort of spelled it out. Once is a bummer, twice makes me go "Hmmm...", the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, etc... is enough for me to say, "Okay, there is a problem with this item, lets just not use it." If I had ever seen any problems with a MVB or any other product, I'd say the same thing. For example, I DO say the same thing about those death trap water bowls with the tall slick sides that the pet stores sell for tortoises.

I get what you're saying and where you're coming from. And I know you don't like to get bogged down with specifics...but some of us do...and that's what I have felt has lacked with these other CFL discussions.

Copy that.

You guys carry on with all the specifics that you want. I've made my case. I'll stay out of it, but check in periodically to see if any thing new is being discussed. Thanks for a civil discussion everyone.
 

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Was wondering, wouldn't testing these bulbs with a UVB meter (not sure the tech. name) settle this discussion?
 

Edna

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wellington said:
Was wondering, wouldn't testing these bulbs with a UVB meter (not sure the tech. name) settle this discussion?

Apparently not, since they've been tested with UV meters and those links have been posted.
 

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Edna said:
wellington said:
Was wondering, wouldn't testing these bulbs with a UVB meter (not sure the tech. name) settle this discussion?

Apparently not, since they've been tested with UV meters and those links have been posted.

None of the links are updated, 2009. The link you posted, well foreign to me. What I got out if it, is that one of the zilla bulbs puts out pretty much 0 uv. Most of us don't even know how much uv is exceptable. A simple experiment, without risking a torts eyes, by a member that has a meter, a few do, and this could possibly all be put to rest. Just a thought for any of you that wants to use them.
 

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Testing is hard mainly because UV meters are fairly expensive and such a niche tool. I don't know about you, but I have absolutely no interest in spending $100+ on testing equipment.

Also worth mentioning is that the type of reflector used can have a impact on the intensity of the CFL rays. I'm talking about aluminum inside vs white powder coat inside vs open cage, etc. I believe I read this on uvguide but has since been taken down since they're updating their page.

For what it's worth, I used a ZooMed CFL 10.0 bulb for my Iguana for nearly a year off and on while waiting for the whole reptileuv situation to work itself out. I had absolutely no problems mounted horizontally in a wire cage style fixture.

With that being said, I still prefer MVB. They last longer, provide heat, and I'm not a fan of fluorescents light color tone.
 

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Could part of the problem be the enclosure setup, back in the late 90s my mep had eye problems that I blamed on the uv tube, but as time goes on I think the biggest problem was that the tortoise was forced to be in the direct uv rays unless he was in his hide, now I always make sure there are shaded areas in their setup for them to retreat to. just a thought.
 
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