Lighting Concerns

Carolyn&Littlefoot

New Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2020
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Hi all,

It's been almost a year since becoming a tortoise mom, and I was recently looking into creating a kind of cover for my tortoise enclosure inside (due to the possibility of adopting a cat in the distant future but thats a whole other thing). I wandered down several threads and opinions, and stumbled upon several comments across a few old threads (like 2008-2012) about the Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB mini compact fluorescent (13 watts) bulbs. These comments have me pretty worried because 1. this is the UVB bulbs I have been using for a year (changing them every 6 months) and 2. I had not heard anything about there being possible eye damage to reptiles from this bulb. I've seen some things that it was just older and poor manufacturing that caused many of these occurrences but I wanted to come here and ask some people who have had tortoises longer than I have/know more than I do. Am I worried for nothing if my tortoise is happy and healthy? Is it absolutely necessary to swap out these bulbs ASAP, and if so, what UVB bulbs should I use? I already have 1 CHE and 1 Basking bulb, so I would really only need something that just puts out the UVB, not like a MVB. Thanks in advance for the help!
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
40,450
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Those bulbs have still been known to cause eye damage and don't give out good uvb.
If it were me, I would switch it out. You never know when that one bulb will cause damage.
If you get your tort outside 3 or 4 times a week for natural uvb then you don't need a uvb bulb at all.
Otherwise buy a tube florescent bulb and fixture.
 

Carolyn&Littlefoot

New Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2020
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Thanks, I just purchased a Mercury Vapor bulb for pick up tomorrow (too late where I am to get one tonight). It looks like it should also help reduce the number of bulbs I'm using and make the whole set up look less cluttered. I'm hoping that my tort hasn't been terribly affected by the coil bulb over the past year.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,443
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks, I just purchased a Mercury Vapor bulb for pick up tomorrow (too late where I am to get one tonight). It looks like it should also help reduce the number of bulbs I'm using and make the whole set up look less cluttered. I'm hoping that my tort hasn't been terribly affected by the coil bulb over the past year.
Mercury vapor bulbs are no good either. What species of tortoise and what size?

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In the UK, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12%. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
 

Carolyn&Littlefoot

New Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2020
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
I have an adult Russian tortoise, but what is wrong with mercury vapor bulbs? Right now he has a ceramic heat emitter, a basking bulb, and 2 coil UVBs that i am not trying to replace. I was going to be using the mercury vapor bulb to replace the coil UVBs and the basking bulb, but keeping the ceramic heat emitter to make sure temperatures stay in the right range for him (my tortoise).
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,202
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Hi! Mercury vapor bulbs are 1) expensive, 2) very variable in how much UVB they actually put out, 3) they're finicky...sometimes they break if you look at them wrong, 4) they burn really hot, and are known to promote pyramiding.

The proper type of UVB is a fluorescent tube type fixture. The first time you buy it, you have to buy the fixture, and the bulb will come with it. After the initial purchase, you only need to buy the bulb.

There are 2 that we recommend, one made by ZooMed, and the other by Arcadia. A lot of members prefer the Arcadia. They are measured by % (either 10%, 12%, or 14%), and by the physical length of the tube. A 22" tube goes into a 24" fixture.

Here they are:


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CX5HXI2/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PNK42W8/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

They both come with a bulb, but the Reptisun bulb that's included is for forest dwellers, which is a lower UVB output than you want. So I linked the proper bulbs.
 
Top