UVB BULBS TO AVOID:

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,124
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
To simplify things when shopping for a uvb light for your tortoise...just remember:
"IF IT SCREWS IN, IT'S NOT GOOD."
20200224_115946.jpg 20200130_110441.jpg 20200130_110436.jpg
These are all common pet shop uvb bulbs and they are all horrible.
An MVB and 2 different types of CFL.
(There are other configurations)
All of these are either ineffective, unreliable or even downright harmful.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,124
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
The good news is that buying the correct UVB light isn't even neccesarily more expensive. Just a bit harder to find.
This is a REPTISUN T5.(I use these)
There is also a slightly better T5 sold by ARCADIA.
Get a 5.0 or 6% depending on manufacturer for Forrest species or a 10.0 or 12% for desert species
20200219_145404.jpg
 
Last edited:

nootnootbu

Active Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
117
Location (City and/or State)
USA
The good news is that buying the correct UVB light isn't even neccesarily more expensive. Just a bit harder to find.
This is a REPTISUN T5.
There is also a slightly better T5 sold by ARCADIA.
Get a 5.0 or 6% depending on manufacturer for Forrest species or a 10.0 or 12% for desert species
View attachment 320952
Would a Russian tortoise need the 5.0/6%?
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,124
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
I will make sure before I get it. I will get a couple of each type since I have a Russian, red foots, and sulcatas.
Russians and Sulcata 10.0
Redfoot 5.0
LLL REPTILES and BIG AL'S PETS has the REPTISUN in stock online.
These are complete. Tube and fixture. Nothing more to buy.
 
Last edited:

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,124
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Thanks, do the hoods come in different lengths?
Also, can you tell me if these bulbs get super hot?
No.
Very warm. But not too hot to touch.
They ad little to no heat to the enclosure like an incandescent.
There are several different lengths to suit your needs. Each length is a different wattage. (And different price) But that doesn't change the UVB levels.
 

nootnootbu

Active Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
117
Location (City and/or State)
USA
No.
Very warm. But not too hot to touch.
They ad little to no heat to the enclosure like an incandescent.
There are several different lengths to suit your needs. Each length is a different wattage. (And different price) But that doesn't change the UVB levels.
Alright, thank you so much for the info! I will make sure my babies all have the best possible lighting :)
 

nootnootbu

Active Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
117
Location (City and/or State)
USA
Do you have a recommended supplier to buy these from with good prices? Or should I just get them from Amazon?
 

nootnootbu

Active Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
117
Location (City and/or State)
USA
One more question.
Do the regular heat lamps, just plain old basking spot bulbs, also do damage to a tort's eyes?
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,124
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
One more question.
Do the regular heat lamps, just plain old basking spot bulbs, also do damage to a tort's eyes?
No.
But they aren't really good for a Redfoot just because of the bright light.
I think a CHE or a heat panel is best for them.
Other tortoises that require heat and don't mind bright lights would be fine.
 

S2G

Active Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
95
Location (City and/or State)
AL
My understanding is dont use a red light. Basking wise a sulcata & russian need the same type basking area. A redfoot or other forest tortoise doesnt need that.

While we're talking about lights & heat sources just be ultra careful not to dry everything out. If you blaze a che, uv, & basking light it will be an oven. Thermostat & timers are your best friend
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,124
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
My understanding is dont use a red light. Basking wise a sulcata & russian need the same type basking area. A redfoot or other forest tortoise doesnt need that.

While we're talking about lights & heat sources just be ultra careful not to dry everything out. If you blaze a che, uv, & basking light it will be an oven. Thermostat & timers are your best friend
The red lights make items that aren't food look like food.
Redfoot need an ambient temperature in the lower 80s. They may or may not bask. They dislike bright lights and they overheat easily.
And yes. Getting everything dialed in takes time. But once you do, tortoise keeping becomes much easier and much more enjoyable.
Please, if you can, have EVERYTHING READY and running BEFORE you purchase your tortoise.
It'll sure take out a lot of the stress that comes with not being ready.
 

nootnootbu

Active Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
117
Location (City and/or State)
USA
The red lights make items that aren't food look like food.
Redfoot need an ambient temperature in the lower 80s. They may or may not bask. They dislike bright lights and they overheat easily.
And yes. Getting everything dialed in takes time. But once you do, tortoise keeping becomes much easier and much more enjoyable.
Please, if you can, have EVERYTHING READY and running BEFORE you purchase your tortoise.
It'll sure take out a lot of the stress that comes with not being ready.


I did that with Franklin, my Russian, when I got him, as he did not come with his enclosure.

In the case of my recent red foots and sulcatas, they came with their enclosures and all of their lights, so I'm having to rectify mistakes of the previous owner. The poor little red foots even have shell fungus.
 

Walnut's_pet

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
49
Location (City and/or State)
Connecticut
Looking for input on why the two-in-ones are not a good choice. I'm not disputing this fact. I'm just looking for facts supporting it. I use these bulbs for my tortoise and bearded dragon (in combination with additional incandescent flood basking lamps and separate florescent UVB T8 for general lighting throughout the enclosure. They both like them and gravitate to them regularly during the day. The benefits of having UVB + heat makes a basking spot ideal. I will say that you have to be careful of the wattage/distance of these 2-in-ones because they are somewhat narrow beamed and intense which can burn lizards or damage shells if too strong/close. I have not measured UVB to validate vendors claims. Would appreciate hearing individual's experiences. Thanks
 

Walnut's_pet

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
49
Location (City and/or State)
Connecticut
Thanks for the reply. That prompted me to start researching SBMV (self-ballasted mercury vapor bulbs) more closely. Aside from the dangers of over exposure, noted above. Another common downside, is that the there is a steep rate of decay over the early hours of life before the bulbs 'stabilize'. Perhaps this is why some consider them unreliable? Another knock on them (aside from price) is that they are relatively delicate (the self-ballasted ones only... external ballasted are not) and can burn out early due to vibration and other environmental conditions. However, the quality of the UVB, if you believe what you read online, is far superior to the UVB emitted by standard tube (florescent) bulbs. As mentioned above, I have not measured the UVB output of my current SBMV bulbs to validate this. Life expectancy of the SBMV is a topic of debate. Some claim SBMV have a longer viable UVB lifespan than standard florescent UVB lamps, while others say both are only viable for about six months. So leave it up to the individuals to decide for themselves. I think there is a case to be made for the MVs IF they are used correctly. Big question is whether the quality of UVB & additional heat factors of MV outweighs their cost, potential risks and possible instability. That having been said, there is nothing more stable than a good UVB florescent coupled with one or two incandescent floods and/or CHE.
A couple of sources I read. http://www.reptileuvinfo.com/docs/facts-about-mercury-vapor-bulbs.pdf , https://www.moonvalleyreptiles.com/reptile-resources/reptile-uvb-lighting,
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,124
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
I've done some pretty un scientific tests on MVB bulbs (and others)
The UV levels vary WILDLY from bulb to bulb. The heat output varies and can he very desicating and the light output in general is too harsh for any shade loving tortoise like my Redfoot. And they are unreliable and don't last long on top of all of that.
Since the cost is the same as a good quality T5 linear UVB tube with the fixture, I try to help new members from wasting money on the MVB.
EVERY PET SHOP HAS THEM.
So, it's very common that keepers buy them. And those crazy, outdated spiral CFLs.
Your T8 can provide adequate UVB. But it must be within 6 or 8 inches of the animal and not required to pass through a screen. A screen blocks out at least 40% of the useful UVB.
A T5 usually must be purchased online. For some reason pet shops are slow to move into the 21st century.
A healthy T5 5.0 or 6% can provide a uv level of 3 at 10" through a screen top and a 10.0 or 12% can nearly double that.
They're very effective.
And not very expensive.
 
Last edited:
Top