How do I choose a UV lamp

How do I choose the right UVB lamp for my reptiles?

Tips for choosing UV lighting in the terrarium

Modern UVB lamps have different wattages. The distance between the UV lamp and the animal and the daily exposure time can also be changed. We therefore recommend the following procedure:

  1. Choosing the right wattage (35 - 150 watts)
  2. Choose the right distance between the lamp and the animal (often between 20 and 40cm)
  3. The daily exposure time (6 - 12 hours)

The UVB matrix developed by Reptiles Expert is helpful:

UVB matrix

We try to imitate the sun in their natural habitat as best we can for our reptiles. Desert animals will need more UVB, more heat and longer exposure times than jungle animals or Mediterranean reptiles.

Example: A desert reptile (bearded dragon) requires a 70 watt UVB lamp at a distance of approx. 30 cm. This distance is chosen so that the UVB radiation arriving at the animal is just right. The heat radiation from the lamp is also okay at this distance. If necessary, the heat can be increased by other means (additional heating lamp). As cold-blooded animals, reptiles are dependent on a sufficiently high level of thermal radiation to heat themselves up. If the animal is larger and the whole body is not covered by the light cone at a distance of 30 cm, the distance must be increased. However, the UVB radiation will then also be lower and you have to switch to a higher wattage.

There is no single “right” solution, rather there is always a compromise made up of various factors. In principle, the following applies: the closer to the animal, the fewer losses (UVB, heat, energy costs) - but with the disadvantage that the light cone is then too narrow or the lamp is too close and therefore there is a risk of burns. A distance of approx. 30-40 cm is ideal for sun-hungry reptiles, for typical Mediterranean species (turtles) the distance can be 20-30 cm if a 35 watt lamp is used and the animal is not taller than 15-20 cm.

The Reptiles Expert Matrix is ​​a good help in determining the right UVB lamp:

UVB matrix

Here you can choose the type of reptile and find the right UVB lamp in the green marked fields. There are several options - depending on the size of the animal and also on the distance. The ideal UVB radiation at a given distance is also listed at the top of this matrix.

Exact information about the UV output can be found at Reptiles Expert directly on the homepage for the corresponding lamp. We have all wattages (35/50/70/100/150 watts) in our range. When it comes to heat dissipation, it is not that easy because it depends on so many different variables: room temperature, air circulation, background color, other heat sources, light radiation, ... Here it is best to measure the temperature and, if necessary, to work with other heat sources.

In our opinion, the question of color temperature is not that important. Most UV metal halide lamps have a pure white light color of approx. 6000 Kelvin. This Kelvin scale is completely geared towards human perception and we know that reptiles perceive brightness and light color very differently than we humans. If rainforest dwellers need less UVB, you can use a lower wattage and thus save electricity. I don't need a lamp with a slightly different color temperature for this.

Modern UV metal halide lamps are definitely the first choice for the sunny spot and ensure the necessary vitamin D3 synthesis. You can find favorable offers for all UV lamps in our webshop.

Our inexpensive 3 or 6 multipacks are particularly recommended. Now at Easter there is our 5 + 1 FREE promotion for all UVB lamps!

Now 5 + 1 FREE Easter Promotion!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us for personal advice.