It may be quite difficult to set up the proper bearded dragon lighting in your beardie’s tank. And regrettably, this is particularly accurate in the case of new owners.
There is definitely a learning curve to making sure your bearded dragon has the optimum environment that will enable them to grow, from finding the correct basking bulb to comprehending the differences between UVA and UVB.
And although taking temperature readings is usually simple and straightforward, new owners frequently need to handle the UVB setup.
Both novice and seasoned bearded dragon owners may use this article as a reference to ensure they are utilizing the finest UVB bulbs for their pets.
This essay also aims to clarify some often asked issues about UVB bulbs so that readers will feel knowledgeable and secure about their comprehension of this frequently complex subject.
However, it would definitely be useful to provide you some background knowledge about anything UVB before jumping right into the product suggestions.
To help you grasp the ins and outs of good bearded dragon lighting, let’s get right in to everything UVB.
What is UVB light and why is it important?
The wavelength of UVB light, also known as ultraviolet B light, ranges between 280 and 315 nm. Since our eyes are not designed to see this spectrum of light, this might not signify all that much to us.
However, UVB light is essential for the survival of many reptiles, including bearded dragons.
We are aware that UVB light is essential for reptiles and that too little UVB light can result in a variety of health problems, but why?
UVB radiation aids in controlling the skin’s generation of vitamin D3 in reptiles. Because it enables your bearded dragon to absorb and utilise calcium, vitamin D3 is crucial. As a result, reptiles without adequate UVB sun will have low amounts of vitamin D3 and therefore poor levels of calcium.
As we previously explained, metabolic bone disease is a common ailment in bearded dragons who have low calcium levels (juveniles are especially susceptible).
Make sure you start out with adequate illumination because this is an extremely painful sickness that leads to bone problems and abnormalities.
Why does my bearded dragon need UV light?
Understanding why UVB lighting is used in vivaria is the first step; to put it simply, it is done so to simulate the natural sunshine that bearded dragons would utilize and encounter in the wild.
This will enable your pet bearded dragon to manufacture and self-regulate healthy amounts of vitamin D3 by allowing him or her to absorb ultraviolet rays.
What is the Difference Between UVA and UVB Bulbs?
As indicated, virtually every light bulb emits UVA radiation, which has longer rays than UVB light and is more harmful to skin.
The majority of UVA bulbs will merely be conventional light bulbs that produce physical light and heat.
On the other hand, UVB bulbs are a unique kind of light source that will release the shorter UVB rays that your dragon needs in order to make Vitamin D3 and absorb calcium.
The presence of heat and UVB in their tank will be ensured by a suitable bearded dragon lighting system.
How much UVB does my bearded dragon need?
Especially in the UV spectrum, we need to pick a bulb that most nearly resembles actual sunshine while looking for the best UV light for your bearded dragon.
The concept that a tube may be chosen only on the reported output (10%, 12%, etc.) is not the correct approach since this does not provide us with the information we need to make the appropriate choice. Unfortunately, not all UV lamps are made equally.
Fortunately, a UV meter that measures “UV Index” (Solarmeter 6.5 UV Index Meter) makes it simple to compare light output per bulb. According to studies (obtained from the wild), a UV Index of 4-6 is an effective level for bearded dragons in captivity.
How Many Hours of UVB do Bearded Dragons Need?
You should normally leave your UVB bulb on for 10 to 12 hours throughout the warmer months of spring and summer, turning it on somewhere in the middle of the morning and turning it off in the middle of the evening.
You should only leave the UVB on for 8 to 10 hours during the cooler months of Fall and Winter.
Your bearded dragon’s seasons may be regulated and a more natural habitat can be created for them to live in by varying the length of time the UVB lamp is on throughout the year.
Our List Of The Best UVB Lights For Your Bearded Dragon
Fortunately, the herp community is aware of several of the top UVB lamps. Many of the people listed below are people we’ve actually met before we started our study for this list!
Having stated that, we nonetheless started the research process from scratch. We entertained goods we had never tried before and questioned our preconceptions about lights we loved.
To assist us get even more data, we also gathered fantastic input from the local community!
After some time, the winners were obvious. We’re pleased with the list of UVB lamps we’ve provided below, and we think you’ll have excellent luck using them.
Repti-Sun 10.0 UVB (Fluorescent Light)
Without a question, this is one of the most reliable UVB bulbs for bearded dragons currently available on the market, if not THE most reliable.
This fluorescent lamp will last anywhere from 6 to 12 months on average and offer enough UVB for the majority of cages.
To make sure your bearded dragon is receiving the right amount of UVB to keep it healthy, you might wish to replace it with a new one around the 6-month mark.
Zoo Med Repti-Sun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Light
I believe Zoo Med’s Repti-Sun 10.0 UVB is the best option due to a variety of factors, which I’ll go over below. It is a little UV lamp that is ideal for heating and producing basking areas in the tank.
Because of the quartz glass utilized in the arrangement, my beardie always received the warmth and heat it required. Without using any outside factors, it provides deep penetration into the skin of the reptile.
It provides exceptional heat to beardies and is incredibly adaptable and simple to set up.
Characteristics of the Repti-Sun 10.0 UV Fluorescent Light by Zoo Med
One of the main benefits of Repti-Sun 10.0 UVB from Zoo Med Laboratories is that it provides a typical quantity of UVB at 10% and UVA at 30%.
The Repti-Sun 10.0 UV lamp is constructed entirely with functionality in mind. It’s simple to install and attach, and it can produce the proper temperature gradient inside your bearded dragon tank.
A video describing the characteristics and advantages of Zoo Med’s Repti-Sun 10.0 UV Fluorescent Light can be seen here:
Due to its size, overall impact, and cost, I personally selected this for my beardie. For months, I never had a problem with it. Then, of course, issues started to arise.
Size of the UV fluorescent light, Zoo Med Repti-Sun 10.
The light is 18.2 by 1.2 by 1.1 inches and 3.2 ounces in weight. Because of its modest weight, the item is conveniently transportable.
ZOO MED T8 ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Fluorescent Lamp – Best Value
The ZOO MED T8 ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Fluorescent Lamp is the most cost-effective UVB bulb for your bearded dragon. Similar in name to the ZOO MED small lamp, but larger, more affordable, and using a different kind of bulb. It comes in two sizes, 18 inches and 24 inches, all of which include 10% UVB illumination.
This bulb is perfect for big terrariums because it emits 30% UVA light. It may be used above screen tank covers, however a screen will block your bearded dragon from receiving up to 50% of the UVB rays.
Ideally, it should cover 75% of your tank and be positioned 20 inches away from where your bearded dragon basks. It should last up to 8 years as it is a T8 fluorescent bulb with a 20,000–24,000 hour rated lifespan.
Mercury is present in this bulb, thus it should be handled carefully and disposed of appropriately. You should probably look into the hazardous waste disposal regulations in your area.
You will need to have room for both this bulb and a heat lamp above your bearded dragon’s basking area because this does provide some heat, but not enough to completely replace one.
UVB High-Intensity Self-Ballasted Light For Bearded Dragons
We start off with a fantastic UVB lamp that has been around for a long. We’ve previously utilized the manufacturer’s products, and they have a strong track record.
The UVB and UVA capabilities of this bulb are a plus. This enables you to use a single bulb to cover all your bases. All the advantages of natural sunshine will be enjoyed by your bearded dragon!
The versatility of this lamp is one feature we particularly like. You don’t need to worry before buying it because you can use it with a broad range of enclosures (tanks, vivariums, cages, terrariums, etc.). Some lights require a highly specialized mount to function, however that’s not a problem in this situation.
This UVB lamp has received excellent ratings, and many users attest to its dependability and safety. We take this topic extremely seriously, so it’s encouraging to learn that we’re not alone in holding this viewpoint.
This lamp is 6.3 inches in length and 4.5 inches in width. This may be utilized with a wide variety of settings in part because it is quite small.
Zilla T8 UV Fluorescent Bulb: Best Budget-Friendly UV Bulb (Runner-Up)
If you’re on a tight budget, I think Zilla’s T8 UV fluorescent lights are the greatest option out of all the UV bulbs I’ve used. Despite the bulb’s low cost, you’ll never be dissatisfied with its quality.
It is perfect for replicating the desert-like, natural environment of your bearded dragons since it includes a full spectrum of improved spectrum illumination.
An overview of the Zilla T8 fluorescent bulb is provided below:
To ensure that they precisely match the size of your bearded dragon tank setup, you may pick from the several wattages that are offered.
Zilla T8 UV Fluorescent Bulb Specifications
The versatility of the Zilla T8 fluorescent bulb is one of its key characteristics. It may be applied to any captive reptile or desert animal you may have.
It provides the ideal level of UV output for maintaining your dragon’s health. You will never be dissatisfied with the quality for the pricing.
I think Zilla T8’s UV fluorescent bulb is a close second, mostly because of its cost. There isn’t another UV bulb in this price range that has the same characteristics, so shop around.
It’s the ideal UV bulb for beginners to utilize to create a warm, stable environment in your terrarium.
Reptile Systems 36-in T5 12% UVB Juvenile Light Kit – Premium Choice
The Reptile Systems 36-in T5 12 percent Juvenile Light Kit is the best UVB bulb for your bearded dragon. This package comes with a T5 UVB bulb that emits 12 percent UVB, a black clamp-on lamp holder, and a 70-watt mercury vapor lamp.
This bulb may be used in both terrariums and vivariums and is ideal for tanks that are around 36 inches in diameter. Although bearded dragons of any age can utilize it, juveniles are the best candidates due of its enhanced UVB output, which will promote healthy growth and development. The heat lamp is kept in place by the light holder, a modern, black dome.
The UVB bulb in this kit requires a separate light fixture since the provided lamp only works with mercury vapor lamp bulbs. To ensure efficacy, this bulb must be changed every 9 to 12 months.
Reptisun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent By Zoo Med
Unquestionably, this is one of the most often used UVB lamp solutions for bearded dragons. A long-standing player in the market with a track record of producing high-quality goods is Zoo Med.
The first UVB lamp we purchased for our bearded dragon was the Reptisun. Although this fluorescent lamp comes in a few various configurations, we chose to evaluate the small model because of the versatility it offers.
No matter what sort of habitat arrangement you’ve made, you can make it work because to the small construction. Since they only measure 6 x 2.6 inches, you have several possibilities. If you had a very vast space, you could even utilize a couple of them (although their larger version would work as well).
When you handle these lights, they seem sturdy and well-made. They contain quartz glass, which won’t break easily and helps UVB penetration pretty well.
They should last you for a very long time (about 4-6 months), which is not at all awful. This is especially true when you consider that, whether or not they’re still functional, you’ll probably be replacing them around this time (more on that later).
Where should I put my UV light?
We also understand that placing brighter, somewhat more powerful bulbs farther from any animal would provide a safer, more natural UV offering, similar to sunshine. While placing duller lights closer to your bearded dragon may offer the right amount of UVB, this strategy should be avoided since the glare might harm the dragon’s eyes.
In order to perfectly shield their eyes from overhead light and UV exposure, bearded dragons have evolved a protruding protective orbital bone structure.
This development, however, provides little protection from artificial light sources that are installed incorrectly, such as horizontally to the eye in a vivarium. Our article here has further information about this.
Installing a linear UV light, such as the Arcadia ProT5, on the vivarium’s ceiling and then creating a basking area from the floor up with pebbles, stones, or other décor will allow your bearded dragon to approach the lamp at the “optimal distance.”
In order to enable the dragon self-regulate its exposure to the proper amounts of UV radiation when basking, a set basking zone should be established.