Every pet owner aims to make their pet as comfortable as possible and to make its new home similar to its home in the wild.
A terrarium with adequate space is good but it doesn’t end there.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded and so they require an external source of heat.
They also require UVB to help with vitamin D3 synthesis for the absorption of calcium so they can have strong and healthy bones.
In the wild, they get UVB from the sun but in captivity, you would need to produce this for them artificially.
They are many UVB bulbs out there, but which ones are the best UVB bulbs for bearded dragons?
UVB is important for your beardie to produce vitamin D3.
This vitamin helps in the absorption of calcium from their diet so they can stay healthy.
Without UVB, your pet beardie would get a metabolic bone disease which then leads to weak bones, pain, distress, and deformities.
Lack of UVB also affects their mood and compromises their immune system.
Benefits of Using the Best UVB Bulbs for Bearded Dragons
The primary benefit of using UVB bulbs is to ensure your bearded dragon is free from metabolic bone disease.
Bearded dragons cannot absorb calcium normally in their diet, and so they achieve this for bone and shell formation with the help of Vitamin D3.
UVB helps in vitamin D3 synthesis, and so your beardie can absorb calcium.
Metabolic bone disease is a serious condition that can become fatal if left untreated.
If your bearded dragon has insufficient calcium, the bones lose calcium and it becomes brittle and prone to fracture.
By this, the bones get deformed and their limbs don’t function properly.
It causes pain and discomfort, and ultimately reduce their life expectancy.
Considerations to Be Made When Using UVB Bulbs
Create an On and Off Schedule
New bearded dragon owners often get confused about the amount of UVB their pet needs.
Bearded dragons require UVB for strong bones and overall healthy life, but how much do they need?
Bearded dragons don’t need the light at night because just as in the wild, they can only absorb this radiation from the sun during the day.
So you can turn off the light at night. Provide 12 to 14 hours of UVB, and put it off for the remaining time each day.
Also, take note to mount the light in a way that they can get away from it when they choose to.
Make provision for a shady area where they can cool off.
Choose The Correct Bulb Wattage
There are a few wattage options of UVB bulbs for you to choose from, and it can be quite confusing to you especially if this is going to be your first purchase.
While wattage is a factor that affects the strength of the light, it’s not the only factor and it’s not as important as the others.
The factors that impact the intensity of the bulb are its placement distance, presence or absence of screens, and if you have any reflectors.
You can see that no matter the wattage you use, these other factors play a better role.
Place The Light Properly
The placement of your UVB bulb greatly influences how much UVB your bearded dragon gets, so you must do it right.
Generally, you should mount the bulb 7 to 10 inches away from the basking area.
You also need to provide shade so your pet can leave the light when they want to.
For mercury vapor bulbs, it’s different. Mercury vapor bulbs should be mounted outside the enclosure, at 3 to 4 inches away from the cover.
If the mercury vapor bulb you have is stronger than normal, then you would need to increase the distance.
Frequency of Replacement
This is an important factor as the frequency of replacement would affect the cost to you.
UVB bulbs from good brands can work efficiently for between 5 to 12 months before they need to be changed.
To be on the safe side though, change the bulb after 6 months because even though they still emit UVB, their output would be diminished at this point.
Why You Should Avoid Coil UVB Bulbs
Coil UVB bulbs are not the ideal products for use with your bearded dragons because of their high output and inconsistency.
This can lead to damaged vision amongst other problems for your bearded dragon.
So keep your pet safe and make use of recommended products only.
The Best UVB Bulbs for Bearded Dragons
1. Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent
First on our list of best basking bulbs for a bearded dragon is this 13-watt compact fluorescent tube.
It emits 10% UVB and 30% UVA, thereby satisfying the radiation needs of your pet beardie.
It’s best suited for small to medium tanks and will be great for all basking and desert reptiles.
It has a screw fixing and produces little visible light but no heat.
For maximum transmission of UVB, the bulb is made of UVB transmitting quartz glass so that your pet can get maximum UVB from the product.
You can fit it either vertically or horizontally depending on your design.
- Compact product
- Gives great value
- Produces no heat and little visible light
2. Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 High Output UVB Fluorescent Bulb
This lamp measures 20 inches and is rated at 20 watts.
It provides your bearded dragon with 105 UVB, and 30% UVA to ensure that your pet doesn’t get sick of metabolic bone disease which can result from a lack of exposure to UVB.
This product is best fitted for use in large terrariums that require at least 12 inches of UVB penetration.
Due to its powerful intensity, you can use it above a screen but note that the screen would filter out a lot of beneficial UVB wavelengths.
- Doesn’t cause eye problems for your bearded dragon
- Can be used for large tanks
- Doesn’t flicker
- Can be used above screen covers
- Provides useful UVA and UVB in adequate amounts
- Doesn’t produce heat
3. Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Lighting Dual Kit
This desert UVB and Heat Lighting Dual Kit has everything you need to provide heat and UVB for your bearded dragon.
It has a dome lamp fixture that provides dual ceramic sockets and they each support up to 160 watts.
There is also a dual on and off switch for more control.
This kit contains two lamp bulbs and the first is a 75-watt spot lamp for basking.
The reflected heat is a concentrated beam of warmth thanks to the double reflector.
Its glass is blue to support heat transfer. The second bulb is a 10.0 UVB 13 watts fluorescent bulb that is compact but emits optimum UVA and UVB that your bearded dragon requires to stay healthy.
- It’s cheaper than buying separate lamps for heat and UV rays
- Easy to set up
- Have the bulbs included
- Conveniently placed switches
- UVB output isn’t very high and so the bulb won’t be suitable for use in large terrariums.
4. Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb
This 100-watt mercury vapor bulb is a great source of UVA, UVB, visible light, and heat for your bearded dragon.
It’s self-ballasted and so the flow of electricity is controlled so that it is used as a regular bulb.
You don’t have to worry about harm coming to your pet as it doesn’t emit UVC.
It’s beneficial to all reptiles as it provides them with the needed heat for metabolic processes, and visible light too.
It fits into most enclosures and comes with a long lifespan so you won’t have to replace it too frequently.
Since it provides both heat and UVB for your beardie, you should use it in a standard US ceramic socket with a deep dome that has been designed for high energy bulbs.
- Keeps the basking area warm
- Provides visible light
- Can be used in a standard light bulb fitting
- Not fit for use in large tanks
5. Repti Zoo Reptile Heat Lamp Full Spectrum UVA UVB Reptile Sun Lamp
This self-ballasted mercury vapor bulb provides your bearded dragon with all the goodness that comes with natural sunlight.
It gives both UVA and UVB, as well as heat and light. Despite its versatility, it’s easy to use and install and is beneficial to your bearded dragon as well as other reptiles with similar needs.
It’s durable, and so a purchase would serve you for a long time.
Being a full spectrum bulb, it gives your pet its daily UVB and heat requirements.
Its ballast eliminates the need for an external ballast, and it also has built-in thermal protection against overheat.
- Provides both heat and UVB
- You don’t need an external ballast
- It turns off when it overheats
- You would need to buy the fitting separately as it doesn’t come with the bulb
Things to Look Out for in The Best UVB Bulbs for Bearded Dragons
Type of Bulb
You will find different types of bulbs for bearded dragons, and each has different features.
Fluorescent tube bulbs are the most commonly used types and they are cheap.
Note that the fluorescent tube bulbs have to be the type for reptiles and not the common household fluorescent tubes as the common types does not produce UVB.
Fluorescent tube bulbs also have to be very close to your bearded dragon for any difference to be made, so they are not the best types for large tanks.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are smaller than the fluorescent tubes and produce a higher intensity of UVB.
Mercury vapor bulbs are more expensive, but they have a longer output lifespan and would not need to be replaced so often.
They emit both light and heat and do not need to be placed so close to your pet to be effective.
So depending on your choice, these are the three types of bulbs you can choose from to best suit your budget and your pet’s needs.
Some bulbs come alone while some come with the lamp and a UVB fixture.
If you already have a fitting, ensure that the bulb you are getting is compatible with it.
But if you don’t have a fitting already, go for a bulb that comes with a fitting so you can easily mount it.
Does It Also Provide Heat?
Reptiles depend on external sources to regulate their core temperatures and they also need you to provide them with UVB so they can synthesize vitamin D3. Some bulbs are solely for UVB while others can emit both heat and UVB. It’s cost-effective and more convenient to have a bulb that takes care of both needs so look out for such a bulb.
Frequency of Change
The frequency at which you replace a UVB bulb depends on the type that you buy, and how often you put it on.
The longer you leave a bulb on, the faster it would need changing.
A mercury vapor bulb for instance can last for 10 to 12 months.
It’s better to replace the bulb before it burns out because before that point, the UVB output would have depreciated and your bearded dragon would have been suffering from deficiencies.
Commonly Asked Questions About UVB Bulbs for Bearded Dragons
How Many Hours of UVB Do Bearded Dragons Need?
In the warmer months of spring and summer, you can leave your UVB bulb on for 10 to 12 hours.
For colder months like fall and winter, you can turn your UVB bulb on for 8 to 10 hours.
How Long Do UVB Bulbs Last?
The lifespan of a UVB bulb depends on the bulb brand, the number of hours in use, and the state of the socket wiring.
Generally, a fluorescent UVB bulb lasts for 6 months with regular use, while a self-ballasted mercury bulb can last for 12 to 24 months.
Can A Bearded Dragon Get Too Much UVB?
Your bearded dragon can get too much UVB and that’s why you will sometimes see them seeking shade from the light.
They regulate their intake of UVB so you have nothing to worry about.
Just provide an escaped shade for them in their enclosure and they will be fine.
Do Bearded Dragons Need UVB at Night?
No, they don’t. just as in the wild, your pet beardie only gets UVB during the day from the sun.
You should however give your bearded dragon at least an hour on UVB before breakfast and after dinner, to stimulate appetite and aid digestion respectively.
With these best UVB bulbs for bearded dragons that have been reviewed, you can protect your pet from metabolic bone disease amongst others.
The goal of every pet parent is to have a healthy and happy pet and with any of these products that are exactly what you will have.
The Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent is a compact and durable product that’s fit for smaller tanks, but if you need something for larger tanks then go for Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 High Output UVB Fluorescent Bulb.
Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Lighting Dual Kit saves you cost as it provides you with both heat and UVB at the same time.
All bulbs are top choices and you will be pleased with any purchase you make from amongst them.
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