For a bearded dragon breeder or any other reptile, temperature and light are two of the most important things to keep in mind. Your pet’s health depends on it. Bearded dragons, like most reptiles, are unable to generate their own heat, needing some kind of external bearded dragon heat lamps such as ceramic heat lamps, Fluorescent UVB bulbs or mercury vapor lamps, among others.
The bearded dragon is a desert animal, which unlike the leopard gecko has diurnal habits. It needs enough UVB to be able to synthesize vitamin d3, important for its metabolism. Hence, it is necessary to make a terrarium that satisfies these needs.
Bearded Dragon Heat Lamps Basic Setup.
It depends to a great extent on the age of the bearded dragon and its enclosure size. Under tank heating systems are not effective as a primary heat source for diurnal reptiles, as they are used to bask. On the other hand, nocturnal reptiles such as leopard geckos and snakes, spend the most part of the day in caves, absorbing the ground heat, without much exposure to the sun. In this case, a heating pad is the best option.
There are more than a dozen heat lamp designed for bearded dragons. They have several sizes and shapes. It confusing to decide on the light bulb to choose from. Another issue is the type of light they emit and which size and shape work best for you.
In this post, we will help you to make an educated decision about the types of lamps your bearded dragon needs.
The bearded dragon, like other diurnal reptiles, needs a day and night cycle. During de day time, you must provide UV light all over the enclosure. The temperature range must go from 105 Fahrenheit at the basking place. This area is the hottest zone inside the terrarium. The cold zone, where the bearded dragon has its hidings places, water supply most rage from 84 to and 86 degrees.
During the night, the temperatures most oscillate from 85 and 60 Fahrenheit degrees. depending on the climate and ambient temperature, a secondary heat source may be necessary. There is nothing better for this task than ceramic heat emitters. They are economical, efficient and very durable. And if that’s not enough, they don’t emit any light.
Controlling illumination and temperature inside the terrarium.
Knowing which is the temperature in each point of our enclosure, facilitates to optimize the configuration of the terrarium. Temperature changes are very common and our reptile is the first to suffer the consequences.
If you have digital thermometers attached to the walls of the tank, you may know the temperature at all times.
It is necessary to clarify that you should NOT CONNECT rheostats or thermostats to this terrarium heating system. This would reduce by 80% the useful life of all bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
Although there are tables that indicate the relationship between bulb distance and temperature, you will have to make adjustments until you find the right configuration for you. Sometimes you have to move the light bulb closer or farther away. Increase the power or double the number of lamps. And even adjust the temperature of the room.
To regulate the day/night cycle, I suggest you connect your lighting system to a timer like the one in the picture. This will automate your work.
I suggest that before placing your bearded dragon, make some tests at least three days to see how the heating system behaves. If the temperature remains within the parameters and there are no setbacks, you can move your pet to its new home.
The Best Bearded Dragon Heat Lamps brand.
As we said before, there are a large number of reptile heating lamps to choose from. Once you have decided on the type of configuration your bearded dragon needs, whether it’s a daytime heater, a nighttime heater, a ceramic heater or a modern mercury vapor heater, you should choose one of the dozens of brands competing for a share of this market.
The truth is that the choices vary greatly in price, durability, intensity, energy efficiency and more. Here, we will try to group together what we believe are the best brands of reptile heaters by 2020.
Before choosing I recommend that you evaluate some factors when deciding which brand will be chosen:
Price– The price of a reptile heat lamp may depend on the type, brand, unit’s specifications, and inclusions. You can buy one for as low as $6 on Amazon or Walmart, while average to high-end Reptile heat lamp costs $12-$30 or more. How much are you willing to spend on it?
Life Expectancy – One great catch about the heating sources is theirs have a different life expectancy. While the day and night bulb has an average of 8 to 9 months of continuous uses, an average ceramic heat emitter can last up to 3 years.
Wattage – Reptile heat lamp comes in different types, models and wattage. You can choose from heating units as low as 50 up to 250 watts. This factor is vital as wattage indicates the heat efficiency of the unit. The ideal wattage range is from one hundred to one hundred and fifty. A 60 watts heat lamp may only work in small terrariums, while 250 watts are the best option in a large enclosure.
Best Daytime UV Bulbs for Bearded Dragons.
Within this group are “broad-spectrum” tubes, which emit very little UVB radiation, insufficient to synthesize vitamin D3. On the other hand, there are some high-end brands such as Zoo Med ReptiSum 10 UVB T5, that do provide enough UVB/UVA radiation for reptiles. These tubes, in general, produce little heat and low-intensity visible light, ideal for reptiles that live in shady places and do not tend to spend much time in the sun. We recommend to use the longest tube that enters the terrarium, along with mercury vapor lamps, this is the best way to give good coverage throughout the habitat.
It is the best UVA-B source for bearded dragons. Don’t be fooled by its small diameter. This fluorescent tube T5 emits much more radiation than a T8. They are more efficient and durable, and ideal for bearded dragon terrariums lighting system with heights from 10 to 18 inches without losing intensity.
Top Bearded Dragon Heat Lamps: Mercury Vapor Lamps (2 in 1)
This option is more modern technology, these bulbs are also called HID or mercury vapor depending on the brand. They offer us to have both UVB and infrared (heat) illumination in the same bulb. Mercury vapor bulbs are perfect to heat bearded dragons and usually come with a built-in ballast. The mercury vapor lamps provide visible light, heat, and a high dose of ultraviolet radiation. Price is used to be more expensive than the previous ones because they bring together several functions in a single device.
They are meant to be used for large, well-ventilated environments. They are ideal for species such as bearded dragons or green iguanas, which prefer to sunbathe during the most intense hours of sunshine.
If you have a basking reptile, this is one of the best heat bulbs you can use. And by basking reptile, I mean Chamaleon, day geckos and bearded dragons. All kind of lizards that requires UVA and UVB. But what is so great about this bulb, because there are plenty of mercury vapor bulbs on the market. The first features its long-lasting lifetime, as average it lasts for more than a year with just 30 % of decay. The second is the incredible amount of UV light it emits. The mega-ray doubles the amount of UVB light compared with other mercury vapor bulbs of the same wattage. The 100 to 160 watts produce from 150 to 200 microwatts of UVB light at 18″. This is like a very sunny day in Miami. The best sun-like UV source a reptile pet can get.
Mega-Ray Mercury Vapor Bulb Pros and Cons
- Long-Lasting lifetime. More than a year with 30 % decay only.
- It doubles the amount of UV light emitted by conventional mercury vapor lamps, 150 to 200 microwatts at 18 “.
- Safety reset feature against overheating.
- 6 months warranty by the manufacturer.
- 30 days money-back warranty.
- High Price.
- It is not supposed to be used with regulators or rheostats.
- It’s too hot for non basking reptiles
PowerSun UV is a mercury vapor lamp, one of the few types of lamps that emits UVA, UVB, visible light and heat. This bulb adapts to any ceramic holder that accepts its voltage and has a warranty of 1 year.
It is available in two powers: 100W and 160W, for medium and large terrariums respectively. They have a UVB penetration of up to 1.80 m and are ideal for very large or deep terrariums. The lamp has nickel-coated wires to prevent corrosion.
While the PowerSun is an excellent heat source, you should add another heating system for the night, when it is off. Be careful to put in adequate protection to prevent your reptile from touching the lamp and suffering a burn.
Zoo Med PowerSun UV Bulb Pros and Cons
- Self-ballasted mercury vapor lamp produces light, emmits UVA/B rays and heat.
- Fits into a standard ceramic socket.
- Up to 8 month lifetime.
- Excellent Heat and UV Light source
- 1-year warranty by the manufacturer.
- Price above average.
- You must replace it every 6 months.
The 100-watt bulb produced by MyComfyPets is a powerful mercury vapor lamp. Its heat and intense light are able to simulate sunlight. This keeps your reptile healthy and comfortable.
MyComfyPets comes with a built-in ballast, so there is no need to purchase it separately for operation.
Another great advantage is the reboot system that regulates and protects the reptile against overheating.
It is perfect for lighting and heating systems for turtles, bearded dragons, lizards, reptiles, birds, terrariums, and aviaries. This bulb has an average life of 10,000 hours.
MyComfyPets 2-in-1 Reptile Bulb Pros and Cons
- Excellent value for money ratio.
- Self-ballasted mercury vapor bulb self regulates and does not output damaging UVC radiation
- It provides the proper balance of ultraviolet, visual light and infrared light (heat), all in one easy-to-install bulb.
- Safety thermal reset to control temperature and prevent burns by excessive heating.
- 6 to 8-month lifetime expectancy.
- Adjusted Price.
- 100 wats are not enough for terrariums larger than 60 gallons
Ceramic Heat Lamps as Secondary or Nighttime Heat Lamp.
They are available in a wide range of powers from 25w to more than 250w. They are recommended for heating large terrariums as they are more efficient at heating the air inside the reptile tank. The use of ceramic bushes is obligatory for their installation, this material resists very high temperatures, unlike plastic bushes that would quickly melt. The advantage of these lamps is that they are opaque and therefore do not emit light, thanks to this they can be used in terrariums where at night we need to have a heat source on, with them there will be no light that bothers us or the animal. Although they have a higher price than spot or infrared bulbs, they have a longer useful life.
Most Frequently Asked Questions about bearded Dragon Heating Lamps.
Are reptile heat lamps safe?
Heating lamps can cause accidents if they do not comply with the safety regulations and assembly recommended by the manufacturer.
Leaving aside the infrequent but possible failures in the production process, heating bulbs usually reach the end of their useful life without any event.
To do so, it is necessary to follow a series of precautions that will prolong the life of the bulb and protect the health of our pets and our goods.
- Use the recommended ceramic sockets. These lamps emit considerable heat. The use of any plastic or rubber-coated sockets is a big NO.
- The dome used must be metal. The dome must be deep enough to keep the bulb away from the mesh. If the bulb comes into contact with the mesh, the temperature will increase several times, causing burns to the reptile and drastically reducing the life of the bulb.
- The cord of the lamp must be certified to support the powers of the lamps. If using adapters, make sure that they can comfortably withstand the sum of all the power of the terrarium heating and lighting system.
- Before decorating the reptile tank make sure that the materials in the sunny area are non-flammable or at least resistant to high temperatures. Avoid materials that release gases when heated.
- And finally, it is recommended to connect the lighting system to a fuse limiter, which interrupts the circuit in case of a short circuit.
How long do reptile heat lamps last?
When we talk about how long a lamp lasts for reptiles we should take not only the time it Alum. In order for a reptile to be healthy, light bulbs must not only illuminate. They must emit enough heat and ultraviolet radiation to digest their food and synthesize vitamin d3, responsible for giving strength to the bones.
Fluorescent bulbs and tubes.
- This differs greatly from the work cycle, the intent of the lamp, and the degradation of the materials used in its construction.
As a general rule, fluorescent bulbs and tubes have a useful life of 8 months, before beginning to decrease the emission of UV light.
Halogen and Mercury Vapor Bulbs.
- In the case of halogen lamps and mercury vapor lamps, these usually have a duty cycle of 6 to 8 hours. Being medium and high-intensity lamps, where a large amount of heat and ultraviolet radiation is generated, it is estimated that they must be replaced every 6 months, except for some brands such as Mega- ray, where their useful life can be extended from 9 to 12 months.
Ceramic Heat Emitters
- Finally, we have ceramic heating lamps. These are usually used at night, as they do not emit light. Only infrared radiation, invisible to humans and most animals. Its useful life is the longest of the series, in some cases lasting up to 5 years in the best brands, although the most common is to drain 3 before stopping heating.
May I use a reptile heat lamp with a thermostat?
The use of thermostats, rheostats or dimmers is NOT recommended. This shortens the life of the lamp due to the stress that the filament is subjected to when switching off and on dozens of times during the day.
To avoid the use of these devices, the best option is the correct calibration of the system of lights and heating.
For this, it is necessary to make previous measurements during different hours of the day to arrive at the optimal configuration. There is not a single solution for everyone since in the system there are multiple variables such as ambient temperature, terrarium size, power of the focus, distance from the dome, ventilation of the room, etc.
Our advice is to fine-tune your system by measuring temperature and radiation before taking your pet to its new home.