Choose the lamp based on what kind of TORTOISE you have, how big they are, and what kind of enclosure they live in. The distance between that lamp and the top of their shells when they sit in the middle of the basking zone is important.
If you tell me the above, I can tell you what kind of lamp you need to give your animal the right amount of UV energy.
Here are our 3 Picks:
- Carolina Custom Cages Reptile 34″ T5HO UVB + Double GU10 Basking Light Fixture
- Zoo Med ReptiSun T5 HO Terrarium Hood (48″)
- DBDPet Bundle with Reptisun T5 Hood with 5.0 UV-B Bulb 36″ by Zoomed
Spot types like MV or Halide aren’t as good as linear lights. Energy sources must be stable and provide a certain amount of energy (Index) over enough space, at least for the whole tortl. They must also be able to get light and shade for self-regulation.
There isn’t enough UV light coming from the old-style lamps to grow many types of plants. They are good at adding extra lighting, but only when they are used with the right linear source.
For instance, a Marginated, (Testudo Marginata), Ideally, we chose a lamp that will provide the best basking index at 12 o’clock “/30cm or more from the shell A lamp is chosen to run one-third to half the length of the enclosure, allowing the animal to easily self-regulate its own exposure as needed. The sun is never ‘fully charged’ and then turned off. There are billions of angles of reflection and scatter to consider, as well as the sun’s paths. As a result, ‘light and shade’ help to provide natural exposure as needed.
For your species, I would aim for a UVI of 5.00-6.00. A 24w 12% D3+ HO-T5 lamp will cover the entire animal while allowing access to shade and will deliver this index when used “d with its reflector at 12″/30cm over the shell You can then use a statically controlled heat source in conjunction with this lamp to properly regulate your thermal gradient.
The same amount of energy will be projected by the 24w D3+UVFLOOD, but over a slightly smaller area. This is a useful fitting for those who use tables because it has an optional stand that allows it to ‘hover’ over the table.
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How to Arrange the Lighting in Your Tortoise Table or Vivarium
Tortoises need light sources that can both heat them and give them ultraviolet light. Both are important, but the main difference is that the UV light should cover almost all of the space in the vivarium or tortoise table. The heat lamp only needs to be in one corner.
It’s because your juvenile tortoise needs a lot of UV light to make vitamin D3, but heat is only needed when the tortoise wants to bask to warm up, which isn’t always the case.
So, for heat, a heat bulb should be placed at one end of the enclosure, preferably at the opposite end from the covered “hide” area. This way, the tortoise can escape from the heat and light of the heat bulb when he or she wants to.
It’s best to use as many ultraviolet lights as you can fit into your enclosure. This way, you can make sure the whole area is always lit up. A small UV bulb, the same size as the heat bulb, may come with your tortoise table. This is what I found. If this isn’t enough, I would always use a strip light instead. You can then use the smaller bulb as a backup when the strip lamp blows (which it will) while you wait to buy a new one.
Which Heat Bulb should I use?
There are a lot of things you can do to keep your tortoise warm, from ceramic emitters that don’t make any light to heat mats that don’t make any light at all. Honestly, though, these are pretty pricey options. They also require more thought about how much space and how to install them. Ceramic heaters can also get very hot, so you need to be extra careful when you put them in.
Personally, I like the way halogen or incandescent light bulbs look like sunlight because it just feels more natural to me. To keep my tortoise warm, I put a 60 Watt basking lamp about 30cm above him to keep it warm. He likes to bask under it as and when he wants to during the day.
How should I place the UV bulb?
UV bulbs should be long “strip” bulbs, as long as you can fit them into the space you have. A UV bulb that gives off both UVA and UVB light is important.
As a goal, try to place your UV bulb high up in the enclosure so that it can cover the whole floor space.
This doesn’t stop the light from reaching the tortoise, but it does protect the eyes of anyone in the area. I’m not sure what the long-term effects of staring at a UV bulb all the time might be, but I don’t want to risk it to find out.
My UV bulb needs a big power source with a “starter” module, so you’ll need to think about where you’ll put this. A lot of these things are a little lumpy. In my case, they’re about 25 cm long, 7 cm wide by 5 cm tall.
It is important for tortoises to have a lot of light.
It’s a good idea for young tortoises to have 8 to 10 hours of both heat and ultraviolet light each day. This is why both UV and basking light bulbs break down every 6 to 12 months. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this.
How Long can a Young Tortoise go without Heat?
If you need to move your tortoise for any reason, or leave them outside of their enclosure for a short time while you clean it, they won’t get sick. Teenage tortoises should not be kept away from their heat and UV sources for long except in cases like this, when they need a break.
I would look for another source of heat if there was a power outage or something like that. An empty hot water bottle filled from the tap might be a good way to keep warm while you’re without electricity.
Do Tortoises Need a Heat Lamp at Night?
No, they don’t need a heat lamp at night.
A tortoise doesn’t need to be lit up in the dark if the temperature in your home is 21 degrees or so. This is my personal opinion.
Soft blue lighting at night might be good for some people. I can’t see how this is useful at all. Tortoises are just like us in that they sleep better in the dark, just like they would in the wild.
People who worry about the temperature dropping too low at night might be able to make an argument for something that doesn’t make any light.
This could be a ceramic heat fitting or a heat mat.
If you want to keep your tortoise warm while it sleeps, a heat mat might be a better choice than a ceramic fitting, which is likely to be too hot at night. Heat mats tend to spread a gentle warmth over a large area, like the belly where the tortoise is sleeping.
For the rest of their lives, no.
Do Tortoises Require Heat and UV Lamps For Their Whole Lives?
If you want to keep your tortoise, you might want to think about how much light and heat it needs when it’s older.
It’s not true that you don’t need UV to keep your shell and skeleton in good shape, no matter how old you are. Just like us, tortoises grow new tissue and bone all through their lives, not just when they reach adulthood. It’s important to help this regeneration happen all the time.
My guess is that the confusion about this comes from the fact that when tortoises are older, they can move around more and may even live outside during the summer. If they can get enough natural sunlight this way, then there’s no need for an extra source of UV.
They need an artificial source of UV at all times because they live in a tortoise table or terrarium that stays in one place, away from natural light.
It’s not clear how heat works.
It’s safe for your tortoise to live outside in an enclosure from the age of two, but this means they won’t be exposed to the same level of heat as they would in their heated indoor enclosure. Is it safe to say that consistent heat exposure is less important than UV exposure?
My guess is that you should keep your heat lamp around for when your tortoise is living indoors or “overwintering,” but I don’t know for sure.