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Heating lamp selection and wattage, please reply ASAP

Discussion in 'Habitat Lighting' started by replover, Dec 28, 2005.

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  1. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Hey guys, I am almost finnished building a new, larger enclosure for my green iguana, who's at the moment about 22 inches STL only but growing fast.

    The enclosure is as follows:
    Slightly over 4 X 4 feet base, X 6 feet tall.
    Frame is made of wood sealed with furniture laquer.
    The entire enclosure walls, door and top are MESH, not glass on any sides.
    I am located in Hong Kong. The temperatures are not extreme, but in the coldest months in winter, it drops to about 8 - 10 Celsius (about 50 Farenheit if I am not miscalculating) and in the summer months about 31 C (About 88 Farenheit) in the afternoon and dropping to about 26 C (about 79 Farenheit) in the night/evening as per the weather reports. Of course, it could be slightly different indoors. (Yes I know I may need to switch lightbulbs but please at least help me recommend one for each season as detailed below, and get the right light fixtures.)

    I am going to go out to buy heating equipment today or tommorow, and would appreciate your input as to the type I need. Currently, on my smaller enclosure, I have installed (by day) an Exo-Terra Repti Glo 8.0 UVB tube (40 Watt, 48 inches), a regular household lightbulb 60 Watt and a ceramic heat emitter with a fan (from regular household goods store). It keeps the temperature gradient right in the small enclosure. At night, the lights are turned off and the ceramic heat emitter is turned up a little.
    I also have a humidifier for increasing humidity.

    Now, I want to go more "Pro" with the heating for the new 4 X 4 X 6 enclosure, and I think I am going to go with the Exo-Terra line (Are they good?) They are the easiest available here. There are products from other lines such as zoo-med but the shops don't stock a complete product line for those, only one thing here and there, as well as "generic" bulbs from mainland China, which look really lousy and same price. Exo-Terra seems to be everyone's favorite here in Hong Kong. Yes, I know that sometimes a normal household bulb will do, but I want to get the best stuff anyway as I'd rather get it right once than buy over and over and get the wrong temperature.

    Here are my questions, if possible, please give an answer to each numbered one:

    1) Firstly, for the daytime basking/heating light, I plan on getting Exo-Terra's Sun Glo Neodymium spotlight. It will be aimed at an angle (because of the wood frame in the way). For the enclosure of 4 X 4 X 6 foot with wire mesh on all sides, what wattage should I get to get the proper temperature gradient? 75W? 100W? 150W? for DAYTIME basking temperature.

    The enclosure is in a room that is slightly over twice the length, 1.5 X the width and 2 feet taller than the enclosure itself, with a window closed at all times, and door closed most times. I would LOVE to be free of the Ceramic Heater I am using now because it has a fan and it decreases humidity a lot.

    2) For this daytime basking light, which fixture is better? Should I use the Exo-Terra glow light fixture? Or the Wire light fixture? I would personally get the Glow light fixture because it is an actual lamp shade, rather than a wire cage lampshade, so that the heat/light can be in a more concentrated beam and not spread all over the place, but I am concerned that the Exo glow light fixture comes with this "Glow reflector" surface that absorbs light and glows at night. I don't know if they are trying to simulate moonlight or what, but I thought it was supposed to be all dark at night. I don't know also how strong the luminous light it gives off after the bulb is turned off gets. A slight moonlight like glow is OK, but not if its too strong. Anyone know? Tried it?

    3) For nighttime heating, I may stick with the ceramic heater I have (which I don't like, because it has a fan and dries everything up), or I may switch to Exo-Terra's "Heat Glo" infrared heat lamp. I would much prefer this over their ceramic emiter because it gives me a red light to watch the iguana at night without disturbing its sleep patterns. My question is, for the enclosure mentioned above, and my climate in Hong Kong, what wattage should I be getting to provide the proper NIGHTTIME temperature given my enclosure size and Hong Kong climate?

    4) I would presume that I should get the Wire light fixture for the infrared lamp, right? So that the heat can radiate around?

    5) Should I put the infrared lamp near the middle of the enclosure so that it gives an even ambient temperature? Or near the basking spot to be consistent with day time?

    6) For those of you who have used the Exo-Terra's "Wire Light" fixture, do you know how the clamp works? I need to fix it to a rack, but when I look on the photo of their website, the clamp is attached firmly to the light socket, but on the other end it looks like some kind of "loop" of plastic string. I don't see how this can be used to keep the light fixed at an angle properly and firmly. Can it and how does it work?

    So anyway, that's it. I hope I can get some responses soon I'd like to move the ig to the new enclosure as soon as possible and I am looking to go shopping tommorow afternoon or morning. Hopefully I can get your opinions. I REALLY HOPE you can help me out because I have been buying too many things that were wrong and I really want to try my best to get at least an educated choice rather than "Buy and experiment buy again". In Hong Kong you can't return things to stores unless they are faulty in some way.
     
  2. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Hi, two additional questions,

    7) You see the photos of the light fixtures on their website:
    http://www.exo-terra.com/EN/products/glow_light_p.html
    http://www.exo-terra.com/EN/products/wire_light_lighting_p.html

    You see how both fixtures are attached to this clamp, a clothespin like thingy and then this black rubber like loop on the other end. How does the rubber loop part work as far as attaching to a rack or the frame of the enclosure? The fixture looks nice but the clamp looks so flimsy, does anyone know how that works?

    8) Also, the basking platform is about 4 feet long, I would prefer to get only ONE daytime heating lamp, but if I should, should I get two and aim it all along the way? If so, what wattage should I use? (PLease still recommend the proper wattage for ONE lamp only as well, in case I decide to get only one. The ig is still small and one can probably cover the current area and I can upgrade in about a year or two when he grows another foot or two).

    Thanks!
     
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Your temperature conversions are correct. I'm afraid that there is no hard and fast answer to your question. You are just going to have to play with the wattages to get to where you need to be. We all have to go thru it. I can tell you that I use a 250 watt CHE to heat a 3x4x6 tall sealed cage. First thing when we talk about a ceramic heat emitter it isn't what you are using. A CHE is basically a ceramic light bulb looking thing that screws into a light bulb base (also ceramic) puts out only heat, no light. This is one. http://www.herpsupplies.com/product.cfm?id=SZMCE250
    As far as using household lights, those are fine and considerably cheaper than the pet store type. The only "must have" is the UVB bulb.
    I would get the highest wattage lamp needed to get your temperatures where they need to be. Then I would use a thermostat to control the temperature setting. I use a zoo med 500R thermostat. http://www.herpsupplies.com/product.cfm?id=SZMRT500R
    This unit once set holds the temperature where you put it.
    For your UVB Bulb the long standard is the Zoomed 5.0. However failing the availability of those the exoterra will work, they just are not quite as reliable.

    Now for your numbered questions.

    1 and 2. For providing just heat and basking light. Forget the pet store stuff and get a regular type flood or spot light household light bulb. I would start with a 100 watt and go up from there if needed. For the fixture I would go with a regular ceramic base with a reflector dome from the hardware store. This will accomplish the same thing but at considerably less expense. The glow in the dark fixture is just a gimic. The shade is going to glow in the dark for a short time but not put out any appreciable light. You are correct there is supposed to be dark at night. And the wire fixture is pretty much useless. It will not reflect heat or light.

    3.
    Thats the problem. The companies say that the lizard can't see the red light but I belive that they can. There have been too many cases of iguanas developing strange behavior when introduced to the red light. Iguanas have a 3rd eye on top of their head, the parietal eye, which senses light and shadows. this eye never closes. I prefer to use non light emitting heating devices for night time. Besides at night the lizard is not going to be doing anything but laying there asleep unless disturbed.
    4. any heating device should be completely enclosed so that the iguana can't get against it and burn itself.
    5. I would put the heating device near the basking spot to help with the thermal gradient.
    6. I haven't used the Exoterra fixture but its a pretty basic design that I have used with other clamp type lights. The clamp holds pretty good but once the iguana gets a bit bigger it may be able to knock it loose.
    7. I wouldn't use either for the aforementioned reasons.
    8. I would get one bulb that will make the basking spot about 90-95 F. If you still need more heat then an additional bulb can be centered over the cage.
     
  4. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Ok thanks Merlin, so in other words, no Exo-Terra light fixtures. I still want to give their BULBS a try though.

    Anyone please chime in to the following as well, not just Merlin.
    Now:

    1) For the daylight lamp, for my enclosure and temperatures etc., what would be my best bet for a first try? a) 1 X 150 Watt bulb b) 1 X 100 Watt bulb or c) 2 X 100 Watt bulb spread equally over the platform or d) 2 X 150 watt bulb spread equally over the platform?
    I know I have to experiment but I want an educated guess first so I don't start completely off base.

    2) If I use the CHE you recommend, what fixture should I put it in? I presume I should get a ceramic light fixture WITHOUT a lamp shade? Please show a picture if possible.

    3) Regarding the thermostat, I already have two exo-terra dial therms, but they don't seem so reliable.
    I was told by an experienced herp keeper that the best to use are the THERMOMETERS meant for water temperature used in aquariums, he said they work for air temp too. They are cheap and easy to get and I wonder if that can be a good option?
    By the way, the question about the cage fixture isn't about stopping the ig touching the lamp. All my lights will be OUTSIDE the enclosure, outside the wire mesh. Thanks.
     
  5. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member

    48" is way too far for even a double fluorescent fixture. The UVB will be nil at that distance. It's generally recommended that you have them 8-10" from the basking platform.

    Also, take a look here for bulb comparisons: http://www.uvguide.co.uk/fluorescenttuberesults.htm
     
  6. empoyner

    empoyner Established Member

    I may be totally wrong but I think he means the bulb is 48 inches long not 48 inches away.
     
  7. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Dominik, the 48 inches is not the distance from the UVB to the platform. It's the LENGTH of the florescent tube I got! :-D
     
  8. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member

    OK, I sit corrected. My bad!
     
  9. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Ok, so any recommendations on which strength basking lamp to get at all?

    And also, is it better to have one strong lamp in the middle of the basking platform, or two weaker ones sort of at an angle along the platform?
     
  10. Mark

    Mark Elite Member

    I would use a solid metal dome over the lamp fixture to focus as much of the heat energy as you can. Over the front of this you want a wire cage to protect the ig. I use this type of fixture for all my bulbs, not just the big ones, and CHEs.

    I use more smaller wattage bulbs rather than one large. The lower wattage are safer and allow for better temperature control as you turn then on or off.

    Looking at the outside temps you posted you are not too far off in the summer. If you don't use AC you will only need to bump up the basking temp during the summer.
     
  11. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Ok I just went out and bought a 150 watt and I will use that in the winter and perhaps with a normal household heater to heat the ambient temperature of the room. I don't really wanna get those light socket CHEs because they just look like trouble and can easily burn me if I touch it by accident. It won't burn the ig as these things are all behind mesh of the enclosure itself (outside).

    If this is right, then perhaps I will use a dimmer or switch to a 100 Watt in the summers. Sound good?
     
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