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Metal Halide Questions?

Discussion in 'Habitat Lighting' started by jhickey, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. jhickey

    jhickey Member

    Hello,
    Have some questions about metal halide lighting.
    I read reptileluvs website and articles on metal halide. But they dont answer or return phone calls, at least not mine lol. And from what i have been able to see from watching their website they seem to be forever "out of stock". I have also read various posts on their shaky customer care, and long wait times, if not sometimes none exsistent product shipping. For who may wonder yes I have been living under a rock :). I have not been involved in reptiles for some time, as well as being active duty army. So if this is already known info i am sorry. Please fill me in?
    My next question deals with the exo terra 35w and 70w metal halide fixtures. Are these any good? Any place to look for specific reviews if no one has any personal experience with using this system?
    Also if these 2 companys are not trustworthy, would a plant grow designed (proper kelvin rating) metal halide be ok to use?
    I do understand that these lamps do give off uva and low to non exsistent uvb if not shielded. But if shielded are they ok to use in a reptile enclosure? I will be keeping a monitor, so I am aware that diet should be sufficent in providing vitamen D3. The lack of uvb from the metal halide should not be an issue if i understand everything i have read?
    My plan i would like to use is to possibly grow some small hardy plants, possibly even pruned small trees in a hybrid V. indicus sp. enclosure. A metal halide could be used to grow the plants, as well as possibly be a secondary heat source to the main basking area. I have read that monitors pretty much destroy all plant life eventually if not outright from their day to day habits as well as their claws.
    If im bonkers for this idea please dont be afraid to tell me lol. I would rather be told that its impossible before, rather than after buying possible equipment towards this idea. But if its a possibility that i could do this, but need some tweaks to it, thats why I am posting all this.
    Thank you to any and all input.
    Justin
     
  2. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Hey Justin,

    Its good that you are researching and asking all these questions prior to getting the monitor. Usually its the other way around.

    As for the metal halide, they are a more difficult one to set up correctly so are often recommended after you have some experience. Its not that its rocket science, just that due to the extreme nature of the light its good to have some experience under your belt. I guess what Im saying is I would recommend setting up a lighting system without halides first and then adding them later. However, in regards to your specific questions...

    Metal halides can and do produce UVA, UVB and even UVC, and do so with an overall incredibly high amount of lumens as compared to other lights. Shielding on most HID lights block out the UVC and UVB spectrum. So if you wanted to use the plant designed ones, know that you will be gaining only the UVA and lumens from it (which is perfectly fine). There are reptile HIDs that do produce good amounts of UVB, of which ReptileUV/MegaRay makes a version. Ive never had any problem with Bob's customer service and received my lights as quickly as any other company. I know they have had some issues with production on the HIDs for awhile, and I think Bob said they are in testing again now. Im hoping they will be ready to release the new lights soon as Id like to get my hands on one also. I normally dont recommend exo terra for lighting as they generally test pretty poorly. A good place to go for information is Frances Baines website uvguide.co.uk or you can join the uv meter owners group.

    As for the need for UVB for monitors, it depends on who you ask. There are those who do not think it is necessary as many have bred and reared monitors on dietary Vit D3 alone. However, I am of the opinion that it is a good thing to provide monitors with UVB. Studies have shown that captive monitors consistently have Vit D deficiencies. The fact that animals can breed while still having these deficiencies is a good indicator that breeding is a baseline of health, not the pinnacle of it. Since the quality of UVB lighting has increased so much, and since it doesnt take a great deal of exposure to UVB light to increase Vit D metabolite levels, its a very simple thing to provide this for monitors.

    Regarding the plants, I say go for it. Some have had success while others havent. I feed a lot of live roaches in my enclosure by just tossing them in all at once. Its a great stimulator of the hunting instinct in my monitor, but it means that he tears the plants apart pretty quickly to get at the roaches hiding around the base. However, if you are tong feeding all the time it may be less of an issue. One member here, AdamL8, has had a good deal of success keeping his plants alive within the enclosure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I`m not familiar with that company (I`m living in the U.K) so cannot comment on their reliability, but I can tell you that metal halide lamps are the closest thing to natural sunlight there is at this time. They should not be used for extended periods in the enclosure, perhaps only for an hour each day.
    To be honest, I don`t fully understand your post, in particular the "metal halide fixtures", do you mean the external ballast? Sorry if my reply doesn`t make much sense! ;)
     
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Josh, the studies I assume you`re referring to were done some years ago before anyone used the relatively high surface temps we do today, that surely would have had some bearing on the results (lower basking temps = less efficient digestion and absorption of the nutrients)? I know we`ve had a short discussion on another website, it would be good to do that here, too (with other members).
     
  5. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    The studies werent from that long ago; one was 2000, one 2007, one 2009, one 2010, etc. The other thing to consider is that increased surface temperatures may also hinder Vit D absorption. As it causes digestion to be speeded up, the food passes through the small and large intestines more quickly, and may actually leave less time for Vit D absorption. Im not saying that is necessarily true, just that it could work both ways. Either way, its pretty evident that given the very large dietary Vit D needed to return metabolite levels to normal, and the possibility of toxicity as a result, lighting seems like the best option in regards to health.
     
  6. jhickey

    jhickey Member

    Thank you for the replies Jarich and Murrindindi.
    First I want to say that i have read everything your posting Jarich. The only real reason I was entertaining metal hailde lighting was because it is pretty much considered the best overall. No matter what I have read, or intended application. Most people I have talked to or read have pretty much moved on to metal halides at some point, or that was a stated goal to at some point. Not ALL, but most. As well most I have talked to or read have very little regret for making the switch.
    The lamps tend to last longer then flourescents. And the heat the lamps produce would I believe be a positive for a reptile. Obviously within reason as I am aware these things can literally start fires or fry material or organisms if not properly used.
    I do want to say that I am no expert (no doctor thesis out there lol). But what you stated about the vitamen D3 deficiencies is spot on. It really put it in perspective for me. I have not checked out your info you recommended (I will tho). But your assertion rings true none the less...animals breeding is a baseline not a pinnacle. Its a baseline instinct is what it is. To get an animal to breed is not an indication of how good your level of care is or how good they precieve it. But meerly a myriad of specific factors you have knowingly or unknowingly provided. If that is good then what is the standard is the real question? Or good and bad is probably an inaccurate way to talk about these things.
    I can definately say that the "wild" is just that. A place of coldness and purity. Make no mistake, nothing cares about whether an animal lives or dies. You all know this, I got it :). But reproduction is not a pinnacle. Just a platform for continued exsistence.
    When I was in afghanistan, animals by "american/western" standards look like they are starving. But those same animals are breeding and living and conducting their day to day lives without question none the less. So the breeding as a pinnacle is a rather narrow way to view success.
    Mr. Murrindindi you sir make sense. By "metal halide fixtures" i mean the complete system. Ballast, lamp, and reflector/enclosure. At least thats what I mean. Because the site I looked up exo terra on said fixture lol.
    Justin
     
  7. jhickey

    jhickey Member

    Hello,
    Does anyone else not have experience using metal halides? In a reptile enclousure?
    If so thats cool, just figure thats kind of hard to believe. Truth is stranger then fiction I guess in this case.
    It is hard to believe that the internet forums for corals and plant/cannibus growing are abuzz in all kinds of lighting use and its never occured to anyone outside of a one reptileuv site to use it in a reptile enclosure.
    Should I just accept that people do not grow plants in reptile, or monitor lizard enclosures? Please do tell me if this is the case. That as someone involved in the hobby you just do not do that as a general rule?
    Anyone on this site never try to grow plants using the megaray? If you did what was your experience?
    Justin
     
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I think the initial cost of the bulbs + ballast, plus the fact they can only be used for a limited period throughout the day would put many keepers off. And as it`s been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that properly supported captive Varanids do not need exposure to real or artificial UVB in order to remain healthy, long lived and productive that must also be borne in mind.
    I`ve used a variety on MVB`s over the years, though at present I`m not, and so far I haven`t noticed the slightest difference in health or behaviour.
    Even sturdy plastic plants don`t last too long with the larger species, and unless you have the space to grow (largish) trees, I think it`s mostly a waste of time using real plants (the fake ones are good for providing cover, I do recommend using them).
     
  9. jhickey

    jhickey Member

    Well Mr. Murrindindi thank you for your reply. I appreciate the directness.
    I accept what is before me. Its just not something common or what people do when keeping Varanids.
    Thank you again for your input sir.
    Justin
     

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