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Custom Bearded Dragon Enclosure Lighting Help?

Discussion in 'Habitat Lighting' started by BlueMorpho, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. BlueMorpho

    BlueMorpho New Member

    Hey there. A friend of mine has offered to build my beardies new enclosures. We've adapted some online designs and come up with our own twists... But I'm stuck on what I should do for the lighting/heating.
    The tank dimensions would be 5 feet long, 3 feet tall, and 2 feet deep. I plan on having two spots for 7 inch domes for basking lights and one spot for a 5.5 inch dome for a night time ceramic heater (for winter) one one side, and the original plan was to have two 24 inch UV strips on the other. I want it to be brightly lit, but would two 24" be too much? Should I use one 24 inch and one 18 inch instead? Or should I use a normal fluorescent bulb in the 18" fixture alongside the 24" UV? Would just the 24" be enough, even if I use a darker background down the road?

    How do you light your large enclosure?
    *note: he's building two separate enclosures... The dimensions and other specs are for each tank.
  2. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    This might give you a good idea as to how to light your enclosures. I would recommend two or three medium-high outdoor halogen flood (not spot) lamps arranged over the basking surface for heat--it would be wise if they were one a dimmer/rheostat, or at least one or two of them. Although a good 22" fluorescent UVB setup (i.e.) would be OK, for an animal the size of a beardie I would go with a single 34" setup (i.e.) that would span from over a portion of the basking area in to the middle of the enclosure. You could also go with a longer 48" fixture, but you may need to modify the light over the cool end to cut down on UVB output. If you add a separate shorter linear UVB fluorescent on the cool end you may want to use a lower UVB rated bulb (i.e. 5.0 or 6%) to replicate shade, but I don't think it's really necessary. A nice high lumen daylight rated CFL, LED (lamp or strip) or 2-3' linear fluorescent would be good cool end ambient lighting candidates. As for domes, I would only use the dome itself if you're trying to reflect light and if it's large enough to reflect said light over a large area as opposed to focusing it. Otherwise, assuming the animal wouldn't have access to any heating elements (basking lamps, CHEs) I do not think they would be needed.
  3. RomanLA

    RomanLA Elite Member

    Here's the best lighting guide I've seen on how to setup your lighting. It discusses how to choose the length of your light and where to mount them in your enclosure. Quick and dirty, it's recommending a T5 high output fixture with a 12% bulb. Zoo Med also recently started selling high output bulbs and fixtures.

    Oh yeah, they put off a lot of heat, so definitely don't go crazy on heat lamps and use a fixture with a dimmer. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, my T5 heats my basking shelf to the low 90's at over 18 inches by itself. I've got a single 75W Repti Halogen and it's dialed down almost all the way to give me a 100F basking spot for my water dragon. I saw 130F at one point when I was setting it up.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013

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