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Why you shouldn't use coils and colored light

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by Payton, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Payton

    Payton Active Member


    Well the simple answer is, they are NOT good for your beardie.. Yes, someone may have told you otherwise but please, don't put the health of your beardies at risk because you 'heard' it was okay. So how are they bad? They give off too much UVB within the first few weeks (which burns their eyes) and no.. It’s not the 'heat' of the bulb, it’s the UVB. Like a sunburn. So after it burns their eyes, it doesn't give off enough UVB causing other health problems..


    As with EVERYTHING it’s about MONEY, not the health of your beardie. Just like junk food and cigarettes, someone makes money.


    Well, here’s an example; my recent rescue I adopted died at 1 years old from his previous owner using COILS. So you may not notice it now, but it will affect their health. If you’re thinking "well, I’ve had mine for 5 years" maybe he’s suffering in silence. beardies are hardy animals and don't show health problems until till it’s too late.


    No.. They are actually more spaced out making the UVB more like the sun. With a coil, it will be in a smaller area and be too strong. They won’t be able to move away from the excessive UVB thus causing it to burn them, once they move away from the UVB they end up becoming deficient in UVB. With the tubes, they don't need to hide from it as it’s the perfect amount of UVB.


    I have heard this many times “My beardie likes his bulb, he tries to get close to it” A Bearded Dragon DOES NOT like a bulb… It is simply moving closer to it because they are attracted to light and heat. If you don’t have a very good basking light they may also be trying to heat up.(even though they do not create very much heat) I recently helped a woman out who had a UVB tube light (which is good) BUT had no basking light, only a CHE.. The poor thing was climbing to the UVB bulb.. This is not because he LIKES the bulb; he is simply attracted to the light. These creatures, although they ARE wonderful do not know when something is dangerous to their health. It’s like letting a child smoke. My guess is they wouldn’t know it could kill you.


    Well, its recommended for the light to be half the size of the tank.. But I usually make it a little longer than half to make sure they're getting enough of it.


    No, if you have a 40 gallon or more (as you shouldn't have less) then it’s fine, just try and find a fixture about a little over half the size of the tank.


    Yes, if the ones at petstores are too expensive, then go ahead and buy the cheap one :) just make sure it can hold the wattage and that type of bulb to avoid fires.


    Yes, I personally don't; but if you need a cheaper alternative then get a flood light. Just remember they can be hotter than reptile bulbs. If you usually use a 100 watt, buy a 70 watt your viv. Even lower would be fine as long as the temps are about 100-105f. You may need to play around with wattages to get the proper temperature.


    DON'T use any colored lights, they can disrupt their sleep patterns and it will affect their digestion.. What can you use if the temps are lower than 65?? use a CHE (ceramic head emitter) they don't create light but heat up the tank a bit to maybe 65 or 70 (which is a good temp for nighttime)


    Don’t use these, people used to say that beardies couldn’t see colour. When in fact it’s not true.. It may be dimer than a white light, but it can still disrupt their sleep patterns. They are also known to burn the third eye (on top of their head) or give them thermal burns. Stay away from any colored bulbs J

    IF I MISSED ANY PLEASE ASK AWAY IN THE COMMENTS!! I am not uneducated and not to toot my horn but I know a lot about lighting and other things.. If you need anything or are uncertain please just ask.

    Thanks for reading all the way through!! That was a lot! LOL

    Bulbs to use: Reptisun 10.0 (T5 HO) or reptisun 10.0, Exo terra basking bulbs (most are great) Zoo med basking bulb, Floodlights, CHE's (ceramic heat emitter) and halogen bulbs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2015
  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, where do you get the information that an infrared bulb will burn the animal`s parietal eye?
    I would also like to ask why anyone would need to allow nighttime temps to drop to 65f (unless the lizard was brumating)? I personally think a nighttime low of between 21 to 24c (72 to 75f) is fine in captivity.
    They may indeed experience relatively low ambient temps at times in the wild but the retreats they use can be significantly higher (the ground holds it`s heat).
    The "Arcadia" T5 tubes are also excellent as can be some of the MVB`s (mercury vapour). The closest artificial bulbs to natural sunlight are the reptile specific metal halides.
    Do you have evidence that the coil bulbs actually caused an animal`s death (other than someone said they used them before you acquired the lizard), what conditions were in place other than the type of UVB bulb?
    There can be problems with these bulbs if they are placed too close to the lizard (which can cause eye problems).

    The basking surface temps should be between approx. 40 to 45c (105 to 115f), the lowest ambient (air) between approx. 21 to 24c (72 to 75F) in the daytime.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
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  3. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    I have had MANY people with burnt lizards from them, and many vets do not recommend them for this reason. (

    I said this is the lowest the temps should get.. 70-75 is best for nighttime temps.. In the wild temperatures can get bellow 60 degrees. Although not all the time. That's why i said if it gets LOWER than 65 they should use a CHE to raise the temps to 75..

    I put these bulbs in the 'bulbs to use' list... at the end.

    Yes, I checked the lighting setup when he was bought since i got the whole enclosure. It was a coil bulb. The animal had MBD and the veterinarian said he was not getting enough UVB from the bulb.. The vet also did not recommend coils (a HERP vet)

    Many studies have shown they do not create enough UVB. Many people have approached me and gave me results from their individual studies. Most coils were lower than 1% UVB.. Althought this isnt 'proof' to many.. I would tend to believe that when more than 5 people have come to me with their results that they are not lying. All beardies under coils are not active and usually lethargic.

    Yes.. As I said in my post.. Basking is best at 105.
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, neither of the sources you quoted from is a vet (one is a vet nurse). They state that Bearded dragons live in the desert, in fact they live in a variety of habitats and the conditions in them can vary significantly at times (personal experience having been to some of those areas many, many times).
    I only mentioned "Arcadia" brand because I think other companies may also make T5 tubes. You didn`t mention MVB`s or metal halides.
    I wasn`t recommending coil bulbs at all, just pointing out that some of the problems were caused by the bulb being placed too close to the animal!
    I would like to ask what the wattage was and the distance between face of the infrared bulb to the closest surface of the animal when at rest or basking in all those cases you`ve heard of?
    You mentioned the basking temp is best between 38 and 40c (100 to 105f), in my opinion 100f is too cool.
    I would also point out that these animals have evolved over MILLIONS of years to live on particulate substrates, many keepers these days are using bioactive substrate for their dragons with great results. Impaction is caused by too low temps etc, if they are not provided with supportive conditions they are more likely to become impacted from the foods they eat as by bits of sand, etc!
    I do not advise keeping hatchlings on particulate substrate but once into the juvenile stage they should be perfectly fine. MBD can also be caused by less than supportive conditions in terms of the basking temps especially, so it may not be just the coil bulb that caused the death at all?
    You did ask people to comment and ask questions so that`s what I`m doing, absolutely no disrespect to you! ;)
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  5. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    Yes, I just wanted to show you that many disagree with the use of red bulbs... And btw even a nurse will know. And just something to get you thinking, Is there a red light in the wild? It's just really not natural.

    I recommended the reptisun t5 bulb :) Which is a great brand. And yes, I'm sorry. Although i believe i mentioned them in the post.

    The bulb was at a perfect height :) he was not burnt, He had MVB from lack of UVB due to the bulb :) although many beardies get burnt from it being too close.

    My post wasn't about sand :) Although i do disagree with the use of sand. They live on clay and grass mostly. And captive dragons seem to eat sand more than wild ones.

    Yes, I know. He had a basking bulb.. The vet said it was the coil bulb and I believe her :) I have seen to many issues with these bulbs. No point in risking it i would think..

    I'm not offended at all, I may seem it lol.. I am simply answering your questions.
    Yes, I do agree 100 is a bit on the cool side. But many struggle getting higher temps for some reason. So i always say at least 100. My basking spots are usually 110-115. Cool end is usually 75, and medium end is 85 :) I have large tanks so i try to give a variety of temperatures for them to regulate properly.


    As I said above. This post wasn't really supposed to be about my dragon that passed away (was put down) It was just that coils cause more problems then not. Some people get lucky and don't have issues, but if your playing Russian roulette with your animal it seems almost selfish. Not to offend anyone who uses these bulbs. But I cannot convince everyone sadly. :/ If beardies were just left in the wild we wouldn't have to worry about them dying from MBD. Which seems almost like a man made illness from poor husbandry. (although i'm sure it's not, please don't take this out of context) If we as humans are going to keep them, we should be responsible and provide them with the most natural lighting possible. If that means spending an extra few dollars then so be it. It's the price you pay for owning an animal that has special needs. Just ranting :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
    murrindindi likes this.
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    The article you linked to mentioned sand, so I in turn pointed out that they live on it in some parts of their range. Neither of those individuals seemed to "know" in the true sense of the word.
    I wouldn`t say they lived mainly on clay and grass?
    It`s nice that you don`t take my comments personally, it`s nothing more than a serious discussion which is what these websites are all about (thanks)!
    My opinions are based mainly on personal experience with these animals in the wild as well as in captivity which is a bit of an advantage when it comes to the "finer details".
    What would you personally recommend as a "proper" humidity range? I`m asking because there`s much confusion on that issue from what I see on the forums.

    Edit: There is almost NOTHING "natural" about the way we keep them in captivity, so using an infrared bulb cannot really be said to be that "unnatural". Then again I have heard recently that the state of Victoria (my state) is planning on laying paper kitchen towels and reptile carpet all over the bush in the north just so all the Beardies don`t die from impaction (honest they are, honest).... ;)
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  7. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    No point lol I find it anoying when people take this to heart.

    lmao, That's what i mean.. Keeping them isn't natural but using a red light is even worse. In the wild there is no red lights. Only white :) But I can't stop the pet trade so I might as well rescue all the ones that are sick. I have rescued many. And now have a litte baby i'm working on. I will never use a red light.
    Surprisingly they do. It's actually mostly compacted clay with rocks/a fine layer of sand. Yes, it is 'sand' but not human tainted and added calcium to it lol. that's why people say plain sand is better then vita sand and that crap.

    I use tile since it looks natural (depends on the color you get) and is probably the closest thing your going to get to clay. (it's also really easy to disinfect.

    As for the humidity gauge, I use a regular old one from a hardware store. Nothing fancy lol My humidity is usually 20% - 0%.

    My newest baby is about 6 inches long and is extremely picky. He's being syringe fed :) I baby my lizards way too much. My adult is 628 grams and only gets hand fed :p My baby has the t5 bulb plus the exo terra halogen basking bulb :) Ive personally never had any health issue with my lizards other than my recent one who died. (which was entirely the owners fault)
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I don`t have much time it`s late. They DO definitely live on quite loose sand (dunes) in places, they also live a wooded areas, I`ll put a few photos up tomorrow (Monday).
    The humidity needs to range between approx. 30 to 50%+. I take it the hygrometer you have is digital, otherwise it`s likely to be fairly inaccurate?
    It amuses me that people (not you or anyone in particular) who have never visited my country (Australia) or seen a Bearded dragon in the wild "know" how they live, yet myself having grown up around these animals doesn`t know what the climate is, has no idea what the terrain is!?
  9. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I would also like to ask whether any research has been made available concerning what wavelengths bearded dragons DO see, since it has been asserted that colored bulbs is a problem for them. It would be good information to have for any reptile we keep.

    Almost all animals see different portions of the spectrum than we do. I'm not going to make any assumptions on what wavelengths they CAN see. Some animals visual ranges are well known, and there certainly seems to be a correlation between more colorful animals seeing larger stretches of the spectrum, mostly involved in mating displays - no point in dressing up if nobody can see it. (Think of peacocks...) and many pollinating insects also seem to see a wide spectrum of colors (hence flowers).

    I'm not sure how much research on this subject has been done with regards to reptiles.
  10. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    Yes, They will come in contact with it. Just not all the time.

    No, Humidity should be 20% or less :) otherwise they can get respiratory issues.

    True. although I personally researched it. But not everyone who lives in Australia know exactly how they live.

    Yeah, I know there is one but can't find it :)

    Very well said! I think animals see different shades? I know reptiles can see 4 different kinds of lights but we can only see 3.

    My humidity may be a bit low :) But it shouldn't be any more than 40%

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
  11. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

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  12. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    Ok.. It was an image someone gave me :) Thanks. Very good article.
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Your sources re the humidity range are very unreliable, can you link me to them? You came stating that you believe you have good info to pass on but frankly you are perpetuating some myths that have been doing the rounds for many years. I have no doubt that you have the very best of intentions but that isn`t enough, you need to do much more research.
    If you`re interested I can give you the contract details of an Australian vet who has authored numerous (recent) books on many Aussie lizards including Bearded dragons (he`s actually bred over 80 species), he has also authored many scientific articles, his name is Dr. Danny brown.
    Edit: I must again say that I`m responding to what you/others are saying, in no way am I suggesting you are deliberately passing on unreliable info, but there`s a mountain of confusion "out there" and we need to make sure we don`t add to it! ;)

    I need to add more... The article you linked to claiming it was reliable and written by a vet states that there are certain time periods which denote a hatchling, juvenile, sexually mature adult, that is totally incorrect, sexual maturity is to do with size not age.
    Under supportive conditions in captivity they can mature much sooner than their wild counterparts (in literally months), therefore it`s extremely important to know whether you have a male of female, so for anyone not aware of this thinking their female can`t become gravid until it`s reached a particular age is very risky for the lizard.

    Sorry, but if I tried to type this all at once I`d get timed out.
    The two "experts" state that hatchlings need significantly higher basking surface temps than adults, that makes little sense considering they heat up much faster? In fact I would offer the same temps to all life stages.
    They then state never to offer mealworms? While they are certainly not the most nutritious prey item they are acceptable as part of a varied diet.
    Never offer rodents of any description? I wouldn`t necessarily offer them very regularly, but it would be acceptable to offer a small fuzzie mouse (f/t or f/k) on occasion to an adult, as they do take vertebrate prey in the wild at times (not specifically rodents, but no doubt if they came across a nest they would likely make the most of it).
    In my opinion a very poor caresheet, no doubt many people will think otherwise, creating more confusion...
    It`s a tough life trying to get some basic info across!! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
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  14. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    I made a mistake on the humidity. I have research much on Bearded Dragons. Thank you for offering but I will pass. I'm not sure what your talking about? I never out any links about diet. I haven't even spoken about it on this thread...

    The links above were supposed to be about how reptiles see. It was not for you to use as a caresheet. I know plenty and am not teaching anything controversial. Are you sure you were talking about this thread? I see nothing said about diet
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

  16. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    No, I do NOT.. This was for the red bulbs. Please do not assume things of people. I was answering your questions, but now these are not questions. I have my own website and have been interested in Bearded Dragons for 2 years. I do not only listen to websites like these.. I have done extensive research on bulbs. Since this post is NOT about food. Please refrain from arguments about mice and sand. Thank you

    Have a good day :)

    The main post was not myths. I did not read the full link as I though you would understand what it was for. Next time I will not put a link that will make me look like I am "teaching" bad husbandry. Although I disagree with your argument about mice...
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
  17. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    It would be very helpful if you actually read all the info in links you put up then myself and possibly others wouldn`t comment on the parts you don`t want to discuss! ;)
    My apologies, I didn`t realise you were a "veteran" of 2 years when it comes to the captive care of Bearded dragons, and as you said, you know heaps about lighting and other things and if anyone wants to learn more from you, just ask (that`s what I did).
    There is much unreliable information in the link and I feel it`s necessary to point that out lest other members decide to follow all their advise.
    "Armchair experts" like those are one of the main reasons there`s so much confusion.

    I would be most interested to hear more about the website you run on Bearded dragons, do you have a link (seriously)? Thanks!
  18. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    This forum is a place where many new keepers come for information, and we strive to make sure the info we have is the most accurate and up-to-date possible, all for the sake of the reptiles. As we can agree, we all just want to do what is best and we are all very passionate about this. Many of the member here have been keeping reptiles for a very long time. I have been keeping them for 19 years, and there are members here who have kept them for longer than I have been alive (and may in fact have herps older than me! which is strange to think!).

    If you want to make a claim that goes counter to current methods, please be prepared to back it up with good citation and credible sources. If it makes sense, we will revise our information accordingly. If it doesn't, we tend to toss it into the comsiderable pile of "misinformation" that the internet tends to generate.

    Again, it isn't personal, most of us just want to do what is best for our reptiles.
  19. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Murrindindi's point is that if the source you cited has poor info regarding diet or substrate, they may have outdated or poor info regarding their other topics as well - to include lighting, housing, breeding, development, etc.
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  20. Payton

    Payton Active Member

    I had scanned over it but thought you would understand that this post was only about lighting...

    I don't want to start anything up again, but I didn't say I was a "veteran" You almost sound as if your being sarcastic to me. I never said anything personal to you and I hope we can keep this post about the lighting, not whether or not I know what i'm talking about.

    I will put the link up, hopefully my website isn't outdated and spreading myths.
    It's still being worked on..!about1/co6p

    As I said... It was a mistake. I was hoping since this post was about lighting we would not bring up sand etc..
    Also, that link was a website where experts help people with their reptiles. They always put up a care sheet. I did not post it and by reading it over, some of the info is right. Feeding pinkies is controversial and sand as well.

    May you should me what part of the 'caresheet' is wrong? (seriously) I just want to see what you say is outdated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015

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