Winter Lighting Schedule

After seeing many questions about lighting requirements and schedules, I decided to show how Zaphod's lighting has been modified for the winter months. First, let me explain the basic set up. I have tried to make a more realistic heating and brightness through the use of timers and multiple fixtures. I have two dome fixtures with standard 65 watt bulbs for basking sites, as well as one Arcadia quad T5 HO fixture. This is probably overkill, but I do love to spoil my kids! :D The Arcadia has two sets of two T5 22" bulbs as well as blue LED lights that are all on separate plugs. This allows for what I feel is the ultimate lighting for an indoor enclosure.
Sunrise this time of year is roughly 7 AM and sunset about 5:30 PM. For the summer months I will adjust the times accordingly.

The lighting schedule is as follows:

6:30 AM - Blue LED "moonlight" comes on 1/2 hour before any others. This gives a soft blue light to the leaves in the enclosure.
7:00 AM - one 6% Arcadia T5 HO and one 6500 T5 bulb come on.
7:30 AM - LED's go off.
8:00 AM - First 65 watt basking bulb comes on. This is the side of the enclosure where the sun rises towards the front of the house.
12 noon - T5 6500 and T5 plant pro come on.
1:00 PM - Second 65 watt basking bulb comes on. This one is on the opposite side of the enclosure and a little farther from the basking vine. It is also on the side of the house where the sun sets.
4:30 PM - Basking spot from early morning goes off. This allows Zaphod to have to follow the direction of natural light outside to find a basking area later in the day.
5:00 PM - T5 6500 and plant pro go off.
5:30 PM Blue LED lights come on.
5:45 PM - Second basking spot goes off.
6:00 PM - Arcadia 6% and 6500 bulbs go off. Only the LED "moonlight" remains on. Again a soft blue light shines off the leaves in the enclosure.
7:00 PM - LED lights go off for the evening. No lighting or heat emitter is used overnight. Temps are never below 50 degrees so this is a non issue.

Temperatures in the enclosure are around 84 degrees at the top, with basking areas of 90 to 94 depending on the day. The temps at the lower areas are around 75 degrees during the day. The overnight temps are usually around 65 degrees during the winter and more like 73 to 75 during the summer.

The bottom line with this system is that I tried to mimic nature as much as possible. I found as the sun set a bit earlier each day that Zaphod put himself to bed as well! :rolleyes: Why fight it. ;)
Hope this gives you some ideas and helps answer some questions! Let me know what you think ;).





Special thanks to Todd at Light Your Reptiles for all the information he provided, as well as the great service! Awesome product!!! :cool:


Really great blog post Decadancin! I too have adjusted my lighting to accomodate for the solstice but never considered actually mimicking the natural progression of the sun and light. What a fantastic idea!!

So let me ask you this...have you noticed a happier Cham, or any other positive changes to your chams behaviour/health? I would be interested to know!

Cheers, Lisa
Happier...YES! So far, I think this is due to the Arcadia fixture giving off so much more light than the previous T8 single UVB that I was using. From the first day he was exploring more and using more of his enclosure. I haven't noticed Zaphod deliberately moving from one basking spot to the other, but I am usually at work when this would be happening. I have noticed that he is starting to train my wife! Every day he greets her and asks for food or some greens to munch on :rolleyes:. This morning I noticed that he was active the second the T5 turned on, so I guess the LED sunrise effect is working as well!
i am gonna get the quad bulb set up my only question is what exactly does the moonlight LED do?
JohnDoe;bt1647 said:
i am gonna get the quad bulb set up my only question is what exactly does the moonlight LED do?

For the most part I thought this would be just for looks. I have noticed that Zaphod does wake up faster in the morning with it. It used to take him a while to get up with just the tube lights. It does give a blue light to the leaves in the enclosure. Also, it will allow him to find a spot to settle in for the night without being totally in the dark! (he is usually already there but just in case ;))
So, just an update on Zaphod's lighting. I have not changed much with the schedule, so wont go into the minor changes, but I have noticed that Zaphod is doing a bit more basking in the mornings. I figured I would try a slightly higher basking bulb on the main basking site, so I switched to a 75 watt bulb. I noticed that there was about a 5 - 7 degree raise in temperature from switching, and this caused the site to be about 100 degrees. Zaphod loved this and was still basking just as much! :eek: I was a little concerned that he may be spending a bit too much time there, and was worried about him getting a thermal burn, so I raised the bulb a bit. After about a week or so I have gone back to the 60 watt bulb and moved it back to its original position. I have used the 75 watt on the secondary basking site, which is a bit further away from where he sits. This has raised the basking temperature about 3 degrees or so, so I will likely leave it this way. I have also added two golden pothos plants to the enclosure (both immediately doing very well with the lighting ;)) and this has resulted in a lot more afternoon exploring for Zaphod. As the plants grow in there will be even more shelter and secure spots for him to use, and I hope to justify the use of the Arcadia quad fixture!!! :D. I do not think I will use more than one 6% UVB bulb, but the option is always there. That's the update for now, and soon I will be figuring out the Spring lighting schedule ;).
So its daylight savings again! (March 10th) Time for the spring lighting schedule post! I am going to add the misting schedule with this one to add some more detail. I'll post it as soon as I work out the details! ;):rolleyes:

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