6% or 12% UVB bulb


Established Member
So I am wondering what everyone’s else uses for there cages as far as UVB power goes? I have ordered a solarmeter 6.5 but would like to know what everyone’s else uses for thier UVB bulbs. I am looking into getting a Arcadia 12% for a Dragon Strand XL Breeder cage 2’x2’x4’. What is everyone else using for a cage the same size? Any and all info would be greatly appreciated.


Established Member
@Clayton0520 as @Brodybreaux25 has pointed out the species of chameleon impacts this greatly. Also something I've had to consider as a panther owner is coverage and shade. so how much plant life do you have? I currently have a 2*2*4 and just ordered some dragon ledges and a dual bulb fixture from lightyourreptiles.com to place on top with a 12% Arcadia bulb and a 6500 k bulb my reasoning came from information I gathered on the chameleon breeder podcast https://www.chameleonbreeder.com
It is superb. When discussing lighting the host bill stresses the importance of creating heat as well as light gradients and microclimates. This allows the self regulation your chameleons instincts set into motion to occur. With the solarmeter you can easily adjust your plants to allow the right uvb , I am yet to receive my 12% but am looking forward to it.

I went with 12 is that I'm putting more plants in and already have a hanging pothos that shades 1/4 of the enclosure as it is. Ive got a ficus and a few others to rotate out for more sunlight. As well as three dracaena and loads of airplants. With more vines and all live plants I'm going to be able to create the retreats from heat and uvb in a somewhat naturalistic sense. I hope the podcast is as useful to you as it was for me and I hope you'll be able to find the information you need to make an informed decision for your needs from the documents and resources available


Chameleon Enthusiast
The type of fixture matters as well. If it holds 1, 2, or 4 bulbs you will get different readings. I have a quad fixture. I started out with a 6% arcadia, 1 plant pro bulb, and two 6500 day light bulbs. I too listen to the podcast that Bill Strand does. In doing so when he was giving examples of UVI levels for a Veiled with a quad system I realized my 6% was not going to cut it. I bought a solarmeter and measured my levels with basking at 7 inches down... Accounting for where my Cham's casque and back would sit about 2-3 inches higher then the actual branch at 7 inches... with the 6% in the quad I was barely getting a 1 UVI. UVI levels for Veileds should be between 3-6 according to Mr. Strand and Arcadia's site. So I bought the 12% bulb. Switched it out and tested again. Now at 7 inches accounting for the rise with back and casque I am getting a UVI level of about a 3.4.
So keep this in mind when choosing as well.... the species of cham + the fixture type + basking level + how planted your enclosure is = what bulb you should have.
I think you will be very surprised when using the solarmeter. At least I was. :)


Chameleon Enthusiast
You can't base which bulb off the species alone, though it's a good start. It's more about plant coverage. Something to consider, montanes may need less UVB strength, but they often prefer more cover, parson's for example love a densely filled out enclosure. On the other hand Panthers tend to like more open enclosures with hides to retreat to. So if my parson's enclosure is filled with leaves dappling the light from the top of the enclosure, I'm going to want a stronger bulb than 6%.


Established Member
Thank you all for so much info!! Bills podcast is what got me to buy a solarmeter lol. I haven’t got my cage set up yet, I ordered a XL breeder series cage from Dragon Strand and it’s supposed to ship the last week of this month. I’ve recieved my Mist King and several fake vines and branches to decorate with but haven’t pulled the trigger on lighting just yet. I was scared that I would buy a 6% and then end up needing a 12%. I plan on buying a male panther when I get everything in order. My plan is once I get my cage all set up to let it run for a month or so to see how well my humidity and lighting/basking areas work before I get my little guy. Brodybreaux25 thank especially for the pics of species and needs!!! That was awesome! I guess I need to do a little more research and setting up before I decide on my lamp size. Thanks again for everyone on here and all the help so far. This forum is AMAZING!
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