Are we doing UVB wrong?

DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
I may be wrong for why they need lower uvb, but I think many of the montane chameleons live in more plant-dense areas(so less uvb gets through). Like your traditional rainforests. Many Panthers/veileds are found in relatively open and dry regions, so it's not really realistic when you see people set their enclosures up like jungles, that's more where the montanes would be. @Lindasjackson
I agree that most Chams everywhere have access to some sort cover to “regulate” the UV exposure, but some of these montanes live above the tree line so we’re talking about bushes and grass not forests. And combine altitude with the equatorial location some come from, it would be no surprise that they have access to much higher levels of UVB than the lowland varieties
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Me too! I don’t know nearly enough to ‘experiment’. But, when a good vet tells me to do something differently, who do I listen to?
Ummmm I still listen to Bill Strand :hilarious:

But seriously.... Why do we need to blast chams with super high UVI levels when a 3 uvi works really well? They are living long full lives with proper UVB and husbandry. There are even tests different breeders have done with levels of say 3 vs a 7 used on babies. They are seeing a slower growth rate with the higher UVI level.

If you toss a 12% on a cage and use the same distances then your going to have constant exposure to some really high levels. I also think it has a lot to do with a cage set up. If your entire basking area is exposed then were is the cham going to go if it does need to retreat from the higher levels? I can see using a 12% on a densely planted out cage where the top is actually as full as the middle area of the cage. Just because you need the UVB penetration through dense foliage. But a totally open basking level with a 12%. I do not believe that is something I would do personally.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
It makes sense that Montaine species need a different uvb than say chams that live at lower elevations but why lower uvb for mountain es and higher for the others? I thought it would be the other way around!
I agree. Montaine species are often found a mile or more higher than Madagascar species, which means UVB has less atmosphere (the densest atmosphere) to get through. Logically, unless the mountains in Kenya are perpetually overcast (IDK) montaine species should be getting far more UVB than those that live closer to sea level.
I don’t know. I wish we could hook ourselves up to each other’s brains to share knowledge. I guess that’s what books and college is for. 😂
I was taught that college is for learning the difference between planting and burying. It is. 😁

"There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college."—Chef​
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thoughts on UV...
This is for humans...but it might apply at lest in part to chameleons...
"Sun exposure suppresses the immune system and may make the body more vulnerable to infections and cancers"...
Yes, but natural sun exposure also helps US (humans) synthesize D3 (a.k.a. "The Sunshine Vitamin") which bolsters the immune system, particularly against things like Covid-19.
https://www.google.com/search?q=med...WCB80KHYepCyoQ_AUoAnoECAEQBA&biw=1024&bih=625

So... we're screwed either way? :unsure:
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Back sometime at the beginning of the year I took Jack to a terrific and very experienced/knowledgeable vet (Dr Bogoslavsky in Orlando). He advised I change his uvb from a 6% to a 12%, which I did and all has been fine.
Being the skeptic I was raised to be (who, me :eek:) and alter-ego of Captain Hindsight, I think I might have mentioned that that flies in the face of everything I've read from the world's leading sources, and ask the source for that information.

I probably also would have asked about things like T8 or T5? Does he know that most fixtures sold with T5s have reflectors that effectively double the power & range of the output?

I can’t say that I’ve noticed any difference in him from my other chams, who still have 6% uvb. Later when I took Stella to him, he didn’t say anything about changing her uvb strength. Today I took Hammlet to Dr B and he again advised I change to the stronger 12% and keep basking area the same 8-9” away. He explained that the 6% strength is really more suitable for the montaines and that panther and veiled do very well with 12%.
I didn't follow this part (his explanation), but I already mentioned that in prev. post.

When I asked him about UV index, he explained that I really only need to measure that to determine if my bulbs need replacing.
:confused: ??? :confused: I'd... need further explanation on that too. TBH, I'd have to dig into Dr. Baines' work a bit before having the discussion (It's been a while :oops: ).

However, he did then mention how it’s impossible to standardize the needs for all species of chameleons in one neat package.
THAT makes sense, and that's why we have different care sheets for each species.

So, what is the reason that the 6% or 5.0 uvb has become the standard? Is it because it’s the safe choice for those who may have inadequate enclosure sizes and/or plant cover? Is it because it’s also the safe choice to recommend for whatever species of chameleon someone may have? Is it to try and keep things as simple as possible even though possibly one size doesn’t fit all?
TMK, it's the result of many years of keeping chameleons by huge numbers of people, and what is the minimum needed to stave off MBD. Again, I think Dr. Baines could shed more light on this (pun not intended. :rolleyes:)

Both the major UVB mfrs. have had lighting recommendations (guides) for years. Are we to junk those as well? At least they make the distinction between T8s & T5s.

Should those who have enclosures of adequate size and foliage be using the stronger uvb? Should we still be recommending 6% or 5.0 to keepers of veiled and panther chameleons?
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts about this.
I'm willing to keep an open mind, but unless/until there's some clarification and opportunity for questions, I kinda gotta put this vet's statements in the "voice in the wilderness" category.

Regarding the invasive species tangent... Was he perhaps trying to make a connection with how much UVB the invasive chameleons are getting in the Florida sun? 🤷‍♂️
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Honestly, I’m have been scared of a high out put of UV since I lost my boy Andy to Melanoma skin cancer years back. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/my-little-andy-has-cancer.156556/

My vet Dr. Douglas Mader told me it was caused by the UVB lights and it was just like us laying in the tanning bed everyday. After Andy’s diagnoses Dr. Mader didn’t want me to use any lights on him at all, not even a basking light. I lived in the FL Keys so he went outside a couple hours a day. To this day, I still use the Reptisun 5.0 and always have on all the different species that I’ve kept.
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
Well the bulbs only have one blob of "UV" phosphors. They try their best to formulate it so the hump is dead center in the bone growth zone, but there is plenty of bleed into the UVA and deep UVB/upper UVC.

Odds are there needs to be a balance between "perfect simulation of bone growth UVB" and " too high of UVC".

Ive raised them on 3.0upper(1.5 in the main hang out zone) all the way down to 0.25 back in the 1990's with 2ft tall cages. All with the same stickytongue indoor formula.
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
Honestly, I’m have been scared of a high out put of UV since I lost my boy Andy to Melanoma skin cancer years back. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/my-little-andy-has-cancer.156556/

My vet Dr. Douglas Mader told me it was caused by the UVB lights and it was just like us laying in the tanning bed everyday. After Andy’s diagnoses Dr. Mader didn’t want me to use any lights on him at all, not even a basking light. I lived in the FL Keys so he went outside a couple hours a day. To this day, I still use the Reptisun 5.0 and always have on all the different species that I’ve kept.
THIS. This is what is missed. It is a slow damage so won't be seen right away.

I think ultimately a Solormeter should almost be required. Both 12% and 6% can be miss used. Until I could measure I did not see it, but now I can see why issues arise. The standard 6% is just enough and without just the right set up it may not be enough. The 12% can be just a little too much and requires its distance as well

I go with the sunburn melanoma idea. And from what I can tell numbers above 6 are like laying out in the open on a sunny(or overcast day). We know doing this on the daily will likely give us skin cancer. So I do not go over that. But even this could depend on an individual and where it spends its time. It seems the consensus of opination is the same on UVB range with 6 to 7 being the max reachable by the cham and 3 to 1 being optimal. This correlates with numbers we see in nature, though in nature you would go into the shade, not just lower. This is why we need a tool to measure and observation of the animal. I lack of a way to measure I think 6% with the proper basking set up and supplement schedule is safest. Or if we choose 12 go with the 9in above cage.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I use Arcadia 6% 9 inches above basking branch and Eustis is a Jackson’s and he will bask some in the am but not for long and then it’s back in the ficus tree for him and when I say back in the ficus it means he’s so far in you can’t find him. Some days he comes out and basks on branches that are lower like 12-14 inches lower than the uvb light. I just let him do his thing. I think he knows what he needs.
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
When I got my girl at the beginning I got a 12% by mistake ( petshop mistake) after joining this forum I changed to a 6% then after a bit of thinking I moved back to my 12% . My uv levels range between 3 basking and max 6.5 up top with a light/ shade exposure method. A 12% is whats recommended in the uk. Maybe email John courtney smith ( arcadia) for his opinion he has always been promt and very helpful with my questions
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
When I got my girl at the beginning I got a 12% by mistake ( petshop mistake) after joining this forum I changed to a 6% then after a bit of thinking I moved back to my 12% . My uv levels range between 3 basking and max 6.5 up top with a light/ shade exposure method. A 12% is whats recommended in the uk. Maybe email John courtney smith ( arcadia) for his opinion he has always been promt and very helpful with my questions
John via Arcaida reptile recommend a 3-4 UVI for Veileds and Panthers... Check this out.

https://www.arcadiareptile.com/lighting/guide/

You can use any bulb type T8 or T5HO with any bulb strength basically. It is all about the actual exposure at basking being the correct UVI level.
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes I've looked at this before my uv is around 3 3.5 at basking. But there are other parts of my enclosure that are 6.5 where my girl doesn't spend much time but the range is there .
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
So here is my thing with UV exposure....

This is what it says for humans:
Screen Shot 2021-09-03 at 11.33.29 AM.png


So if a UV index of 6-7 is a moderate risk of harm than why are we pushing it with exposing our chams to higher UVI levels? It just does not make sense to me. For those that have solarmeters we know how fast those levels jump up as you move closer to the bulb. At 6 inches below I get a 6.5 then 3 inches below I get a 12.2 with my solarmeter....

Now I also have a different screen mine goes through it is not coated. This makes it so that my levels are higher than a coated aluminum screen. So my basking level branch is a full 10 to 11 inches down. I get a 2.5 at the branch, where Beman rises up depending on where along the branch he is standing he is in a 3.0 - 4.4 range. Nothing higher.

So it is not just where your measuring. It is where your cham is height wise off the branch, it is the fixture type, the bulb type, the screen type, and all these make a difference.

So again if I am at a moderate risk of harm at a 6-7 UVI than why in the world would I put my chameleon in those levels 12 hours a day? Prolonged exposure in humans causes cancer. So what are we doing to our chams? Food for thought.
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
So here is my thing with UV exposure....

This is what it says for humans:
View attachment 309356

So if a UV index of 6-7 is a moderate risk of harm than why are we pushing it with exposing our chams to higher UVI levels? It just does not make sense to me. For those that have solarmeters we know how fast those levels jump up as you move closer to the bulb. At 6 inches below I get a 6.5 then 3 inches below I get a 12.2 with my solarmeter....

Now I also have a different screen mine goes through it is not coated. This makes it so that my levels are higher than a coated aluminum screen. So my basking level branch is a full 10 to 11 inches down. I get a 2.5 at the branch, where Beman rises up depending on where along the branch he is standing he is in a 3.0 - 4.4 range. Nothing higher.

So it is not just where your measuring. It is where your cham is height wise off the branch, it is the fixture type, the bulb type, the screen type, and all these make a difference.

So again if I am at a moderate risk of harm at a 6-7 UVI than why in the world would I put my chameleon in those levels 12 hours a day? Prolonged exposure in humans causes cancer. So what are we doing to our chams? Food for thought.

Middle of summer noon clear day is a 6-7 outside for me. I believe with a 6-7 "gingers" can only survive less than 1 hour unprotected before damage starts.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I appreciate everyone’s feedback on this as I truly have been confused about whether to follow the vet’s advice or our well researched and proven husbandry standards. I trust the vet, but I also trust all of the knowledge and experience of the forum, Bill Strand and others who are constantly testing and proving husbandry.
This morning, I noticed Hammlet hanging out on the side of his enclosure with his face just inches away from his uvb. I measured that spot at around 5.9-6.0. At the moment he is sitting where he’s getting a range of 2.4-2.8. As he and Jack are in large enough enclosures, I will provide them with their basking side with the 6% and the other (which has branches several inches lower) with a 12%. My girls are the dilemma, but since they have done very well with their 6% and if anything I most often see them in areas where UVI is 1.0, I will keep them with their 6%.
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
So even though I use a 12% I never recommend it to new keepers. I understand that unless you have a uv Meter you can't be sure . And obviously different lights can be used distance appropriate. Sometimes confusing when a 5/6% is recommend here and a 12% in the uk. but I only provide 3/4 uvi at basking but with other levels not exceeding 7 % . I think 9/10 uvi in Madagascar in the warm / bright months. I know I don't live in Madagascar but surely they can cope with higher levels. Also depending on the time of year uv would be different not always the same low or high
 
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