Best 12 hour light cycle?

timber64

Member
I know the standard light schedule is 12 on/12off, but more specifically I'm curious WHICH 12 hours everyone keeps their lights on. I've seen recommended schedules of 7a-7p, but was wondering if anyone is doing 8a-8p or even 9a-9p or later? The selfish kid in me wants to go 9a-9p so I get the longest benefit possible of watching my cham for a while at night, but the responsible pet owner in me knows I should think of my pet first. So especially with the cage being within proximity of windows where the morning light will come in before I even turn on lights, I fear a 9-9 schedule is squeaking in more daylight to his world than there should be. What would be a recommended 12 hr schedule in this situation?
 

Ramrod

Chameleon Enthusiast
It starts getting light here about 6:30 so they wake up to natural daylight then the lights come on from 7 to 7.
Will change slightly next week when we go on daylight savings time, but not much.
 

suprdude

Established Member
It's a good question because when the sun rises, you'll get more than 12 hours of light (unless you're in sync with sunrise). I wonder if anyone is fanatical enough to change their timer to sync with sunrise. IRL, I doubt a couple hours off the 12 hour cycle will stress your chameleon.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have a similar situation—enclosure is within view of a picture window (and cham loves looking out it).
When I set things up, I looked up sunup/sundown data for where I live. Coincidentally, it came out that noon really is noon, and sunup & sundown are—on average—equidistant either way all/most of the year.

So I set the timers for 6am to 6pm. The real beauty is, I don't have to do anything when the clocks change. The clocks may change, but the sun doesn't. ;):)

So I think the windows DO play a part in it. Your cham will be up with the sun, and probably prefer to go to sleep accordingly. OTOH, if you moved him to a place where he couldn't see the sun, there may be less influence—IDK.
 

suprdude

Established Member
I've been to Madagascar and studied wild chameleons there, I can attest that they don't go by a strict 12 hour day/night cycle.
 

suprdude

Established Member
Assuming most of us use a plant light, heat light, and UVB light, that's a lot of annual electricity. Shaving 30 minutes off a day would add up over time and I doubt your chameleon would notice.
 

PoseidonTheChameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Personally, my lights go on from 8AM to 8PM but since the time change, the sun comes up at about 7:30 so it's not that big of a difference. But at night he goes to his sleeping spot an hour early no matter when the sun goes down
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Assuming most of us use a plant light, heat light, and UVB light, that's a lot of annual electricity. Shaving 30 minutes off a day would add up over time and I doubt your chameleon would notice.
The basking light is the only power-sucker. T5HOs and LEDs combined use less than the basking light.
All together mine is less than 150W.

According to http://www.wrecc.com/what-uses-watts-in-your-home/
a 75W bulb costs $0.1125 per half hour to operate, so... ~$41/yr. or $3.42/monthly electric bill.
(Depending, of course, on local power rates.)

My enclosures are set up 12/12 for basking & plants. I forgot (in previous post) that my UVBs are set up to go on an hour after, and go off an hour before. The rationale is that UVB levels are going to be lower towards dawn & dusk due to atmospheric filtering, so why burn UVB?

Since (I've read here) that chameleons mostly bask in the morning (though mine seems to bask more often) then the basking light could probably be reduced even further—to just a few hours a day.

Ongoing costs of owning a reptile. ;)
 

suprdude

Established Member
The basking light is the only power-sucker. T5HOs and LEDs combined use less than the basking light.
All together mine is less than 150W.

According to http://www.wrecc.com/what-uses-watts-in-your-home/
a 75W bulb costs $0.1125 per half hour to operate, so... ~$41/yr. or $3.42/monthly electric bill.
(Depending, of course, on local power rates.)

My enclosures are set up 12/12 for basking & plants. I forgot (in previous post) that my UVBs are set up to go on an hour after, and go off an hour before. The rationale is that UVB levels are going to be lower towards dawn & dusk due to atmospheric filtering, so why burn UVB?

Since (I've read here) that chameleons mostly bask in the morning (though mine seems to bask more often) then the basking light could probably be reduced even further—to just a few hours a day.

Ongoing costs of owning a reptile. ;)
This is good information for a newb like me, thanks. I'm still buying materials for mine. So your UVB turns on an hour after your plant/heat light and an off an hour before?
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is good information for a newb like me, thanks. I'm still buying materials for mine. So your UVB turns on an hour after your plant/heat light and an off an hour before?
Yup. The UVBs are one of the more expensive bulbs to replace, and they contain mercury, so saving them a couple of hours a day will add up too—replacing less often.

One of the best investments, IMO, is a UV meter, both for saving money by squeezing more months out of a bulb and ensuring the UVI values (and distances) are correct & sufficient. If a Solarmeter 6.5x seems on the pricey side (they pretty much have a monopoly AFAIK), they can be built DIY with an Arduino for much less.
 

timber64

Member
My enclosures are set up 12/12 for basking & plants. I forgot (in previous post) that my UVBs are set up to go on an hour after, and go off an hour before. The rationale is that UVB levels are going to be lower towards dawn & dusk due to atmospheric filtering, so why burn UVB?
I like this idea of the UVB going on an hour after and off an hour before the other lights, but for yet one other reason than those already stated (cost savings, etc.). I'm currently doing the 12 hr cycle from 8a-8p for my UVB and plant light (basking goes off several hours earlier) but it looks so bright in there right up until lights out at 8pm. So I'm considering letting UVB turn off slightly ahead of the plant light, which results in a gradual decrease in lights till lights out. I think the gradual approach may be more gentle on the cham as he prepares for bed!!
 

suprdude

Established Member
I like this idea of the UVB going on an hour after and off an hour before the other lights, but for yet one other reason than those already stated (cost savings, etc.). I'm currently doing the 12 hr cycle from 8a-8p for my UVB and plant light (basking goes off several hours earlier) but it looks so bright in there right up until lights out at 8pm. So I'm considering letting UVB turn off slightly ahead of the plant light, which results in a gradual decrease in lights till lights out. I think the gradual approach may be more gentle on the cham as he prepares for bed!!
Dumb question from someone who is still planning enclosure design...how does the UVB light output compare to traditional lights? I know chameleons need that light spectrum, but is it comparably bright? By comparison, an IR light wouldn't be visible to humans.
Thanks.
 

timber64

Member
Dumb question from someone who is still planning enclosure design...how does the UVB light output compare to traditional lights? I know chameleons need that light spectrum, but is it comparably bright? By comparison, an IR light wouldn't be visible to humans.
Thanks.
IMO the UVB lights are just as bright as any other fluorescent bulb. I find my LED plant light (Arcadia Jungle Dawn) is much brighter than the UVB.
 
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