Daytime lights

ChameLeon_

Member
I'm currently planning my future cage and i got to lights, and i don't know how much daytime sun lights i need. Do i need any at all? I get that the best is 6500K, but how much lumens? Can i use aquarium lights for plants, it has a color of 6500K and 1050 lumens, as i cant fit more lenght there and one cost about 20€ and i'm trying to keep it on a budget. Thanks for replies :)
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Are you asking only about plant lights? Do you already have your T5 uvb?
Plant lights will depend on what types of plants you’re looking to keep alive. If you have primarily houseplants like pothos or philodendron, any basic plant light will do. If you are wanting to keep something tropical and sun loving like hibiscus alive, you’ll need to splurge on the better light.
 

ChameLeon_

Member
Are you asking only about plant lights? Do you already have your T5 uvb?
Plant lights will depend on what types of plants you’re looking to keep alive. If you have primarily houseplants like pothos or philodendron, any basic plant light will do. If you are wanting to keep something tropical and sun loving like hibiscus alive, you’ll need to splurge on the better light.
I don't have anything at home yet, but other lights are already planned. Exo-Terra 45cm T8 UVB 100 on top of a less dense mesh screen inside kitchen lamp fixture with DIY reflector from half a tube and some tin foil, and a regular 75W lightbulb with dimmer inside a wider dome for basking spot, spot would be about 20 cm from lights. I don't plan anything exotic right now, mostly basic greens. I found an LED flood light, 50W and 4000 lumens, 6500K light color. Would that be better or is it too much? Lighting angle is 100° on this one. Thanks!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't have anything at home yet, but other lights are already planned. Exo-Terra 45cm T8 UVB 100 on top of a less dense mesh screen inside kitchen lamp fixture with DIY reflector from half a tube and some tin foil, and a regular 75W lightbulb with dimmer inside a wider dome for basking spot, spot would be about 20 cm from lights. I don't plan anything exotic right now, mostly basic greens. I found an LED flood light, 50W and 4000 lumens, 6500K light color. Would that be better or is it too much? Lighting angle is 100° on this one. Thanks!
I really know very little about various plant lights and specs, but that sounds like it would be fine. Wondering about your uvb strength. When you say it’s 100, do you mean 10.0? With a T8, that is the strength that you’ll be needing.
 

ChameLeon_

Member
I really know very little about various plant lights and specs, but that sounds like it would be fine. Wondering about your uvb strength. When you say it’s 100, do you mean 10.0? With a T8, that is the strength that you’ll be needing.
Thank you, i hope it won't be too bright but considering some folks are running 15000 lumens my 4000 should be really okay. About the UVB, here and here are the details about their rating. UVB 100 is meant for tropical terrariums, 150 for desert like ones and 200 for extreme cases. I understand it the way that their UVB 100 is something in between of regular T8 5.0 and T8 10.0. If the 10.0 is needed i can find some, but i think this one should be enough once i put a reflector in and a less dense mesh screen on top so more UVB passes through?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh, okay. So that isn’t a linear T8 fixture or bulb and I hate to tell you this, but those types of bulbs have been one of the major contributing factors to chameleons getting metabolic bone disease. The problem with them is that their output is in a very short range…about 2-3” for the ideal uv index of 3.0. This allows for no gradient and any closer than 2-3” and your animal is exposed to very high uv levels. This is why the standard is a linear T5 fixture with a 5.0 or 6% uvb bulb. This provides a more gradual variant of UVI and the optimal UVI of 3.0 at 8-9” away. Not sure if I’m explaining well, so let me let an expert explain. Btw, Frances Baine’s was instrumental in working out all of the uvb/UVI stuff and her research and findings are still very relevant guides.
 

ChameLeon_

Member
Oh, okay. So that isn’t a linear T8 fixture or bulb and I hate to tell you this, but those types of bulbs have been one of the major contributing factors to chameleons getting metabolic bone disease. The problem with them is that their output is in a very short range…about 2-3” for the ideal uv index of 3.0. This allows for no gradient and any closer than 2-3” and your animal is exposed to very high uv levels. This is why the standard is a linear T5 fixture with a 5.0 or 6% uvb bulb. This provides a more gradual variant of UVI and the optimal UVI of 3.0 at 8-9” away. Not sure if I’m explaining well, so let me let an expert explain. Btw, Frances Baine’s was instrumental in working out all of the uvb/UVI stuff and her research and findings are still very relevant guides.

Oh no, i didn't mean the compact UVB bulbs! They make a fluorescent linear T8 UVB tubes as well, marked the same UVB 100 and that should be okay no? Since it's a tube and all. 45cm long to fit onto my enclosure and by their charts it should be allright when placed about 15-20cm above chams.
 

ChameLeon_

Member
This is the bulb i mentioned before, the one i can get easily and it's not so expensive here. I read through whole academy already, thanks for source though!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there. So I have not done any testing with the exoterra T8 bulbs. Only the reptisun bulbs. And then the T5HO reptisun and arcadia bulbs. With the exoterra they do not market these to be comparable to the other 2 brands. With the others there is an easy conversion between then to know which one puts out what UVI level strength. The other thing to note is that a low strength T8 has a very reduced output level so the distance the UVI goes is much less then a T5HO bulb. This puts the cham far too close to the screen top. Also all the online directions for distance typically do not include passing through screen.

I am not sure where you are located. Can you get the arcadia brand bulbs and fixture? The best would be to get the arcadia proT5 with the 6% bulb. https://www.arcadiareptile.com/lighting/prot5/ If you can get this it would be an important thing to spend money on and I can give you more exact info on distance needed between the light bottom and the branch.

These are more readily available in the UK. The T5HO fixture is the best for output and you would not want to make your own reflector if possible. You really want a complete kit. Can you google and see if you have any online sellers there that sell these? Or even reptile pet stores. Like I said since this company is based out of London they are readily available in the UK.
 

ChameLeon_

Member
Hi there. So I have not done any testing with the exoterra T8 bulbs. Only the reptisun bulbs. And then the T5HO reptisun and arcadia bulbs. With the exoterra they do not market these to be comparable to the other 2 brands. With the others there is an easy conversion between then to know which one puts out what UVI level strength. The other thing to note is that a low strength T8 has a very reduced output level so the distance the UVI goes is much less then a T5HO bulb. This puts the cham far too close to the screen top. Also all the online directions for distance typically do not include passing through screen.

I am not sure where you are located. Can you get the arcadia brand bulbs and fixture? The best would be to get the arcadia proT5 with the 6% bulb. https://www.arcadiareptile.com/lighting/prot5/ If you can get this it would be an important thing to spend money on and I can give you more exact info on distance needed between the light bottom and the branch.

These are more readily available in the UK. The T5HO fixture is the best for output and you would not want to make your own reflector if possible. You really want a complete kit. Can you google and see if you have any online sellers there that sell these? Or even reptile pet stores. Like I said since this company is based out of London they are readily available in the UK.
Thanks for quick reply! I'm based in Slovakia, middle Europe. Problem is, there isn't small enough light, all are 60cm or more and i need something around 50cm max. Only kit i found is Arcadia Mini UVB kit with 7% bulb and reflector but it's a bit short with just 34cm.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for quick reply! I'm based in Slovakia, middle Europe. Problem is, there isn't small enough light, all are 60cm or more and i need something around 50cm max. Only kit i found is Arcadia Mini UVB kit with 7% bulb and reflector but it's a bit short with just 34cm.
Yeah you can not do the mini with the 7% bulb. That is a shade dweller bulb. Which has a different output of light.

So you really want the 24 inch fixture so 60cm. The cage for an adult cham should be 24in deep by 24 in wide by 48 inches tall.
If you are starting out with something smaller then get the 60cm fixture with the 6% bulb ProT5 kit and just hang some over the sides.
 

ChameLeon_

Member
Yeah you can not do the mini with the 7% bulb. That is a shade dweller bulb. Which has a different output of light.

So you really want the 24 inch fixture so 60cm. The cage for an adult cham should be 24in deep by 24 in wide by 48 inches tall.
If you are starting out with something smaller then get the 60cm fixture with the 6% bulb ProT5 kit and just hang some over the sides.
24 inch is roughly 60cm, and I'm planning to build a 55x55x110 or so enclosure. I think the 5cm short won't make much difference? And the top will be partially covered from sides to hide all the cables in, something like this incredibly low picture my lazy self took the other night from the 3D model i made. I need 55cm light tops, i guess i could fit a 60cm in but only diagonally and i think the frame there will be in way.
 

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ChameLeon_

Member
Also i'm trying to stay on a budget as i am still a student. Arcadia kit costs about 80 here and i can build the light myself for about 30. Theoretically i can give higher output by providing the UVB 150 bulb instead of the 100 one, it should be stronger but still safe, they recommend it if you have dense screen cover on top. Other option would be to go with the UVB 100 but use less dense screen so more UVB goes through. Adding a DIY reflector will be at least a small improvement in output. This light is originally a 15W fluorescent kitchen light with cover, I would remove the cover and bulb and install my reflector and one of those UVB bulbs. But i don't want t overdo it and burn my chameleon .. I'm a first time owner and planning everything I can.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
24 inch is roughly 60cm, and I'm planning to build a 55x55x110 or so enclosure. I think the 5cm short won't make much difference? And the top will be partially covered from sides to hide all the cables in, something like this incredibly low picture my lazy self took the other night from the 3D model i made. I need 55cm light tops, i guess i could fit a 60cm in but only diagonally and i think the frame there will be in way.
So I can just advise you what would be best for your chameleon. If you have not built the cage yet you might consider revising your size. Size does matter with chameleons. I know the smallest proT5 that has the correct bulbs would be the 24 inch. The material that you use for the top maters as well. Most of us that build our own enclosures only use aluminum window screen. This allows the light to still pass through with only a 40% reduction in UVI. Also feeders can not chew their way out. The fiberglass options are not recommended as they reduce the UVI level greatly and feeders can chew through it.

If you do not want to go this route the only way to know UVI level for sure is to get a solarmeter 6.5. They are not cheap. But UVI level is extremely important. Too much UVI causes issues and too little causes extreme issues including MBD and failure to thrive. There is a sweet spot range for chams of a 3 UVI level.

I should add these are extremely expensive animals. Between cage, lighting, misting system, live plants, supplements, feeders, and vet care. It is not something cheap by any means. Chams that are not kept with the correct husbandry can have health issues very easily. From respiratory infections, MBD, prolapse, becoming eggbound, bacterial infections. etc. I say this not to discourage you only so you know this is a lot to jump into as a first time keeper.
 

ChameLeon_

Member
I laready gathered most of my materials and prices and it shouldnt ruin my bank even with vet bills. The size matters i know but 5cm off the recommended minimum seems like not that important? Also the mesh, all mesh on the cage will be aluminum one as you said, only the top might be bigger in size to allow more UVB through, less dense one if that would help? All other things i've already figured out, from building it through roach colony, supplements /Calcium only and multivitam with D3 and A occasionaly?/, lights, draning system, plants and decorations.. i don't think i missed anything, you can read my summary of my plans on my other post here, i would greatly appreciate your quidance if something is off there, or if you answer some of my questions there! :) Thank you alot in advance, really appreciate your time, i want to build the best home on budget for the lil guy!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I laready gathered most of my materials and prices and it shouldnt ruin my bank even with vet bills. The size matters i know but 5cm off the recommended minimum seems like not that important? Also the mesh, all mesh on the cage will be aluminum one as you said, only the top might be bigger in size to allow more UVB through, less dense one if that would help? All other things i've already figured out, from building it through roach colony, supplements /Calcium only and multivitam with D3 and A occasionaly?/, lights, draning system, plants and decorations.. i don't think i missed anything, you can read my summary of my plans on my other post here, i would greatly appreciate your quidance if something is off there, or if you answer some of my questions there! :) Thank you alot in advance, really appreciate your time, i want to build the best home on budget for the lil guy!
So the 5 cm will not matter in the sense that it is only 2 inches smaller in depth and width. Where it plays in is the lighting. Just because what they sell is specific to enclosure length. Which can suck. I have a 30 inch wide enclosure and have to buy 36 inch fixtures for it. It annoyed the heck out of me at first to have fixtures hanging over the ends of the top. BUT it is what it is and I needed certain ones for my cage to have equal light disbursement. Maybe customize the hood of the cage to accommodate the larger fixture. You know like have a rim or something on it so it does not look out of place. Also the possibility of running the fixture diagonally but you would want to get the fixture and measure it to make sure that will work. I do not run my lighting that way and do not have the standard square cage to give you exacts on that.

Stick with the aluminum window screen. Larger gauge you have to have your basking level much further away. Let me give you some examples.
With the ProT5 and a 6% bulb sitting on aluminum window screen you want a measured distance of 8-9 inches from the bottom of the fixture to the closest branches below it. This puts the cham in a UVI level of 3 which is what your shooting for.
Now with the ProT5 and 6% bulb sitting on large gauge metal screen. Like talking the 1/4 inch or larger there is virtually no reduction in UVI level so with this you now need 11-12 inches from the bottom of the fixture to the closest branches below it. This also puts the cham in a UVI level of 3 but you have lost inches of usable space to accommodate this.

So you lose more of your basking level and upper cage doing this. And you really want to provide as much room as possible.

Hopefully I am making sense. I do try to explain it so that newbies understand since I once was there and it was all gibberish to me.

I can go take a look at your other thread so everything about husbandry is located in one thread. :)
 

ChameLeon_

Member
Yeah i thought about that one too, but it wont be much smaller than my enclosure since the lights tube is 45cm and whole light fixture is about 52cm so just right for the space i got. Do you think it won't cover the cage evenly because of the few cms missing?

About the gauge i fully understand it, and i meant it like this. I can either go with UVB100 and less dense screen so it is more equal to T5HO, or i can go with same density screen and UVB150 which is fairly stronger and described as a desert light that can be used in forest terariums with denser screens. This should probably work too with basking still about 20cm from top of the cage right? I think the second variant would be more suitable, since as you said larger gauge will cause more heat too, but i can sort that out with a dimmer for my heat bulb.

I feel lost with so much info available.
 
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