Reptarium Lighting Question


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Has anyone heard that not enough light gets through the Reptarium tops because they are so dark? If that is the case, do I need to add another light to increase the UVB exposure?
Howdy Juli,

The Reptarium does block quite a bit of the UVB and any other light trying to go through it. This is where a Solarmeter 6.2 UVB meter comes in handy to check just what does reach a UVB basking perch :). Other than having one of those meters, your best bet is to use a Zoomed Reptisun 5.0 and make sure that he can get within 6" of the tube. As I recollect, at that distance, he will get enough UVB after going through the Reptarium screen. If you have regular aluminum screen, 6"-12" will work well enough.
Reptisun 5.0 Compact coiled Flourescents

Has anyone used these? They fit in a clamp lamp and I thought I could use along with the fixture on top.
No I have not used those. I believe memember Fate X has.

Another option with the flourescent tube is to simply up the percentage to like an 8.0 or 10.0. I found that in the long run with reptariums my plants have suffered a bit I think do to the darker cage. I got a ballist that holds two flourescent tubes. One for the UVb bulb and the other for a specailty plant bulb. This not only lit up the cage well, the plants perked right up and I can see my chameleons (and colors) better. My chameleons actually seems to be brighter all around.
Since I have a Solarmeter 6.2, I was curious enough to check the attenuation of a Reptisun 10.0 transmitting through a Hagen Exoterra Flexarium ( similiar to the Apoggee Reptarium).

I was shocked to finded that readings at 6 inches went from 71uW/cm2 with no obstruction to 31 uW/cm2 through the Flexarium cloth.

I believe the recommended minimum emission should result in a strength of 5 - 15 uW/cm2 at the point of contact with your cham.

It is still well within spec, but would result in the need to place the source closer to where your cham perches and definetly requires the replacement of the tube much sooner.

I repeated the measurements through aluminum screening of my ESU Fresh Air Habitat and the results at 6 inches were 71 uW/cm2 and 58 uW/cm2 respectively.
i have been using a few compact zoomed 5.0 ,i have a baby veiled since october has been getting her uvb via this bulb,they get hot if you use them with a dome reflector. i have been using a horizontal reflector and it seems to work better, she has been doing good so far. i have just moved her into her 2x2x4 cage and i have her under 2 zoomed compact 5.0 the top area of the cage is nice and bright but the bottom area seems kinda dark. she seems content.
she has not gotten mbd yet. i will most likely get her a 24" 5.0 flourescent light by the middle of summer.

i have also used these for my females while they are gravid, when lucky laid her first eggs i used one of the 5.0 compacts for extra uvb ,on her last eggs i did not use one and she almost died from eggbinding,the vet said her calcium was low.i'm not sure what to make of it.
i would say that the zoomed 5.0 is better then nothing.
and out of the 3 i had one burned out already,i might of sprayed water on it maybe .
There is a debate on whether it is prudent to provide basking heat and UVB in the same location.

Popular belief is that a cham will self regulate heat and UVB. If the same fixture provides both, the cham cannot select to regulate one without effecting the other.
Popular belief is that a cham will self regulate heat and UVB. If the same fixture provides both, the cham cannot select to regulate one without effecting the other.
Harry, I tend to believe the opposite is possible.

Consider if you are using one source of heat and UV. The chameleon wakes up in the morning sits within its range, flattens its body and turns black. The chameleon is now basking to absorb heat for the energy it must exert throughout the day. After doing its daily duties, the chameleon returns to the perch under the lamp, flattens its body and becomes a lighter tone. The chameleon is now absorbing UV, while reflecting much of the heat.
My observations with my own chams is that the chams will avoid the UVB by leaving the area or hiding under foiliage when they do not want UVB exposure. When I replaced an old UVB tube, I notice one cham spending even less time under the new , stronger source.

The question in my mind is: Can a chameleon stop absorbing UVB at will or does it have to physically remove itself from the source?

If it needs to avoid the UVB source to regulate its UVB exposure, then how does it seperately regulate basking heat exposure and UVB exposure, if they are both provided by one source?

The answer may be in observing its natural habitat. Obviously, it receives heat and UVB from the sun. Neither is available seperately, BUT , UVB does dramatically change through the course of a day.

Now I'm even more confused....LOL

Lets here other opinions or if anyone has a reference to a definitive study, please post it.
It's funny how hard we try to tell people to reproduce the chameleons habitat as best as possible, and then in regards to lighting, tell the exact opposite. If Wild chameleons can regulate, then I figure my Captive bred specimens can do it as long as I provide dense foliage.

But yes, the rising and falling of UV intensity could be an issue, but the UV in the sun in an open area without shade is quite powerful, and I would think especially in the areas there these chameleons are coming from.


It has been recommended that Panther chameleons should have around 35uW/cm² for 12 hours a day if I remember correctly. Though their habitats in the wild seem to vary from thick vegetation and thin sparse fields so its hard to say where this info was recorded.

Most florescent tubes are only giving this much UV within the first 6" from the bulb. Aluminum mesh blocks probably in the range of about 35% of the UVB, depending exactly on what mesh you use. Meaning that many of the florescent tube bulbs are actually only effective in producing the amount of UVB recommended for Panther chameleons, in the first 4" below the bulb and only in the first 2-3" if you are using a Reptarium/Flexarium cage. Also factor in that the bulb is usually raised about 3" or MORE off the netting the in the larger lamps.

Correct me if I am wrong.

Now lets look at the same thing with a 60watt Mega-Ray EB lamp. The first 6" or so below the very center of this bulb are higher than found in nature. minus 3" for the bulbs hight being held over the mesh in the lamp- and then also consider the reduction of the UV from the screen- but well factor that in later. So, unless the chameleon is hanging ON the mesh upside down below the bulb, this unit is safe within the limits of nature as in full sun you would VERY rarely pass 500uW/cm² even at higher geographic altitudes. At a distance of 12 inches from the bulb, the lamp produces about 100uW/cm². If you are using a Reptarium, a chameleon sitting at 12" from the bulb, meaning (12-3) about 9" from the cage roof which is a respectable distance, would receive very close to the amount recommended for panther chameleons after you factor in the 50-60% diffusion. And there for not too intense if you construct the perches and branches correctly.

Keep in mind I haven't received my Solarmeter yet but this is just something that I was thinking (researched: about when justifying to myself that MV bulbs are not too powerful for my panther chameleons.

This is one of the most important points in my mind, written on the site, and in some way it puts me at ease that they can somehow regulate the UV a bit better than I had previously given them beleif to.
All reptiles must be able to shelter from UVB light; a UVB gradient, similar to the heat gradient with which we are familiar, is necessary in the vivarium.
I have ordered a ZooMed reptisun 10.0 to go on top of the 38 gallon Reptarium. Can there be too much UVB exposure?
I have ordered a ZooMed reptisun 10.0 to go on top of the 38 gallon Reptarium. Can there be too much UVB exposure?

That bulb only produces about 190uW/cm² at the very highest. Full sun in nature can reach up to about 500uW/cm² at mid day. Considering how the Reptarium diffuses the UVB substantially, you should be well within the correct amount if youi have the chameleon basking within about 6" of the bulb.
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