It looks like your original recommendation is probably the way to go. ZooMed makes one, but it is really the same thing made by the same company. I am a little disappointed that it only measures uvb. If you want to measure total uv or uva you need separate meters. I just need to find the best deal and order one. Will let everyone know how it works as soon as it arrives.
On a related note, while doing a froogle search I did find an interesting uv card. It's a little $4 card with a strip that changes colors to represent light, moderate, or heavy uv. It's advertised for people frequently outdoors as a way to know when to use lotion. I wonder if something similar could be offered by zoomed... similar to the little battery tester you get sometimes with AA batteries.
I don't think the card I saw could be used for our purposes. It was more of a general uv meter with only three output colors... I was just suggesting that zoomed might be able to do something similar but more specific for their lights and uvb. The average prices I am seeing for the uvb meter is $150-$160.
This site was receommneded on another forum. Looks quite informative. It is in the UK and since they never see the sun this is most important to them! LOL!! Just Kidding! People always think of UK as foggy/rainy (sort of like the rep. the Pacific NW has) I have been there - 2 solid weeks fo sun!
My cham lights are about to go out, so I did not get a chance to take any accurate measurements. I was able to quickly test it out though. From an inaccurate angle, I pointed the meter towards the basking light and moved it towards the zoomed 5.0 used in my cage. As I did this, the meter reading slowly went from 0 to 11. Fun stuff There is not much sun left here and there is an overcast; I am getting an outdoor reading of 2-4. I plan to do some research on the average uvb levels in Madagascar and will probably order some different lights for testing this evening.
How do you like your UVB meter? Worth the $$? I am debating about using the reptisun 10.0 for my desert species, but not sure. Right now I am using double 5.0 bulbs for my beardie to help get him out of his "brooding brumation."
Have you had a chance to check it on any older reptisun (or other) bulbs to see the level of UVB after 6 months? Any powersun?
I love my new uvb meter. It really is a neat little toy. After reading your post, I took my dog out and brought the solarmeter. It is partly cloudy outside, but I was able to get under a patch of clear sky. I Was getting readings up to 210 (Texas May 23 12:30PM). Under clouds or tree shade I was getting readings between 20 and 120.
After seeing all the well documented tests at uvguide.co.uk, I did not see the need to immediately order a bunch of lights for testing. I do have a zoo med 10.0 and 5.0 for comparison, and there is a definite difference between the two. I also have a few old 5.0 bulbs, one of which disturbingly shows a very low reading. I have not tried the powersun or any other bulbs besides those mentioned above, but probably will in the near future.
One thing I really want to do is learn the specific uvb gradients panther chameleons in Madagascar are exposed to. I assume this could differ depending on the locale and time of year. I have not had a chance yet to look into this, but when I do learn more I will post about it.
Is it worth the money? I think it is, especially if you are caring for multiple chameleons or other reptiles. If you go through a lot of bulbs throughout a year, knowing exactly when to replace those bulbs could save some money over time and eventually pay for the meter. It is also very nice knowing the true levels of uvb your cham is getting. I bought a 5.0 bulb about a year ago for Ezhno, my panther chameleon. I used it for about a month and put it away for a new and slightly larger 5.0 bulb. This old bulb is now showing a uvb reading of 2 from 6" away This is much lower than it should be and had only been used for a month (2max). The graphs at uvguide.co.uk are a great reference. One thing I do lack is a way to make sure the meter is correctly calibrated. The meter says it is accurate to within 10%.
I just began using the 10.0 for Darwin b/c his tank is over 20" deep and I want him getting UVB when he is lower in the tank. I only have two other tanks using the 5.0 but hey, if I can get a year out of one instead of 6 months it would be helpful. IU have saved all my bulbs (I use a permanent marker to write when I out it in and took it out of use) so it would be interesting to see. These are all 5.0. MY MV bulb blew a long time ago (3x!) so that is gone.
What did you pay? $180? I know I can look back, just being lazy. Yes, the UK site is really something!
With shipping it came to a total of $186. Unfortunately, they do not have automated online ordering. I had to call
I don't know why I did not look before, but this afternoon I found some specific info on panthers and uvb in the book 'The Panther Chameleon' on pages 74-75. "When using artificial uv-b light, the maximum irradiation available to the lizard should not exceed 5 to 15 uw" [Ferguson]. He continues with the subject and mentions one reason for this is that artificial uv-b has a substantially different balance and intensity compared to natural light and a panther may be unable to respond properly to overdoses of artificial uvb.
Very interesting and what a great book! This means even if I did determine the natural uvb gradients in Madagascar for the particular locale I am caring for, I would not be able to completely mimic the environment indoors and could hurt my cham by attempting to do so. Combining my newly gained knowledge from 'The Panther Chameleon' and the charts at uvguide.co.uk, I am not sure a zoomed 10.0 would be appropriate for panthers. The area they spend most of their time in would be well over 15 uw.