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Heating and lighting.

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chit Chat' started by MassExodus, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    This is probably not the place for it, but I haven't found a good reptile forum yet and I know there's a few of ya'll that keep them. I need to reach 130º for a basking spot for my monitor lizard, with an 80º ambient temp on the cool side..what light would you suggest? I see people using spot lights for the basking area..is this safe? What kind of safety features are available? Could a lizard climb to the top of a retes stack to bask, and get too close to the light, and get burned? Btw the monitor won't be here for another week or so, I just want everything perfect when he arrives. Its a juvie so I'm starting him out in a 75 gallon glass tank, until I get his adult enclosure built. Or buy one..
  2. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    I prefer flood bulbs over spots. Spots concentrate too much heat in one spot. Remember, the point of the heat lamp is to simulate the warming rays of the sun in our indoor enclosures. The sun warms a very large area. :)

    There are many strategies to get the correct temp. You can have a higher wattage bulb and a lower basking platform, or you can have a lower wattage bulb and a higher basking platform, like your retes stack. In a tortoise enclosure, I raise or lower the bulb and fixture instead of the basking platform. In a screen topped lizard or snake enclosure, I raise or lower the basking platform since the bulb and fixture are at a fixed height. In a closed chamber, I either experiment with different wattage bulbs, or simply run the bulb through a rheostat to get the basking temp correct under it. I usually start with a 65 watt flood from the hardware store. HD sells a 6 pack or 12 pack of 65 watt Sylvania floods pretty cheap. I like to have extras on hand. They always seem to burn out 1 minute after the stores close just before a holiday. I buy bulk packs and then defiantly give the finger to Mr. Murphy!

    What ever lighting and heating you use, the important thing is to check and re-check the temps at lizard height. I use both a digital thermometer like this one: https://www.lowes.com/pd/AcuRite-Digital-Indoor-Black-Thermometer/50425254 Just lay it where the lizard would bask and see what it does after an hour of baking under the heat lamp. In addition, not instead of, I also use an infrared temp gun to check surface temps in the basking area directly under the bulb.

    I've never used or seen the need for a retes stack, but I also don't see the harm in using them either. And I also debate whether 130 degrees is really necessary. They can warm up to operating temp just fine at 100. I think anywhere in-between these two numbers will be fine, especially with a warm ambient.

    UV is debatable too. Many don't use it and insist they get D3 from the diet and supplements. Others use is and swear by it. Personally, I figure it will do no harm and it does light up the cage nicely with a natural light spectrum for a diurnal animal. If you are going to do it, do it right. Get an HO bulb and fixture. I like the Arcadia stuff from this guy: http://www.lightyourreptiles.com but ZooMed makes a good 10.0 HO too. I run it in the same timer as the basking bulb, or you can get fancy and have TWO timers so the higher light and UV levels are only on at mid day to simulate what happens outdoors in the real world.

    Finally for ambient heat, I like to use either a Radiant heat panel in a closed chamber, or a CHE in a screen topped tank, and both would be controlled by a thermostat. There are many expensive, feature packed quality thermostats on the market. I use a Helix to control my big fridge incubator, but I gotta tell you, I use this one in all my outdoor boxes and most other applications and I find them to be accurate and reliable. Been using more than a dozen of them over the last 10 years in a wide variety of circumstances and only two have failed me. One flooded in an underground burrow, and the other just stuck on last week. No other problems to report. I'm sure if I went around and counted, there are more than 20 of them in use at my place. For $30, and with the track record I've had with them, I feel good about recommending them. https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller
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  3. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Excellent info Tom, thanks, thats exactly what I was looking for.. I've been reading and watching videos for a few days now, I'm liking crittacam, he's an Aussie and knows his local sp. very well..all of them, from the looks of it:D
    Its difficult, when you first start out, because there's so much misinformation, opinions stated as fact, you know, just like the tarantula hobby. Takes a bit to sort the wheat from the chaff. I like the idea of the retes stack, and the look, but if they don't need it I'd prefer a more natural look. Im using a clay and sand mix for sub, with some jungle mix under it on the cool side, for moisture retention. This 75 gallon tank will weigh 300 pounds by the time I'm done. I'm rambling again, thanks for the info!
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  4. Whitelightning777

    Whitelightning777 Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Did you mean 130° or 113°? I didn't know any reptile could even survive at such a temperature!!
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  5. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Actually some say 130-150, others say 100-120. The 130 basking temp is at the surface of the basking rock or platform. Apparently with temps in the low hundreds, surface temp is commonly 120-130, even here in Texas. I tested it yesterday on a rock with my new laser temp gun thingy. They like it hot. I think I'll take a middle ground and go 115-120 for mine. Since I'm a noob again I'll be cautious with everything I do. Its my first lizard. Watch, next year I'll have a nile monitor living in my spare room..
  6. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    Not the whole cage. Just the basking area DIRECTLY under the basking bulb. Ambient temps in the rest of the enclosure would be in the 70 or 80s. Some species, like Uromastix, need it even hotter. 130-150 degrees for them directly under the bulbs. They move out from under the heat when they are feeling warm enough.

    I've temped rocks here on a day when ambient outside temp was 112 at 180 degrees in the sun in the afternoon.
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