Full-spectrum lighting is very crucial for a captive raised bearded dragon. In the wild, bearded dragons receive natural UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
When kept indoors, those rays must be replicated using special full-spectrum UV florescent bulbs. These bulbs can be found at most pet stores or online.
Here are some guidelines for choosing the correct full-spectrum lighting for a bearded dragon.
Choosing the Correct Full-Spectrum Lighting
The UV florescent bulb should stretch the length of the bearded dragon’s enclosure and be seated in a hood or ballast that is especially designed for reptiles.
Most UV fluorescent bulbs come in sizes ranging from 18″ to 48″ so choose one that best fits the length of the terrarium.
This ensures that the bearded dragon receives beneficial UV rays no matter where it is in the enclosure.
It is important that your pet receives at least 10 to 12 hours of exposure to the lighting each day. Failure to provide UVA and UVB rays can lead to many health issues including mental problems, loss of appetite, and metabolic bone disease.
Make sure the bulb you choose offers at least five to seven percent UVA and UVB radiation.
UVA radiation helps your bearded dragon to remain healthy, stimulated, and maintain a healthy appetite.
UVB radiation is important in the beardie’s ability to metabolize vitamin D3 and calcium.
Not just any bulb can be used for reptiles, such as plant grow bulbs. Avoid using these and only select florescent bulbs that are specifically designed for reptiles to ensure the proper full-spectrum UV lighting your bearded dragon needs.
It is also recommended to avoid using the new compact florescent bulbs because there have been cases where the bulbs have burned the eyes of some bearded dragons. Stay with the florescent tube versions until the compact bulbs have been tested further.
Mercury vapor lighting can also be used to supply good levels of UVA and UVB radiation. These bulbs are a bit more expensive, but work well and last longer than florescent tubes.
The Zoo Med PowerSun UV Mercury Vapor bulb is an excellent choice that will keep your bearded dragon healthy and happy.
Full-Spectrum Lighting Placement
As mentioned earlier, it is important to supply full-spectrum lighting across the enclosure as much as possible. It is also important to place the bulb as close as possible to the bearded dragon so that it can take full advantage of the radiation emitted from the bulb.
Keeping the bulb twelve inches or less from the reptile is ideal for good radiation exposure. Keeping the bulb farther away lessens the effects of the bulb and drastically reduces its power. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper radiation exposure.
Never place the bulb above a glass top because the glass will filter out the UVB and UVA rays rendering it virtually useless.
Choosing the correct full-spectrum lighting for a bearded dragon is not difficult. Just remember to use lighting designed for use with reptiles and supplies the correct amount of UVB and UVA radiation.