Providing the best lighting for a bearded dragon is very important for its health. Special bearded dragon lighting replicates the natural sunlight in the wild.
Bearded dragons receive ultraviolet (or UV) radiation from the sun in order to maintain good health. With keeping bearded dragons as pets we need to supply artificial UV radiation by the way of specially designed light bulbs.
Let’s go over the best lighting for a bearded dragon available today.
Fluorescent Tube Bulbs
Fluorescent bulbs are the most common lighting bulbs for reptiles. These bulbs are relatively inexpensive, energy-efficient, and provide the proper wavelengths of UV rays to accommodate bearded dragons.
Do not use household fluorescent tubes. Always use fluorescent bulbs manufactured specifically for reptiles. Regular household fluorescent tubes do not have the UV output needed to benefit a captive-raised reptile.
Select a fluorescent size that best fits your terrarium. You want the bulb to extend across at least 80% of the length of the terrarium.
There are some cons to using this style lighting:
- Place the bulbs within twelve inches of the bearded dragon so it receives sufficient radiation.
- The bulbs can become weaker over time requiring frequent replacement. The general rule of thumb is to replace fluorescent tubes every 6 months.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) are relatively new to the reptile world. CFL bulbs are like the high-efficiency “squiggly” bulbs found in the home today.
The one exception is that the bulbs needed for reptiles has a much higher intensity and UV output over regular household types.
One advantage to using compact fluorescents is that they are much smaller in size and do not require a long ballast hood like fluorescent tubes. House compact fluorescent bulbs in a dome lamp fixture similar to incandescent bulbs.
Like tube bulbs, replace compact fluorescent bulbs every six months. The compacts do have a longer life, but still tend to lose intensity and output as they age.
If you decide a compact fluorescent is right for you, we recommend the Exo Terra Repti-Glo 10.0 Desert Compact Fluorescent and the Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 Mini Compact Fluorescent for use with your bearded dragon.
Mercury Vapor Bulbs
Mercury vapor bulbs are typically the “go-to” lighting solution for most serious bearded dragon owners and breeders. They produce excellent full spectrum lighting and also supply heat, eliminating the need for several bulbs.
Mercury vapor bulbs are very efficient for supplying UVB and UVA rays and tend to last much longer than fluorescents. Most mercury vapor bulbs do not need replacing for about a year, and do not lose output strength as quickly as fluorescent types.
Here are just a few benefits of using mercury vapor:
- Mercury vapor bulbs have better long-term radiation output resulting in less frequent replacements
- Mercury vapor provides excellent UV radiation and heat, eliminating the need for multiple different bulbs
- Place Mercury vapor bulbs a little further away from the bearded dragon due to the higher overall output
The downside to using mercury vapor is the cost. These bulbs generally cost about double what many fluorescents do, but the benefits outweigh the cost.
Always Provide Excellent Lighting for Your Bearded Dragon
It is important to always provide the best lighting for a bearded dragon on a daily light cycle. Using poor lighting and not maintaining the bulbs can have very serious health consequences, resulting in loss of appetite, Metabolic Bone Disease and even death.
For more information on lighting for your bearded dragon, please read The Lighting Requirements for a Bearded Dragon.
I have a reptisun 5.0 UVB bulb and i also have a Zoo Med basking spot lamp and a nocturnal Infared heat lamp. I don’t know what company is best or if there is one. My mother is afraid that something will start a fire and i have no idea since i have never had a beardie ever. I have done as much research as i could but couldn’t find anything on it. Is fire a high risk with lighting for bearded dragons?
I just bought a exo terra 40 gal tank and using 1 zoo med 100w power sun on 1 side should I still put lighting on the other side? And what kind?
Amanda Frost says
heat bulb 🙂 assuming you know this but still 🙂
Powersun is a mercury vapor bulb that has uvb and heat. An additional heat bulb on the cool side of the cage would most likely increase temps too much. An additional tube UVB bulb would increase range being reached as well as provide additional visual lighting if you really want it, otherwise the power sun is all you need if temps areally aleady correct.
We have a uvb light on and a heat emitter bulb on as well. Is this enough light?
Hi, I am currently thinking about getting a Bearded Dragon but I’m not sure if they are good around bright colors considering that the room where I think I’m keeping the Bearded Dragon is mint green and coral. If that is a problem I could probably have the Bearded Dragon in another room but it might also be best if I might wait for if I ever redo the room and paint it to a more calm color. I also have a lot of experience with Reptiles and Amphibians in the past but have yet to own a Bearded Dragon, I have been researching about them for two weeks now.
Debbie Femrite says
I have just invested in a 55 gallon fish tank for my bearded lizard and I was wondering what should the lighting be for it. Right now I have an uvb bulb that is 10.0 and another white light that is 100 watt. Is that enough?
Cryatal B. says
Hello. I have 55G. all glass aquarium. (*48 X 13 X 18) . I have all hardwood floors and it is winter. It’s harder to keep tank at correct temperature. I’ve figured it out for my tank. I’m using a 48″ Exo-Terra T8 tube and 2 Exo-Terra (1x 160w. & 1x 80w.) Solar Glo mercury vapor bulb. Any time other than winter it would be to much. Also i adopted my beardie knowing that she has MBD and would need the best to reverse it. My other tanks only use 1x 160w. Solar glo and a 125w. Basking lamp. Hope that helps a little.
Is 120v solar light too strong for a 50 gallon tank? I believe my last basking lamp was 100c but the temps only reached up to 80 in his tank.
We use a en exoterra 3 in 1 solar glo 160 watt. Anyone use these too? Are they sufficient for uvb? Our beardies are healthy but obese heard mixed answers about it