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I'm trying to get a new bulb for my beardie and I'm wondering whats the current consensus on compact bulbs? I notice they're significantly cheaper.
As for right now, Im currently using a reptile glo tube 10.0 T8, about 12 inches from the basking spot, is that okay?
12'' is too far for a T8 or a compact. They both have an optimal output between about 6-8''. The tubes provide a bit wider spread of UVB than the coils do but their range is similar. If you have yours at 12'' I suggest moving to a T5. They are more expensive up front but don't need to be replaced nearly as often. Mine is going on 2 years now and is still providing great UVB levels (measured with my Solarmeter). 12'' is just right for them so I suggest going with that. This is what I use and it's great. http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/22-t-5-ho-fixture-high-output-with-arcadia-d3-12-ho-bulb/
I get my info from a few places. http://Uvguide.co.uk is Frances Baines' site and she does a lot of testing with different bulbs. Some of the info I get from my own testing. I've used my solarmeter to test a handful of popular bulbs and I've also done some limited testing in their natural environment in South Australia. Based on what I've read and my readings I try to provide UV levels that are similar to mid morning and late afternoon in their natural habitat which is when they've been seen basking. It's understood that they hide mid day to get away from the most intense rays. The mid morning and late afternoon UVI levels tend to be between about 3-6 UVI so that's what I shoot for in the basking area with different lights. Since it's difficult to increase and decrease UVB output without using a bunch of different bulbs, I shoot for a good average/medium. Taterbug has also done a bunch of research and put her findings along with test results from Frances Baines together on her on her site here https://sites.google.com/site/thelizardmadness/lighting-guides
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According to the first one you linked, the T8 bulbs don't take them anywhere to the "yellow" range, does this mean that these bulbs are always suboptimal? I'm just wondering where the 6-8" of closeness to the T8 bulb theory comes from.
It seems like in all circumstances its better to go with a MVB or T5 bulb.
At 6'' the T8 tubes and 26w coil are OK. The 13w isn't really powerful enough in any case. I usually only recommend a T8 in a small tank like a 20g where 6'' from the bulb is doable. Otherwise, yes a T5 is much better because even at 12'' they provide much higher UVB levels toward the high end of the range I recommend. I have test results from several MVBs of different brand and wattages. These are from Frances Baines testing and are listed in the files section of the UV Meter Owners Yahoo group which you can access after joining the group. There is quite a bit of variability between brands and wattages of MVBs so they need to be taken more on a case by case basis.
I'm happy to provide my data and share my thoughts as well as hear your input and experience so we can provide the best info possible going forward. It's definitely an evolving process with much more to learn. Based on the results I have from the PowerSun they are pretty good with a nice wide beam which I like. The wider beam allows a dragon to bask evenly which is important and a reason why I like the tube lamps which cast a nice wide spread of UVB. The results are posted to the Yahoo group so I'd join that and download it from their files section so you can see the whole report. Based on what's presented I usually suggest mounting the 100w 8-12'' above the basking area to produce that 3-6 UVI level and the 160w 12-14'' above the basking area for the same results.
Thanks so much Cooper, glad we could have this discussion.
It definitely is an ongoing process of knowledge. I'll take those considerations and help spread the word where I can.
Edit: one more thing actually, do you happen to know if the heat output of a 100W powersun or 160W is equivalent to a general basking bulb of that wattage? I suspect it to be a bit less, just wondering how much less. Also, how long do they last for? thx.
Last edited by newbeardie11 on Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Do you have a Solarmeter? Having a 6.5 Solarmeter will allow you to compare light output between lights and also compare the output to that of natural sunlight. This may be helpful if you wish to do some further testing of lights on your own.
Could be something I could get into sometime, unfortunately with university work, I don't have time to explore the hobby as much as I'd like. Therefore, I rely on people like you for now haha.
Please see my edit above, just had a few more questions and then I'm out of your hair.
I'm not sure about the heat output for the MegaRay bulbs as I haven't tested them in person. There are temperature readings in Frances Baines report however in terms of heat output I think a lot of it has to do on setup/environment/ambient temps etc so mileage will vary. It's important to set an MVB up according to estimated (or recorded) UVB output and then adjust temps using a secondary light as necessary. With my portable basking lights using 100w MegaRay bulbs the UVI at 12'' is about 3.5 and the heat is around 100f in my house. I'm not sure about he longevity of the bulbs. I've had one of my MegaRays for a little over a year now and it still has strong enough output. My T5 Arcadia is about 2.5 years old and is still producing fantastic UVB levels of around 5UVI at 12''.
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