Newbie clarifications

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Newbie clarifications

Postby skyfishcafe » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:57 am

Hello! My partner and I recently got our first bearded dragon and we're trying to do things the right way. So far we've learned that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, i.e. don't trust pet shops -- even specialty pet shops -- to provide the things our beardie actually needs. :roll:

The bearded dragon, Alduîn, is about 10 weeks old. We took "him" (provisional pronoun until sexed, haha) to a vet with reptile expertise 2 days after bringing him home just to establish care, do fecal tests, and get advice. Thankfully all has been well and his appetite and activity levels have grown. Now I am trying to make some improvements and would like to hear your thoughts.

Questions up front:

1. Given the details of our setup, can we safely mount a T5 HO inside our enclosure?
2. Given the details of our setup, should we use a 150W clear incandescent or a lower-wattage frosted halogen floodlight?

Details:

Basic setup:
- 40-gallon glass enclosure (36"L x 18"W x 16"H), sliding top with fine mesh -- typically we leave the top off (no kid or other pets)
- About 1/3 of the enclosure is currently sectioned off by a piece of cardboard, giving him the remaining 2/3 (vet's advice to ease transition)
- Substrate: Gorilla non-adhesive shelf liner, taupe
- Hides: faux rock in cool corner, small faux half-log in basking corner
- Digital probe in basking area typically measures 100F-110F depending on time of day
- Ryobi temp gun registers basking area floor at about 100F, cool side floor at about 80F
- Night temps 70F-75F

We're currently using an MVB of questionable quality (SolarBrite) mounted in a deep dome on an adjustable lamp stand. I don't trust SolarBrite, so yesterday we got a 22" Reptisun T5 HO 10.0 UVB bulb, a Sunblaster T5 HO fixture (no reflector).

I'd like to mount the UVB fixture against the top of the rear enclosure wall, but my main concern is that the T5 HO might be too close to the spindly driftwood Alduîn uses for basking. He'd be able to get to about 6" from the bulb unless I move some things around. Reptisun recommends a minimum of 6", and when I looked at some of the charts that have been posted on this forum most of them recommended 10 to 12". However, the bulbs in those charts used a reflector, and from what I have read I believe not using a reflector cuts the UVB intensity in half (so, again, 6").

I'd rather not have to get a hood and put the bulb on top of the screen lid because (1) we prefer leaving the lid off if possible for ease of access, and (2) I absolutely hate having to move his light just to e.g. spot clean, add/remove food, etc. However, I want to do what is safest for Alduîn. So Question 1: Given the details of our setup, can we safely mount a T5 HO inside our enclosure?

Once we replace the MVB with the 22" Reptisun, we will of course need to provide a new basking light. I scoured Home Depot and found a 150W clear incandescent bulb to stick in the dome. I feel that 150W for a 40-gallon tank is a LOT a lot, but I am hoping I can get appropriate temps by adjusting the height. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a regular 60 or 65W incandescent at Home Depot, Target, or Walmart -- almost every household light seems to be LED now. Also, all the indoor non-LED halogen floodlights I found locally were frosted. Thus Question 2: Given the details of our setup, should we use a 150W clear incandescent or a lower-wattage frosted halogen floodlight?

Thank you for considering our situation and sharing your experience!
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Re: Newbie clarifications

Postby claudiusx » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:33 am

Hi there,

Ideally you want the t5 to be 12-15 inches from the basking surface when it has a reflector.

Without a reflector the output is nearly halved, so a t5 without a reflector can be 6-8 inches from the basking surface.

So in your case, since you dont have the reflector, youd be good to mount inside. If you had the reflector youd need to remove it, or figure out something else for uvb.

For your basking light, just use whatever bulb produces the temperature you need. Some of us use PAR halogens, some use reptile bulbs, some use incandescent bulbs. I use incandescent bulbs usually. As long as they put out a normal colored light (not red or green or anything funny) and give you the temps you need, that's all you want :)
As far as wattage, that will really just be trial and error. I typically only use 50w bulbs for my tanks. Others use higher and other use less.

-Brandon
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Re: Newbie clarifications

Postby skyfishcafe » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:33 am

Hi Brandon,

Thank you for your quick response. I appreciate your insights on the setup and I'm glad the T5 without reflector is not contraindicated. And I'm grateful for your perspective on basking lights, too -- I think I may be trying to juggle too many variables (halogen/incandescent, utility/floodlight, frosted/clear, lumens, color temp, wattage...) when really I should be focusing on temperatures provided to the basking area.

Many kind regards!
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Re: Newbie clarifications

Postby claudiusx » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:39 am

Not a problem! :)

It's easy to get a bit overwhelmed in the beginning but once you have everything situated, it gets quite simple :D

Dont hesitate to ask any questions you might have :)

-Brandon
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Re: Newbie clarifications

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:20 am

skyfishcafe wrote:Hello! My partner and I recently got our first bearded dragon and we're trying to do things the right way. So far we've learned that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, i.e. don't trust pet shops -- even specialty pet shops -- to provide the things our beardie actually needs. :roll:

The bearded dragon, Alduîn, is about 10 weeks old. We took "him" (provisional pronoun until sexed, haha) to a vet with reptile expertise 2 days after bringing him home just to establish care, do fecal tests, and get advice. Thankfully all has been well and his appetite and activity levels have grown. Now I am trying to make some improvements and would like to hear your thoughts.

Questions up front:

1. Given the details of our setup, can we safely mount a T5 HO inside our enclosure?
2. Given the details of our setup, should we use a 150W clear incandescent or a lower-wattage frosted halogen floodlight?

Details:

Basic setup:
- 40-gallon glass enclosure (36"L x 18"W x 16"H), sliding top with fine mesh -- typically we leave the top off (no kid or other pets)
<<< I suggest a 24W t5ho 12% UVB tube in a good reflector hood mounted UNDER THE FINE MESH LID , needs to be about 11 inches from the basking spot to provide adequate levels of UVA (often forgotten with serious consequences by even experienced keepers) and sufficient levels of UVB to allow efficient photosynthesis of VitD and good metabolization of dietary calcium to allow "him" to create more of himself (not just strong bones).
A fine mesh (as used in lids will block 50% of the UVA & UVB , hence mounting under it.
Use some cable ties pushed through the mesh to form two loose loops, slip the hood into the two loops and then draw the loops tightly to secure the hood ( 5 minutes work !! ).

At 24W T5ho tube will be approx 22 inches long which is ideal for a 36 inch long tank.

<<< I also suggest that you place some melamine or plywood overtop most of the mesh lid, this will make the tank much more thermally efficient ( lower watts required to achieve the desired basking spot temperature ( NOT MORE THAN 40 degC ), warm zone temperature ( about 35 deg C air temperature ) and cool zone temperature ( about 28 - 30 degC air temperature ). Most people don't seem to know that warm air is much more buoyant than cold air ( density effect ) and if you have an effectively open topped tank ( mesh wont restrict warmed air from escaping one jot ! , what you end up with is needing much higher wattage basking globe and CHE to get the same temperatures and hold them in any way that looks remotely stable ( you pay more for electricity , need 30% to 50% higher wattages ) and end up with a nice pool of warm air under room ceiling where no one other the flies and spiders benefit.

- About 1/3 of the enclosure is currently sectioned off by a piece of cardboard, giving him the remaining 2/3 (vet's advice to ease transition)
- Substrate: Gorilla non-adhesive shelf liner, taupe
- Hides: faux rock in cool corner, small faux half-log in basking corner
- Digital probe in basking area typically measures 100F-110F depending on time of day
<<< careful with temperatures over 105 degF , these are very risky.

- Ryobi temp gun registers basking area floor at about 100F, cool side floor at about 80F
- Night temps 70F-75F

We're currently using an MVB of questionable quality (SolarBrite) mounted in a deep dome on an adjustable lamp stand. I don't trust SolarBrite, so yesterday we got a 22" Reptisun T5 HO 10.0 UVB bulb, a Sunblaster T5 HO fixture (no reflector).


<<< I'd be tossing the SolarBrite MVB in the trash can. Not a good Brand.

I'd like to mount the UVB fixture against the top of the rear enclosure wall, but my main concern is that the T5 HO might be too close to the spindly driftwood Alduîn uses for basking. He'd be able to get to about 6" from the bulb unless I move some things around. Reptisun recommends a minimum of 6", and when I looked at some of the charts that have been posted on this forum most of them recommended 10 to 12". However, the bulbs in those charts used a reflector, and from what I have read I believe not using a reflector cuts the UVB intensity in half (so, again, 6").
<<< 6" infers you have a 5%UVB t5ho in a hood that's under a mesh lid or a 10%UVB t5ho in a reflector hood mounted on top the mesh (assuming the mesh blocks 50% of the UV.
<<< a good parabolic polished metal reflector or reflector hood will concentrate and focus the UVA & UVB and light and effective double these where you want them.


I'd rather not have to get a hood and put the bulb on top of the screen lid because (1) we prefer leaving the lid off if possible for ease of access, and (2) I absolutely hate having to move his light just to e.g. spot clean, add/remove food, etc. However, I want to do what is safest for Alduîn. So Question 1: Given the details of our setup, can we safely mount a T5 HO inside our enclosure?
<<< YES .
Inside under the mesh lid is the best .


Once we replace the MVB with the 22" Reptisun, we will of course need to provide a new basking light. I scoured Home Depot and found a 150W clear incandescent bulb to stick in the dome. I feel that 150W for a 40-gallon tank is a LOT a lot, but I am hoping I can get appropriate temps by adjusting the height. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a regular 60 or 65W incandescent at Home Depot, Target, or Walmart -- almost every household light seems to be LED now. Also, all the indoor non-LED halogen floodlights I found locally were frosted. Thus Question 2: Given the details of our setup, should we use a 150W clear incandescent or a lower-wattage frosted halogen floodlight?

I'm not in the USA , so can't speak for what halogen and incandescent flood and spot ( Par30 etc ) are available that are designed for USA mains power.
I have seen GE floods and par30s and halogens mentioned here.
Your tank is only 16" tall x 18" wide , so quite small a volume of air to be warmed .
I'd be very surprised if you need more than 100W in the basking globe if an incandescent or maybe 40W for a halogen to get the temperatures right ( if you close off most of the top with solid timber ).
, so you wont need a huge wattage for the basking globe.


Thank you for considering our situation and sharing your experience!
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Fluffy rescued injured by lawnwacker14Nov17, Gutzy 27Sep19.
Lucky - cat attack rescue, SI RIP 21Jul2010.
Wriggles - injured rescued, boss lizard, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16. .
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Re: Newbie clarifications

Postby skyfishcafe » Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:35 pm

Thanks for the additional info! We have mounted the UV light and are now trying a few different bulbs for basking.
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