Lighting for my Custom Enclosure


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Currently working on a custom enclosure. I’m literally at the VERY beginning (just finished stripping old paint and disassembling), but planning ahead for the rest. Once finished, the tank will be around 37x18x23.5 (this is a guesstimate Bc I’m gonna make custom rock walls, but the walls under the fake rock will be this). This makes it about a 67gal tank (approximately).


Now I have these lights I’m going to use, one for the CHE, and one for a basking (flood) type light). There’s gonna be an electrical compartment in the top with Quad GFCI outlets (junction box (grounded of course)for everything to plug into (with timers for day/night cycles). Also putting my vents on bottom of cool side, and top of basking side (might put top and bottom on both sides, I’ll just use vents I can close in case we or my beardie prefer one side over the other or whatnot). The cables will be hidden behind the “rock” walls and go into the top to the junction box. This way there’s only one cable coming out of the enclosure to plug into the outside.

Now my issue....for my uvb I’m looking at writhed the Arcadia 10%/12%/14% UVB T5 HO light in a T5 fixture (of course) with reflector.

All my lighting (UVB tube, CHE, Basking) will be inside the enclosure (and yes, I will ensure that my little friend can’t get close enough to touch them)

Now my questions:
1) What length fixture/bulb? Do I need (37” wide)? I’m thinking the 24” fixture with 22” bulb. And what percent (10%/12%/14%)?

1a) Also torn between the bulb I mentioned (10%/12%/14% UVB T5 HO) and the Arcadia Arcadia D3 12% UVB T5 Bulb - 22". Which one would be better for my little one?

2) Is the T5 too strong with the small height of 23.5” floor to ceiling?
-If it is then I can go to T8 and mount inside as planned
also. I could also (if needed) recess the T5 into the top
space to gain a few extra inches for it to be further
away. I can build up the fake rock to put him in the
“sweet spot” if needed for basking.

3) If I have to go to a T8, what fixtures or bulbs are good?

4) What Watt CFE and spot light for basking do you think I might need?
-they will both be on dimmers also so I can turn down to
get my temps right if needed

Any other suggestions would be great. Everything will be sealed inside and given plenty of time to air out and I’ve done extensive reading on types of paint/sealer/etc to use and I’m prob gonna do 1.5-2x the airing out time to ensure no harshness is still in the air before I even think of him going in there.

I don’t have any pics of the enclosure so far, as it’s all taken apart. I’m also going to go with a Grand Canyon theme inside. All three walls will be fake rock almost all the way up (if not all the way up).

CooperDragon Sicko
Staff member
Sounds like this is going to be a really nice setup. My enclosure is about the same size. It's glass and I leave the top off of it to give me more height to work with, which puts it at around the height of yours based on where I usually set the lights. The 24'' fixture will be enough, but you can go with a 36'' too and just mount it along the front or the back to create a gradient along the depth of the enclosure. If you go with a 24'' you could mount it at an angle from one corner to one wall and then have the basking fixture in the center of the triangle that forms. That would also work well.

The Arcadia 12% is probably the best fit for that size of enclosure. I use that and it is excellent.

As far as a CHE goes, I really like the heat projectors made by MegaRay and Arcadia. They produce plenty of heat when needed and don't get nearly as hot to the touch as a CHE. Much less of a burn/melt risk.

Your basking light is really going to be something custom for your setup. It all depends on how it holds heat and boils down to the surface temp readings you get with each bulb. You want a wide beam so a PAR38 or BR40 is a good choice. I'd start with maybe a 60w or 80w and see how that goes. You want to hit pretty close to your desired surface temps with just the wattage and use the dimmer just to fine tune the temps a bit as needed - don't want to dim a bulb down too much and make it dim. I like the GE PAR38 halogen flood lights. The 80w works for me, but my enclosure doesn't hold heat well. A 60w might be better depending on the material you're using. You'll have to try a bunch of them out and then when you find one that works in your setup, buy a bunch to have on hand.


New member
Original Poster
Oh it’s an antique solid Poplar three drawer dresser I’m making it out of. It’ll hold heat well which is why I’m considering (haven’t decided) on putting in it. One would bring air in (cool side) and one pushing air out (hot side).

I’ll check out those lights you mentioned and prob get a 60 and an 80 just to have the other on hand just in case. Trying to talk myself into the Herpistat 2 SpyderWeb Bc of what it does and the reviews on it compared to cheaper similar options but convincing myself on the (approx) $220 price tag is hard. With all the other “niceties” I’ll have in this it’s already a lot (but if I’m doing it, I figured I’d do it right).


New member
Original Poster
Oh and also thinking of some LED strips if I do have to dim and the light level is bad to add some light in it, but that’ll be after I get it all done and see.


New member
Original Poster
This is the basking fixture and CHE (or heat emitter) fixture I’m using. So I’ll have two of these, with a 3rd for backup.

CooperDragon Sicko
Staff member
Repurposed furniture often turns into some beautiful setups! The fans may be a good idea, but I'd probably set it up and observe the temps first, to see if more airflow is needed. LED may or may not be needed. T5 bulbs are nice and bright on their own. You could get a dual T5 fixture to add a 6500k bulb next to your UVB bulb as an option. Arcadia also makes an LED bar that might be suitable for extra light if needed (and would allow dimming if you'd like that). The light sockets you have should be just fine. As long as the fixture is able to handle more wattage than the bulbs you're using they should work - don't need anything specific on that front.

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