New owner - tips on setup of lights with zen 4x2x2

Butternubs1

Member
Beardie name(s)
Nacho
Hello all. New juvenile beardie owner here. She’s about 3-4 months old. Looking for some tips on lighting setup. I have attached what I currently have. I’m in Southern California so it doesn’t really get too hot or too cold. In the winter I’ll probably get a che for the cold nights as it sinks down to about 58 at the coldest in the winter.

24in 12% Arcadia t5
100 watt zoomed basking bulb

1. Are my digital temp monitors in the optimal spots? I have them in the middle on each opposite end.

2. My heat gun detects about 102f on the hottest spot but I read it’s not very accurate for he material on the hammock. Should I be using a probe?

3. Seems like I should be using another light. The hot ends reads 89f with 40% humidity. Should I use a second light or just try using a 150? Would I be better off with a dimmer like a Herpstat?

4. Can anyone comment on the effectiveness of using a larger or smaller dome?

5. Is the uvb light ok up against the back edge or should I position it different?

My gut tells me I need more than just 100 watts. What are people using for this size typically? Also if anyone is using a Herpstat 2 what would be the configuration you would use looking at my setup?
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Hello all. New juvenile beardie owner here. She’s about 3-4 months old. Looking for some tips on lighting setup. I have attached what I currently have. I’m in Southern California so it doesn’t really get too hot or too cold. In the winter I’ll probably get a che for the cold nights as it sinks down to about 58 at the coldest in the winter.

24in 12% Arcadia t5
100 watt zoomed basking bulb

1. Are my digital temp monitors in the optimal spots? I have them in the middle on each opposite end. You want 2 digital probe thermometers for accurate basking temps

2. My heat gun detects about 102f on the hottest spot but I read it’s not very accurate for he material on the hammock. Should I be using a probe? yes

3. Seems like I should be using another light. The hot ends reads 89f with 40% humidity. Should I use a second light or just try using a 150? Would I be better off with a dimmer like a Herpstat? you want surface basking temps of 105-110 for now - when the dragon is 5-6 months old they will not want that hot of temps 95-100

4. Can anyone comment on the effectiveness of using a larger or smaller dome? Larger domes have the wattage you need - look on the dome it will tell you what watt it can handle- and yes you may need another dome to get the surface basking temps you need

5. Is the uvb light ok up against the back edge or should I position it different? I would either get it in the tank w/ a distance of 12-15 inches directly over the basking decor piece - I have the same rock in my tank that sits directly under the UVB I will post a pic of it - there are 2 basking areas in my Zen one by the UVB and one in the back - I have 2 domes on the hot basking side one is a 100 watt now that it is summer and one that has a 75 watt in the smaller dome - on hot days that 75 watt is not used - the middle of the tank is a 75 watt behind the UVB keeps temps in the 90's

My gut tells me I need more than just 100 watts. What are people using for this size typically? Also if anyone is using a Herpstat 2 what would be the configuration you would use looking at my setup? I am not sure how that Herstat works but we can ask Cooperdragon
@CooperDragon
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Thanks. In your picture that middle spot for the rock is the secondary basking spot correct? It’s hard to tell but is the uvb light blocking most of the basking light?
Yes on the second basking area and no it sits behind the UVB on top of the screen - the temps are good and it seems to work I have had it this way for awhile - if he wants hotter temps he can move to the log directly under the basking light in the back - he uses both areas -
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I would probably double check your surface temp by putting a probe on the hammock. A 100w bulb is probably enough, but you'll want to go by surface temp. The thermometers on the walls are reading ambient temps on the sides rather than surface temp under the light. That can be helpful, but isn't all that useful for lighting adjustments. You can use either kind of dome as long as the light fits. The difference is beam width, but if the bulb is coming down to the edge of the fixture then it won't have a huge effect. As long as the light beam is wide enough to allow your dragon to bask evenly along their entire length at around the same temps, then it should be OK. Placement of the UVB is also OK. It can sit along the back the way you have it.
 

Butternubs1

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Nacho
I would probably double check your surface temp by putting a probe on the hammock. A 100w bulb is probably enough, but you'll want to go by surface temp. The thermometers on the walls are reading ambient temps on the sides rather than surface temp under the light. That can be helpful, but isn't all that useful for lighting adjustments. You can use either kind of dome as long as the light fits. The difference is beam width, but if the bulb is coming down to the edge of the fixture then it won't have a huge effect. As long as the light beam is wide enough to allow your dragon to bask evenly along their entire length at around the same temps, then it should be OK. Placement of the UVB is also OK. It can sit along the back the way you have it.
Thanks. I put a piece of cardboard on the hammock and used the gun to check the temps. What additional data would that probe provide Vs just the gun temp?
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
The temp guns don't read 100% accurate on all types of material, the probe isn't effected by the type of material. If you experiment with both you will see the ir gun is off by 5 to 10 degrees on some stuff, thats enough to put your basking temp out of range.
 

Butternubs1

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Nacho
The temp guns don't read 100% accurate on all types of material, the probe isn't effected by the type of material. If you experiment with both you will see the ir gun is off by 5 to 10 degrees on some stuff, thats enough to put your basking temp out of range.
So I just tested with a probe and the gun on the same spot. The gun shows about +8 but is that because the surface is absorbing heat? I tested on one of her basking rocks.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
The difference is probably due to the surface being measured. As mentioned, different material reflects heat differently so the guns get different readings. A cheap general use IR gun is usually close enough to use for most cases. That's what I use to spot check in addition to using a probe thermometer. You can get guns that are calibrated for different material as well. That's unnecessary in most cases for dragons though. An example is the human temp thermometers that healthcare providers use which are calibrated to human skin.

The ultimate measure, once you have everything in the ballpark with your setup, is to observe how your dragon uses the space. If they're up on the hammock happily pancaked out then they are probably happy with the temp. If they avoid the hammock, it might be too warm, and if they are spending all of their time there, it may be a bit too cool (or they just like it a lot - not always easy to tell). Make adjustments based on your observation of your dragon's behavior and use of the space as needed.
 

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