UVB mounting help

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BlueMorpho

Juvie Member
I know this is a topic discussed ad nausuem, but I'm not finding the solutions that will work for me.
Eri's light fell, so for now, it's sitting on top of the tank and I need that to change ASAP.
I have a linear tube set up for an Exo Terra tank using a metal "under cabinet" ballast. Because the mesh top is so fine (1.5mm) and flexible, I don't want anything that will poke hole in it or stretch the wiring, so stringing it up in any manner is out of the question. There's a bar that runs crosswise through the top, and it's about a half inch thick, meaning I absolutely cannot mount anything directly to the mesh. I had several Velcro strips (which made up for the width) reinforced with superglue, and that held for over two years. Since it fell, I need another solution.
I've considered trying to see if I can buy just the magnets and locks from Magnaturals (my top choice, since I also hope to use them for future projects, too), but considering the prices, that's not likely going to happen in the next few months.
It seems my only option for now is mounting it directly to the glass, which poses a whole new set of problems for me.
One, I need to ensure the light is neither too close not too far from him, and bathing the floor of the tank, not just the doors. The 24” ballast I'm using has a 3” wide “head” before the bare bulb, and my extra ballast has a 2.5" gap (it's an 18”, which I'm not sure is big enough for a 34” tank and would require me buying a new bulb). I've recently been suggested to start using a T5, so a new ballast and bulb isn't entirely out of the question, but due to my finances, it might take me until next month. Two, the UVB lights (and all other fluorescent tubes) give me terrible migraines, so *I* don't want to be exposed to it any more than when I actually stick my head in there, so I'm not sure if covering the screen top with black paper or something would be an option, but in all honesty, just having it mounted on the back wall staring at me every time I look in the tank would be torturous.
Can somebody pretty please help me find a solution?
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Mounting it to the back wall using command hooks or similar isn't ideal because it won't direct all of the UVB downward. If you go that route, I suggest putting a reflector in place which will help concentrate the UVB down over the basking area and it will keep it out of your eyes as well. Overall it sounds like saving for the T5 is the best bet because you can put it right on top without much problem. They are hard to find locally in most places as you've seen so you may need to order it. The advantage is that the bulbs last for much longer than the T8s so you can save a bit in the long run. My bulb is going strong after about 2 years now (I check it with a solarmeter regularly).
 

BlueMorpho

Juvie Member
Original Poster
Thank you, again :)
Would the T5 be too much UV if I did find a way to mount them inside again?
Striker's tank has a solid metal screen, so it's super easy to mount things securely, but the top on the Exo Terra is frustrating... Even the top has bars that the light is balancing on now, and since the tank is on the floor between our kitchen and dining room, I'm sure it's bound to get bumped out of place eventually :S

I'm excited to be getting my solar meter, I'll be ordering it the first week of December!
How often is "regularly"? I tend to check my temps about once a month... I know it should probably be more like once a week at least, but I have a calendar reminder once a month so I actually do it, because I often forget ~.~' I do a "hand test" every day, though.
 

Rankins

Gray-bearded Member
I stuck my UV bulb fixture to the inside back wall with 50 lb mounting tape. You might be able to block some of the rays coming directly facing you by mounting it on the inner front wall. It wouldn't look as nice. Or you could possibly make something out of molding that would block the forward facing rays.
T5's can be found at just about any grow shop. People use them a lot for indoor gardening. Some hold more lights than others, so depending on which one you buy could be too much UV or too heavy to mount..
 

BlueMorpho

Juvie Member
Original Poster
Front "wall" is a pair of doors, so that's not an option. I've thought about some molding to block rays, but that will have to wait until I can do the tank redecorations in the summer. I'll be doing some work with foam and grout, and kinda do want a piece that'll shade the UV from my eyes a little more
Grow shops around here don't have 10.0 or 5.0 UVA/UVB lights. I tried looking a couple years ago, and had no luck. I looked again recently when I was thinking about mounting some lights for indoor herbs and flowers. All I found were halogen "grow lights" which are actually more similar to the neodymium bulbs... Emit a stimulating colour to plants, but not the right waves for critters.
I think maybe looking for a lighter ballast and seeing if I can get those magnets is my ideal goal, unless I can find something better. I really don't think I can handle it on the back wall without making some kind of reflector/guard, but with the ballast I'm currently using, that would take up 4+" of the upper portion of the tank and might interfere with Eri's basking spot, especially if I get him any bigger perches or prop up the branches differently. ~.~'
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
CooperDragon":12sgtxzh said:
Mounting it to the back wall using command hooks or similar isn't ideal because it won't direct all of the UVB downward. If you go that route, I suggest putting a reflector in place which will help concentrate the UVB down over the basking area and it will keep it out of your eyes as well. Overall it sounds like saving for the T5 is the best bet because you can put it right on top without much problem. They are hard to find locally in most places as you've seen so you may need to order it. The advantage is that the bulbs last for much longer than the T8s so you can save a bit in the long run. My bulb is going strong after about 2 years now (I check it with a solarmeter regularly).

A T5 will be your best bet, mounted outside the cages. It's not worth the effort to try and mount things on the side and diflect the glare since while it may be more comfortable for you it will still be less than ideal for the dragons.

I test monthly/every few months or so with a solar meter.
 

BlueMorpho

Juvie Member
Original Poster
Thanks so much, guys!!!
I'll be be getting the T5 ballast and bulbs as soon as I find them! I'm hoping I won't have to order bulbs online, but there's a shop about an hour away from me that *might* have them. (Crossing fingers)

Do the T5 bulbs absolutely have to be outside of the screen?
If I can find a lighter ballast, I'd prefer to have it inside so there's no chance it can be knocked over.
I think a lighter one would be easier; this one's metal and fairly heavy, but my old method held for 2 years, so I'm sure I can do better with something that dosnt weigh so much.
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
BlueMorpho":2tn9yyaa said:
Thanks so much, guys!!!
I'll be be getting the T5 ballast and bulbs as soon as I find them! I'm hoping I won't have to order bulbs online, but there's a shop about an hour away from me that *might* have them. (Crossing fingers)

Do the T5 bulbs absolutely have to be outside of the screen?
If I can find a lighter ballast, I'd prefer to have it inside so there's no chance it can be knocked over.
I think a lighter one would be easier; this one's metal and fairly heavy, but my old method held for 2 years, so I'm sure I can do better with something that dosnt weigh so much.

You want 12-14" between a reflected lamp and the dragon. If you can swing that then it can go inside.
 

twixy79

Member
BlueMorpho":2guriui2 said:
Thank you, again :)
Would the T5 be too much UV if I did find a way to mount them inside again?
Striker's tank has a solid metal screen, so it's super easy to mount things securely, but the top on the Exo Terra is frustrating... Even the top has bars that the light is balancing on now, and since the tank is on the floor between our kitchen and dining room, I'm sure it's bound to get bumped out of place eventually :S

I'm excited to be getting my solar meter, I'll be ordering it the first week of December!
How often is "regularly"? I tend to check my temps about once a month... I know it should probably be more like once a week at least, but I have a calendar reminder once a month so I actually do it, because I often forget ~.~' I do a "hand test" every day, though.

I had a lot of great advice from Todd @ Lightyourreptiles.com. I really wanted an Arcadia 12% fixture. It is going to be about $120 soo that will have to wait until next week (we have a 55gal tank, so we need a huge fixture/bulb). he said that With those bulbs, you will have no problem putting the mount on top of the mesh metal top. They are strong enough and you don't need to worry about losing beneficial UV light... He also suggested a double fixture, with a UV light and a regular bulb for visible light.

Right now, we have the reptisun 10 for the 55 gal tank, but like I said, once the holidays are over, I will definitely upgrade to the Arcadia
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
A double light is defiantly a good way to go.

Also if your worried about it getting knocked off mounting it to the wall behind the enclosure is an option. There are some attractive shelving L brackets that would work. You can also build a free standing stand from PVC or wood ralativly inexpencivly.
 

Rankins

Gray-bearded Member
Tater, why would it be less than ideal to mount something to block the forward facing rays? If its not blocking the downward rays it should be fine. I think you might be misinterpreting what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that if the light is mounted on the back wall and the molding is placed on the front wall there wouldn't be any rays that would be blocked from the lizards....only humans.
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
Rankins":21tlhpd1 said:
Tater, why would it be less than ideal to mount something to block the forward facing rays? If its not blocking the downward rays it should be fine. I think you might be misinterpreting what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that if the light is mounted on the back wall and the molding is placed on the front wall there wouldn't be any rays that would be blocked from the lizards....only humans.

Yeah, I did misunderstand the suggestion. Sorry. I do similar with my enclosures - lamps are either mounted in the front top corner above the doors, or the lighting area is "recessed" relative to observers.

It depends on a lot on where you mount it and the type of fixture and lamp. Overhead, or as close to it is ideal...A lot of setups (and it sounds like OPs) use a T8 mounted rather low on on the back wall (to get that 6-8" distance) in an under cabinet style light fixture with no reflector. This setup already isn't so good since the light is coming from the side or a very low angle and the dragons natural eye protection may not be effective if it's too low on the wall.
 
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