UV Lighting Guide


Background Information
UVB is part of ultraviolet light. There are 3 parts to ultraviolet light UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC damages cells and helps cancers grow but in nature this is filtered out by the ozone layer and is never required in florescent tubes. UVA is the most visible ultraviolet light to reptiles. It allows reptiles to tell when it is day and night and allows them to act naturally in the wild with feeding habits and interacting with others of their specie. UVB is a component of natural sunlight which reptiles utilise to develop vitamin D3 which synthesises in the skin to make calcium and phosphrous in the body at a ratio of 2:1. The radiation levels of UVB reptiles take in varies between species but tends to be between 295 – 400nm. If reptiles don’t have access to UVB they will be unable to develop properly and succumb to diseases such as metabolic bone disease or MBD. This table shows what type of products are available that have been designed to give reptiles the UVB they need.

Avaliable Products

The Job the Product is Designed To Do

Tube Reflectors

Designed to reflector light towards the reptile maximising its UVB intake. Always recommended to have these with the tubes.


Various designs to hold a UVB tube or bulb, some sit on top of the vivariums others can be installed inside. These have in built reflectors.

UVB controllers

These controllers are an alternative to canopies that run the UVB tubes and are more versatile to place within vivariums + have waterproof ends so can be used in any viv

T5 UVB tubes

T5’s are a high output UVB tube that give out more UV and light compared to the T8's. The best UVB bulb avaliable but more expensive

T8 UVB tubes

T8’s are a high out UVB tube like T5’s but thicker in diameter and not quite as bright. UVB output is slightly less with T8's than T5's but still gives out good amounts of UVB

T8 Euro range UVB tubes

T8 euro UVB tubes like the T8's are the best choice for reptiles that like to live in cover not producing as harsher light as the T5’s

UVB compact bulbs 20w / 23w

UV bulbs that just emit UV and give off very little heat. These bulbs are avaliable in 2.0, 5.0 and 10.0 intensity

All in one heat and UVB bulbs

These bulbs unlike the rest that just give UV provide heat and the quality of UV needed all in one bulb, only avaliable in high wattages though 80, 100 and 150w.

Arc Pods + 11W Lamp

A highly waterproof light system that can be fitted anywhere. Best suited for aquatic or wet/damp enviroments but can be used for anything and still give out the UVB required as the encasing to has a reflector built in. A 7% 11w UVB bulb comes included with the pod in the package but will only take those type of bulbs not the 20w or 23w compacts.

Ceramic Clamp Lamps With Reflector

A ceramic clamp system designed for the mercury vapor bulbs. There are 2 types 140mm and 200mm. The 140 is designed for the 80 and 100w bulbs and the 200 for the 150w. Like the canopies these also have built in reflectors.

UV Flood Reflector + 24w Lamp

A 24w UVB bulb with a reflector designed and angled to "flood" the vivarium with as much light and UVB possible, can be fitted inside the vivs horizontally or vertically with 2 screws in the middle of the reflector


UVB D3 Cycle In Reptiles >

D3 Cycle / Captive Requirements and Welfare
The D3 cycle is a very important element in lizards. It helps them grow properly especially with their bones and maintain a healthy body. As the diagram shows the warmth from the lamp and UV from the tube starts the process Provitamin D is made by cells in the lizards skin. Once UV comes into contact this then changes into pre - vit. D. Reactions in the body with warmth prepares the pre-vitamin D to be released and carried in the blood from the skin to the liver. The vitamin is then changed to calcediol. The substance tested by vets for vitamin D levels. Calcediol is then transported throughout the body to maintain healthy. In the kidneys it is converted into calcetriol which controls caclium levels in the body especially the bones and is vital for healthy bone growth.

UVB bulbs come in 3 different forms of intensity. These forms of intensities are split in numbers: 2%, 6% and 12% being the most intense UVB tube. Until recently it is been thought that snakes did not require UVB tube as they got all the calcium from their prey items. Now with recent enhancements it has shown that snake behaviour and especially vision is improved. Therefore UVB bulbs should be associated with all reptiles not just lizards and chelonia. This table shows which type of intensity is suited to what reptile. Below the intensitys are the choice of avaliable tubes/bulbs and which reptile they suit the best for the job they have been designed to do.

2% UVB

A milder bulb suited more for snakes which is more balanced with UVA and UVB to enhance vision and natural behaviour.

6% UVB

Medium strength suited to more rainforest species that have partial exposure to UV

12% UVB

Reptiles that are often exposed to UV radiation. Desert species are the best example to have 10.0 bulbs

Mercury Vapor All In One Bulb

Best suited to desert species or larger enclosures due to their high wattage. These bulbs give out the most UV from any other product and is recommeneded to be put along side T5s for more widespread UV as the bulbs (depending on their angle) only cover a small amount where as the tubes are spread across the whole viv.

T5 D3+

D3+ T5's are the strongest UVB tube avaliable. These are suited best for desert species such as agamids with their high percentage of UVB and bright light simulates the harsh intensity the sun would produce in the wild

T5 D3

These T5's do not have as high percentage of UVB as the D3+ tube. These are designed to suit species that like to spend most of their time in the shade. Secreative natures in geckos especially that use camoflage in the tree tops. The brightness of the T5's shines through heavy plantation like the sun would with tropical rainforests creating a natural bright leaf on one side with the other being darker in the shade further allowing behaviour seen in the wild to be expressed

T8 D3+

T8 D3+ UV tubes like the T5's are best suitable for speices orginating from arid regions. T8 bulbs however aren't as harsh when it comes to the light produced by the tube but still gives out good quality UVB. Unlike the T5 bulbs the T8's do sometimes start to flicker when nearly the end of their lifespan, this normally is a good indicator when to replace the bulb and should also be noted for people that suffer with photosensitve epillepsy.

T8 D3

T8 tubes are similar to the T5 D3's. Produces moderate amounts of UVB making it good for tropical species. The added bonus with the T8 is that because it produces a dimmer light, it makes it the ideal tube that provides good amounts of UV for reptiles with sensitve eyes such as albinos. Making it in some aspects more versatile then the T5's with its additional use of being well suited for species that like to spend a fair amount of their time in the shade.

Euro Range

Your cheaper end of the scale tube but unlike the T8 and T5's the euro range bulbs only last 8 months with good quality UV instead of a year before needing replacement.

Natural Sun

Natural Sun tubes on emit a small amount of UVB - 2%. A good tube to use as a double up with a 10.0 with lizards or suitable on its own for snakes to aid in vision and stimulate more natural behaviour then your average bulb.