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The 5 Best UVB Bulbs for Chameleons

Chameleons Reptiles & Amphibians November 6, 2019
uvb bulb chameleon

The 5 Best UVB Bulbs for Chameleons

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uvb bulb chameleon

With their ability to change colors at will, chameleons are amazing creatures. As amazing as they are, however, they can also be a challenge to keep as a pet due to their temperamental personalities and specific care requirements.

One aspect of chameleon care that can be particularly tricky is finding the right lighting. Chameleons need both UVA and UVB light. UVB is particularly important because it helps the chameleon absorb vitamin D which they can then convert into calcium.

In this article, we’ll talk about lighting for pet chameleons and provide some tips for choosing the best UVB bulbs for chameleons. You’ll also see our top 5 picks for the best chameleon UVB bulbs.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Excellent source of UVA, UVB, and heat
  • Self-ballasted for safety (no UVC rays)
  • Compatible with all types of enclosures
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  • Provides full-spectrum light and UVB
  • Stronger UVB and brighter light than standard
  • Recommended by zoos and veterinarians
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  • Available in 125 or 160 watts
  • Full-spectrum with UVA and UVB rays
  • Self-ballasted for safety (no UVC rays)
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  • High output of UVB rays in two wattages
  • Very affordable price tag
  • Compact size fits well in most standard fixtures
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  • Provides UVA, UVB, and heat source
  • Self-ballasted to prevent UVC rays
  • Available in two wattages, 100 and 160
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What To Look For In Uvb Bulbs For Chameleons

Choosing the right cage for your chameleon is important because these reptiles have specific needs. Because they are arboreal, they need lots of vertical space to climb. On top of that, they need proper heat, humidity, and lighting. When it comes to lighting your chameleon cage, you’ll need to include UVB as well as UVB lighting and that requires a special bulb.

Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In Chameleon Uvb Bulbs:

  • Type – There are many different types of lighting available for pets, but four types work best for pet reptiles: compact fluorescent, metal halide, linear fluorescent, and mercury vapor. Each type has its benefits, and some are more expensive than others.
  • Fixture – On top of purchasing UVB bulbs for your chameleon, you’ll need a light fixture to mount them. When shopping for UVB bulbs, consider the type of fixture required and purchase according to the type of lighting you’ve decided on.
  • Rating – Light bulbs for reptiles are rated for the percentage of radiation emitted in the UVB range – it generally scales from 1% to 10%, so choose the rating that is appropriate for the chameleon species you’re keeping.
  • Size – On top of choosing the right percentage rating for your chameleon cage, you’ll also need to choose a bulb the right size. Consider the type of fixture you have and the type of cage you have to determine where you can mount the fixture for the greatest benefit.

Now that you have a better idea what to look for in a chameleon UVB bulb, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best chameleon UVB bulbs.

Here Are Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Chameleon Uvb Bulb:

Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb

Specs:

  • Lighting Type – Mercury vapor
  • Watts/Rating – 100 watts
  • Features – Self-ballasted, produces heat
  • Price$29.99

Pros:

  • Excellent source of UVA, UVB, and heat
  • Self-ballasted for safety (no UVC rays)
  • Compatible with all types of enclosures

Cons:

  • Percentage UVA and UVB is not listed on the package
  • May not produce as much heat as expected

Easily one of the most popular options in UVB bulbs for chameleons, this 100-watt bulb provides both UVA and UVB rays in addition to being an excellent source of daytime heat. The Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb is self-ballasted for safety and compatible with all styles of enclosures, including terrariums.

Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Lamp

Specs:

  • Lighting Type – Fluorescent
  • Watts/Rating – 10.0 UVB, 39 watts
  • Features – Stronger output, brighter light
  • Price$30.62

Pros:

  • Provides full-spectrum light and UVB
  • Stronger UVB and brighter light than standard
  • Recommended by zoos and veterinarians

Cons:

  • Produces minimal heat, separate basking area required
  • Requires a separate 36-inch hood for mounting

If you’re looking for a full-spectrum lamp that provides UVB rays, but you’re not concerned about heat, the Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Lamp is a good option. It comes in a 34-inch length which is perfect for larger terrariums and it offers stronger UVB and brighter light than standard. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to provide a separate basking area if you choose this lamp as your chameleon’s primary source of UVB rays.

Exo Terra Solar-Glo High-Intensity UV/Heat Mercury Vapor Lamp

Specs:

  • Lighting Type – Mercury vapor
  • Watts/Rating – 125 or 160 watts
  • Features – Self-ballasted, full-spectrum
  • Price$26.99

Pros:

  • Available in 125 or 160 watts
  • Full-spectrum with UVA and UVB rays
  • Self-ballasted for safety (no UVC rays)

Cons:

  • Some bulbs may not last as long as others

Available in two wattages (125 and 160), the Exo Terra Solar-Glo High-Intensity UV/Heat Mercury Vapor Lamp is an all-in-one solution for your chameleon’s lighting and basking needs. This mercury vapor lamp provides all the benefits of natural sunlight along with optimal levels of UVA and UVB. Because it produces heat, you can also use it as a basking lamp as long as you maintain a safe distance.

Exo Terra Repti-Glo 5.0 Compact Fluorescent Terrarium Lamp

Specs:

  • Lighting Type – Compact fluorescent
  • Watts/Rating – 13 or 26 watts
  • Features – Compact size, affordable price, high output
  • Price$10.00

Pros:

  • High output of UVB rays in two wattages
  • Very affordable price tag
  • Compact size fits well in most standard fixtures

Cons:

  • Not a source of heat, separate basking area required
  • May not last as long as some brands

If you’ve already got basking areas in place and you’re simply looking for an affordable source of UVB rays for your chameleon, the Exo Terra Repti-Glo 5.0 Compact Fluorescent Terrarium Lamp is a good option. Available in 13 and 26 watts, these compact fluorescent bulbs have a high UVB output effective up to 12 inches and also provide UVA rays.

Repti Zoo Full Spectrum UVA + UVB Mercury Vapor Basking Spot Lamp

Specs:

  • Lighting Type – Mercury Vapor
  • Watts/Rating – 100 and 160 watts
  • Features – Self-ballasted, full-spectrum
  • Price$27.99

Pros:

  • Provides UVA, UVB, and heat source
  • Self-ballasted to prevent UVC rays
  • Available in two wattages, 100 and 160

Cons:

  • May not last as long as some brands

For a bulb that provides UVA and UVB rays that also doubles as a basking spot, the Repti Zoo Full Spectrum UVA + UVB Mercury Vapor Basking Spot Lamp is a great option. It comes in 100 and 160 watts and is self-ballasted to prevent dangerous UVC rays. It works well with most standard fixtures.

Tips For Lighting A Chameleon Cage

Chameleons are arboreal creatures, so they require a cage that is taller than it is wide to accommodate branches for climbing. They also need the cage to be kept warm and humid with several areas for basking. On top of heat, humidity, and basking areas, you also need to provide the right lighting. Chameleons require proper lighting to be able to absorb the calcium that keeps their bones strong.

Here Are Some Simple Tips For Lighting A Chameleon Cage:

  • Choose a fluorescent bulb that provides both UVA and UVB light – keep in mind that most broad-spectrum bulbs do not produce UVB light.
  • Consider which type of lighting to choose. Fluorescent lights don’t produce heat, so they can’t also function as a basking lamp. Mercury vapor bulbs do, but they are expensive.
  • Place the lighting in a way that your chameleon will get the exposure it needs while leaving room for natural daylight to enter.
  • Keep the lighting system on a cycle with 10 to 12 hours of exposure per day.
  • Pay attention to the lifetime of the bulbs you purchase – they may lose strength over time, so swap them out as recommended.

To determine the best lighting system for your chameleon, you need to research the species you plan to keep and find out that species’ requirements. This will help you choose the right type of lighting system as well as the proper rating for your UVB bulbs.

Now that you understand the basics of lighting a chameleon cage, you can see how UVB lighting fits in. Choosing the right UVB bulb is important because your chameleon won’t get what it needs without one.

Final Remarks

Chameleons make wonderful pets, but they can also be fairly challenging to keep. On top of choosing a cage with the right dimensions, you also need to provide for your chameleon’s needs for proper temperature, humidity, and lighting. When all of these things come together, you’ll have a happy and healthy chameleon. Don’t forget about UVB lighting!

If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for a chameleon UVB bulb, try out one of the top 5 best chameleon UVB bulbs we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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