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Reptile Heating and Lighting Guild

Updated on January 16, 2018



Reptile Heating & Lighting Guild

In this three-step guide; I'm going to share with you the different types of lighting and heating required for proper reptile care.

  1. Terrarium.
  2. Decor.
  3. Care.

First, let me start out with a list of items you will need for your reptile habitat.

Two will be needed Thermometers


You might or might not need:

Basking-bulb and fixture

Daytime UVA/UVB bulb.

A Lamp-stand for the UV and heat bulbs will be needed.

Ceramic heat emitter and fixture or a nighttime bulb could be needed...

Let's go over lighting for your reptiles.

  • For the better health of your reptile, you will need to provide a 12 hour on/off light cycle. This cycle will help mimic the natural day/night cycle. Reptiles that are active during the day require different types of Ultraviolet Light; this is needed so they can properly absorb calcium. Let's go over the two types of light.
  1. UVA is the visible daytime light that allows us to see. They are your fluorescent, incandescent and mercury vapor. Halogen, incandescent, and mercury vapor bulbs produce heat.
  2. UVB provides essential D vitamin, which helps prevent weak and broken bones. There are two types of bulbs, mercury vapor, and fluorescent. Mercury vapor also produces heat. Choose a UVB bulb that's designed for your reptile’s natural tropical or desert environment. Remember to change the bulbs every six months, the bulbs, stop emitting UVB over time. This is one reason why a screen lid is needed; glass blocks UVB light.


  • Reptiles require a gradient; this is so they can regulate their body temperatures. You will need to have a cool and warm side setup for them. There are four types of habitats, desert, temperate, tropical and semi-aquatic.
  • The temperature gradient for climbing reptiles should be created vertical. The heating elements should be near the top of a tall habitat. For your land reptiles, you will need to create a horizontal gradient; the heat elements need to be on one side of the habitat. Include two thermometers at each end to monitor your temperatures.
  • Daytime
    • Basking-reptiles require a basking area during the daytime. Include two thermometers at each end to monitor your temperatures. The basking area should be the hottest area in your habitat. Use a high-watt bulb centered properly over an elevated rock or log. Research the required basking temperature for your specific reptile.
    • Nocturnal require less heat than basking reptiles. Use a lower watt heat bulb and an under the tank heater or ceramic heat emitter as needed.
  • Nighttime
    • If the average temperature of your house is around 75 degrees, you should not need additional heat during the night. If you do sometime need heat during the night use a night specific bulb. Ceramic heat emitters and under the tank heaters, also provide heat without light.


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