If you own a Leopard Gecko, you must know how to build up a proper tank setup for its survival. To set up the tank, you might need to buy a few materials including UVB light. As the tank can get natural light from the surroundings, you might think- “Do Leopard Geckos need UVB” or not.
Leopard Geckos are nocturnal animals which means they do not require UVB light to survive. But to gain vitamin D, metabolize calcium, and make the immunity stronger, Geckos require UVB light at around 5-6% intensity for the best outcome.
If you want to know more about UVB lightning and important information regarding the setup, stick to the end.
A Leopard Gecko requires 5-6% of UVB lighting each day for 2-12 hours at max. The UVB light should be placed in a way that it maintains an 18-inch gap from the place where your Gecko generally sits.
There should be no light or plastic in between the light and your Gecko as the beneficial rays will be blocked otherwise.
As a reptile, Leopard Geckos require at least 13 microwatts of UVB to survive and maintain a healthy bone density.
This amount of microwatts also helps to metabolize calcium and synthesize vitamin D3 which is essential to maintain a strong immune system against bone diseases.
Leopard Geckos mostly do not need UVB light at night even though they become active at that period.
During the nighttime, the lighting is naturally lower in the surroundings and so your Gecko won’t need UVB lighting to conduct its activity.
Hence you need to turn off the UVB light for at least 12 hours to create a balanced day and night lighting system. This way, your Gecko will be able to balance a healthy internal body clock.
Changing this certain lighting period can affect Gecko’s natural rhythm and they might not function properly due to low vitamin or calcium.
Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient that is required for any organism to keep its bones strong.
The calcium when metabolized requires vitamin D3 for the creating reactions that help in the metabolism process.
Hence for any Leopard Geckos UVB light helps in providing the vitamin D3 source. But vitamin D3 can also be given as supplements.
The UVB lights play an important role in producing vitamin D3 which is essential for bone metabolism.
Vitamin D3 is a crucial micronutrient that is absorbed by the skin of Geckos easily. This vitamin helps in synthesizing calcium which is essential for keeping bones strong.
Hence at least a source of UVB light needs to be provided to make the Geckos remain strong.
The upper limit for UV light is 10% and if this percentage exceeds it might damage the skin of the Leopard Gecko.
An intense UV lighting is not required for Leopard geckos as they don’t bask in this light similar to other reptiles.
As Leopard Geckos have excellent vision and they are most active during the night, they do not require lighting at night.
But if you want to look out for your Gecko and its activity, you may fit night lights inside its terrarium.
There are different types of night lights in the market and the three most common ones are:
- Blue light
- Red light
- Black light
The Blue lights give off a moonlight glow that makes the tank very natural.
The blue lights do not give off heat which keeps the entire temperature of the tank balanced and non-disruptive for the Geckos.
Most owners prefer blue light as they can see their Geckos without putting the Geckos at risk.
The blue lights however can be visible even when they are dark. This affects the sleep cycle of the Geckos if the tank is turned on for more than two hours.
The red lights such as Fluker’s Red Heat Bulbs can provide a warm glow and heat for your Gecko.
The red lights are visible to the eyes of any Geckos. Even though these are marketed as “inferred” your Gecko can still see the light, excluding the red hue sometimes.
The heat or lighting the red light provides is a part of the visible spectrum. This can disrupt their night cycle as well.
The Fluker’s Red Heat Bulbs claims to provide accurate environmental temperature while not disrupting your Gecko’s vision.
The black lights provide a purple-ish glow via a UV light while providing heat to your Gecko.
The effect of any black lights on Geckos is yet to be known.
Mostly the black lights are not suitable for the vision of your Geckos and can have a long-term effect on them. Hence these lights shouldn’t be used.
Reptiles like Leopard Gecko need both UVA and UVB light for their survival. Both of these lights have different roles to play and the lighting requirements are different.
The UVA light helps in controlling or regulating certain behaviors of Geckos, such as mating and feeding.
The UVB light helps in synthesizing vitamin D3 which is essential for the metabolism of calcium.
Too much UVB can damage the skin and cells of Leopard Gecko layer by layer.
The UVB light helps in producing vitamin D3 in Gecko’s body and it works as sunlight inside a terrarium.
If too much exposure to sunlight can damage your skin, imagine the damage your Gecko will have when they will be exposed to UVB excessively.
Hence the lighting should be between 2 to 12 hours a day. It may vary according to the weather.
In summertime. The lighting can be kept on for 14 hours and in winter, it can be 10 hours.
This measurement of light will help your Geckos to not suffer from sunburn and help them maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
Choosing the best UVB light for your Gecko also ensures a good heating source for your Geckos. When the light plays both roles of lighting and heating, you can save your money as well.
1. Zoo med day-night bulb
The Zoo med day-night bulb is a packet of two bulbs of 60 watts. One of the bulbs is for daylight and another one is for nighttime.
This bulb will offer the best heating and optimum temperature in the tank. Both of these lights are incandescent.
The blue light gives a blue hue for daylight and the red light is for nighttime. Both of these bulbs will not disrupt the night cycle of your Gecko.
- Offers 24 hours heating
- Good heating capacity
- Blue light is gentle to the eyes
- Red light ensures the pet’s view
- Not appropriate for maintaining heat in 20 gallons tank
2. Zacro Reptile Heat Lamp
Zacro reptile heat lamp works all day long and provides heat that distributes significantly all over the tank.
This lamp has 99% thermal efficiency which allows the Geckos to have a great sleeping pattern as well.
This bulb is a bit expensive due to the usage of solid ceramic but the efficiency of this bulb is better than other lights found on the market.
The flat disc-shaped Zacro reptile lamp helps the heat to flow faster which warms up the entire tank efficiently.
The digital thermometer that comes along with this bulb helps you to measure and read the temperature perfectly.
- Emits sufficient heat
- Perfect for larger and smaller tanks
- Energy efficient
- Heat flows faster
- Provides better radiation
- Does not affect the sleeping patterns of Geckos
- Requires ceramic socket
- Might require the visible lights
Apart from the night lights, there are plenty of lights that you can use for your Gecko. This includes:
- Incandescent Daylight Bulbs
- Full Spectrum Daylight Bulbs
- Ceramic Heat Bulbs
- Light and Heat Day Bulbs
- Light Only Bulbs
Incandescent Daylight Bulbs
The incandescent light works perfectly for any Leopard Gecko. These lights can emit red or yellow light without any blue part that belongs to the spectrum.
The Simple Deluxe 150W 2-Pack Ceramic Heat Emitter is known for its accurate lighting provided to the reptiles.
This light does not provide any visually detectable light that can disrupt the sleep cycle of your Gecko. Hence it is a good choice for incandescent light for your Gecko’s terrarium.
Full Spectrum Daylight Bulbs
The full spectrum daylight bulbs can give off both UVA and UVB light effects. The full spectrum lights show a balanced color spectrum that maintains a good environment inside the tank.
The balanced light distribution allows a proper temperature to build inside the Gecko’s tank.
Ceramic Heat Bulbs
The ceramic heat bulbs or ceramic heat emitter bulbs emit heat which can help you avoid the use of UV lights inside the tank when you observe strange behavioral patterns in Gecko.
The heating of these ceramic bulbs generally comes from the infrared part, making these bulbs actual ‘infrared’ bulbs.
These bulbs are long-lasting and the light naturally comes from the surroundings.
The ceramic bulbs should be used with porcelain sockets as the plastic socket can melt due to the produced heat.
Some ceramic bulbs produce excessive heat which can be dangerous for your Gecko. Hence using a thermostat, you can measure the heat inside the tank.
For daylight lighting, the next two bulbs work as a great source of light and heat:
Light and Heat Day Bulbs
The light and heat bulbs can emit both light and heat, hence serving two important functions for Gecko’s survival.
The wattage ranges between 15 to 150 and can also provide basking light for your Gecko.
These lights need to be kept off at night which makes you buy a new heat source for the night period. Hence, it’s a costly solution.
Light Only Bulbs
The light-only bulbs are also helpful for daytime views and they can be turned off anytime, without affecting the heat source.
Regular incandescent, UV, or fluorescent lights are some examples of these light-only bulbs. But the percentage of these light sources shouldn’t be more than 10, otherwise, it can affect the Geckos severely.
Here are a few steps and tips that you must follow while you set up the lights in your Gecko’s tank:
- Place your Gecko somewhere else
- Provide heat gradient
- Setup the light
- Use a thermostat
1. Place your Gecko somewhere else
Before putting your Gecko inside the tank, you need to set up the light. Setting up the light while having Gecko inside can disrupt their normal activities.
You must ensure a good humidity level and temperature inside the tank.
2. Provide heat gradient
The heat gradient of the tank should be between 88-78°F. This heat gradient will help your Gecko maintain a good sleep cycle.
3. Setup the light
To set up the light inside the tank, choose a warm side. All sorts of lights should be kept or set there so that it generates enough heat at the correct temperature.
The light should be placed directly above the tank, not inside or by the side. This can affect the eyes of Geckos badly as those are sensitive to light.
The lights shouldn’t be powerful for your tank size. A tank of more than 25 gallons, however, might need a secondary heat or lighting source.
The lights should be placed at a distance of 6 inches from the Gecko. If your Gecko is capable of climbing off the lid of the light, make sure to let the light hang over the tank.
4. Use a thermostat
A thermostat helps you to determine the temperature of the tank after you set up the lights.
It contains a temperature sensor or reading probe that measures the temperature.
Since the heaters are connected to the thermostat, it automatically turns off when the temperature goes beyond the limit.
Any Leopard Gecko can survive without light for over a month if the temperature is above 15°C.
The Leopard Geckos cannot produce their body heat. Hence, they require the external temperature to digest the food and conduct metabolic activities.
If there is no light, the Leopard Geckos will have a hard time digesting food due to slow digestion.
High watts or mercury-based lights are extremely bad for your Gecko’s health. It not only affects them physically but also damages their eyes as those are light sensitive.
Leopard Geckos require UV lights but not for their survival. The importance of UVB lights for the development of immunity and fighting metabolic bone diseases is unthinkable. Hence a good source of UVB light is required for the Geckos to survive longer. The lights should be set according to the tank size and the environment. Thus, your Geckos can survive longer outside their natural habitat.