Which Lights Are Best For Breeding Bearded Dragons?

Which animal can easily be killed with a weapon called ‘lack of light’? You’ve guessed it right – the bearded dragons. After all, they need light to synthesize vitamin D3 in their skin, as without that, they can’t pull off proper calcium metabolism. But that goes the basic survival. What about breeding and which lights are best for breeding dragons?

There are two types of light that are best for breeding bearded dragons – UVB lights and heat lamps. UVB lighting is all about helping the reptile metabolize calcium and making the bones healthy. On the other hand, heat lamps make sure that the lizard is able to maintain the perfect temperature gradient in the cage.

But how are you going to find out which ones are the best, as there are tons of brands in the market? Well, keep scrolling. We bet you’re going to find the answer right below.

8 Types of Different Lights for Breeding Bearded Dragons

Whether a lizard is nocturnal or diurnal, the light influences all their behavior to a significant extent. So, what kind of light you’re picking is going to determine how your lizard is going to act in its nest. But to find the right one, you need to know the types of lights first. So, let’s dive in.

1. Ultraviolet (UV) Lights

There are basically two types of UV lights used for bearded dragons, even during their breeding season. The first one is UVA Light, and the second one is UVB light. Usually, it’s the UVB lights that are the most popular ones.

UVA light is mostly used for stimulating different physiological and psychological responses in beardies. Yes, we’re talking about their mating behaviors, appetite, and general activity levels. But the interesting fact about these lights is that when you’re getting full-spectrum reptile lights, it’ll get your lizard both UVB and UVA.

That goes for UVA. But about UVB light? Well, bearded dragons need it more than anything for Vitamin D3 synthesis. In case you didn’t know, they need this vitamin as it helps them with calcium absorption and keeps their bone health on point. Beardies need this light for around 10-12 hours every single day as it mimics the natural day-night cycle for them.

So far, we’ve seen a few types of UVB lights out there, including mercury vapor bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, and tube fluorescents. Which one is going to be the best will depend on the enclosure’s size and the need for the beardie.

2. Basking Lights

We guess you already know that beardies can’t generate their own body heat. This is where basking light comes in handy. After all, it helps the reptile to thermoregulate. There are mostly two types of basking lights used for breeding bearded dragons.

One of them is the incandescent bulb which is a standard white light bulb. On the other hand, Halogen bulbs are considered more of an energy-efficient option, and compared to incandescent bulbs, they’ve got a longer life span. These bulbs are usually planted on a specific basking spot within the enclosure, where the lizard can lie down idly and absorb the required heat.

3. Infrared Heat Lamps

If you want your beardie to enjoy the heat without getting disturbed by light, this is your thing. The lizards find it more useful during the evening or nighttime when they need to maintain their body temperature but don’t want to disrupt their day-night cycle.

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But that doesn’t mean it’s good enough to be used as the sole heat source for the beardies. After all, they don’t provide UVB lighting, and without that, it’s kind of impossible for these lizards to survive in captivity.

And if any of the breeders use these lamps improperly, it can possibly overheat the cage and lead to burn injuries. So, it’s better to consult the vet before using something like this. They’ll give you the appropriate type and wattage of lamps to make sure the reptile is safe.

4. Ceramic Heat Emitters

Similarly to infrared heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters don’t use light and emit infrared radiation to heat up bearded dragons. They’re considered an amazing option to maintain a day/night cycle in the cage, as they don’t disrupt the lizard’s sleep while ensuring a warm atmosphere.

But what most of the users like about these heat emitters is they’re highly durable or long-lasting. Thanks to the absence of filaments like incandescent bulbs, there’s no chance of breaking or burning out. And just like infrared heat lamps, they should not be used as the sole source of heat for beardies.

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5. Mercury Vapor Bulbs

Breeders simply love this one as they bring in both UVA and UVB light, and you already know how these two help the dragons. On top of that, they emit heat. So, if you’re asking for them to work as the basking lights to let the lizard regulate their body heat, they can pull that off too.

Along with being perfectly useful, these bulbs last up to 12 months, which is decently high compared to lots of the other options out there. But there’s a downside too. Yes, we’re talking about their expensive price tag compared to other bulbs.

By the way, usage of these bulbs requires extreme caution as they emit high levels of UVB radiation. So, if not used properly, they can be harmful to both humans and animals. That’s why it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions strictly. It’s usually instructed to make a shaded area for the beardie to retreat whenever needed for an escape from the heat or UVB radiation.

6. LED Lights

This isn’t something we or any experienced breeder will typically recommend as a heat source for bearded dragons. After all, these lights are incapable of providing the required UVA and UVB lighting that beardies need for their well-being. But if the purpose is nothing but to brighten up the enclosure, then LED lights are a good-to-go option.

It’s not that some of the LED lights don’t emit UVB radiation at all. But that’s definitely not enough for the lizards. They’re only good enough to provide additional light in the cage so that the reptile can see around. Another good thing about LEDs is they’re quite energy-efficient and long-lasting, and both of these go in favor of the breeders, but nothing else.

7. Fluorescent Tubes

The prime purpose of most of the lights is to provide heat or UVB to bearded dragons, and fluorescent tubes are too good at doing this. These tubes emit a perfect amount of UVB radiation that not only helps the beardie metabolize calcium but also helps to maintain healthy bones.

Compared to compact bulbs, fluorescent tubes are comparatively more effective at delivering UVB, especially when there’s a larger area to cover. Another good thing about this lighting option is they can run up to 12 months, whereas the regular fluorescent bulbs require to be replaced every 6 months.

By the way, replacing them over time is a must as they gradually lose the ability to provide effective UVB lighting. Plus, as they don’t emit heat, considering them an alternative to heat lamps will be a mistake.

8. Fluorescent Bulbs

Calling it the most popular light among the breeders won’t be wrong, as this is what they mostly prefer for their lizards. They use it to assist the lizards in metabolizing calcium along with maintaining healthy bones. Plus, it aids with developing the beardie’s immune system.

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One of the best things about these bulbs is they’re relatively energy-efficient and last longer compared to the incandescent bulbs. And guess what? They also produce less heat than those incandescent bulbs. So, there’s no chance of it burning the lizard while overheating.

bearded dragon eating worm
Owner: Andrea Engfurtner Houston

7 Considerations While Choosing Light For Breeding Bearded Dragons

Do you know what helps the most while buying something? Your list of considerations and the same goes for choosing lights for breeding bearded dragons. So, what should you put there to get a good light? Well, you can start with –

1. Type Of Light

Learn first what kind of light will serve the purpose you’re asking for. There are three types of light you’re going to need in the enclosure when you’re trying to make your beardies breed.

The first one is UVB Light which will help with Vitamin D3 production. This vitamin is a must to process the calcium absorption in a bearded dragon. So, somehow you’re missing getting that light, you’re reptiles suffer from metabolic bone disease later on.

The next light you need to put in your shopping cart is UVA light. This is helpful in regulating their circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. And we guess you already know how these things influence their behavior and overall health.

Now comes the heat lamp. The prime purpose of these lamps is to create a basking spot for your bearded dragon so that it can maintain an appropriate temperature gradient. There are several types of this one, such as halogen bulbs, incandescent bulbs, and ceramic heat emitters.

2. Light Intensity And Spectrum

Light intensity is the amount of light the lamp is producing. When it comes to beardies, they need a certain level of UVB radiation. Otherwise, they won’t be able to metabolize calcium or maintain bone health and ultimately end up with metabolic bone disease.

Now the question is what kind of UVB intensity is enough for bearded dragons? Well, you can try something like a 10.0 UVB bulb as that’ll be perfect for the lizard. You can go a bit high, but too much of it can be harmful to your reptile.

But what about the spectrum? Well, it refers to the light’s wavelength range produced by the lamp. Go for a light that offers a full spectrum of light, where it includes both UVA and UVB.

For beardies, the range of 290-320 nanometers is the suitable one, if they really want to metabolize calcium and keep their bone health on point. So, try to get something like that, but not before consulting your vet.

3. Wattage

Not only does wattage decide what amount of light will be produced but it also determines the amount of heat as well. The last time we checked, beardies need a basking area with a temperature of 95-105°F (35-40°C) and the cooler area has to be 75-85°F (24-29°C). So, if the light doesn’t come with enough wattage, getting the right amount of heat will be impossible.

But what is the ideal wattage for a light you want for your bearded dragon? Well, we’d say keep it between 75-100 watts as that’s what most of the breeders suggest and use. Don’t go above that as that’ll produce excessive heat and not less as that’ll leave the place too cold.

4. Lifespan

Nobody wants a light that’ll ask for a replacement in a month or two. So, when you’re getting a light for your beardies, make sure it comes with a good lifespan. Some of the lights can last up to 12 months.

But you’ll have to make sure during this whole time, they’re providing proper lighting and serving their purpose. Any downfall in the performance can lead to replacing them as beardies to a huge extent dependent on the light they’re getting.

bearded dragon on shoulder
Owner: Natalie Racz

5. Brand And Reliability

A good brand is built on the quality of its product. So, before swiping your card, make sure the one you are getting comes from a good brand which is mostly known for its quality and reliability. Just to save a few bucks, don’t count the cheap ones as good options. After all, they’re cheap for a reason.

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6. Compatibility

Getting a light that doesn’t go with your fixture will be nothing but a waste of money. So, before you get one, check out if the bulb type is compatible with your light fixtures or not. In case you’re asking about the whole light set, check if it goes with the enclosure or is too big for it.

7. Safety

Nothing matters more than the safety of your beardie. So, while choosing a light for your reptile, make sure it’s safe to the fullest extent. A wrong choice here might lead to excessive heat or create a fire hazard under careless supervision.

Which Lights Are Best Lights For Breeding Bearded Dragons?

There are hundreds of lights out there and we bet every manufacturer will say their one is the best. But reaching that conclusion from a customer’s point of view isn’t that easy. So, we thought of easing that up a bit for you with some suggestions.

Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Lighting Dual Kit

This one seems to be a super convenient option for breeders as it saves tons of their hassle on the light setup. It’s got two light sockets to handle dual bulbs and can withstand 160 watts on each of the sockets. On top of that, two convenient on/off switches have made the control easier.

Its basking spot lamp bulb is a plus for the breeders as its unique double reflector focuses not only more heat but also light into a concentrated beam. So, if your beardie wants to bask, this light can get that quite easily. Besides, as the glass is genuine blue, unlike the painted ones, the heat transfer gets better. And to fill up the need for UVB, it’s got a 10.0 UVB compact fluorescent.

Check out the latest price here on Amazon!

Exo Terra Solar-Glo

This is a perfect option for breeders who are looking for a mercury vapor bulb that has a full light spectrum. The best thing about this one is it can work as your lizard’s visual light, UVB light, and heat source.

Even in the race for durability, this one is quite ahead of lots of other common options. The same goes for energy efficiency. Any breeder can make it useful as overhead lighting. After all, it’s capable of producing high-intensity white light.

Check out the latest price on Amazon!

Repti Zoo Reptile Heat Lamp

Breeders with a tight budget can try this one out. As a four-in-one bulb, not only emits UVA and UVB but works perfectly as a visual light and heat source. We won’t suggest this one for bigger cages but if your one is small or medium, this one is going to be perfect. But we won’t suggest using this one for a nano enclosure.

Here you’ll find more details on Amazon!

Is There A Bulb That Goes With All Enclosures?

Well, if you’re looking for a ‘yes’ as an answer to this question, then we’ll have to disappoint you. Yes, we’ve suggested 100-watt bulbs for bearded dragons, but that’s applicable only when the cage is limited to a certain size.

Now the question is, what if you’ve got an extra large enclosure and need light for that? We believe a table might get you that answer.

Enclosure SizeBulb WattageNumber of Bulbs
10 gallons25 WattOne 25 Watt bulb
20 gallons50 WattOne 50 Watt bulb
30 gallons75 WattOne 75 Watt bulb
40 gallons100 WattOne 100 Watt bulb
50 gallons125 WattOne 100 Watt bulb and one 25 Watt bulb
75 gallons187.5 WattOne 100 Watt bulb and one 80 Watt bulb
100 gallons250 WattTwo 100 Watt bulb and one 80 Watt bulb
120 gallons300 WattThree 100 Watt bulbs
One ceramic heat emitter and two 100 Watt bulbs

Before We Go…

Indeed proper lighting system is crucial for breeding. But do know what else is? A license. Yes, we’re talking about the breeding license. But how to get that in the first place? Well, like any other regular licensing, this one too can be achieved by following some rules. We’ve shared some more about this in our blog Do You Need A License To Breed Bearded Dragons? Check it out!

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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