The turtle is a representative of cold-blooded creatures, whose comfortable life activity depends on the ambient temperature. In home living, sunlight is replaced with ultraviolet light for a turtle. In the article I will tell you how this light affects the life of a turtle. I'll figure out which is better UV lamp. And also consider options for UV light devices and how to do it yourself.
The effect of ultraviolet light on turtles
Without direct sunlight, turtles start to hurt often, their shells may soften. Especially during the period of active growth and during pregnancy, these pets begin to suffer from a lack of UV rays.
Ultraviolet light is necessary for cold-blooded creatures to absorb calcium from food. Without a sufficient amount of this microelement, rickets develop: the pet's bones and armor lose their hardness, leading to fractures and injuries. In addition, with a lack of calcium, curvature of the shell may occur.
Lighting a terrarium or aquarium is required without fail.
Under natural conditions, vitamin D3, which is the main condition for the absorption of calcium, turtles scoop up, being in the open sun, this also applies to Central Asian, and musk, and other types of turtles.
The exception is the predator turtles, they absorb part of this vitamin with the animals eaten, in their body it is able to digest.
Which is better
- by power,
- on the spectrum of rays
- to size,
- according to the form.
They may look like ordinary incandescent bulbs or as long fluorescent tubes. In the latter case, the power coincides with its size. For example, a 50 cm long tube has a capacity of 50 UVB.
Sellers will advise the type depending on the type of turtle, the size of the terrarium and other parameters.
The most commonly advised manufacturers are Repti Glo 5.0 (ideal for the red-eared), JBL - Solar Reptil Sun or Arcadia - D3 Reptile Lamp.
Repti Glo terrarium lamps
If these options are not commercially available, any others with spectra of rays in the region of 5-12% UVB and 30% UVA will do. If the package does not indicate these percentages, it is better not to make a purchase. Otherwise it can harm the pet. Most can be used for terrariums with tortoises and for freshwater aquariums.
The main conditions for their proper maintenance - lighting and creating the right temperature. During the daytime, it is necessary to heat the place of residence of the turtle to 30-31 ° C, at night 16-18 ° C is sufficient. To create this temperature regime, one or two incandescent lamps with a power of 40-60 W in the corners will be enough (it is better to consult the consultants of the nearest store about the final power and quantity, they will tell you more precisely based on the size of the aquarium and the type of turtle).
From November to March, the turtles go into hibernation, at this time the ideal temperature for this pet is 8-10 ° C.
How to do it yourself
On finding the right you can save both time and money by making it yourself. This requires minimal knowledge of electrics and physics.
- incandescent lamp
- power supply, driver and connector from any unnecessary lighting device,
- cord and plug into the outlet,
- soldering iron.
- Glue the foil to the inside of the box. This increases the area of coverage.
- Try and place in the box as convenient as possible.
- Connect the driver, connector and power supply to the lamp.
- Then connect the wires. Do not forget to observe the polarity!
- Fasten everything to the box.
- Turn on the network for verification.
- Fix the resulting lighting fixture in the terrarium.
This can lead to various sad consequences - from short circuit to fire!
How to choose the right lamp
When choosing a finished store, you need to pay attention to the following tips:
- To preserve eye health, select only closed lamps in the box,
- it is better to choose with common plinths and sizes, otherwise it may be difficult to select a box for it,
- you need to take into account the size of the terrarium when choosing the number and size.
It is forbidden to use in quartz terrariums, medical and other UV lamps, not intended for cold-blooded!
Regardless of the period of use, the UV lamp must be replaced every year.
How often to include and change
Most often, experts recommend turning it on for a day and turning it off at bedtime.
Young turtles need more UV rays, while adults (after reaching 2 years of age) are recommended to reduce the daily heating dose to 3-4 hours. If there is no possibility to constantly control the switching on and off of the lamp, then you can leave the lighting on for the whole day. Exceeding the allotted time under UV rays for pets is not scary.
The expiration date and the number of hours it will serve are indicated on the packaging or on the lamp itself. It is recommended to make a shift for some time before the end of its service life, since the composition of the fluorescent gradually burns out, and its effectiveness decreases. That is, in fact, they no longer carry the benefit that turtles need.
Over time, the intensity of exposure is significantly reduced.
The yellowed surface of the lamp, the formation of a so-called scale in the place of junction with the duct and dark stripes or spots on the inner surface - all this is evidence that it is time to change the lamp, even if it still has many hours of work!
To get it, in the terrarium you need to install special UV lamps for reptiles. When choosing, it is better to consult with a specialist who will give you the necessary power.
It is also necessary to check whether this lamp is suitable for spectral illumination of a terrarium with a turtle. With the right approach and timely replacement, turtles are provided with complete comfort at home.
The main characteristics of the lamp are its intensity and light quality. The latter is caused by color temperature, measured in degrees on the Kelvin scale and determining the color of visible light. Also important are such concepts as "cold" and "warm" light. Quality determines the color rendering index and wave intensity distribution.
Since light is vital for terrarium animals, attention should be paid to its quantitative characteristics. Its high intensity is important so that the day length corresponds to the photoperiod of the animal in its natural habitat. The light from the lamp should simulate a new circadian period (cyclical fluctuations in the intensity of biological processes) of the tortoise, changing throughout the year.
Three aspects of radiation are important for keeping reptiles:
- visible light (radiation in the visible part of the spectrum),
- infrared (thermal).
All the described ratios of the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of light should be taken into account when choosing a UV lamp for a tortoise. The hands it creates a considerable number of lovers of exotic animals. It is not difficult if you correctly understand the role of ultraviolet radiation, its sources in the life of reptiles, and also take into account all the necessary parameters.
Ultraviolet is a segment of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is distinguished by a large energy capacity. Only visible light usually has a large one.
The wavelength of the ultraviolet spectrum is divided into three groups:
- UVA is the longest wavelength A with a range of 320-400 nm. Its value for reptiles is significant.
- UVB - medium wave B in the range of 290-320 nm. That she is vital for reptiles.
- UVC - shortwave With a range of 180-290 nm. These are dangerous rays for all living organisms.
What is ultraviolet necessary for?
The UV lamp for the turtle is one of the main sources of healthy and fulfilling life. Without it, can not do. In the natural environment, these animals receive ultraviolet light in sufficient quantities. Getting into atypical conditions, in captivity, turtles lack sunlight and often get sick. Especially hard deficiency of ultraviolet bear pregnant females and young animals. Adult individuals lacking UV access also suffer from osteopenia and have obvious signs of vitamin D deficiency.
The UV-lamp for turtles perfectly imitates the sun's rays and promotes the absorption of calcium, which reptiles get along with food. The lack of ultraviolet and calcium provokes a lot of diseases, which often end in death.
Lamp Hours, Location
Additional UV radiation helps to completely solve this problem. For the manufacture of this lighting source uses the following types of devices:
- reptile lamp,
- UV lamp for turtles,
- UV lamp for aquarium.
They perform not only the function of lighting for animals, but also provide them with the conditions for the necessary thermoregulation, maximally creating for them a natural habitat.
In order for exotic pets from warm countries not to experience stress, a tortoise UV lamp must be turned on throughout the daylight hours (up to 10 hours). At night, the device turns off.
UFO-lamp for turtles often assembled independently. To create it, lamps are used that give not only light of the visible spectrum, but also radiation of ultraviolet light of different intensity. The device is built into the cover of the aquaterrarium or attached to it in specially provided slots. If they are not, it is fixed on the wall of the aquaterrarium using the ceiling for fluorescent lamps, which can be purchased at a pet store or at construction sites. It is desirable that the UV-lamp for the turtle is located directly above its favorite part of the land. Given that the material from which the terrarium is made, can trap ultraviolet rays (Plexiglas partially, and polycarbonate and glass almost completely), it is better to fix the lamp over the ventilation grid.
In the manufacture of such a device should not forget about the height of its location above the bottom of the terrarium. It should be on average 25-50 cm. Usually, the parameters of the required height are indicated on specialized lamps. If the distance is too short, especially when the intensity of radiation is significant, there is a danger of corneal clouding of the tortoise.
Types of UV lamps
Ultraviolet lamps vary in power, spectrum and length. They are also distinguished by form. They are issued in a compact form as incandescent lamps or in the form of a tube.
A UV lamp for a turtle is often assembled from such types of lighting devices as fluorescent lamps in the shape of a tube with an ultraviolet spectrum, fluorescent compact lamps with a cartridge, metal-vapor lamps.
The first of them have their working distance at which the specified number of units of ultraviolet radiation is issued. More often it is 50 cm. Lamp power corresponds to its length. But such light only contributes to the stimulation of the natural behavior of reptiles, and ultraviolet is not involved in the synthesis of vitamin D.
Compact fluorescent lamps are divided by the number of units emitted by them UVB. By power, they are from 15 to 80 watts with spectral and color characteristics that mimic the natural light of various shades.
Metal-vapor (mercury) lamps give a powerful luminous flux of a fairly complete spectrum and heat. They retain their ultraviolet properties for quite a long time.
Watching the reptile is fun for the esthete
One of the hardy pets is red-eared turtle. This is a waterfowl reptile that spends most of its time in the liquid element. However, the pet also prefers to get out on dry land and bask in the rays of an improvised sun, which should be an ultraviolet lamp for turtles. On the modern market there is a wide range of terrarium aquariums with small islands, where, in fact, the pet can warm up. By the way, due to the relative simplicity of the content and entertainment of the process of vital activity, many novice amateurs buy for themselves the red-ear turtles.
Due to the small amount of knowledge about this reptile, people are the main cause of their diseases and even death. In order to prevent mistakes that can be fatal for a pet, you need to take into account the main conditions necessary for a comfortable stay of a waterfowl in the human house. Further in the article we will try to give the most complete answer to the question: what kind of ultraviolet lamp is needed for a turtle? But, first, let's deal with the main dwelling of the pet.
A few words about the form
The aquatic red-eared turtle lives in nature in the southern regions of the United States of America. Its main and favorite haven is the Mississippi Coast with rather warm water and little current. The average size of an adult reptile of this species is about 30 cm. In a terrarium, its lifespan can reach 40 years, because it is usually thought that in “greenhouse” conditions without stress and pursuers, the turtles really relax, thereby increasing the number of the lived years old. This factor should push the future owner to think about whether it is worthwhile to start a long-lived reptile in his house for a long period.
But, if a positive decision is made, it is necessary to create comfortable living conditions for it, as close as possible to natural habitats. To do this, you need to familiarize yourself with the minimum requirements for terrariums so that the reptile lives a happy and, most importantly, healthy life:
- The turtle tank should have a capacity of approximately 200 liters. This size is considered optimal for one, maximum two individuals. It must be filled with fresh water, the recommended temperature of which is about 26 ° C.
- The improvised land required by the eared tortoise in a terrarium should be at least 20% of the total area of the dwelling. A 60 watt incandescent bulb must be used to heat it. The optimum temperature on a dry island is 32 ° C.
- A vital element above the island of land in a reptile's aquarium is the presence of an ultraviolet lamp for turtles with a UVB of 10%. Many inexperienced or irresponsible owners believe that it is quite possible to do without it, but this is absolutely wrong. The reptile body is designed in such a way that without the presence of ultraviolet light, it is not capable of producing calcium and B vitamins, which are so necessary for the formation of a strong turtle shell. Having deprived the red-eared tortoise of the sun, the owner, sooner or later, will face a huge number of health problems with his pet. There are very few experienced herpetologists, and the treatment is often expensive, so there is a great chance of not being able to help the sick reptile.
- It is imperative to maintain cleanliness in the terrarium. The turtle can tolerate salmonellosis. By the way, red-eared pets quickly pollute the water in the process of life. Therefore, the filter for water purification, too, will have its owner, just what we needed. To change the water (200 liters or more) every 2 days without filtration is unpleasant.
- A thermometer is required to determine the water temperature, the mark on which should not fall below 23 ° C.
From all of the above, it becomes clear that keeping a reptile at home is rather troublesome. But, having done everything right and spent, there is a great chance to enjoy watching the interesting life of red-eared turtles for a long time. All the necessary accessories can be purchased at specialized pet stores and on thematic sites on the Internet.
For different types of reptiles - excellent indicators of ultraviolet radiation
UV lamps for turtles are a necessary accessory for keeping a reptile at home, replacing the spectrum of sunlight in its natural habitat. But not all such lamps are capable of benefiting red-eared turtles. For the maintenance of aquatic reptiles, suitable lamps, issuing in its range of about 30% UVA, 5-12% UVB. It should be noted that on the shelves of stores you can find goods for both land reptiles and waterfowl. It is important not to make a mistake and choose an ultraviolet lamp for a water turtle, which should emit a spectrum of at least 5-8% UVB.
For the Central Asian land specimens or their closest counterparts, this figure should be more than 10-12% UVB. It is important to strictly adhere to the instructions for each lamp, because there is indicated the distance between the device and the eyes of the turtle. Due to non-compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions and due to your own negligence, you can leave the turtle for a lifetime blind. A UV lamp for an aquarium with a red-ear reptile must necessarily be protected from water.
The recommended lamp life is indicated on the package of the lamp being purchased. Зачастую он составляет 1 год, но может быть и меньшим, в зависимости от производителя. После данного промежутка времени, излучения ультрафиолетовой лампы для красноухих черепах могут уже не соответствовать указанным в инструкции характеристикам, а, соответственно, не приносить питомцу никакой пользы. Опытные черепаховеды советуют заменять лампы раньше указанного срока на месяц, а то и два, считая, что уже к этому времени они не справляются с поставленными задачами. Все из-за того, что работает прибор порядка 10-12 часов в сутки.
Отражатели для УФ ламп - частые причины ожога черепах
Без указанного срока эксплуатации покупать лампу не следует. It is worth choosing only proven brands. Many reptile owners use reflectors to increase ultraviolet radiation, however, this method should be treated very carefully. Too much radiation can cause burns. By the way, to replace the UV lamp for a turtle with something else does not work, and you can not. Is that in the summer to make your pet on the street under the "living" rays of the sun.
Proper installation of the ultraviolet spectrum in a reptile terrarium
It is necessary to approach responsibly to the choice of the place of installation of the lamp in the aquarium or turtle terrarium (depending on its type). The source of ultraviolet radiation is mounted on the turtle, not on the side. When properly installed, he, like the sun, should cover the entire territory of the pet's habitat. The distance from the lamp to the dry improvised island should be at least 35 cm. By the way, if the tortoise is overland, then the lamp should be placed above the land of the terrarium also, focusing on the above indicator. It is necessary to consider the safety technique of the maintenance of your pet. After all, a reptile has considerable physical strength and, with poor-quality fixing of a lighting device, can loosen and overturn it. Make sure that the electrical wires do not hang down and are not accessible to physical contact with the tortoise.
List of recommended lamps (for turtles) that can replace the sun
On the territory of Russia, there are such brands of UV lamps for pets as: Arkadia, sera, JBL, ZooMed, Comodo and others. All of them have successfully established themselves among those people who keep reptiles at home. But for a beginner, all the information about the characteristics of the product is important, among which also the main question arises: how much does the UV lamp for turtles cost? Most often, the cost of such a lamp depends on several factors: brand manufacturer, power consumption, radius of illumination, to which it transmits the specified radiation spectrum 100%. Most often, the cost ranges from 700 to 1500 rubles.
For example, Chinese-made lamps work up to 6 months, while analogs made in Russia and the CIS last for 1 year. European brands are of higher quality and, accordingly, will cost much more. It is very important that during the entire period of the specified service life the technical parameters of the lamp did not deviate from those stated in the instructions. A clear opinion has formed among consumers that the best option for purchase, combining quality and cost, is the Arkadia lamp.
Diseases of reptiles without sun
Answering the question of whether a turtle lamp needs an ultraviolet lamp, any tortoise scientist will answer without hesitation that it is necessary. If there is no such in the terrarium, it will lead to poor calcium absorption. As a result, it will not be enough to develop bone tissue. This will affect the development of rickets in the tortoise and curvature of the shell. In the absence of UV radiation or, if it is not enough, the tortoise may develop softening of the shell, its curvature. The extremities will weaken, they will be subject to fractures. Outcomes most often for reptiles kept in the wrong conditions are pitiable.
Decision must be weighed
Before you get a home turtle, you need to seriously consider a few important aspects:
- Is it possible to care for a pet for a long time, because it is known that reptiles can live long enough.
- Is it possible to purchase the necessary equipment for arranging a comfortable turtle residence in a human house: an aquarium, an incandescent lamp and a UV lamp, and also, if the species is waterfowl, then filters and cleaners.
- Provide pet nutrition. For the red-eared - it is boiled meat, shrimp, dried gammarus, and for land species - fresh greens year-round.
Herpetologists claim that few people can truly love reptiles. She is not in contact and not created to be squeezed in her hands. It is rather a kind of pet, for which it is simply pleasant to watch, distracting from the turmoil of everyday life and relaxing at the end of the working day.
In Asia, turtles are symbolized with long-livers and believe that a reptile in a house is capable of extending its owner’s life on earth for several years.
UV lamp characteristics
1. The spectrum of ultraviolet radiation is one of the most important characteristics of UV lamps. The spectrum of solar radiation can be divided into three parts. UV-A is a soft, long-wave radiation with wavelengths from 315 nm to 400 nm. UV-B is shorter wavelength radiation with wavelengths from 280 nm to 315 nm. UV-B radiation is more severe than UV-A and causes burns. UV-C is the shortest-wavelength radiation with wavelengths from 200 nm to 280 nm. Even tougher, but does not reach the surface of the earth. eliminated by the ozone layer of the atmosphere.
2. Ultraviolet irradiation power is the total power of all types of UV radiation from a lamp. Only UV-A and UV-B are taken into account. UV-C lamps are not emitted. Measured in watts.
3. The emission coefficient of the range B is the ratio of the power of the UV radiation of the range B to the total power of the UV radiation (UVB). Measured in percent.
4. Lifetime. All lamps - about a year. Depends on the manufacturer.
Types of UV lamps
Depending on the device, UV lamps have several types:
1. One of the first on the market appeared fluorescent lamps (long tubes) with ultraviolet spectrum. Each of these models has a certain range, on which they are guaranteed, give the number of units of ultraviolet radiation. Most often, the maximum range declared by the manufacturer is 50 cm. The number of units of the UV spectrum B (it is denoted as - UVB) is indicated by an integer number with zero at the end (10.0, 6.0, 5.0.). UV lamp for turtles emits another spectrum - A. This spectrum stimulates the natural behavior of animals, and is very necessary for plants in the terrarium. In models made in China, the service life reaches no more than six months. And for manufacturers - from Europe, Germany, the service life is 12 months.
2. A few years ago they began to produce compact, with the chuck E27. They are also fluorescent. They are divided by the amount of emitted ultraviolet (UVB) for example: 2.0, 10.0 and 5.0. By its properties, compact is not inferior to "tubes". They come in power 26 watts and 13 watts. Their service life is slightly longer than that of the tubes. Compact luminaires from Chinese manufacturers emit the required amount of UV for no more than 7 months. A European or German version of a little more than a year.
3. A less common option is mercury (metal-vapor). They provide a more powerful stream of light (full spectrum) and heat.
Ultraviolet lamps emit rays A and B of the spectrum. Spectrum B - helps calcium to be absorbed in the body, A - spectrum enhances perception, and stimulates the natural behavior of animals. Especially this spectrum affects the reproduction of offspring.
For installation in an aquarium, additional lighting is suitable for cold-blooded animals, having in their rays 30% of the spectrum A and 5-12% of the spectrum B. Water turtles living in the water, which include the look of the dry-eared turtles, install a lamp from 5.0 to 8.0 B of the spectrum, and for the land species should not be below 10-12% of UVB, for expecting the offspring of females of the red-eared turtle, young animals are 8-12%. The manufacturer indicates the relevant parameters on the packaging.
The use of lamps with light bulbs for tanning
Also, some breeders use tanning lamps. But they are irradiated for no more than 10 minutes a day, for young turtles it will be enough to have such baths once every seven days for 5 minutes, the ultraviolet which they emit more hard.
Please note that the lighting should not get into the eyes of a tortoise when using these light bulbs.
Leaving for a long time the animal under a lamp with a hard UV is unsafe. After such a procedure can burn the peephole. If you use such ultraviolet light, it is recommended to have a separate breeding ground in which you place the animal during the procedure.
Tips for choosing ultraviolet lamps
• Try to avoid buying non-popular lamp sizes. They are very difficult to pick up the lamp. Since the demand is in demand for standard sizes, few non-standard lamps are produced.
• Short lamp models give less UV.
• Mercury lamps are connected through a special starter.
Lamps are divided by spectrum: from 0.8% to 12% UVB. For turtles in terrariums use lighting starting at 5% UVB and up to 12
Periodicity and time
Young individuals always need more beneficial elements so that the body grows strong and healthy. Accordingly, the irradiation time will be longer. But for an adult reptile will be enough for 3 hours under ultraviolet light. An adult can be considered a turtle, which is 2 years old. To be calm and not to waste time turning on and off the lamp, you can leave for the whole daylight hours. More than the prescribed amount of UV animal will not take.
Please note that mercury lamps (emit ultraviolet and heat) are connected through a special starter.
Terms of operation
A lamp change for a terrarium should be made once a year, even if it has not broken before. The service life of each manufacturer points to the box, the quality is about one year.
The change is made, because when using it, the composition with which the lamp is filled burns out. The UV spectrum is reduced, moving to a long wave. They are not dangerous for reptiles, but do not emit sufficient ultraviolet radiation, which can cause disease. The change in the spectrum in the lower direction can be seen by comparing two lamps, one used and a new one. The naked eye will immediately see a strong difference from the emitted light.
Experienced owners of terrarium animals use reflectors that enhance the effect of UV. It can be purchased or manufactured by yourself.
Popular terrarium lamps
1. Manufacturer - LUCKY REPTILE 30% UVA and 6.0, 5.0 UVB. These types of lighting models are perfect for both land and red-eared tortoises. Set at a distance of 30-40 cm
2. NARVA Special produces lamps - 30% UVA and 4% UVB. Suitable for living in water and land turtles. Light bulbs are placed from 25 to 45 cm above the aquarium.
3. The manufacturer Repti Zoo bulbs 5.0, 10.0. With a power of 15 W and 26 W (compact). Lamp 5.0 is used for land turtles, and 10.0 - for the redheaded. Set over the terrarium at a height of 15-20 cm.
4. Firm Arcadia, name D3 Reptile Lamp 6%, 12% UVB (tubes), D3 UV BASKING LAMP, D3 (compact) 6%, 10% UVB.
1. With a power of 6.0, they are installed in terrariums for red-eared and land healthy turtles. With a range of 10.0 and 12.0 used in terrariums with young and pregnant animals, suitable for land turtles. Placed at a distance of 30-40 cm.
5. Firm ZooMed releases - 5.0 and 10.0 (compact and long). This light bulb has not only a UV spectrum, but is also heating.
6. Use 5.0 for those living in water (red-eared), and 10.0 for land tortoises. The change is made once a year. The distance to accommodate 40-50 cm. And the manufacturer sera manufactures products called T 8 Terra UV-special 30% UVA and T8 4% UVB. Sizes from 45 cm to 105 cm., For large terrariums. They are set at a height of 15 to 20 cm.
It is worth noting that a light bulb with a value on the packaging - T5 is more powerful than - T8, the number of produced ultraviolet radiation is the same.