Home | Product Reviews | Product Review: The Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 High Output UVB Lamp and 5.0 UVB Lamp – Part I

Product Review: The Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 High Output UVB Lamp and 5.0 UVB Lamp – Part I

We have learned a great deal about the Ultraviolet B (UVB) light requirements of reptiles in recent years. However, the actual process of providing our pets with UVB of the correct wavelength (290-315 nanometers) remains fraught with confusion.

While helping to set up the new reptile house at New York City’s Staten Island Zoo (former stomping grounds of famed herpetologist Carl Kauffeld), I spoke with several pioneering researchers in the field of reptile UVB requirements, and have since monitored the building’s exhibits.

Recent Tests at the Staten Island Zoo
Recently, the zoo’s reptile keepers ran some tests in order to measure the UVB output of fluorescent lamps (bulbs) used in some of the exhibits and holding cages. While mercury vapor lamps often provide more UVB over a greater range, they are sometimes unsuitable for small cages, or for use with certain species. This study focused on fluorescent lamps, which are commonly used by pet keepers as well.

Using a UVB meter, the staff found that the Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 High Output UVB Lamp provided high levels of UVB, with the Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0 UVB Lamp being valuable in some situations as well.

Earlier Research on Zoo Med Lamps
Can o Shrimp I did a bit of research, and learned that a group known as UV Guide UK (please see below) had earlier cited research showing that the Reptisun 5.0 (the 10.0 was not tested) scored highest of all fluorescent tubes in what is known as the D3 Index (the projected ability of lamp to foster Vitamin D synthesis). UV Guide UK also found that the Zoo Med 10.0 and 5.0 lamps lead other fluorescents in UVB output.

Zoo Med Lamps on Lizard Exhibits
The Staten Island Zoo currently uses the Zoo Med 10.0 High Output UVB Lamp with a number of lizards, including such sensitive species as the crevice spiny swift (Sceloporus poinsetti) and the Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum).

Check out the specifics of the UVB output readings recorded at the zoo, and take a look at a simple method of increasing the output of any UVB lamp at part II of this article.

You can read more about the work of UV Guide UK, including the tests mentioned, at the following site (Note: the original tests were in 2005…the Zoo Med Lamps have been upgraded in the interim).


  1. avatar

    Yes i have a question. I built a 4x2x2 cage and was wondering were i can get a fixture that fits the 10.0 bulb. It seems that the fixture its self is hard to find. I was looking at the 48 inch fixture and the bulb is a T 12 can find it . thanks for your time

    • avatar

      Hello Thomas,

      Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

      The Perfecto 48″ Strip Reflector will hold a Zoo Med 10.0 bulb. It does not have a splash guard, so the bulb’s UVB radiation will not be compromised.

      If you would like a 48″ fixture that can accommodate both UVB and incandescent bulbs or ceramic heaters, please take a look at the Zoo Med Slider Hood
      or the Zoo Med Reptile Combo Hood.

      If, given the size of your cage, you need to project UVB over a long distance, you might find the Zoo Med Powersun Mercury Vapor Bulb useful.

      I’d be interested to know what species you keep…perhaps we can fine tune your lighting and heating needs further.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  2. avatar

    I have a question about the UVB lamps, I have the compact reptiglo 10.0 ( which i just found out that was bad) from Exo terra, and others would recomend the reptisun 10.0 and 5.0, why do we need both ? Is one just enough?

    • avatar

      Hello Sarah, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

      Please let me know what type of reptiles you keep, their ages if possible, and how far from the light bulb the basking site is located. Once I have that information, I should be able to send along some advice.

      Thanks, Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    6-7 week old bearded dragon, their basking light is 10-12 inches from basking area.

    • avatar

      Hello Sarah, Frank Indiviglio here.

      A single Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 Bulb will be fine at 10-12 inches. If possible, build up the basking site so that the lizard can get to within 6 inches of the bulb, as UVB output is very high at that range. Leave the light on for 12-14 hours daily. Allowing the animal to bask directly under the bulb, without a screen barrier, is also useful although not essential.

      The basking site temperature should be maintained at 100-120 F, with an ambient of 82-90 F, so you’ll need an incandescent bulb as well. A Halogen Heat Bulb will provide heat and UVA, which is important in promoting normal behavior.

      At age 6-7 weeks, most (75% or so) of the lizard’s meals should be powdered with Reptocal Vitamin/Mineral Supplement…calcium intake is especially crucial at this time.

      Please let me know if you need any further information,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  4. avatar

    thanks so very much for this information. It will help out alot!


    • avatar

      Hello Sarah, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks very much for your kind feedback; I’m very glad that you found the information useful.

      Please keep me posted as to your pet’s progress, and don’t hesitate to write back if you have further questions.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    Thanks for the information Frank! I’m so glad I stumbled onto this blog. Came here actually by accident, and started reading away!.

    Anyways, I’m told they will accept canned dog food as well? I picked up a can of science diet just to try it.

    One last question, don’t wanna take up anymore of your time. This is a 60g tank, I’m planning 75 or bigger when I can afford it. Should all 3 be ok in there? 2 are G. validus. Giant Plated Lizard and one is a G. nigrolineatus. Black-lined Plated lizard, according to what I’ve read they should be ok.. lol, at least I hope!. I haven’t noticed any aggresion yet but it’s only been around 2 weeks. Thanks again Frank!!! appreciate it.


    • avatar

      Hello Dave, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Glad you are finding the articles to be useful, thanks. Please don’t hesitate to write in – I enjoy the interchange and always learn something along the way.

      It might be a good idea to hold off until you can but the biggest tank possible, as they do get large and are quite active. Whether or not they’ll get along is hard to say – technically they do, but both species are territorial…2 males of the same species may fight, and the 2 species you have are close enough to view each other as threats. A dominant female can inhibit another from feeding and basking as well. However, they sometimes do fine together in mixed groups…no hard and fast rules (but that keeps it interesting!).

      They will likely take dog food, but I suggest you use instead Zoo Med Tegu and Monitor Canned Food – it is formulated for carnivorous lizards, and so would match the needs of your animals more closely that would dog food.

      Canned grasshoppers are useful, especially as the lizards get larger, as are roaches, super mealworms and wild caught insects. You can also order live silkworms and hornworms through inter net dealers – these are very good for larger lizards as well.

      I’d like to hear how they get along as time goes on, please keep me posted.

      Enjoy and Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  6. avatar

    Hi Frank, It’s me Dave I’ve just decided to make a account is all! 😉

    Anyways, well I can’t really hold off as I’ve got all 3 already in the 60g, and like I’ve said so far so good. I haven’t noticed any territory issues thus far. I’ve added the 2 Zoo Med 10.0 UVB and they seem to be out a lot more now.

    I managed to squeeze the Zoo Med Halogen basking light off the the side. So I think I have the light portion of this covered, at least I hope so.

    Today, I put in some collard greens and there wasn’t much interest. However, a few days back I tried superworms and they literally tore threw those!.

    Well will followup with any changes, Thanks again Frank!.

    • avatar

      Hello Dave, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the update, nice to hear from you.

      Two Zoo Med 10.0 bulbs should provide all the UVB they need, especially if they can get to within 12 inches of the bulbs. Thanks for letting me know that you noticed more activity – very useful for me to have such feedback in mind when advising others.

      It would be a good idea to check the temperature on the cooler side of the terrarium, so that you’ll know what type of thermal gradient the lizards have available.

      I’ve kept plated lizards in exhibits with tortoises (Holmes hinge-backs), but have never known them to sample the tortoise salad. Any invertebrate is fair game (although like many arid-adapted lizards they usually refuse earthworms)… small de-clawed crayfish can be given as an occasional treat, but avoid mice.

      You can improve the nutritional value of super mealworms by keeping them in a mix of dry, whole-grain baby cereal and oatmeal. To this I add a bit of Staple Diet Fish Food Flakes, and provide orange, banana skins and small amounts of other fruits as a moisture source.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    I recently acquired a Egyptian uromastyx, and the person I adopted it from wasn’t using what I believe was the right type of heating. They had a reptisun 10 coil on one side and a ceramic heat emitter on the other.

    From what I’ve been reading, it looks as though the basking area can go as high as 160f? Wow, that’s crazy. Now my question is would a powersun 160 or the like be a better option for one side of the tank?? As always, appreciate your help and advice. Thank You!


    • avatar

      Hello Dave, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for raising this important question.

      I believe that much of the confusion over Uromastyx heat requirements arises from misinterpretations of field studies. While nothing can replace field research, such data usually does not translate directly into useful husbandry guidelines. Certainly rock piles in the full glare of the Egyptian sun reach well over 160 F, but you won’t find lizards basking there for more than a few minutes. I’ve watched 6-lined racerunners in the wild – they stop at spots of 130 F for a few seconds (raising their toes off the sand!) and then dash away. In the confines of a cage, such would not work out well at all.

      A basking temperature of 115-120 F is fine for Egyptian Uromastyx…even at that temperature, you’ll need a quite large cage so that the lizard can have a chance to thermo-regulate – the cool side should range from 75-85. An ambient temperature of 120 throughout the enclosure should be avoided. Keep in mind that basking lizards will be at a significantly higher temperature than the actual air temperature, as they are absorbing a great deal of heat. Even in weak spring sun, I’ve found the shells of basking painted turtles to be 20F higher than the ambient air temperatures. If you have a small tank, a basking spot of a lower temperature, as long as it is consistently used, might be suitable.

      A Zoo Med Powersun 100 or 160 would supply adequate UVB, but again, you’ll need to monitor temperatures. A Zoo Med florescent 10.0, assuming you could arrange a basking site within 12 inches of the bulb, would also be fine. If you couple this with a Zoo Med Repti Halogen, you would also be able to provide UVA (as well as heat), which is being found increasingly important to desert-adapted lizards. The Repti Halogen is available in wattages ranging from 50-150, enabling you to choose an appropriate strength for a variety of enclosures.

      Night temperatures can dip to 70-75, or even lower, assuming the animal is kept warm in the day and is in good health.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  8. avatar

    Frank, One more thing if you dont mind. I see the same old debate going on with uro’s substrate, some say no sand, no cali sand.. no walnut shell substrate.

    It’s all confusing, I was planning on changing out the substrate I got from the previous owner which as a mix of play sand and walnut shell ground, was going to use just home depot bought play sand. I personally am not just big on cage carpet or newspaper. What’s your opinion on all of this? Thanks!


    • avatar

      Hello Dave, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Another point over which there is much confusing, thanks for bringing it up.

      I’ve kept large groups of a number of Uromastyx species on construction grade sand, as you are considering, with no problems at all…autopsies of such animals did not reveal blockages. They seem well able to pass any sand ingested with food – problems may arise with dehydrated animals, or perhaps those without enough fiber in the diet (Uros should be provided with a wide variety of fibrous vegetables, finch seed and dry split peas, with insects accounting for no more than 25% of the diet).

      You can mix some calci-sand in with the regular, in case it is ingested, if you wish. Feed moist salad in a large bowl to limit accidental ingestion of sand, but I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

      Egyptian Uros are most comfortable with deep, burrow-like retreats. I suggest that you provide a deep substrate, and bury an artificial cave within in – they like to get down below the ground when retiring. Place rocks and other heavy items directly on the tank’s floor, not the sand, lest they bury below and become crushed (it does happen!).

      Enjoy and please keep me posted,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar


    Thanks for the wonderful information, I went ahead and picked up 150w Repti Halogen Bulb tonight, now silly as this may sound. How do I go about accurately getting a measurement?

    I have a Ryobi thermal temp gun but when I measure the basking rock it never seems to get hotter then 89f,”that’s the rock itself” now I stick my hand under there and it feels way hotter then 89f. Do I get a temp of the lizard itself? I figured with 150w it would do it. I have it raised on a stand above the tank. btw, it’s a 40 breeder, the other end is around 75-80.

    He must like it though, as soon as I powered it up he went straight for that area.



    • avatar

      Hello Dave, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Good question, using a temperature sensing gun is not always as straightforward as it might first appear. With the models I’ve had, it was important to pay attention to the range/distance guidelines, usually printed on the handle, as such affects accuracy.

      Try a few inches below the bulb, and just above the rock…the intensity on your hand could be due to the affect of heat absorption, but the temperature will decline noticeably even a few inches from the bulb. The most important temperature is that of the basking lizard’s skin surface, a point often overlooked in husbandry guidelines. In the painted turtle example I mentioned last time, I held the gun a few inches above the shell…you should get a reading that is higher than that of the surrounding air. This is what the lizard is experiencing, regardless of the actual air temperature. Adjust your basking site location accordingly – just be careful if using rocks, as Uromastyx are very good at demolishing the best of our efforts.

      Your cool side temperature gradient (75-80) is perfect; the 150 Halogen bulb should provide a good basking temperature, you’ll just need to experiment with the proper distance. Try to arrange the Zoo Med 10.0 UVB bulb to overlap the basking site, so as to assure adequate UVB exposure as well.

      Good luck and please keep me posted,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  10. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the info., I did as you suggested and put the rocks flat on the tank floor and then sand around the area. I didn’t figure it would be a good idea to stack the rocks. So area with the halogen seems to be heating up nicely.

    You know one thing I’ve noticed is that since he has that basking area now he seems to be more alert and moving. But I’m a bit concerned now as it seems like he wants to try to climb out of the tank, try’s to climb the glass!. Very strange, none of my other lizards show this kind of behavior. Is this normal for this type of species? I’m hoping he’s not stressed. Thanks.


    • avatar

      Hello Dave, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your comment.

      It may just be a function of him being warmer than usual, and having the energy to expend on an escape attempt. However, keep a close eye on the temperatures, especially right along his back as mentioned, to make sure that he is not over-heating. If too warm he would likely just move to the other side of the tank, but to be on the safe side monitor it closely for awhile…perhaps use another light if you will be away for the entire day, until you are sure.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar
    Wally - Supreme Gecko

    I’ve been using the 5.0 for Phelsuma species for some time and have had good success.

    • avatar

      Hello Wally, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog. I apologize for the long delay in responding to you…an emergency surgery put me out of commission for a time.

      Phelsuma are, in general, a bit unusual as regards their UVB requirements. On the one hand, they are known to bask frequently and to need high UVB exposure (a Zoo Med 10.0 might be a better choice). However, I know of a situation in which a group has done fine for generations with no UVB exposure whatsoever…please see my article Has Anyone Observed This…? for the story.

      High dietary calcium and dietary D3 is a good idea in any case…a mix of 50:50 Reptocal and Zoo Med Repti Calcium Without D3 has worked well with several species.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  12. avatar

    I have a Herman’s tortoise and I’m trying to find a light fixture…the connection on the fluorescent one broke on the one I have now. I set timers so that the terrarium’s heat and light are regulated even when I’m not home. I need a hood that holds 3 bulbs…one fluorescent and 2 halogen, and has either each light with a separate cord (to plug into a timer…not a toggle switch), or one that has 2 cords…one of which controls the fluorescent and one halogen, and one cord that controls the other halogen. I tried to look online, but the descriptions are all really vague. Would appreciate your help!

    • avatar

      Hi oscargal, thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately Frank’s away on emergency surgery. We expect him back this week, at which time he’ll answer your question. Sorry for the delay.

    • avatar

      Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog. I apologize for the long delay in responding to you…an emergency surgery put me out of commission for a time.

      Please take a look at the Zoo Med Slider Hoods, which seem to fit the requirements that you have set out. Please note that the Halogen Lamps which fit this hood will supply UVA only, so you’ll need to relay upon a quality fluorescent, such as the Zoo Med 10.0, for UVB.

      If you wish to use a powerful UVB Producing Halogen Bulb, I believe you’ll need to set it within a Dome Fixture.
      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    Hi Frank, thanks for the blog. I have a bearded dragon which developed a lump on the back of its head. I took him to the vet twice and had antibiotics prescribed and administered, after having it lanced and tested. The vet ascertained that it would go away eventually once we found the right meds. He beleived that it had started with a burn on my dragon’s head. Now, at this point, I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary to the dragon’s cage setup. I had been experimenting with Reptisun 5.0 and 10.0 bulbs to see if I could tell a difference, while varying basking locations to get the best combination of UV and heat. At the time the lump appeared, I was using a Reptisun 10.0 fluorescent, and the dragon had the capability of getting within about 8 inches of it, blocked by a screen. Is it possible that the dragon literally got sunburn from UVB from the bulb? Are designer herps (mine is a citrus dragon) more susceptible to sunburn from high UVB lamps? Can the output vary significantly from lamp to lamp, as I had used a Reptisun Fluorescent 10.0 from about the same range before with no ill effects? I switched back to a 5.0 UVB and the lump seems to be going away, and this was several weeks after the last antibiotics were used. It’s also important to note that I hadn’t changed the heating arrangments in the tank in the 2+ years I had the dragon, and it can easily go to a cooler section of the cage. Any thoughts?

  14. avatar

    I am planning on dividing my 125 gallon fish tank into a 1/2 fish tank with a water fall to a lower trutle area /terrarium area for day geckos and some turtles. This area is 18h x 18d x 46w. I plan to retrofit my aquarium hood housing in the turtle/lizard area with a 24″ wide t8 srip fixture with one reptisun lamp), depending on lighting req’ts a 2-lamp fixture could be installed. Heat would be supplied by a ceramic type fixture for basking and thermostatically controlled at night if needed. Do I need a source for uva? Perhaps another fluoresent adjacent the Reptisun 10. Or Zoomed Reptile Halogen instead if the ceraic heater….although heating in the evening would be fromthe heated aquarium water circulated in the terrarium area. Thanks for your help

    • avatar

      Hello Chester, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog.

      I always try to provide UVA for diurnal lizards, especially day geckos, and turtles, but if you cannot arrange enough space, the lack of it would not likely be critical.

      Heated water might be enough to warm the air for the nighttime, depending upon the species you keep and the ambient room temperature.

      One concern with keeping turtles and lizards together is the placement of basking sites in relation to the UVB lamps. The lizards will be able to get close (6-12” is ideal for florescent lamps) but the turtles will be a good deal further away. This may not be a problem if you keep adult turtles, but you’d need to go with a small species in your set-up…perhaps Geoemyda spengleri or similar. Another option that I’ve used in mixed exhibits is to remove the turtles at night and place them in a shallow container with the light positioned close overhead. There are some concerns with disturbing the day/night cycle – I’ve used old fashioned “blacklights”, which are not sensed by reptiles.

      Keep in mind air circulation as well – if using an aquarium hood, this will likely be a problem, as even species from humid habitats fare poorly if kept in stagnant air (fungal problems in lungs, on skin). Replacing the back plastic panel with screening has worked well for me with Ranid frogs, may be enough for your situation as well.

      You’ll need to think carefully about species selection – turtles, lizards and fish together are very difficult in a small enclosure.

      Turtles often carry microorganisms that are benign to themselves but deadly to snakes and lizards. It is not always a concern, but fecal tests beforehand would be useful.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  15. avatar

    Thank you for the reply. It’s exciting and daunting trying to research the requirements and creating a mixed environment that the animals and plants will thrive in. Getting specific information from your blog is really helpful. The basking areas for the turtles are about 12-8″ away from the Repti sun lamp (the pond is 6″ deep). Do you think I should install a 2-lamp 24″w t8 fixture…with 2 reptisun’s or some other lamp?

    Thanks for the tip on ventilation. In lieu of the plexi glass access panel I will replace it with a 24″x6″ screened panel. If this is not enough ventilation I was thinking of installing a computer fan in the hood area to create more air movement. I’m not sure how you know if you have enough ventilation…then there’s maintaining humidity.

    I have 2 adult map turtles (4 years) and I was planning some day geckos. I’m not sure regarding fecal testing.. the geckos or my turtles. I was thinking maybe adding a painted turtle as well. Any suggestions on frogs to the mixed exhibit.

    Thanks again for your help.


    • avatar

      Hello Chester, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Glad to hear that the information is useful to you, thanks.

      One or 2 Zoo Med 10.0 lamps would be fine, especially for adult turtles.

      Re ventilation, concern is mainly for the day geckos…watch that condensation does not buildup and remain. If that happens, a small computer fan for a few hours each day might be useful.

      Map turtles might be quite difficult to keep with other herps…filtration will be important (feed them outside the tank if possible) and they may stress the lizards if they decide to wander; the parasite transmission problem I mentioned is especially troublesome when you mix animals from different continents – more likely that animals will lack immunity/ability to fight. Again, this does not always happen, but should be kept in mind.

      There are a number of treefrogs and a few terrestrial species that mix well with day geckos, but not with turtles…most will try to latch on to even large specimens, and maps will not instinctively avoid the toxic species (almost all frogs, not just poison frogs, produce powerful toxins)…I have a many notes of various turtles dying after consuming even relatively benign species, such a as gray treefrogs. Holds true re geckos also, but its easier to find suitably sized frogs that will not be attacked.

      By the way, not trying to discourage you, I’m known in some zoos for always pushing mixed exhibits, have put land crabs in turtle/snake exhibits, whirligig beetles with water snakes, fiddler crabs with mudskippers and so on, but it is a great deal of work and worry.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  16. avatar


    I have a one year old, 3 foot, water dragon in a cage that is 5 feet tall. I built the cage using a number of basking lamps and night-time heat lamps to maintain the appropriate temperatures. When I built the cage I installed a ReptiSun 10.0 UVB 24″ T-12 bulb so it would reach as far down as possible into the cage, including the basking areas. Now a year later I can’t seem to find the ReptiSun 10.0 UVB 24″ T-12 bulb anywhere, only the T-8. Does ReptiSun no longer sell the T-12 bulb, only the T-8? Do I need to redesign my lighting to use Mercury Vapor Flood lights instead in order to reach 2-3 feet into the cage? If I do this, then I need to change my basking light arrangements because the Mercury Vapor will give off too much heat, right? I like the fluorescent because it doesn’t give off heat, but if I can’t find the T-12 anymore, do you recommend any more options other than going with the flood light?


    • avatar

      Hello Lee, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Unfortunately, we also carry only the T-8 bulbs; try ZooMed directly – please write back if have trouble reaching someone there.

      However, neither bulb is very effective at 3 feet, even 2 is a stretch; 12 inches or less is ideal. If you cannot raise the basking site close enough to the bulbs, than a mercury vapor bulb would be your best choice. It will add heat, but how much will depend upon cage material/ventilation, ambient room temperature, etc.; You might want to take some readings with a less expensive bulb of the same wattage first, just to get an idea of what to expect.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  17. avatar


    I contacted Zoo Med and this is their reply. I’ll be re-designing my enclosure for mercury vapor UVB and heat. Thanks for your help.
    Dear Lee,

    Thank you for contacting us. We are no longer manufacturing the T-12
    size lamps. The T-8’s are the new standard and are more energy
    efficient. Please make sure your T-8 reads this (F17T8) on the etching
    of the bulb.

    If this is the etching and are still having trouble with than it may be
    necessary to upgrade to a fixture that has electronic ballast and can
    run T8 lamps.

    I am unsure as to which suppliers, if any, still have T12’s available.

    Please let me know if you have further questions or comments.

    Kind regards,

    Rita Zarate
    Dir. Customer Service
    Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc.

    • avatar

      Hello Lee, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks very much for letting me know, much appreciated. Please let me know if you need any info re the new design.

      Good luck and enjoy.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  18. avatar

    Hello Frank,
    I have a 4″ bearded dragon baby not sure of exact age, probably 4 weeks. I had purchased a zoomed 20 gallon starter kit. It comes with a reptisun 5.0 bulb and I small hood fixture. I heard the coiled types are bad for their eyes, not sure is this is coiled but it’s not a tube. So I went and got the 5.0 fluorescent tube and I was going to fix it straight inside the enclosure. Would this be ok? Safe? And provide enough uvb? Also I have an inffared bulb for night time. It seems so bright. I’ve read these disturb sleep. What would be better for cold nights? Temps are ok at night staying around 72. I worked at a zoo and now work at a petstore so getting to fully understand lighting is a must 🙂 Thank you.

    • avatar

      Hi Chelsea,

      Yes, lighting is an important topic, and constantly evolving; I have read of some problems with coil/compact bulbs, although eye infections may be involved in some cases, confusing the issue. As long as the animal can bask within 12 ” of the bulb, I’d say stay with the regular tube type for now. A 10.0 would be preferable to the 5.0. 72F at night is theoretically ok, but 75 or so is a bit safer. I have read the theories on red light etc, but seems to be lots of conjecture. At the Bx Zoo we have kept and bred a wide variety of nocturnal reptiles and other animals using a reverse light cycle, with red-colored lights on in the day…no apparent problems, same holds in other zoos. I’m not sure about infra-red bulbs….not sure if red light is of the same type as nocturnal bulbs; perhaps try using a standard red or black (black ones seem more “subtle”) bulb to warn\m the cage at night if you notice the animal moving about, restless after dark. Ceramic heater emitters are another option….heat without light. Be sure to use the proper reflector (ceramic base, of proper strength, etc) with heaters and bulbs. Please let me know if you need anything, enjoy, frank

  19. avatar

    I was wondering about a lighting concern. I have leopard tortoises and sulcata tortoises. All are hatchlings. The Sullys are 5-6 months old and my leopards are 45 days to up to 6months old. I am running a zoo med T5 high output 10.0 bulb in a zoo med low profile high output fixture that 16-18″ from substrate in my sully enclosure. I have had no problems at this point, it’s been set up and running for about 3 months now. I’m running zoo med T5 high output 5.0 bulb w same fixture as Sullys about 13-15″ from substrate in the leopards enclosure. It’s been set up running about a month. So a week ago my leopards start acting funny, holding eyes closed, will not open them. I haven’t noticed any discharge or crusty stuff around the eyes and some of them are doing this and some aren’t. I have 2 that are same age around same size came from same clutch, one hasn’t had his eyes open or ate in a week while the other one isn’t acting any different then normal. It was suggested that my fixture was too low and was causing eye damage. I immediately turned it off until I can get it up higher. My question is what’s the recommended height for these fixtures? Should I be using the 10.0 since that’s eecommended for desert animals or will the 5.0 be enough since it’s closer to the substrate?

  20. avatar

    Hey Frank,

    I just bought a schneider skink (not fully grown just yet) and have him/her in a 40 gallon breeder tank. I live in Long Island and temps are pretty cold during the day. During the day while I am at work and have the heat off in my house, I have (1) 150 watt heat lamp, (1) 100 watt basking lamp and (1) 10.0 zoo med reptisun compact UVB lamp. I have recently read that compact UVB lamps are only good for small lizards and may not be enough for my skink. Is this true? Also, is it okay if the temps in the cold side of the tank are slightly less than ideal range as long as the hot side temps are okay? It just seems hard to perfect the temperature ranges in the tank.


    • avatar

      Hello Bobby,

      Most importantly, for safety’s sake, be sure that your heat/basking bulbs are in porcelain fixtures rated for the wattage you use.

      The ZooMed compact UVB is fine if placed within 6-12 inches of the basking site; be sure also to provide a proper diet with enough calcium..let me know if you need more info.

      Cooler than recommended temps are usually fine if the animal an warm up sufficiently under the lamps…hard to fine tune in a 40 gallon. Night temps are important as well…feel free to send along temp readings if you wish me to check. Best regards, Frank

  21. avatar

    Hello Frank.
    I am currently raising sulcata hatchlings (around 6 months old now) and I also have leopard hatchling (not sure on age, I’m guessing around 6 months from visible growth) i have their enclosures set up almost the same. Cool side stays 80-84, warm side 90-95, basking area 95-110. I use 3″ of damp Eco earth covered with 2″ repi bark that is dry for their substrate. The Sullys have a t5 high output 10.0 16-18″ from substrate for UVA/UVB and a regular flood light for basking. The leopard has t5 high output 5.0 13-15″ from substrate for UVA/UVB and a bulb that provides UVA for basking(can’t remeber name of bulb). This is my current set up
    I am getting ready to build them new enclosures and I wanted to check a couple details first.
    1- what’s the recommended distance for the high out put fixtures?
    2- should I run 10.0 bulbs for both my Sullys and my leopard?
    3- what would you recommend for a basking bulb? None of my tortoises really bask so maybe it’s something to do with the bulb I use?
    4- what’s the best way to monitor their enclosure temp? I use thermometers to monitor but I have noticed the thermometers will say 82, which I understand is the temp of air but their substrate will be 96, should I monitor the air temp or the substrate temp?
    Any advise would be greatly appreciated, I do want to provide my torts with the best captive environment I can.

    • avatar

      Hi Amanda,

      If air and substrate temps are warm, they may not bask in one spot…that’s fine; as long as they are feeding well and active, all is well. As for the distances from UVB bulbs, this changes as manufacturer’s revise bulbs, offer new models…best to check their recommendations (Zoo Med and others post the info on their sites, if you do not have original boxes). Best, Frank

  22. avatar

    How active should Sullys and leopards be at their age. My Sullys usually lay around all day unless they are eating. In the evening around about the time I give them their evening Mazuri one of them will get up and pace the front of the enclosure till I give it to them but that’s about as active as they are.
    My leopard somedays will eat, go back to sleep in her food bowl and then continue to eat periodically throughout the day sleeping between her eating and then once in awhile she is up half the day, mainly climbing on different items in her enclosure. I give them all a varied diet of weeds and dark leafy greens, in summer months it’s more weeds then greens but in winter it’s more greens then weeds but I always try to give them 5-7 different items chopped and mixed together every morning. They get Mazuri chow every evening. I give the Sullys multivitamin and calcium w D3 supplement 2x week on their greens and since my leopard refuses to touch the Mazuri I give her the supplements 3-4x week in her greens.
    I have only used closed enclosures with my hatchlings at this point but was seriously thinking about building a open table for them in my rep room since I have my larger Sullys housed in there and the entire room stays at 83-87 and the humidity level is always 75-86%.
    I am planning on obtain an 4-6 month old Aldabra in the near future so I am trying to get everything set up just right for everybody as I build all the new enclosures. So they all eat really well but their not that active but I guess I honestly can’t say because I not know if their activity level is the norm or not. Is there a average or something to this? Thanks in advance.

    • avatar

      Hi Amanda,

      Activity varies, but all sounds well with yours…feeding is a better guide; they will slow down when too cool, not digest properly. They tend to slow down their activity once they become familiar with an enclosure, and know it’s limits; adults that become restless may be gravid, or seeking a mate, but otherwise you’ll see far less movement when all their needs are met easily. An Aldabra – hope you are good at planning ahead! Table top style cages are very useful..Tortoise Trust has specs for one posted, let me know if you need the link, best, Frank

  23. avatar

    Thank you so much for the info!! I have been in love with tortoises since my first visit to the zoo as a small kid. I have always wanted an Aldabra but decided I should start with a smaller cheaper version, I planned one a sulcata hatchling and within 2 months of getting my first one, I ended up with 7 sulcata and 5 leopards. I had a issue about a month ago that took 4 of my leopards but I still have 1 and she seems to be thriving. My largest sulcata is 2.5 yrs old and weights just over 11 pounds and straight measures at 11″, my smallest is 2.5″ straight measure and 60 grams. I did months of research and set up everything before I got my little shelled friends. It was rough in the beginning trying to figure everything out but I was lucky enough to find a forum, the tortoise forum, and from there I have learned years of things in these few short months. It’s a great source of info on raising tortoises. I have also read everything the source you mentioned earlier has to offer including their table layout. I have my layout done already, of course it’s much larger then normal so I can accommodate my Aldabra when he gets here. Plus I want to give my other baby’s a larger space as well. I always plan ahead, have to when you are raising these guys, I am planning this large table enclosure for their housing needs for a year, after that we will be moved to southern Flordia where they will get to enjoy the outside freedoms all year long!! Again thank you for your help!!

    • avatar

      Nice to hear you’ve done your research, Amanda…so many do not. I saw my first Galops-Aldabras at the Bronx Zoo as a child, and wound up working with the same animals decades later! Sounds like you have things well in hand. Would be useful to speak with tortoise owners in the part of Fla you’ll be moving to, re any problems with high humidity and predator exclusion from outdoor pens. I may be able to put you in touch with experienced residents if need be. Enjoy and Please keep me posted, Frank

  24. avatar

    There is a gentleman on the forum, Greg, “aldabraman” is his screen name on the forum, he lives in south Flordia and I email him to the point of harassment about his. Thank god he doesn’t mind. His are raised perfectly, healthy happy no pyramiding. I actually plan on obtaining my little shell of joy from him. I actually seeked out an area in Flordia that has the same weather patterns as his area (I researched that too) I have pretty much went over ever detail of how he raises them from egg to adulthood with him. It’s a little frustrating that there is no information on this species. There is plenty of it on other species (most of its outdated and scary wrong) but it’s there. I don’t understand why reptiles, mainly tortoises, haven’t been researched more then they have. For example, I would like a list of safe nutrious foods I can give mine but all you can find is “grass and weeds”, ok ya I figured that but which ones. I think if there is a way for us to research the moon or the inside of a microorganism, we should be able to tell someone what the inside of a sulcata burrow is like. We can’t attach a camera and a record keeping thermometer?? Sorry, it’s fustrating. I want to give my shells the very best captive life I can and mimicking their natural wild life, what their instincts tell them to do, but you can’t do that because we still aren’t sure what that is. Until I joined the forum and read most the threads I thought tortoises was suppose to look the way they look when they pyrimid, what a shock I had when I found out they are suppose to be smooth and pyramiding is bad. Luck for me I found the forum and I found a care sheet prepared and posted by a gentlemen that has raised 100’s of sulcata hatchlings and leopard hatchlings over the last 20 years and raises them smooth, I follow his caresheets as close as possible, have since day one, and all my baby’s are smooth as smooth can get. And I will have to agree, people should research first, there is a lot that goes into raising and owning tortoise (and I assume other reptiles) and if you get one first then attempt to figure it out, the baby will be the one that suffers from your short comings. It took me months and months to gather all the info and supply’s I needed, and I was luck, I was getting the correct info from a trusted source but it still took that long and even after its all said and done I still have to make changes from time to time. It’s all well worth the expense and effort but anyone thinking about getting one should really research their stuff. Have you ever owned a tortoise? Raised one?

    • avatar

      Hi Amanda,

      A great deal of research has been done, and the technology you mention is used (we did camera studies of gopher tortoise burrows in the early 1990’s (bx Zoo-Fla Fish and Game) but this research is usually published in the major herp journals, and generally not available w/o a subscription. Lots of good work in private sector also, but the professional journals seem not to get much attention, unfortunately. Please see this article for titles, etc). One new professional journal is available online, and it would be worth checking – see here. Also check out Chelonian Conservation & Biology. Research is always linked to funding, of course, but there’s quite a bit out there…libraries may be able to get specific issues for you…you can check abstract of most scientific journals online. Enjoy, Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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