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I bought a 2 UVB Exo Terra Repti Glo bulb for my Gargoyle Gecko.
This low watt bulb is not to be used as a source of heat, it is merely to simulate day light in places that can be quite dark during the day.
My flat, unless it is really sunny outside, is pretty dark during the day, and when I am out at work and the lights are all off, it can feel like evening time at midday in there! So I bought this bulb to simulate day light for my gecko, as they can benefit from this.
My particular breed of gecko does not require another form of heat source, so long as it's not too cold in the room.
Bulbs in this range include the 2.0 UVB, 5.0 UVB and 10.0 UVB. If you need a bulb for a heat source, then you will require one of the higher UVB bulbs. They are good at creating a heat spot for reptiles that like to bask or require higher temperatures.
The bulbs fit into the hood on Exo Terra tanks, and can be switched on and off from a button on the side of the tank.
An additional hood can be bought and fitted to the tank, should you require more than one bulb. For example, you can buy low watt bulbs that give off "moon" light, that you can have on in the evenings so you can see your pet more easily. These bulbs are also part of the Repti Glo range.
I believe the Exo Terra tanks are the best on the market, and all of the accessories, including these Repti Glo bulbs, are brilliant too.
These Exo Terra Repti Glo compact bulbs are excellent for a range of animals. They are particularly useful for animals that require a UVB spot, rather than wide coverage. This is why I use these, as I keep mostly turtles and they need their UVB rays concentrated on the dry basking area where their heat lamp is, as that's where they do the most good; if you have a long tube UVB light over the water the UVB is practically useless there (UVB only penetrates water a couple of inches) and all it does is encourage algae growth!
These bulbs come in three strenghts, a 2.0 (which is basically used to simulate daylight, to compliment other bulbs or for plant growth), a 5.0 which is marketed for tropical animals, and the 10.0, which is marketed towards desert animals but is probably the most widely used, as many reptiles have high UVB requirements (not just desert dwellers). It is the 10.0 I use almost exclusively, so it is these that my review will concentrate on.
They come in a cardboard box chock full of information in several languages. They are aimed at desert reptiles but are in fact suitable for any reptile with a high UVB demand. The back of the box shows us graphical data on the percentage of light produced at certain visible and invisible (to us) wavelengths on the spectrum. This is really for information only, you don't need to have a full understanding of this (although it doesn't hurt!) you just need to know that these lamps are a suitable UVB source.
These 10.0 bulbs are classed as a very high output, but don't worry about damaging your eyes, or the UVB being dangerous in the home. While you of course shouldn't stare directly at it the UVB output doesn't compare to the British sun, even on a dull cloudy day! These are effective up to a distance of 50cm (20") and are best mounted in a reflector dome to maximise the output; if they are unshielded it not only bothers your eyes but the UVB radiates out all over the place, rather than being directed where it is needed.
The bulbs themselves look like spiral energy savers. They are low wattage too, available in both 13 and 26 watts. The only real difference between the two (apart from power consumption) is that the 26w is physically bigger, so may be useful for lighting a larger area. They have Edison screw (E27) fittings. They are quite sturdy but of course care should be taken, they are light bulbs!
UVB is essential for most reptiles so they can produce vitamin D3 for efficient calcium absorption. You'll maybe have heard of the disease Rickets? Often suffered by those living in tenement buildings with no garden areas that see the sunlight, causing the typical 'bandy legs'. Well, this is caused by the same thing - lack of UVB from the sun for humans to metabolise into vitamin D3 - vitamin D3 is essential for calcium absorption in people too! There is a reptile equivalent, named Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) and this should obviously be avoided.
Care needs to be taken if you are mounting these above a mesh screen, as fine mesh will filter a lot of the UVB out. Ideally you want nothing between the bulb and the animal (except a safe distance). Another thing, the packaging states to change these bulbs after 1 year. This is far too long, they need replaced after 6 months. By this time the UVB has degraded to a point it is practically useless. I can not understand why Exo Terra state 1 year, they would actually sell more if they told people to replace after the safer period of 6 months! But this is really important to know as the bulb will continue illuminating and look no different, even when the UVB is all out.
I have been using these for years now, and never had one blow or just randomly stop working. When mounted in a suitable holder with reflector they light up really well and provide the UVB my pets need. They offer 6 months of quality UVB rays for your reptiles and my turtles are all active, healthy and have voracious appetites! Prices vary widely, but I buy mine online from Zooplus or Surrey Pet Supplies where they are £13-£15 each for the 13w; they are over £25 in bricks and mortar shops! So when I talk of their value it is in regards to online prices, not the best part of £30. That is a crazy difference, so defintely worth shopping around online for. Beware of buying from eBay, as you may be being lied to about how much use they have had, and without an expensive solarimeter (over £100) to measure the UVB output you will never know.
This is the sort of product that you need if you keep UVB requiring animals. The only real choice is brand, and although I can say there are higher quality, longer lasting compact bulbs out there, they are also more than double the price so it is up to you. I personally will continue using these as I find the price agreeable since I currently need 4 at a time (and that number is only going to go up!), I'm happy to replace twice a year and they do a perfectly fine job within their period of usefulness.