A paludarium is a type of aquarium for both aquatic and semi-aquatic animals and plants, a habitat that contains both land and water for the peaceful living of your pets. One of the most essential things to think about when purchasing a paludarium is the light fixtures you will need. Light is a crucial aspect of any paludarium, as it provides both your plants and animals with UVB and vitamins that they would otherwise have in the wild.
Bearing in mind that the light you choose should depend entirely on the size of your tank and the type of animals you decide to keep, the best all-round light fixture for most paludariums is the Exo Terra Solar Glo, a Mercury vapor bulb that emits UVB, UVA and visible light for your animals.
The Exo Terra Solar Glo is an excellent all-in-one solution for your animals, being that it emits both UVB and UVA and enables your pets to live their best life.
There are a few instances in which I would suggest this type of bulb is not quite right for you:
- The bulb also works as a basking light, so if your animal is nocturnal and not prone to basking, then this might not be the correct fixture for you.
- The Exo Terra tends to last only about 6 months, so if you are looking for something that will last longer, you’d be better off with a Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0.
- If you are looking for a more comprehensive lighting system, you might also need the Exo Terra Compact Top, which is an incandescent lighting fixture for higher tanks.
In the rest of this article, I will take you through the many factors to consider when buying light fixtures for your paludarium, the pros and cons of each type of light, and the best choices for your pets.
Factors to Consider When Buying Lights for a Paludarium
You need to bear a few factors in mind before investing in light fixtures for your reptiles.
- First, you need to think about the type of pet you intend to keep in your tank and how many pets you will have. A larger tank will require a more significant number of lights, and if you have more than one type of animal, you must think about each of their individual needs.
- You will also need to think about what plant life you intend to have in the paludarium since some living plants will need certain types of light to sustain themselves. If you aim to keep both living plants and animals in the paludarium, the light fixture you choose needs to reflect that.
- The size of your container is essential in your quest for lighting. If you have a larger tank, temperatures could vary between 5-7 degrees from the top to the bottom of the tank; you will have to bear this in mind when investing in any light fixtures. Most lights come with recommended tank sizes to get you started.
- You may also need to consider cost factors when purchasing the lights. Different lights last for differing amounts of time, so if you are looking for something cost-effective and budget-friendly, you need something you may not have to replace anytime soon. For reference, most lights last between 3 months and a year.
With so many different types of light fixtures, all with various benefits and disadvantages, it can sometimes seem like a daunting task to choose between them. Knowing what your pet needs and why can help you enormously when deciding how to keep them happy with a lamplight.
UVB and UVA: Why Your Pet Needs Them
UVB (type-B ultraviolet light) and UVA (type-A ultraviolet light) are essential components of your light fixtures. Depending on the animal you keep, they convert this energy to Vitamin D3, which strengthens their bone structure, helps metabolism flourish, and keeps at bay any issues associated with captivity.
In some cases, you can supplement your pet’s diet with D3 without needing a specific light fixture; however, this needs to be monitored over time.
Best Light Overall: Exo Terra Solar Glo
The winner of the light fixture challenge goes to the Exo Terra Solar Glo. Built for most medium-sized tanks, it emits UVB and UVA essential for your pet’s long lifespan and provides a basking hotspot for those reptiles who love the sun’s rays.
It also provides visible light that imitates sunlight for your reptile and a consistent heat source equal to around 35 degrees Celsius.
Depending on the size of your paludarium, you can purchase a 60W bulb, 125W bulb, or 160W bulb.
Its full spectrum light encourages activity and a healthy appetite, and it is straightforward to install as well. For more information on its benefits and exact values and product specifications, visit the Exo Terra website.
Here are some of the pros and cons associated with the Exo Terra Solar Glo.
- It is perfect for land animals that need vitamin D3 and a basking spot.
- You can purchase a different wattage depending on the size of your tank and the number of animals.
- It is very simple to install and supports healthy metabolism and bone density.
- Depending on the wattage, it has a heat source equivalent to around 35 degrees Celsius.
- The bulb is not water-resistant, so it is not ideal if you have water in your tank.
- You cannot monitor the temperature level.
Best Budget Option: Basking Solar Spot
For those who are looking to kit out their paludarium at the least expense over time while not compromising on quality, the Basking Solar Spot is a perfect choice.
These light fixtures not only have consistent UVB and UVA rays, but they also last an exceptionally long time. With natural thermoregulation and the provision of a natural basking spot for your reptiles, you can’t beat this bulb when it comes to value.
The best thing about the Basking Solar Spot is its ability to emit even rays across the whole of your tank. Even if your tank is slightly more extensive, you can be sure that every inch of your paludarium is covered.
You can buy 4 different wattages from 60w to 150w – and it is said to last for at least a year. It is recommended to use this bulb alongside a dimming thermostat and UVB lighting equipment specific to your reptile.
Best for Reptiles That Need Heat: Repti Zoo Reptile Heat Lamp
The Repti Zoo Reptile Heat Lamp is an excellent choice for Bearded Dragons and other reptiles that are used to hot temperatures.
It is a full-spectrum UVA and UVB light fixture that comes in 160w and provides consistent temperature control for your pet.
The only issue you might encounter with the Repti Zoo Reptile Heat Lamp is the provision of shade. Since it emits consistent heat across the whole tank, you will need to ensure that your reptile has sufficient shade based on their specific needs.
Best for Smaller Tanks: Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0
If your tank is on the smaller side, and you have 1 (or maybe 2) pets inside the paludarium, your best bet is the Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0. It is best used in small tanks, providing dependable and steady light and heat at 13w.
The fluorescent light has 5% UVB output and 30% UVA output. It is a small fixture, so you can place it however you wish inside your paludarium, and it will not take up too much space.
Zoo Med also lasts for at least a year and has consistent reviews across the board. It claims to increase natural behaviors in your reptile, such as feeding, mating, and general activity.
This lamp does not provide heat for your reptile, only UVA and UVB rays, so if your reptile needs heat, this is not the best choice for you.
Best for Larger Tanks: Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB Fluorescent Reptile Lamp
If you have a larger paludarium with more than one reptile, then the Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB Fluorescent Reptile Lamp is a fantastic choice for you. Perfect for getting those sun rays into every corner of a big tank, it ensures consistent light over a larger surface area due to its bigger size.
It has 10% UVB and 30% UVA, so your reptiles will definitely benefit from this lamp. It is recommended to use it alongside a screen cover, such as this 10-gallon screen cover. A screen cover keeps your pets protected from outside temperatures and can facilitate the fitting of light fixtures such as the Reptisun 10.0.
Final Thoughts: Overall Winner and Best Buy
If you are looking for a great mid-range lamp that provides everything your reptile needs, the Exo Terra Solar Glo is the perfect choice for those just starting with their paludarium.
Its all-encompassing abilities and UVB and UVA rays make it the best for a medium-sized tank containing basking reptiles such as bearded dragons.
You can buy it from Amazon for a reasonable price, but before you do, take a look at the exact product specifications on the Exo Terra website, which also has a lot of information on paludarium lights for different species of reptile.