UVB light is essential for the maintenance of good health in many reptile species and this includes the Bearded Dragon. You therefore need to invest in a UVB bulb for Bearded Dragon tanks and terrarium. In their natural habitat, they would spend many hours basking in the full glare of the sun and would benefit from both the heat and the UVB. When you keep this type of animal in captivity, it is essential that you provide sufficient UVB to keep them healthy.
Bearded dragons need UVB to produce Vitamin D3 and this, in turn, is essential for them to absorb and use the calcium in their diet. Without UVB, they can get a variety of metabolic bone diseases which result in weak bones, pain, distress and deformities. It can also result in an impaired immune system and low mood. You need to choose a bearded dragon UVB light fixture that suits your pet and your terrarium. To help you choose the right one, we have prepared this useful guide to buying the best UVB bulb for Bearded Dragon health and welfare.
This reptile UVB 10 bulb fits into any standard E26 US lamp socket and is made from high quality glass. The closer the lamp is, the more intense the UVB light. For example, at 4 inches from a 23W bulb, the UVB intensity is 155uW/cm3.
You can expect the lamp to last for 8,000 hours of continuous use and it delivers 10% UVB and 30% UVA output. There is no harmful UVC output for you to worry about. The UVB rate is constant and has very little fade. It can help to avoid limb weaknesses and deformities in desert-dwelling reptiles including the bearded dragon and the tortoise. Other options are available that deliver 5% UVB and are 15Watts.
Fits into any standard E26 US lamp socket
Lasts for 8,000 hours of continuous use
Delivers 10% UVB and 30% UVA output
No harmful UVC output
No special fitting required
Very little UVB fade
Several different options
Long bulb – may not suit all fittings
Does not emit heat
This 100 Watt reptile mercury heat lamp bulb will deliver all the valuable UVA and UVB that your pet needs as well as keeping them warm. It is self-ballasted and does not emit harmful UVC radiation.
The bulb of this Bearded Dragon lamp produces light and heat but has integrated thermal protection so it will not overheat. It is self-starting and has no control gear so it will fit into a standard E26 light fitting. You can use it for all sorts of reptiles including Bearded Dragons and lizards and suits all types of terrarium and aviaries. You’ll get a lifespan of 10,000 hours but it cannot be used with a dimmer switch and should never be sprayed with water.
100 Watt reptile mercury heat lamp bulb
Self-ballasted and does not emit harmful UVC
Integrated thermal protection
Lifespan of 10,000 hours
Switches off when it gets too hot
Will not work with a dimmer
Sometimes does not turn back on automatically
This 13 Watt compact mini fluorescent tube delivers 10% UVB and 30% UVA. It is suitable for small and medium sized tanks and will suit all basking reptiles and desert reptiles. It has a screw fixing and gives off a little visible light but no heat.
The bulb is made from UVB transmitting quartz glass so it delivers maximum UVB penetration. They can be fitted in vertically or horizontally.
Delivers 10% UVB and 30% UVA
Suits all basking reptiles
Can be fitted in vertically or horizontally
Produces little visible light
Produces no heat
Everything you need to provide heat and valuable UVB rays for your Bearded Dragon. The kit contains a deep dome lamp fixture that provides dual ceramic sockets that each support up to 160 Watts. The on/off switch is dual to give you maximum control.
There are two lamp bulbs in this kit. The first is a 75 Watt spot lamp for basking which has a double reflector so that 35% more heat is reflected out in a concentrated beam of warmth. The glass is blue to enhance heat transfer and it has a long burn life. The second is a 10.0 UVB 13 Watts fluorescent bulb which is compact but will deliver all the UVB and UVA that your Bearded Dragon needs. This kit is just right for smaller terrarium desert species.
Two lamps provide heat and UVA/UVB
Heat lamp with double reflector
10.0 UVB 13 watts fluorescent bulb
Cheaper than buying separate lamps
Easy to set up
Switches are convenient
Comes with bulbs included
UVB output is not that high
Would not suit a very large tank
This 24 inch, 20 Watts lamp for reptiles delivers 10% UVB together with 30% UVA to keep your Bearded Dragon free from the metabolic diseases that can result from a lack of natural light.
This product is most suitable for larger terrariums where you need at least 12 inches of UVB penetration. This lamp can also be used above a screen cover which can often filter out a lot of valuable UVB wavelengths.
24 inch lamp
Delivers 10% UVB and 30% UVA
Suitable for larger terrarium
Can be used above screen covers
Does not cause eye problems
Does not flicker
Delivered very well packaged
Perfect for larger tanks
Does not produce heat
Needs to be replaced every six months
A special terrarium lamp that is a 160 watt product and has been shown to produce a comparable amount of UVB to natural sunlight. It also produces enough heat to create a useful basking spot. It is important that you set it up so that the specified distances can be maintained in order for your Bearded Dragon to get the maximum benefits whilst remaining safe.
The top-of-the-range technology used in the mercury vapor bulb delivers both UVB and UVA radiation with less decay rates than recorded in mercury vapor lamps. The decay rates are recorded as less than 30% when measured over the entire life of the bulb.
There are safety features built into the design of the self-ballasted bulb that are there to protect you. Most of the UVB light is directed in a concentrated beam rather than spreading out over 180 degrees. The true frosted lamp disperses UVB in a 30 inch circumference to a distance of 20 inches. At the minimum distance setting (which is 18 inches) it gives a UVI value of approximately 5-7 and 900-1200uW/cm2 of UVA. As your Bearded Dragon moves farther away, the values fall and at 24 inches it provides a UVI value of about 3 units. You can expect the bulb to last about 18 months or more.
160 watt SB Par-38
Mercury vapor bulb
Delivers UVA, UVB and heat
Reptiles do very well under the lamp
Uses little power
160 Watt version great for larger tanks
More expensive than some other products
Light goes out when you bang the bulb
An award winning lamp for your Bearded Dragon that will deliver valuable UVB to keep them happy and healthy. It provides 5% UVB output which prevents some of the major health problems that the species can suffer due to a lack of vitamins.
It also helps to stimulate the appetite and promote general well-being as well as helping your pet psychologically. It uses an 18 inch 15 watts T8 bulb.
Delivers valuable UVB
Aids vitamin production
Promotes general well-being
15 Watts bulb
Keeps reptiles active and happy
Plenty of UVB output
Prevents health problems
Needs changing quite frequently
Just the bulb is provided – fitting is purchased separately
This self-ballasted 160 Watts mercury vapor bulb delivers all the goodness of natural sunlight to keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy. It has been shown to provide a mix of UVA and UVB as well as visual light and heat (infrared light) but all you need is the one bulb.
It is easy to install and long lasting and just right for Bearded Dragons as well as other reptiles including iguanas and lizards as well as spiders and any other pets who like to sunbathe and require heat and UV light to stay healthy. The full spectrum beam of light provides the daily requirement for UVB for your pet when they are a distance of 12 inches away from it. Because it is self-ballasted, it requires no fiddly external ballast and even has a built-in thermal protection so it will not overheat.
160 Watts mercury vapor bulb
Provides a mix of UVA and UVB
Powerful – 160 Watts
Provides heat and UV in the same bulb
No need for additional ballast
Turns off when it gets too hot
Just the bulb – you need to buy the fitting separately
Base of the bulb gets very hot when in use
By using this single mercury vapor lamp, you can achieve optimal levels of both UVA and UVB for your reptiles and maintain their health and well-being. Your pet will get all the benefits of natural sunlight without being outdoors – this helps them to make vitamin D3.
Because the bulb is self-ballasted, no external ballast will be needed. This 100Watt bulb delivers a concentration of 50 uW/cm2 at a distance of 30cm. As well as UV light it also delivers heat. The lamp lasts for around 6000 hours and can be coated or clear.
Mercury vapor lamp
Provides UVA and UVB
No additional heat lamp needed
Optimal levels of UVA and UVB
Requires no external ballast
Lasts for 6000 hours
Will not work with a dimmer switch
Not as long lasting as some other products
All the light sources your reptile could need will be provided by this one lamp. There will be visible light, heat, UVA and UVB at the levels that suit your pet. This will keep them happy and healthy. It is suitable for many reptiles and amphibians including bearded dragons, turtles, geckos, chameleons and iguanas. This versatile lamp is compatible with all sorts of enclosures including vivariums and terrariums. They have been thoroughly tested and work best with a good quality ceramic socket.
All-in-one light and heat lamp
Perfect UV levels for reptiles
Suitable for many vivariums and terrariums
Perfect for ceramic sockets
You only need this one lamp
Very versatile – suits lots of enclosures
Stable UV output for safety
Helps maintain vitamin D3 levels
Cannot be mounted at an angle
Cannot be used with a dimmer
A convenient and lightweight way to provide UVB light for your pet, this light fixture will fit into small spaces. It provides high quality fluorescent lighting and is supplied with a 50 watt UVB bulb. It looks just like natural daylight and provides valuable UVB for calcium absorption.
It features energy-efficient electronic ballast and turns on immediately with no flickering. It’s available in 24 inch and 36 inch sizes.
Takes up little space
Includes a 50 w bulb
Energy-efficient electronic ballast
Provides valuable UVB
Includes a bulb
Takes up little space
Looks like daylight
Bulb supplied is quite dim
Does not provide heat
A 160 watt bulb supplying UVB light for reptiles. It is self-ballasted and provides all the benefits of natural daylight. The balance of light is perfect for reptiles, making it the bulb of choice for professional breeders. It also provides visual light and heat and is very easy to install.
It offers excellent UVB penetration at a distance of 12 inches to prevent metabolic bone diseases. This bulb screws into any standard ceramic socket of a clamp lamp fixture and you do not need additional ballast. You can use it for chicks and turtle crabs as well as for reptiles and amphibians.
160 watt bulb
Used by professional breeders
Provides heat and UV
Fits all standard sockets
No extra source of heat needed
Provides plenty of visual light
Fits all standard sockets
No ballast needed
Cannot withstand humidity
Takes 15 minutes to cool down
An adjustable reptile lamp with a strong clip that attaches to your enclosure. The brightness and temperature can be adjusted and there is a handy on-off switch. The ceramic socket can be used with a range of bulbs that provide heat, light or UV.
You can use it for reptiles, birds and small animals. The flexible lamp can be positioned to shine light in any direction around 360 degrees. It can be used with high temperature bulbs.
On- off switch
Can be used with a range of bulbs
Suitable for high temperature bulbs
Can be positioned accurately
Ceramic socket to withstand heat
Can be used to provide heat or UV
No bulb included
Clamp is not that sturdy
There is a lot of technical information online about UVB bulbs and the features that you should look out for. It can be confusing, especially if you are an inexperienced reptile owner. It is important that you get accurate advice from a vet or from an experienced breeder before you take on a Bearded Dragon. Here are some of the things that they may suggest that you consider when you are purchasing a UVB bulb.
There are several different types of Bearded Dragon bulbs and they all have different features. Fluorescent tube bulbs are very widely used and are quite cheap. However, it has be a special bulb designed for use with reptiles, a household fluorescent tube will not work as it does not produce UVB. They also have to be very close to the pet to work so they may not suit large tanks and they need to be replaced every six months. The compact fluorescent bulbs are smaller in size and have a high UV output. Mercury vapor bulbs cost more but provide longer term radiation output and do not need to be replaced so frequently. They produce both light and heat and, because they are so powerful, they can be placed at a distance from your Bearded Dragon but will still be effective.
Sometimes just the bulb is delivered but at other times you get both the lamp and the bulb together in a Bearded Dragon UVB light fixture. If you already have a fitting, you must ensure that it is compatible with the bulb that you are planning on buying. In general, if you have a larger tank, you will need a more powerful bulb so check out how many watts of power it delivers.
Most reptiles need a source of heat and a source of UV light. Some bulbs can do both. Some fittings have a space for a UV bulb and a heat bulb. It is convenient to have them both in one bulb/fitting. However, think about the distance that your Bearded Dragon will be from the bulb. Is it optimum for both heat and UV? You may need a thermometer and a UV monitor to check this out.
This varies with the type of that you buy and with how often you put it on. The longer you have your bulb on, the more often it will need changing. You can expect a mercury vapor bulb to last for 10-12 months. Always look at the manufacturer’s instructions of the UVB lamp for Bearded Dragon health that you plan to buy. Often, the bulb will need replacing before it burns out because the UVB output will have declined to an unacceptable level and will not longer be sufficient to keep your pet healthy.
The primary benefit of using a UVB bulb for Bearded Gragon tanks is the prevention of Metabolic Bone Diseases in domesticated Bearded Dragons. This is a collection of diseases caused by a deficiency in calcium and Vitamin D3. The diseases are serious and can be fatal if they are not treated. Vitamin D3 is required by your pet’s body to absorb calcium. If insufficient calcium is absorbed, the Bearded Dragon’s body begins to remove calcium from their bones and this makes the bones brittle and prone to fractures. The result is deformed bones and limbs that do not work properly. You may see that your pet drags a limb behind them. They are in pain and discomfort and their life-expectancy is reduced.
Bearded Dragons should not go for more than one or two days without UVB in their tank. It also plays a role in supporting their immune system and keeping them happy.
Ultraviolet light can be subdivided into UVA, UVB and UVC. Whilst UVA is useful to help your Bearded Dragon see properly, it is not essential for their health. UVB, on the other hand, is vital for reptile health. It has a beneficial effect on their immune system. It is also thought that it plays a role in the production of beta endorphins which has a positive effect on your pet’s mood. Perhaps most importantly, it is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D3. The particular wavelength needed for the production of this vitamin is 290 nanometers to 315 nanometers.
A: UVB bulbs need to be replaced if they have burnt out and stopped working or if the UVB output has reduced to such a low level that it is no longer helping your Bearded Dragon. Unfortunately, all lamps will degrade over time but carry on giving out visible light so you may not be aware that the UV levels have fallen.
Some bulbs degrade faster than others and lamps that are on for many hours a day will degrade faster than those that are just on for a short while. The only way that you can be sure is to invest in a UV meter. However, the bulb manufacturer will also give guidelines about how often it should be changed. In general, you can expect a linear fluorescent bulb to last for between six and 12 months, a mercury vapor bulb will last for 10-12 months and a metal halide bulb will last for 24 months.
A: It is important to create a day/night cycle for your pet so that their circadian rhythms can follow the same pattern that they would in the wild. These rhythms follow a 24-hour cycle and affect the bodily functions including sleep-wake cycles and hormone production. Without this natural pattern, a Bearded Dragon can become unable to sleep properly which can lead to stress. Therefore, the UVB light should be turned off at night.
If UVB lights are left on all the time, hypercalcemia can occur which is a buildup of too much calcium.
Our top pick of the best UVB bulb for Bearded Dragon health is a 100 Watt mercury vapor bulb that will provide heat as well as UVA light, UVB light and visible light. It is self-ballasted and can be used just like a regular bulb with no UVC output.
It will fit into most enclosures, vivarium, terrarium, tanks and vision cages. Each bulb has been tested thoroughly before dispatch and has a long life span. It should be used in a standard US ceramic socket with a deep dome that has been designed for large bulbs that have a high-wattage.
Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!