Every crested gecko owner aims at providing a natural habitat for their pet. You want your crestie to live in a comfortable environment and feel loved as well. It is for this reason that most owners ask whether crested geckos need UVB.
Do Crested Geckos Need UVB Lights?
Crested geckos do not necessarily require UVB lighting, but studies have shown that cresties stand to gain a lot of benefits if you provide them with the right UVB lighting. On the other hand, it might have detrimental effects if done improperly.
Some people are always against the idea of using UVB, but if you are a perfectionist, you’ll find yourself giving the best possible care to your crested gecko.
So, without further ado, let’s learn a thing or two about the interaction of cresties with UVB lights.
Benefits of Having UVB in Your Crested Gecko’s Enclosure
Studies show that reptiles stand to benefit a lot when exposed to UVB lighting. As you well know, geckos and other reptiles receive enough sunlight when in the wild. Sunlight is life to these creatures!
Things are a bit different in captivity, which is why you want to provide your crested gecko with the appropriate full-spectrum lighting.
UVB has high-energy short wavelengths that play a huge role in the body and metabolism of your crested gecko. Below are some of the benefits that are known to gecko keepers:
1. Healthy Skin
According to the Reptiles Magazine, UVB helps in increasing pigment formation in geckos. In fact, crested geckos that are exposed to UVB lighting tend to fire up more than their counterparts.
Moving on, UVB stimulates the production of beta-endorphins which gives your gecko a feel-good factor when basking near the light. The other direct effect that UVB has on the skin includes modulating its immune responses and strengthening the skin barrier functions.
2. Encourages Natural Behaviors
Housing your gecko in an enclosure that has near-perfect conditions will only encourage natural behaviors. Most owners report a better activity pattern after introducing the appropriate UVB bulb to their gecko’s Exo Terra enclosure.
Some of these activities include digging, climbing, and making noises as well. Just make sure that the UVB does not produce a lot of heat or light as it might cause discomfort.
3. Better Growth & Bone Development
One of the vital effects of UVB is its ability to induce better growth and bone development. How this happens is a bit complicated but it all starts with the conversion of pre-vitamin D3 to vitamin D3.
As you well know, Vitamin D3 plays an important role throughout the crested gecko’s body. For starters, D3 helps in processing calcium in the gecko’s body. Remember that calcium prevents Metabolic Bone Disease in crested geckos.
As long as there is adequate circulation of calcium, your gecko will enjoy normal growth and develop strong muscles and bones as well.
Dangers/Risks of UVB Lighting In a Crested Gecko Enclosure
Do you know that UVB lighting can bring harm to your crestie if not used properly? Well, you might argue that sunlight is far stronger than bulbs, but some owners tend to overdo UVB.
Too much UVB lighting could easily harm these little creatures especially when you fail to provide enough shade in the exo-terra. The other risk emerges when you use a high-output bulb or place a UVB bulb in a small enclosure.
As you well know, crested geckos do not have the ability to shield their eyes from UVB light. So, their eyes can be affected if you fail to use a low-output bulb. Their eyes are suited for low-light levels as they do not have eyelids.
UVB lighting when used improperly can affect the gecko’s skin and shorten its lifespan as well.
How Much UVB Does A Crested Gecko Need?
Before you go shopping for UVB lights, you need to know that not all bulbs are safe for crested geckos. You’ll find so many brands including Zoo Med, Exo Terra, and Repti Zoo.
You will also notice that these bulbs are available in different models which include the 2.0, 5.0, and 10.0. These numbers actually represent the UVB output of the bulb. In most cases, the 2.0 and 5.0 versions will work well with crested geckos.
The size of your gecko’s terrarium should determine what version you should use. For instance, if you have an average terrarium, a 2.0 should make the cut. Only use a 5.0 on a large terrarium and even so, you should place the bulb in a safe place.
Also, you need to pay attention to the wattage of the bulb because it might affect the temperature of your terrarium.
Which UVB Light Should You Use?
Ideally, we recommend that you use the Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0 Fluorescent bulb. It has a 5% UVB output and 30% UVA output. The wattage is pretty great, as it is only 13 watts.
The other option happens to be the Exo Terra Repti-Glo 2.0 Full Spectrum Terrarium Lamp. It is a great lamp for small terrariums. If you want a bulb that has a slightly lower UVB output, the Repti-Glo 2.0 should cut it.
Is UVB Bad For Crested Geckos?
Crested geckos do not necessarily need UVB lighting, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmful. As long as you are providing the right amount of UVB lighting, your crestie should be fine. Also, remember to limit the use of UVB in order to keep your gecko healthy.
Are There Any Alternatives
Yes, you do not have to use UVB lighting especially if you are supplementing your crested gecko with Vitamin D. There are a lot of high-quality vitamin D supplements that you can use. All you need to do is add a little bit to the gecko’s fruits or dust your feeder insects.