THE central theme of terraristics is the lighting. Do your animals only require light, or heat and UV as well? Here are the answers.

The lighting belongs to the most important factors for the successful care of terrarium animals because in addition to the visible light spectrum it also provides heat and UV radiation.

So the most important question about the light is this: Do the animals only require visible light or UV radiation as well? It is often said that rainforest animals need little or no UV, whereas desert animals always need a lot of UV light. This is actually not correct because a rainforest animal living at the riverside or in the crown of a tree gets more UV radiation than a desert animal which is active at twilight or lives in a cave. The choice of lighting depends on the demand for UV.

Here you will find light sources without, with small, or with high UV contents:


If you use a light source which produces UV radiation, it is important to know that glass holds back up to 50% of the UV quantity! Therefore the UV emitting light source should be attached inside the terrarium and glass should not be placed between the light source and the animals.

It’s equally important that the UV quantity significantly decreases with increasing distance to the light source. This means that animals with a UV emitting fluorescent tube as their single light source are only getting enough UV at a distance of only 10-20 cm to the tube. Climbing facilities often reduce the distance between light source and animals and should definitely be a feature of higher terrariums. Because the animals associate visible light with heat, they actively seek out those spots for “sunbathing”. Of course the climbing facilities for some animal species, such as tortoises, are very limited.


Mounting of the terrarium lighting

The different lamp types require totally different sockets. It is important to choose the right one because many lamps reach very high temperatures and any potential danger has to be precluded. For that reason JBL has heat-resistant protection baskets, such as JBL TempProtect light and high-temperature resistant sockets, such as JBL TempSet basic in the program range.

For the heat lamp JBL ReptilHeat there is also a separate protection basket JBL TempSet Heat with an integrated socket.

You can double the light efficiency of your fluorescent tubes by clipping on the JBL Solar Reflect T5 + T8 highly specular reflectors. Make sure that the sockets are suitable for wet rooms to avoid problems when using a water sprayer.

Nowadays there are high-quality reflectors for energy-saving lamps too, and these can multiply the light efficiency ( JBL TempReflect light ).

Anyone wanting to use metal halide lamps needs to use special ballasts, such as the JBL TempSet Unit L-U-W .Because the metal halide lamps require a high ignition voltage, they only work with these specific ballasts.

Please don’t buy any „cheap“ ballasts because with defect lamps they will keep trying to ignite, and with a 5000 V ignition voltage, this is likely to result in a cable fire (no joke!).

Caution: Even if your animal is nocturnal, UV radiation can still be necessary to meet its specific needs, as you will discover if you study the natural habitat of these animals. Thus nocturnal tree pythons often rest in the tops of trees in the daytime and receive a lot of UV radiation. In the twilight the decrease of the UV radiation starts their activity phase. Crepuscular animals also get the last of the sunlight and therefore some UV light. Keeping them without UV light is not suitable, and could lead to problems.