As cold-blooded animals, terrarium animals are far more dependent on light, i.e. the quality and intensity of light, than warm-blooded vertebrates. Activity, food intake, digestion and resting phases are influenced by the alternation of day and night, and especially by the intensity of the light.

Besides this, many terrarium animals associate light with heat and seek light places in the terrarium in order to „bask in the sun“. These considerations are especially important when choosing heating equipment for desert terrariums. There are differences in the yield and quality of light depending on the light source used. Fluorescent tubes, for example, provide a lot of light with little heat production, whereas light bulbs convert a major share of the energy taken up into heat and only a small share into light. The question as to which quality of light is best suited for a specific terrarium is easy to answer if we take a look at nature: For millions of years plants and animals have been adapting in a long evolutionary process to what the sun sends down to the earth .

If we look at the spectrum of sunlight (meaning the part of solar radiation that is visible to us), we recognise a very even distribution of all spectral colours. For this reason, lamps for terrariums should have a spectrum that is as close to being balanced and without gaps as possible.

Erst ein Prisma oder Regenbogen zeigt die einzelnen Spektralbestandteile des weiß wirkenden Sonnenlichts

At the same time, all of the plants and animals can display their full natural colouring. Metal halide lamps (e.g. JBL ReptilDesert L-U-W Light alu ) are the top choice for animals which require sunlight, ultraviolet light (i.e. diurnal animals) and heat. They offer a full spectrum that simulates sunlight and includes UV-A and B radiation, along with heat emission for the terrarium. The temperature in the terrarium decreases after the lamps are switched off, thereby simulating the desired nighttime drop in temperature. The JBL LUW lamps are available in three different wattages and two versions, depending on whether the animals require a lot of UV radiation ( JBL ReptilDesert L-U-W Light alu ) or less UV radiation ( JBL ReptilJungle L-U-W Light alu ).

The fluorescent tubes sold by JBL are known as full-spectrum tubes and come in two different versions for terrariums: JBL SOLAR REPTIL SUN T8 и JBL SOLAR REPTIL JUNGLE T8 . An essential factor in the lighting of terrariums is the UV light in the UV-A and UV-B ranges.

Depending on their origin, terrarium animals can require a lot or a little UV light for their well-being. UV-B stimulates the synthesis of Vitamin D3 from its preliminary stage Vitamin D2. UV-A stimulates pigmentation. Don’t forget that glass absorbs around 50 % of the UV radiation, so always install the lamps inside the terrarium.

The distance between the light source and the animal is another important factor: The information indicating how much radiation is emitted at which distance from the lamp is to be found on the lamp itself. If the terrarium is high, the animals can get closer to their UV source if they are provided with something to climb on.

The following applies to animals that require UV: These animals will fall ill even if fluorescent tubes emitting UV radiation are used! You'll need to mount an additional UV spot lamp, like the JBL UV-Spot plus , or a metal halide lamp, such as the JBL ReptilDesert L-U-W Light alu . When using metal halide lamps, please remember that they should only be operated with special electronic ballasts ( JBL TempSet Unit L-U-W ).

For all lamp types that do not become too hot, the use of a high-quality reflector (e.g. JBL TempReflect light ) is highly recommended because it doubles the light output.

Various light sources over ONE terrarium

In smaller and square terrariums, a lamp is often used which, for example, only emits light and heat without UV for spiders (spiders do not need UV radiation). For larger and especially longer terrariums, however, the same type of lamp is never used everywhere. UV spotlights only need to be positioned in some places or even only in one place. The animals actively visit this place. Since the remaining part of the terrarium should not remain dark, especially when plants are used, lamps are also needed there, but they do not have to emit UV. So you can choose lamp types that are, for example, energy saving and still give a perfect light for plants. The JBL LED Solar Natur JBL SOLAR REPTIL JUNGLE T8 , the energy-saving lamp JBL ReptilDay Halogen and the  JBL Reptil LED Daylight 12Вт are suitable for this.

For energy savers and animals which don't need UV light

Spiders, scorpions, frogs and some nocturnal animals do not need UV radiation. Terrarium friends confirm this statement because they have successfully bred these species for many generations without UV lighting. In the Internet and in specialized books there are quite contradictory statements about the UV requirements of some animals.

If you want to illuminate your terrarium without UV radiation, the following lamp types are possible, depending on shape and size: JBL LED Solar Natur JBL SOLAR REPTIL JUNGLE T8 , the energy-saving lamp JBL ReptilDay Halogen and the JBL Reptil LED Daylight 12Вт .

All these lamps have in common that they hardly generate any heat and that an additional heat source is necessary when heat is required. Plant growth is also ideally promoted by all these UV-free lamps. Here, the height of your terrarium is more decisive: For high-sided terrariums, stronger lamp types such as JBL LED SOLAR Natur need to be selected.

Lighting for different terrarium types

The following contains all the relevant information about the various lighting types for each type of terrarium

Light for the desert terrarium

The desert habitat is distinctive for its extreme light. The ultraviolet light of the sun can reach the ground and the animals unchecked. Day-active animals from deserts and steppes require high amounts of light and UV, and actively seek out warm locations. Since light is associated with heat, irradiated areas are instinctively visited. Nocturnal animals, such as the leopard gecko, do not need UV light, as proven by their successful breeding for many generations. Advantage: heat zones can be set up at certain spots, so that it is possible for the animals to visit cooler regions!

The fluorescent tube JBL SOLAR REPTIL SUN T8 supplies 36 % UV-A/8 % UV-B as T8 version (63 %/12 % with as T5 version), which is the intensive UV-light suitable for a flat desert terrarium. As fluorescent tubes with high UV components only emit relatively little light in the visible range, a combination of full-spectrum tubes with a high concentration of visible light is strongly recommended. The JBL SOLAR REPTIL JUNGLE T8 is the appropriate option here. It offers ample light of full-spectrum quality in the visible range with a low concentration of UV, namely 2 % UV-A and 0.5 % UV-B.

A desert terrarium with a depth of approx. 50 cm can be provided with suitable lighting by using 1–2 JBL SOLAR REPTIL SUN T8 tubes and 2–3 JBL SOLAR REPTIL JUNGLE T8 tubes. It is vital you mount the JBL SOLAR REPTIL SUN T8 inside the terrarium so the glass panes don’t reduce the light between the tubes and the animals. This is so the animals can effectively utilise the ultraviolet light. If necessary mount a wire screen to prevent the animals from coming into contact with the tube.

Metal halide lamps which also produce ultraviolet radiation and heat in addition to visible light, are even better than fluorescent lamps. JBL ReptilDesert L-U-W Light alu provides terrarium keepers with the best technology on the market for desert terrarium lighting and is also species appropriate for desert creatures.

Incidentally, invertebrates such as spiders and scorpions do not require any ultraviolet light. Indeed it can even be harmful to them. Here, JBL ReptilDesert Daylight 24 Вт or JBL ReptilJungle Daylight 24 Вт (energy-saving lamps without ultra-violet radiation) or the JBL Reptil LED Daylight 12Вт are the best option.

Animals species for desert terrariums with high UV radiation

Here is some information about possible types of lighting for the following species (examples). You can always choose whether to supply heat though the lighting or separately with a heating mat.

  • Rock lizards
  • Collared lizards
  • Spiny-tailed Iguanas
  • Monitor lizards
  • Tortoises
  • Leopard tortoises
  • Bearded dragons
  • Spiny-tailed lizards
  • Rainbow lizards
  • Yellow-headed agamas
  • Frilled-neck lizards
  • Girdled lizards
  • Chalcides

Lighting with no heat emission

If you have a shallow terrarium, with animals in need of UV, and the heat is not being supplied by the lighting, you could consider the following lighting types:

Специальная люмин. лампа T8 для пустынных террариумов
JBL ReptilDesert UV Light
Энергосберегающая лампа для пустынных террариумов

Lighting with heat emission

If your animals need heat as well as light, the following types of lamps are ideal:

JBL ReptilDesert L-U-W Light alu
Точечный светильник солнечного спектра для пустынных террариумов
JBL UV-Spot plus
Очень сильная УФ лампа дневного спектра
Light for rainforest terrariums

Since there are many different habitats in the rainforest, this topic is complex. Animals which live in the treetops or on the river bank of the rainforest (e.g. turtles) receive as much UV-A and UV-B on a sunny day as a desert animal. This is because a lot of rainforests are situated on the same latitude as the deserts. Only the rainy seasons make a big difference in UV irradiation, when viewed over the whole year. If you’d like to reproduce dry and rainy seasons in your terrarium, you’ll need to take a look at the climate tables of the respective region and adjust your lighting accordingly. Providing an average UV amount the whole year round creates an unnatural condition.

In the rainforest itself, some species live in biotopes which receive little or no UV radiation. These include for instance poison dart frogs, spiders and scorpions. Most lizards and snakes receive UV-radiation in varying extents. Please be sure to find out the exact UV requirements of your terrarium animals. With the help of the lighting, you then can generate suitable light, UV and heat.

The quality of the visible light spectrum and its intensity are of secondary importance to the animals. However, they are elemental for well-kept plants! So make sure you have a sun-like light spectrum for the plant care and for the right amount of UV for the care of your animals.

Many forest animals receive a relatively large amount of UV light due to the way they live e.g. in the treetops or on the river bank.

Виды животных

Animals from the rainforest, dry forest & swamp areas

  • Anole species
  • Basilisks
  • Chinese water dragons
  • Day geckos
  • Red-footed tortoises
  • Terrapins
  • Gold tegus
  • Green iguanas
  • Dwarf day geckos
  • Hinged tortoises
  • Cooter turtles
  • Yemen chameleons
  • Flap-necked chameleons

Advantage of these types of lighting: The heat regulation can be directed for special purposes, e.g. at a certain place through a spot lamp.

Lighting with no heat emission

There are animal species which may need light and possibly also UV, but prefer a cool terrarium. The amphibious axolotls are an example of this. If the animals need sunny spots, but not a consistently warm terrarium, the following lighting, supplemented by basking spot lights, is the right choice.

Люминесцентная лампа T8 для тропического террариума
JBL ReptilJungle UV Light
Энергосберегающая лампа для тропических террариумов

Lighting with heat effect

If you not only want to illuminate your terrarium brightly, but also to provide heat, the following lamp types are ideal:

Люминесцентная лампа T8 для тропического террариума
JBL ReptilJungle UV Light
Энергосберегающая лампа для тропических террариумов
JBL ReptilJungle L-U-W Light alu
Рассеиватель для тропических террариумов
JBL UV-Spot plus
Очень сильная УФ лампа дневного спектра

Light without UV for animals in tropical forests

For (mainly) bottom-dwellers in the rainforests

Some tropical forest animals live on the ground or in the shade and do not need UV light. This is often harmful.

The following animal species don’t need any UV radiation

  • Axolotls (cool waters)
  • Newts (cool waters)
  • Red-eyed tree frogs
  • Poison dart frogs
  • Dyeing dart frogs
  • Green tree frogs
  • Tree pythons
  • Royal pythons
  • Corn snakes
  • Tarantulas
  • Scorpions
  • Leaf insects
  • Praying mantises

Lighting with no heat emission

JBL ReptilJungle Daylight 24 Вт
Энергосберегающая лампа для тропических террариумов
Люминесцентная лампа Solar T8 полного спектра дневного света для пресноводных аквариумов
Люминесцентная лампа солнечного спектра Solar Т8 для превосходного роста аквариумных растений
JBL ReptilDay Halogen
Галогенный точечный светильник полного спектра
JBL ReptilSpot HaloDym
Галогенный светильник дневного света

When choosing your light source, also think about the heat development. Most lamps produce heat in addition to visible radiation and UV generation. This may be desirable if you want to achieve a temperature reduction at night. However, if the temperature in the animals’ habitat does not drop at night or does not drop so much, heat must be generated even in the dark phase. For this purpose, heating mats ( JBL TerraTemp heatmat ) or ceramic heat lamps ( JBL ReptilHeat ) are suitable.

Light for animals that are active at dusk and at night

Some of these animals, like tree pythons, become active as soon as the daytime UV radiation decreases at dusk. In this case use light containing UV during the day. The animals will then receive the amount of UV during the transitional period between day and night required for their well-being.

Twilight active and night active animal species

  • Tree frogs
  • Red-eyed treefrogs
  • Horned frogs
  • Leopard geckos
  • Bibron‘s geckos
  • House geckos
  • Boa constrictors
  • Mangrove cat snakes
  • King snakes
  • Green tree pythons
  • Tokay geckos
  • Scolopendra
  • Thick tail scorpions

Weak lighting is ideal for twilight active and nocturnal animals. This allows you to observe the animals once the room lighting is switched off and the natural light is dimming. A distinction is then made between lamps with or without heat emission:

Dusk and night time lighting with no heat emission

JBL ReptilJungle UV Light
Энергосберегающая лампа для тропических террариумов

Dusk lighting with heat emission

JBL ReptilDay Halogen
Галогенный точечный светильник полного спектра

Accessories for terrarium lighting

Terrarium lamps often have properties that make extra accessories necessary. These can be heat protection screens or special sockets, which are safety-relevant for the high temperatures of ceramic and other spotlights in the terrarium. Mount the thermometer and hygrometer at the lowest and highest point in the terrarium to monitor the temperature zones!

JBL TempSet angle
Комплект для установки ламп в террариуме
JBL TempSet angle+connect
Комплект для установки ламп в террариуме
JBL TempSet Heat
Комплект с керамическим патроном для нагревателя
JBL TempSet Unit L-U-W
Комплект для установки металлогалогенных ламп, таких как LUW и HQI
JBL TempReflect light
Рефлектор для энергосберегающих ламп
JBL TempProtect II light
Защита от ожога у рептилий для JBL TempSet
JBL TerraControl
Термометр и гигрометр с присосками

General tips for terrarium lighting

Be sure to pay attention to the minimum or maximum distance between animal and lamp. Climbing features are a great way to keep these distances. Protection screens ( JBL TempProtect II light ) prevent animals from getting burned from jumping or climbing on the lamps.

You can significantly increase the service life of the lamps by not spraying the lamps when spraying the terrarium.

Using lamp holders with hinges to achieve your desired lamp angle is absolutely no problem, but please never install LUW spotlights (HQI) at an angle. These need to be suspended vertically and can only be operated with special ballasts.

Comparison of all terrarium lamp types

The following table gives you an outline telling you which lamp types have which properties. The more plus signs a lamp type has, the stronger the corresponding property. A minus sign means that the property is NOT present.

JBL product Lamp type Light UV-A UV-B Обогрев
JBL ReptilJungle Daylight 24 Вт Energy-saving lamp ++ - - -
JBL ReptilJungle UV Light 15W Energy-saving lamp + + + -
JBL ReptilJungle UV Light 23W Energy-saving lamp + ++ ++ -
JBL ReptilDesert Daylight 24 Вт Energy-saving lamp ++ - - -
JBL ReptilDesert UV Light 15W Energy-saving lamp + ++ ++ -
JBL ReptilDesert UV Light 23W Energy-saving lamp + ++ ++ -
JBL UV-Spot plus Daylight UV spot lamp + ++ ++ ++
JBL ReptilJungle L-U-W Light alu Metal halide lamp ++ ++ ++ ++
JBL ReptilDesert L-U-W Light alu Metal halide lamp ++ ++ ++ ++
JBL ReptilDay Halogen Halogen spotlight ++ - - ++
JBL SOLAR REPTIL SUN T8 Fluorescent tube + ++ ++ -
JBL SOLAR REPTIL JUNGLE T8 Fluorescent tube + + + -
JBL SOLAR REPTIL SUN ULTRA T5 Fluorescent tube ++ ++ ++ -
JBL Reptil LED Daylight 12Вт LED daylight lamp +++ - - -
JBL LED Solar Natur LED light +++ - - -

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