Bearded Dragons Lighting (for Beginners): 7 Types of Lights

Because of its availability, lighting equipment for Bearded dragons makes it possible to keep these reptiles as pets. The correct lighting is one of the most important requirements to keep pet Bearded dragons.

In addition to the regular light rays, a light source for Bearded dragons should also be able to emit ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays. These specialized reptile light sources are available commercially in the form of fluorescent tubes (most common), compact fluorescent lamps, mercury vapor flood lamps, and ultraviolet spot lamps.

Exo Terra’s Repti Glo reptile fluorescent tubes come in a range of sizes, Wattage requirements, and intensities. This one is 43.7 cm / 18 “, needs 15 Watts of power to operate, and has an intensity of 10%. Image from

Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs are essential to the health and well-being of a bearded dragon. These bulbs emit UVB and UVA rays, necessary for maintaining your reptile’s natural balance. In addition, certain LEDs give off light identical to sunlight without the attendant heating load. This can be beneficial in small spaces and prevents the potential melting of the fixture from too much wattage.

Additionally, fluorescent bulbs should be placed no more than 12 inches from where your pet can sit or climb in order to maximize exposure. Ensure that it isn’t positioned on a plastic, plexiglass, or glass surface as these materials block the rays from reaching your bearded dragon. It’s also important to purchase the right size bulb: 8-10 percent output of UVB rays is ideal for reptiles – check out the packaging for this information.

Finally, make sure that there is a reflector built into your fixture, or set up some aluminum foil as one inside the fixture so you’ll get maximum radiation exposure. With some careful research, you’ll easily find the best options suited to caring for your scaly friend!

Mercury Vapor Bulbs

Mercury vapor bulbs are an excellent choice for bearded dragon enclosures, providing both UVA and UVB rays while emitting heat. Unlike more traditional fluorescent and heat bulbs, these last significantly longer than their counterparts and cost more initially but often prove to be worth the investment in the end. Mercury vapor bulbs can cause Bearded Dragons to become hungrier, gain a more vibrant coloration, and display more active behavior.

Although powerful in terms of light intensity and range, mercury vapor bulbs come with certain safety precautions. Be sure to provide your reptile with plenty of shade options inside the enclosure, utilize a ceramic socket for installation, and maintain a distance of 12 to 24 inches between the bulb and your pet for optimal safety. These bulbs should generally be reserved for larger enclosures due to their range of visibility.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs are an efficient way to light up your bearded dragon habitat. These bulbs act the same as fluorescent bulbs but can be screwed into incandescent fixtures — this makes them a great eco-friendly option for lighting up any reptile terrarium. These bulbs use less energy than traditional fluorescent bulbs, making them much more energy-efficient and cost-effective.

Additionally, these compact fluorescent bulbs should also last longer than regular fluorescent bulbs — so you won’t have to worry about replacing them very often! However, keep in mind that the UV levels emitted by these bulbs may be too high for reptiles. To ensure the safety of your pet, make sure to create plenty of variety in its habitat so it can regulate its UV exposure by hiding in shady spots when needed.

Heat Bulbs

Heat bulbs are essential for keeping bearded dragons happy and healthy. Different temperatures are required for babies and adults, meaning you may need additional heat bulbs beyond the mercury vapor bulb. For example, babies need a temperature range of 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit while adults should have a slightly cooler range of 80 to 93 degrees F.

The lizard’s basking area needs to be the hottest spot in their enclosure. It’s also important to create separate temperature zones so that warmer spots give way to cooler spots, giving beardies the chance to regulate their body temperatures if they start getting too hot. At night, however, temperatures should drop by 10 degrees all around in the tank.

Fluorescent lighting alone is not enough—they must be supplemented with a separate heat source like heat bulbs which are much safer than heat rocks as they cannot cause thermal burns. Heat bulbs provide an exact temperature regulation compared to heaters under your tank, making it easier to adjust. Plus, some heat bulbs might even provide the UVA rays that your beardie needs!

Ceramic Heat Bulbs

Ceramic heat bulbs offer an efficient, economical, and practical solution for providing heat. They come in a variety of wattages to suit the size of your enclosure and any other heating sources present. However, unlike traditional incandescent lights, these bulbs do not provide any light – only heat.

This makes them incredibly long lasting and cost effective over time but minus the ultraviolet rays provided by some bulbs. Make sure to get yourself a full-spectrum fluorescent bulb for added ultraviolet if that’s what you need!

It is also important to remember that ceramic heat bulbs should never be placed in direct contact with anything that could melt due to their sheer strength and intensity.

Incandescent Heat Bulbs

Incandescent heat bulbs are an excellent choice for heating and lighting reptile enclosures. These versatile bulbs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and wattages to suit your needs. You can find light shades that emit white light, blue/purple lights ideal for nighttime use, or red nocturnal lights designed to fit into incandescent fixtures.

When it comes to wattage, you will need to consider the size of the enclosure. For larger enclosures, higher wattage bulbs will be necessary. The shape of these bulbs also typically has a purpose—basking lights are typically shaded on the sides to direct heat into the area directly below them most effectively.

Whether you need lights for daytime use or lights for heating&lighting at night, incandescent heat bulbs have got you covered!

Halogen Heat Bulbs

Halogen Heat Bulbs are an excellent option for those who want a reliable and efficient form of lighting. Compared to incandescent bulbs, these bulbs cost more but emit much more light, heat, and UV rays in the same size. Aside from being cost-effective, These lights do not produce UVB radiation and can last longer than incandescent bulbs.

When selecting the right halogen bulb make sure to check out its compatibility with your particular fixture. While some halogens can fit into both incandescent and halogen fixtures, ensure you double-check before investing in them as certain ones may be designed exclusively for one type of fixture. With Halogen Heat Bulbs you get greater efficiency without having to sacrifice brightness or longevity!

Bearded dragon lighting requirements

Not just any ultraviolet light source can be used for Bearded dragons. Rather stick to the ones marked and indicated for desert reptiles. The light intensity is usually a good indicator of the quality of the light. For Bearded dragons, a light intensity of 8% or more is required. The higher the intensity the better.

For proper ultraviolet exposure, the light source should cover and emit as much as possible of the length of the enclosure. It should also be mounted within 30 cm / 12 ” from the main basking area not to lose efficiency. Multiple lamp-type UV light sources might be required to properly emit larger enclosures. To ensure its efficiency most manufacturers will recommend that their UV lighting be replaced every six months.

Light fittings

The light fitting is the electrical part of the light unit that holds the light source. It also connects the light source to the electrical source. Light fittings with cover screens will absorb UV rays, so avoid using them. Fluorescent tubes need fluorescent type fittings and lamps need either a bayonet or screw-in type fitting.

The Exo Terra Light Dome is a great lamp fitting with a built-in UV reflector. Image from

Simple, neat-looking fluorescent tube fitting. This one can be mounted to the side of an enclosure. Image from

When choosing a fluorescent tube fitting it is important to note and match it with the same wattage of the fluorescent tube. Larger tubes have higher wattage requirements. Fluorescent tube fittings can be mounted permanently on the inside of cabinet-type enclosures. Specialized fluorescent tube fittings and lamp fittings can be placed on top of wire mesh lids of glass tanks and aquarium-type enclosures.

Reflector screens

Reflector screens are great for increasing the amount of light emitting downwards. Some fittings will include a reflector screen, but can also be purchased separately. In some cases, the inside of lamp fittings will also be covered with reflecting material. When choosing a light fitting, also make sure the reflector screen is compatible with the fitting used.

Reflector screens come in various shapes and sizes. Make sure fluorescent tube reflectors are compatible with the fluorescent tube and the light fitting. Image from


Commercial Bearded dragon lighting is available from specialized reptile related pet shops, online stores, and some veterinary practices. Always keep the slip and insist on testing the light source before purchase. A less desired (due to the fragility of glass-containing products), but sometimes the last resort is by buying from internet retailers.

What Light Should I Use for My Bearded Dragon?

When it comes to finding the right light for your bearded dragon, there are two types of light you should consider: UVB and basking light. UVB provides a source of ultraviolet radiation while basking light is necessary to replicate their arid Australian desert environment.

Thankfully, there’s an easy solution that works well in most cases – the Zoo Med Repti-Sun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Light. This light has been specially designed for reptiles, and it will not only provide them with both heat and UVB but also with the same type of exposure that they would get from the sun in their natural habitat.

It’s also worth noting that many other lamps don’t offer this level of full-spectrum lighting, which could ultimately lead to problems if your bearded dragon isn’t getting enough of either type of light. So if you want to ensure your pet gets all the right nutrients and heat it needs, be sure to invest in a good quality lamp like the Zoo Med Repti-Sun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Light!

Importance of UVB light for a Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are in desperate need of UVB light to thrive. Without this essential light source, they cannot synthesize the vitamin D3 necessary for their body’s proper absorption of calcium. It is vital that bearded dragons receive an adequate level of UVB radiation on a consistent basis.

Failing to provide enough UVB exposure can lead to a condition called Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). MBD weakens the bones and can be fatal if not addressed correctly or in a timely manner. Consequently, it is critical that beardies never go two days without access to UVB radiation.

By taking the time to provide sufficient amounts of UVB light for a bearded dragon, owners will avoid the dangerous outcomes caused by MBD. Maintaining a consistent supply of UVB energy is absolutely essential for having a healthy and happy bearded dragon companion.

Is Basking Light as Important as UVB?

When it comes to providing the proper environment for bearded dragons, many people ask if basking lights are as important as UVB. The answer is a resounding YES!

Bearded dragons require basking light in order to regulate their body temperature, help in digestion and absorption of nutrients, and prevent impaction. For best results, basking lights should be left on for about 12-14 hours a day. This helps ensure that the dragon reaches its thermal maximum temperature of 95-110 degrees Fahrenheit.

At this optimum temperature, the dragon will be able to open its mouth (known as gaping) so that it can cool off when needed. Without these periods of cooling off, the dragon runs the risk of developing impaction due to food not properly digesting within their digestive system.

What is the Right Watt Bulb for Bearded Dragon?

When choosing the right watt bulb for your bearded dragon, it’s important to take into account both the size of the tank/vivarium/terrarium and the efficiency of the bulb itself. A 100-watt rim is an ideal choice for large tanks that are over 40 gallons in size, while smaller tanks may only require a 75 to a 100-watt bulb.

Tanks larger than 150 gallons should have two UVB bulbs installed. It’s vital that you never install a bulb with more than 150 watts in a bearded dragon tank, as this can easily burn the beardie’s skin. Additionally, not all bulbs produce equal amounts of warmth and there can be some variance between types of bulbs; so make sure to pick one specifically designed for your intended purpose.

UVA Light for Bearded Dragon

UVA light is an essential part of being able to provide a healthy environment for your bearded dragon. This light has a longer wavelength than UVB, which helps stimulate the appetite and overall well-being of the pet.

What to Look for in a UVA Lighting Fixture

When you set up the perfect UVA light fixture for your tank, there are two important considerations I would like to share with you. Firstly, check that the bulb fits properly into your tank without additional attachments like mounting brackets. It’s important to consider the size of your tank before purchasing a UVA lighting fixture.

The second consideration is temperature; make sure you are picking a UVA bulb that produces the appropriate temperature for your bearded dragon’s needs. Overall, having the correct UVA light fixture setup for your aquarium is vital to providing a safe and healthy environment for your beloved beardie.

UVA vs. UVB – What’s the difference?

UVA and UVB light are two distinct types of ultraviolet light, each with different purposes. UVA light is emitted from most types of bulbs, though its main use is to stimulate the appetite of animals such as bearded dragons. Unfortunately, it does not help with calcium production and is not a suitable replacement for UVB light in reptile enclosures.

On the other hand, UVB light specifically helps to promote the synthesis of vitamin D3 in reptiles’ skin which aids in the correct absorption of calcium. Thus, it is essential for reptiles to have access to both UVA and UVB when setting up their enclosure – UVA to encourage appetite and UVB as an aid in calcium absorption.

Lights Needed for Bearded Dragon

Taking good care of your pet bearded dragon requires the right kind of light. Without these lights, your beardie’s health could suffer as a result. Natural sunlight is not enough – they need a specific type of visible light – UVA, UVB, and a basking light.

UVA light helps to stimulate appetite and keep the bearded dragon healthy and UVB radiation enables them to get the necessary vitamin D3 and calcium for their metabolism. UVB is essential for the wellbeing of a beardie, in fact, it can be thought of as its backbone.

The basking light also serves an important purpose: it helps them to thermoregulate efficiently, keeping the temperature levels in check while providing heat both day and night. With these three lights working together, you can be sure that your pet bearded dragon has all that it needs to stay healthy and happy!

Replacing the Bulbs

Replacing the bulbs in your bearded dragon’s enclosure is essential for maintaining its health and wellbeing. If the current bulb is older than 6 months, I always recommend getting a new one so that your pet can continue to absorb UVB light from it.

When shopping around for a new bulb, make sure to buy either a T8 ReptiSun 10.0 or a T5 ReptiSun 10.0; both of these are effective in providing your pet with the necessary UVB exposure. However, keep in mind that T5 ReptiSun bulbs are slightly weaker than T8 ReptiSun bulbs, so you may need to replace them more often—every 6 or 12 months—for optimum results.

Proper Bearded Dragon Light Setup

When creating a terrarium, it is important to understand the bulb’s positioning, the appropriate distance of the bulb to the tank, and how to establish hot and cool zones for it.

Setting Up a Basking Lamp

Setting up a basking lamp for your bearded dragon is a relatively simple process. To recreate their natural habitat, the tank should feature both a hot and cool zone. The size of the tank should match the type of basking lamp being used; with the hot zone stretching ⅔ to ¾ of the tank, and the cool zone taking up about ⅓ or ¼ of it.

The light bulbs chosen should typically be halogen bulbs in the range of 40-100 watts, with bigger tanks being more suited to higher wattage bulbs. As an example, in a 40 gallon tank, I usually like to use a 100 watt bulb, which helps create temperatures between 35º – 40º C (95º – 105º F).

When setting up the basking lamp and UVB lights in your tank, make sure to leave some open space on one side to create a “cool spot”. For this purpose, I prefer UVA basking spot daylight heat lamps as they offer plenty of UVA radiation without being overbearing.

Distance of the Basking Light

The distance of the basking light for your bearded dragon’s tank is an important factor to consider. Every bulb type has different recommendations for how far it should be placed from the tank, so you should always read the instructions before installing a basking light.

Some bulbs have a higher gradient heat output and are ideal if placed one foot away from the tank. On the other hand, some bulbs may produce weaker radiation that won’t retain its intensity after time, in which case they should be no closer than 1 foot away from the tank.

Best Heat Bulbs for Your Bearded Dragon

When it comes to looking for the best heat bulbs for a bearded dragon, there are a few key things to consider. It’s important to make sure that the bulb is producing an adequate amount of radiation, as too much or too little can be detrimental to their health.

If you’re looking for the best options, here are three top-tier options I would recommend. The Zoem Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Lamp produces 10% UVB output and 30% UVA output, which is the ideal duration for your pet bearded dragon. Alternatively, you could also opt for the Zoem Med Reptisun 5.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Lamp and get 5% UVB output and 30% UVA output.

Finally, another great option is the MyComfyPets Mercury Vapor Bulb or TEKIZOO Super Sun which provide intense background radiation but emit no harmful UV rays. These lamps offer an ideal balance of light and warmth to keep your bearded dragon in optimum condition when temperatures drop during the cold months.

Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHE): Heating Solution

Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHEs) are the perfect heating solution for a bearded dragon’s enclosure. Much like the sun provides natural UV light and heat, CHEs provide optimum light and heat that bulbs cannot produce.

CHEs are especially useful during the winter months, when temperatures in the enclosure may drop below recommended levels. The ideal temperature for baby bearded dragons is between 35º and 43º C (95º to 110º F), with a cool zone of around 24º to 27º C (75º to 80º F). CHEs can be positioned anywhere on the tank setup, helping to increase the temperature gradient without providing UVB light.

Remember to switch off the heat emitter at night in order for your pet reptile to get a good night’s rest just as it would in its natural Australian desert habitat, where temperatures range between 61°F and 70°F. With proper setup and maintenance of your ceramic heat emitter, you can keep your beloved dragons comfortable all year round!

Bearded Dragon Lighting Cycle

If you’re a bearded dragon owner, it’s important to structure your pet’s lighting cycle by following a day and night schedule. During the day, keep the lights and heat on for 12 hours and turn them off for 12 hours during the night.

This is designed to mimic the wild conditions that bearded dragons would experience in their natural habitat.

Setting up a thermal gradient environment

Setting up a thermal gradient environment is essential for bearded dragon owners to ensure a balanced and healthy environment. By creating different temperature levels from the hot zone to the warm zone to the cool zone, your beardie will get the best of both worlds – warmth and cold.

Ideal thermal temperatures and lighting conditions during brumation

As bearded dragons enter their brumation period, it’s important to make sure the thermal temperatures and lighting conditions in their habitats are as ideal as possible. During this time, your beardie will display behaviors such as a loss of appetite and increased lethargy that you should be aware of.

To help mimic the natural winter conditions bearded dragons experience in the wild, reducing the number of basking hours, the amount of food given, and the watts used to charge their lamps. Aim for 8-10 hours of light per day during brumation – check regularly throughout to ensure they’re receiving recommended levels.

Keeping temperatures within ideal ranges helps preserve their energy and can help beardies successfully complete the brumation process, which typically lasts around 3 months.


Is it okay to turn the daytime light off at night?

It is suggested that the basking and UVB lights be shut off for roughly 12 hours each day, including at night.

What kind of light is appropriate for my bearded dragon?

Bearded dragon owners should use full-spectrum lighting like ReptiSun, regular incandescent lamps, mercury vapor lamps, or ceramic light bulbs to best care for their pets.

What length is appropriate for UVB lighting?

For a bearded dragon tank, UVB lights should take up 2/3 or 3/4 of the tank. The leftover section will be used for cooling down.

What’s the appropriate position to place the light?

Place the lamp directly overhead the tank, making sure that nothing blocks its rays from entering and that there’s no sideways positioning of the bulb.

How much light for my pet bearded dragon is ideal?

Bearded dragons need at least 12 to 14 hours of adequate UVB lighting every day, but in the summer it’s a good idea to provide them with 8 hours of suitable light.

Should I mount my UVB light inside or outside the tank?

It is best to put the UVB tube bulb inside your tank as glass/mesh tops can obstruct a lot of UVB rays.

Do I need to heat my tank at night?

Generally, if the temperatures in your home stay above 70°F at night, there’s no need to heat the tank. However, if they do drop into the 60s, it is best to get a ceramic heat emitter.


In conclusion, setting up the perfect lighting system for your bearded dragon is an important part of ensuring that your pet is healthy and happy. Having the right basking, UVB, and nightlights in place can help prevent illnesses, promote proper development and digestion, and even improve their mood.

With a little research and some careful setup, you can create a welcoming environment that will provide your beardie with all the light they need.