The bearded dragon heat lamp you provide your beardie is imperative to his or her overall wellbeing. It's important to remember your dragon comes from the hot deserts of Australia. These solitary reptiles need their habitat to be natural, similar to the desert where they can soak up the sun all day, a burrow during the night.
Things to bear in mind when setting up your bearded dragon enclosure is that they require a basking area, the place they will spend the majority of their day. They will also require a white light with an intense beam.
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Best Heat Lamp For Bearded Dragon
Repti Basking Spot Lamp
The Repti Basking Spot Lamp is an incandescent heat bulb that is ideal for any desert reptile. The bulb comes with a double reflector design to provide thirty five percent more heat and light into the enclosure while offering valuable UVA rays that your bearded dragon needs UVA to remain healthy and stimulated.
Fluker's Ceramic Heat Emitter
The Flukers Ceramic Heat Emitter is a quality ceramic bulb radiating intense infra-red heat into the enclosure. This bulb does not give off any light, making it the ideal twenty-four-hour heat source, perfect for nighttime heating.
Philips Dimmable Halogen Light Bulb
This light bulb is an everyday halogen bulb. This 75 watt bulb is highly energy efficient and can save you up to twenty-eight percent in energy consumption. It is dimmable and contains no mercury, a welcome benefit. You can use this bulb in existing fixtures with confidence.
What Your Bearded Dragon Needs in Terms of Heating
Heat is what helps your dragon with digestion and maintaining a healthy immune system. A lack of heat can result in your dragon getting sick and even dying, so you want to pay very close attention to ensure the best result. Heat helps your bearded dragon to regulate their body temperatures, remember these are cold-blooded reptiles.
You can consider a stone basking platform, which is very effective in absorbing heat.
Importance of Proper Bearded Dragon Heat Setup
Setting up your enclosure properly and securing the right temperatures are essential to the health of your bearded dragon. It's recommended to get a couple of thermostats to place on both sides of the enclosure to ensure you secure the correct temperatures to keep your dragon happy.
Signs your bearded dragon may not be happy with the temperature in the enclosure includes:
- Lack of appetite – One of the first signs that your enclosure may not have the correct heating is that your dragon stops eating. A dragon that doesn't eat is cause for concern. This can be due to inadequate heating and improper UV lighting.
- Lethargy – A dragon that isn't active and tends to want to sleep and hide could be unhappy with the temperatures within their tanks. Remember low temperatures can result in illness and even death.
- Brumation – Some bearded dragons will hibernate during the cooler winter months, this is called brumation. Poor temperature control can result in your dragon going into brumation, which means less eating and more sleeping.
- Immune system problems – illness is a serious concern which results from a lack of heat for bearded dragons. Any illnesses should be dealt with quickly while you work on improving the temperature control within the enclosure.
General Rule for Bearded Dragon Heat Lamp
Your UVB and heat lamps should run for twelve hours a day and be turned off for a further twelve hours. In order to get your timing accurate and make the enclosure feel as natural as possible, it's recommended that you buy a timer, which will automatically turn your lighting and heating on and off at the times required.
When your bearded dragon heat lamp is turned off, you can consider using heat mats, ceramic heat emitters and other heating options to ensure that the habitat remains at a comfortable temperature for your reptile.
In order to provide your bearded dragon with a comfortable habitat, you want to focus on four main heating areas which include a basking area, warm area, cool area and nighttime temperatures.
As a rule of thumb, you can focus on:
- Basking area – 105-110ºF
- Warm area – 95-105ºF
- Cool area – 85-95ºF
- Nighttime Minimum Temperature – 65ºF
The age of your beardie will also have an impact on the right basking temperatures, for example, a baby bearded dragon needs a basking temperature of 105-110ºF (40-43ºC), juveniles prefer temperatures of between 100-110ºF (38-43ºC) and adults do best with temperatures in the region of 95-105ºF (35-40ºC).
You can move the basking area up or down to ensure you secure the right temperatures for your dragon.
Types of Heating Bulbs
Incandescent Heat Bulbs
Incandescent heat bulbs offer the essential light and heat your bearded dragon needs. These bulbs come in a wide range of shapes, watts and more to ensure you find the perfect match based on your dragon heating needs.
Incandescent heat bulbs are used to create welcome basking areas for your bearded dragon. This is where your dragon can spend most of their day, soaking up UVA and UVB rays along with the heat they need to ensure a healthy immune system moving forward.
Remember the higher the wattage the more heat it puts out. A sixty-watt bulb will put out less heat than a one-hundred-watt bulb, for example. The watts you will need will be determined by the size of the enclosure. It's not uncommon to have to try a few different options before you find the perfect match that keeps your bearded dragon happy.
Ceramic Heat Emitters
Ceramic heat emitters are similar to incandescent heat lamps, except they don't produce light. This makes these the best choice for nighttime temperatures. Shaped like a bulb, these emit infrared heat, creating a warm and comfortable habitat for your bearded dragon.
Ceramic heat emitters also come in a variety of wattages, these range anywhere from sixty watts to one hundred and fifty watts. Again, the size will be determined by the size of your enclosure.
Ceramic heat emitters are used to regular nighttime temperatures and ensure they don't drop too low, especially during the cold winter months.
Mercury Vapor Bulbs
Mercury vapor bulbs can be used to provide your bearded dragon with the heat they need and the essential UV rays that they require to ensure the best health in the long run. These bulbs contain two filaments, one is incandescent and that other is a mercury vapor arc tube, which produces the ultraviolet rays.
These bulbs are proven to provide excellent heating for larger enclosures, due to the amount of heat they produce. It's important to use your thermometer and ensure the basking area doesn't get too hot that your beardie is uncomfortable. These bulbs come in different wattages for choices.
Halogen Heat Bulbs
Halogen heat lamp is a special type of incandescent heat lamp. Despite they are a bit more expensive, they offer more heat and light than an incandescent bulb of the same size. These bulbs are proven to last longer and use less energy.
While not a heat lamp, the heat tape is worth mentioning as it can be used to add additional heat to areas within the enclosure. Heat tape can be used to wrap decor or wrap your dragon's favorite perch to ensure they get the essential heat they desperately need to maintain good health.
Heat tape should only be considered if you are struggling with your temperature regulation and additional heat is required. Too much tape can result in overheating the enclosure and burning your dragon.
Tips For Choosing Suitable Bearded Dragon Heat Lamp
When it comes to your selection, there are a number of important heating and lighting you need to ensure the best health for your bearded dragon. You will need:
- Basking light
- UVB light
- Ceramic heat emitter
When it comes to making your selection, you are going to want to take the age of your dragon and the size of your enclosure into consideration, along with any additional lighting or heating you may already be including in the enclosure, such as heat tape and heat pads, for example.
The wattage of the bulb will be determined by a number of factors, which includes the current room temperature, size of the enclosure and type of enclosure. Glass enclosures tend to cause more moisture and humidity than wooden enclosures, for example.
General recommendations are as follows:
less than 20 gallon
20 - 50 gallon
50 gallon or more
A dimmer switch is recommended to help you regulate the internal tank temperature. This enables you to secure the perfect temperature, ensuring your bearded dragon remains happy and healthy.
You may need to play around with a variety of different heating lamps before you find the perfect match based on your dragon particular heating needs.
Bearded Dragon Light Setup
It's important that you secure the right surface temperatures and in order to measure this it's recommended to use a temperature gun. The basking temperature should cover an area the size of your bearded dragon’s body, this includes the tail. Double check there are no hot spots, as these can be dangerous and can burn your dragon.
Normally you only need a heat bulb to guarantee that the habitat remains at a comfortable temperature for your dragon. A ceramic heat emitter should only be used when the temperature at night is lower than 65ºF.
Temperature readings should be taken once the heat source has been running for at least three hours to give an accurate reading. Bear in mind due to the fact your dragon may lift its head during basking, the temperature it experiences may be slightly higher than the readings you have taken.
Ensure you have the enclosure warm enough. This is so important. A basking area is useless if it's not warm enough and if it's too hot, your dragon can experience heatstroke.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can a bearded dragon survive without a heat lamp?
A. Bearded dragons come from the hot deserts of Australia. In captivity, these friendly lizards need heat lamps to provide an environment similar to the desert where they can soak up the sun all day. Without proper heating set up in the tank, it will eventually lead to a decreased appetite, lethargy and serious immune system problems on your bearded dragon.
Q. How many hours of heat does a bearded dragon need?
A. Your lighting setup (UVB and heat lamp) should be turned on for 10 - 12 hours a day and be turned off for a further 12 hours. When the lights are off, consider using a ceramic heat emitter to ensure the temperature in the tank is not lower than 65ºF.
Q. Can bearded dragon overheat?
A. Yes, it can. Overheating can cause dehydration or burn your bearded dragon.
Q. How much heat does a bearded dragon need?
A. The ideal temperature for bearded dragons:
- Basking area – 105-110ºF
- Daytime hot area – 95-105ºF
- Daytime cool area – 85-95ºF
- Nighttime Minimum Temperature – 65ºF
Q. Can bearded dragon use heat pads, heat rocks?
A. Heat pads, heat rock should only be considered if you are struggling with your temperature regulation and additional heat is required. Be careful with them as they can easily burn your bearded dragon.
The heating you provide your bearded dragon will promote a healthy dragon with many happy years ahead of it. As an owner, it's your responsibility to ensure its well-being and heating is one of the most important things to focus on.
Taking into consideration the importance of heat in the enclosure to maintain a healthy immune system and help with digestion, you want to ensure you choose the heating lamp that works best in the enclosure of your size, you may have to make a few changes before you find the perfect match.
Overall the Halogen Light Bulb from Philips is the most cost effective and efficient solution to provide welcome heat for your dragon. These can be purchased anywhere, they fit any fixture and they are cost defective, coming in a pack of four, so you are assured to always have spares on hand.