Do Leopard Gecko Need UVB Light?

In general, UVB light is very important for any type of gecko or even reptiles.

But when it comes to Leopard geckos, you need to keep something in mind.

Leopard geckos don’t really need UVB light, but it can be good for them. UVB helps make vitamin D3, which keeps their bones healthy. Some studies found that baby leopard geckos with a bit of UVB in their first six months had more vitamin D3 than those without. However, since leopard geckos are active at night, they don’t need UVB light as much as some other reptiles do. If you decide to use UVB light, it’s best to use a special reptile bulb at the right distance from the gecko, with nothing blocking it. The recommended way to give leopard geckos UVB is by using a 5-6% T8 or T5 tube placed high and to one side of their enclosure to create a UV gradient.

 

How to provide Proper UVB lighting for leopard geckos?

How to provide Proper UVB lighting for leopard geckos

To make sure your leopard gecko gets the right UVB lighting, start by picking the right UVB bulb and fixture for its home.

There are different types like fluorescent tubes, compact bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs, and LED strips. Each has its pros and cons, depending on your gecko’s enclosure size and design.

The most popular and recommended UVB bulb for leopard geckos is the fluorescent tube, especially the T5 high output (HO) type. Arcadia is a good brand, offering different percentages like 6%, 7%, and 12%. Aim for 6% or 7%, mimicking the natural UVB levels in their native habitat.

Pair the fluorescent tube with a suitable fixture, like a reflector hood or canopy, to hold the bulb securely, reflect the UVB light downward, and prevent overheating.

Make sure the fixture has a switch or timer for controlling the UVB light’s duration and frequency.

Next, measure and adjust the UVB output and distance.

Factors like bulb age, wattage, and quality, along with enclosure temperature and humidity, affect UVB output. Use the UV index (UVI) ranging from 0 to 12, with 1 to 3 being ideal for leopard geckos.

Adjust the bulb’s distance from the substrate accordingly.

Look at this table:

Signs of Adequate UVB Intake Signs of Inadequate UVB Intake
Healthy appetite and digestion Poor appetite and digestion
Normal growth and weight Stunted growth and weight loss
Strong and smooth bones and joints Weak and brittle bones and joints
Bright and clear eyes Dull and cloudy eyes
Vibrant and shed-free skin Faded and retained skin

Note: maintain and replace the UVB bulb and fixture regularly. UVB output decreases over time, so replace the bulb based on its type and brand. For instance, a 6% or 7% T5 HO fluorescent tube should be replaced every 9 to 12 months. Clean the fixture monthly, checking for damage and wiping away any dirt or debris that could reduce UVB output. Use a calendar or reminder app to track replacement dates.


F.A.Q.s

Q: What are some good UVB bulbs and fixtures for leopard geckos?

For leopard geckos, a great choice is the 6% or 7% T5 HO fluorescent tubes from Arcadia, along with a reflector hood or canopy fixture.

These bulbs and fixtures give off consistent and high-quality UVB light, cover a large area, and last a long time.

Q: How long should I keep the UVB light on for my leopard gecko?

You should keep the UVB light on for your leopard gecko for around 10 to 12 hours daily, adjusting for the season and natural daylight cycle.

Using a switch or timer to control the UVB light and mimicking dawn and dusk periods is also recommended.

Q: Can I use both a UVB bulb and a heat lamp for my leopard gecko?

Certainly!

You can use a UVB bulb and a heat lamp together for your leopard gecko, ensuring they are compatible and safe.

Use separate fixtures for each bulb, placing them on the same side of the enclosure to create a basking zone.

Maintain the temperature and UVI within the optimal range for leopard geckos, between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit and between 1 and 3.

Q: Do albino or sensitive-eyed leopard geckos need UVB light?

Yes, albino or sensitive-eyed leopard geckos require UVB light for vitamin D3 and calcium, vital for their bone health.

However, they may be more sensitive, needing a lower percentage or a shorter distance for the UVB bulb, such as a 5% or a 10 to 12-inch distance.

Provide more hides and shaded areas and closely monitor their behavior and health.

Q: Can UVB light hurt or burn my leopard gecko?

Yes, excessive UVB light can harm or burn your leopard gecko if it’s too high, bright, or prolonged.

Too much exposure can lead to eye damage, skin burns, and even skin cancer. Ensure the right amount and quality of UVB light, avoiding overexposure or stress.

Regularly check for signs of UVB damage, like redness, swelling, blisters, or peeling, and consult a reptile veterinarian if needed.