- What lighting and heating are needed for aquatic rubella and land reptiles?
- What is the lighting and heating equipment for an aquarium?
- Why is it needed?
- Is it possible to do without ultraviolet?
- How long should it burn?
- Is it harmful to humans?
One of the most popular turtles for aquariums is the freshwater, red-eared turtle. The main range of this species is Mexico and Central America. Since the climate in Russia is quite severe, these turtles do not survive the winter in natural conditions. Owners of these cold-blooded animals need to take into account the fact that temperature conditions directly affect their life processes. To maintain balance of life, these reptiles use sunlight in nature. To make the turtle healthy and vigorous, special lamps are installed in the aquariums for heating and for replacing sunlight.
What lighting and heating are needed for aquatic rubella and land reptiles?
At home, the red-eared turtle lives year-round in an aquarium or aquaterrarium.
Since it is very difficult to get enough heat and ultraviolet radiation from the sun in winter, veterinarians advise placing two bulbs above the pet: one serves for heating (incandescent or a thermal lamp), and the second should be ultraviolet.
The distance to the carapace of the reptile should not be less than 30–35 cm, in order to avoid burns.
The heating device should maintain a temperature of 28-30 degrees. This is the optimal temperature for a full active life and good digestion. Such a heater works all day, and at night it is extinguished, the temperature drops to 18–25 degrees Celsius.
Dividing the aquarium into warm and cold zones, heating lamps are placed in a warm corner. In the case of aquatic turtles, it is better to fix it over a land area where the turtle will “sunbathe”. The temperature of this section should not exceed 40 degrees. And the pet will cool in cool water.
IMPORTANT! You need just enough water so that the turtle that rolled over on its back can return to its previous position without outside help.
Lamp heaters can be divided into several types:
- Incandescent, Unlike energy-saving and fluorescent, they emit a large amount of heat. A small 40-watt light bulb will be enough. For heating, it is better to choose based on the size of the aquarium.
- Incandescent mirror lamps, require carefully thought-out installation, as light and heat will be directed only down. And it can threaten burns.
- Ceramic. It is wise to use in cases where too mobile turtles spray water on incandescent lamps and they burst. This type has good heat dissipation, but does not give light.
- Another species that gives enough heat and little light is infrared or night light lamps. They are suitable in cases where the room is cold, and there is a need for heating at night.
As for the ultraviolet devices, this is an indispensable element in the illumination of an aquarium with a red-eared turtle.
What is the lighting and heating equipment for an aquarium?
But often this highlight is not enough, so the owners of turtles themselves are forced to equip these boxes.
In the previous part, it was mentioned that two types of lighting are suitable for aquariums: incandescent and ultraviolet. Manufacturers of terrariums usually opt for two identical incandescent lamps. Owners of turtles have to replace one of them with ultraviolet.
UV lamps have a special spraying to shift the rays into ultraviolet. They differ in spectrum, length, power and even shape. The most suitable for a terrarium is tubular UV illumination of a standard length (50 cm). Since the power does not always depend on the size, when buying, the power of each individual UV lamp is studied. Focusing on the size of the aquarium, choose a power from 14 to 70 watts.
There is a list of ultraviolet lamps that are completely contraindicated for turtles:
- medical and medical;
- UV lamps for manicure;
- used by banks to verify banknotes;
- backlight used for fish or plants.
There are also devices that combine the functions of incandescent and ultraviolet lamps. This option is more profitable, but difficult to find.
For cold-blooded animals, quality and color intensity is very important.
Color temperature and color rendering index determine color quality. If the index is high, the lamp light is close to natural. And the more natural the lighting, the brighter the color of the reptile will be.
The UV wave spectrum has two zones: the wavelength of the ultraviolet A (UVA) zone is 320–400 nm, and the wavelength of zone B (UVB) is 290–320 nm. Each of the zones acts differently. UVA acts as a biological stimulant. These waves regulate the appearance of the mating season in captivity. The UVB zone is responsible for the synthesis of provitamin D, which in turn turns into vitamin D3 due to heat, and supports the health of turtles.
For aquatic turtles, a spectrum range of 5 to 12% UVB is suitable. Lamps with UV 5.0 are advised to take for freshwater varieties. Young, pregnant, sick, and all land turtles require more intense radiation. Lamps with UV 8.0, 10.0 and 12.0 are suitable for them.
The farther from the window the terrarium stands, the lower the level of natural light. Therefore, there are special types of lighting for reptiles. They have a full spectrum of radiation, the color temperature index is at least 5500⁰K, and the color rendering index is 90. The intensity of the ultraviolet and ordinary spectra is distributed so that the light is close to natural.
Why is it needed?
Calcium, which is added to the food of turtles, is not absorbed properly in their bodies without exposure to light from a UV lamp. Everyone knows that calcium is important for strengthening and growth of bone tissue. If the turtle’s body lacks calcium, the shell becomes soft and its deformation is possible. Bones can become brittle and paw fractures will occur. The most urgent need for sufficient calcium is experienced by young and pregnant individuals.
Aquatic species, which include the red-eared turtle, are predators. They replenish vitamin D3 from the internal organs of small animals that they eat. In their case, the help of an ultraviolet lamp is not as important (albeit desirable) as it is for land rocks. Land turtles do not absorb vitamin D3 from food at all. For them, the presence of ultraviolet radiation is vital.
IMPORTANT! Since glass or plastic practically does not transmit ultraviolet rays, you need to fix the device so that the light falls directly on the animal.
Some use tanning lamps (Photon) to enrich the turtle’s body with ultraviolet light. But this can only be done in the form of five-minute sessions, because hard ultraviolet radiation is emitted from such lighting devices.
Is it possible to do without ultraviolet?
Since climatic conditions in Russia do not allow turtles to be kept on the street all the time, lighting of the aquarium or terrarium is the only available source of ultraviolet radiation. Its lack can cause various diseases, up to the death of the animal.
The consequences of the absence of UV radiation will affect the health of the turtle in two weeks. This is especially true of land rocks.
How long should it burn?
The duration of ultraviolet radiation largely depends on the age of the individual. For young turtles, the UV lamp is turned on at least four hours a day.
If the lighting device is installed correctly, and illuminates the entire area of the aquarium, then wherever the animal is, it will receive the necessary dose of ultraviolet radiation.
For turtles that have reached 2-3 years, it will be sufficient to receive radiation for a couple of hours. With the age of the turtle, the power of the lighting device must also be increased, since the susceptibility decreases with age. In order for an adult to be healthy, it must sit immediately under the lamp for at least an hour.
If your work schedule does not allow you to turn off the lights after four hours, do not worry. Some veterinarians believe that prolonged exposure is even beneficial for reptiles. To enhance the health of a sick tortoise, you can leave the lamp on for the entire daylight hours. And the excess of ultraviolet radiation is still not absorbed.
Photoperiod is extremely important for captive pets. It’s best to set a clear schedule for turning lights on and off. If at night heating of the terrarium was required, it is better to use infrared lamps that do not emit light.
Is it harmful to humans?
It is believed that ultraviolet devices are harmful to human eyes. The positive point is that in ordinary aquarium lamps, the power is so small that it can not harm. If a UV lamp is built into the lid of the aquarium, then only reptiles receive radiation, since the glass practically does not transmit ultraviolet rays.
If it is attached on its own, it is possible to limit the radiation to mirror metal reflectors. They are mounted directly on the lighting device, and the luminous flux directed at the turtles will increase by 15-30%. This will not be superfluous, because in terrarium conditions, these animals almost always lack light.
Reptile-oriented ultraviolet lamps have a bluish harsh light. It is not always comfortable for the human eye, and can also damage the eyesight of pets, such as dogs.
IMPORTANT! It is necessary to change ultraviolet devices in a timely manner. The operating time of the UV lamp for turtles should not exceed one year. After the expiration date, the radiation power drops, and the lighting device loses its useful properties.
Based on the information studied, it can be said that an ultraviolet lamp is the most important element of the lighting system of the terrarium or aquarium of any turtle, including rubella eared. Neither an incandescent lamp, nor natural light in an apartment is able to provide the proper level of ultraviolet radiation necessary for the full development and growth of this type of animal. Of course, attentive owners arrange sun baths for their pets, but this procedure provides sufficient saturation with UV rays only in the summer. In winter, UV lamps are simply irreplaceable.