6

Since UV lights are important to reptiles, and I've heard it said that they lose their UV output after about 6 months even if they haven't burnt out, is there a way to measure the UV output of a light. That way I can get the most out of my UV lights, only replacing them when the UV output stops.

  • You might be better off asking this at diy.stackexchange.com – JoshDM Feb 24 '14 at 18:01
  • @JoshDM Possibly, I'll look into it. I thought it might fit here since it's a pretty big part of vivariums. – Spidercat Feb 24 '14 at 18:38
  • 1
    Right, but the question may have a better chance of finding an expert there; I'd remove the reptile portion from it if you ask. – JoshDM Feb 24 '14 at 19:13
  • It's pretty complex to measure actually, though devices exist. Typical tubes emit more from the end then the middle and so the reading won't be consistent or constant. – John Cavan Feb 24 '14 at 20:54
  • 1
    Anecdotally, I've found that there's a hint of visible blue light present when they are brand new that tends to fade away slowly. I just usually go by the 3-6 month time course that you've described. – jonsca Feb 24 '14 at 23:15
6

These lights/tubes produce UVA and UVB. The same type of tubes are used in sunbeds and marine tanks

To produce UVA, mercury inside the tube reacts with the gas and electricity. This is why you should never shatter tubes because you can get mercury poisoning and have to be disposed of properly. The mercury will slowly stop to react as expected the tube will produce more UVB. We do not need UVC because most of it gets stopped by the ozone and atmosphere. UVC is used in germicidal lamps and have no benefits to living matter.

This is very noticeable in the sunbed sector, when old lamps start to burn skin instead of tan. It is very unhealthy for anything living things as it directly damages DNA.

To accurately measure the tubes you need a UVA and UVB metre. Usually sold separately and cost in the region of 100USD each for low quality ones. Anything cheaper is junk that just makes up numbers.

If you run your tubes/lights 8 hours a day then it is typical to replace them 6~8 months as this will keep your animals and or plants much healthier. You will be better off investing the money in new lights rather than in testing equipment you will use a few times only.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.