Basking light question(s)

Discussions about turtles.
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Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 1:23 pm

I am a newer turtle owner. I have two Red Ear Sliders.

I just recently purchase an aquarium for them, a 20 Gallon tank with some different features. Now, my question is... how long/often should I keep my basking light on? What I have been doing, is turning it on in the morning, before I go to work (8am), and turning it off before I go to bed (around 10pm or so). When I bought the light, the girl didn\'t say how long I should keep it on. She really didn\'t say much... other than \"this is what you need\".

I am not really concered about the turtles getting hurt with the light. Because if they get hot, they will just go back into the water. However, I am more worried about the light getting to hot and starting a fire.

Also, right now I only have a basking area for the turtles to get out of the water. Should I purchase another \"log\" or \"platform\" for them to get out of the water and not directly into the basking area?

If someone could answer those questions, I would greatly appreciate it!

Level 3
Level 3
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 9:04 am

The basking area is for them to get out of the water and get to the light. The light should be on about 12-14 hours a day just like the regular day. The basking light should have an UVB in addition to being all spectrum. It will get warm. It sounds like you have a reflector on the light and it is not too close to the basking area.

They don.t have to have a separate area unless you want to give them one, you could set up a hiding area with a plastic plant if you want. Just make sure it doesn\'t have any wires in it for them to get hurt on.

Do you have a thermometer for checking the water or basking area? What temperature does the basking area reach? It should get to around 84-87 degrees F , water should be 75 -80 degrees F.
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 1339
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:49 am

How big are your turtles? A 20-gallon tank is not very big for two (think 10 gallons of tank per inch of turtle shell), and adding a log would only take up more of their limited space.(If you had a bigger tank it would be nice.)

For the lights, mimic the daylight and the seasons. An average of twelve hours, going to a max of 14 in the summer and decreasing the time in the winter (no less than 10). Having a timer is helpful.

Unless you have a combination mercury vapor light providing both UVA and UVB rays (very expensive) you need a light over the basking area to provide heat (you can use a regular light bulb) as well as a UVB light, which gives off virtually no heat but which provides UVB rays so your turtle can metabolize Vit D3. This is crucial, because without the Vit D3, a turtle cannot absorb the calcium necessary for a hard, healthy shell.

When you buy a UVB light be careful and do not blindly follow the advice of the salespeople. Many don`t know what they`re talking about. Saying \"full spectrum\" doesn`t necessarily mean the bulb gives off UVB rays; it must say so on the package. If you pay $8-10 dollars for a full spectrum light, it is not a UVB one. They are more expensive; look for brands like Reptisun, Reptiglo (tubes), or if you want one that screws in a socket, something like the ESU Super UVB Coil Light. There are others, but make sure it says UVB rays are given off on the package. Hope this helps.
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