bearded dragon handbook

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How Much UVB For Bearded Dragons? (UVB Requirements)

Are you wondering if your bearded dragon is getting enough UVB to live a healthy life?

Do you want to know what the recommendations are for UVB care for your oddly cute reptile?

As a desert creature, bearded dragons need the sun’s rays.

So you must know how much UVB for bearded dragons is required.

Bearded dragons need UVB from lights made for lizards with an 8% – 10% UVB output. The light should be on during the daytime for the lizard for 12-14 hours per day.

Look ahead for more details and related UVB light questions.

how much uvb for bearded dragon

UVB Requirements For Bearded Dragons

The bearded dragon comes from the Australian desert.

In this environment, the reptiles will get a lot of exposure to the sun’s UVB rays during the daytime.

In captivity, we’re trying to emulate the pet’s natural habitat with our setup.

This means we should give our bearded dragon as much ultraviolet light as it can get. It’ll help your pet absorb calcium and become strong.

There are many UVB lights out there, but not all of these will work for bearded dragons.

The first task you need to tackle is finding the correct type of UVB bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs and mercury vapor bulbs are both suitable sources of UVB light for beardies.

Your best option is to find a trusted product recommended by dedicated pet owners (like us!).

Your next step is to look for a UVB bulb marketed towards bearded dragons and other reptiles.

This will give you a good chance of having a strong enough bulb.

The last thing to look for is a bulb giving off 8% – 10% UVB light.

Once you have the correct bulb, all you need to do is keep it on long enough.

A good rule of thumb is to keep it on all day.

When you wake up, turn the lights on.

When you go to bed, turn it off.

Unless you leave it on 24-7, you can’t leave it on too much.

Aim for 12-14 hours of light in your beardy’s tank.

Bearded Dragon Lighting
LightBearded dragons need 12-14 hours of light a day for their mental wellness.
WarmthThe average temperature in your bearded dragon’s tank should be between 85°-90°F during daytime. Basking spots should be 90°-93°F.
UVBUVB helps bearded dragons to process calcium and D3. It also prevents metabolic bone disease in beardies.

Pro-tip: Use a timer, so you don’t forget to turn it on in the morning.

You may want to check out our post on the best basking lights for bearded dragons for a detailed review on different bulbs that will give you clear pros and cons of your options.

100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb
  • Ideal Daylight Bulb For Your Critter: A Powerful source of heat and UVA / UVB / visible light - completely self-ballasted (no harmful UVC). Our mercury vapor bulb provides animals warmth & vitamin production necessary for health - just like daylight
  • Ideal For A Wide Variety Of Reptiles And Amphibians: Our UVA UVB reptile light is ideal for bearded dragons, tortoises, turtles, geckos, snakes (pythons, boas, etc.), iguanas, lizards, chameleons, frogs, toads & more. An excellent reptile bulb!
  • Compatible With Virtually All Enclosures: Our large UVA UVB bulb is compatible with a variety of enclosures, including vivariums, tanks, terrariums, vision cages, chicken coops, and more. Great for those in need of reptile UVB light and UVB bulbs (light for reptiles)
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Do Bearded Dragons Need UVB At Night?

No, bearded dragons don’t need UVB at night.

Though beardies are usually at risk of vitamin D and calcium deficiencies in captivity, you still want to turn the lights off at night.

In the wild, the sun still sets, and the temperature still drops.

We need to emulate this in their tanks.

The cooling air and lack of light and sun reinforce and a natural day-night cycle.

This is good for their bodies and helps them rest.

This is what their bodies were meant to do!

Don’t leave the lights on to give them more UVB; get more and better equipment.

What’s The Length Beardies Can Go Without UVB?

bearded dragon in UVB light

The most common health problems for bearded dragons are related to calcium deficiency.

In nature, this isn’t a big problem.

What’s the difference?

In the wild, bearded dragons are exposed to the sun for long periods.

Heat and UVB exposure is essential for a healthy bearded dragon.

They need this to survive in captivity.

Vitamin D is needed to process calcium.

If your pet’s diet includes a lot of calcium but doesn’t get a lot of UVB, the calcium isn’t absorbed well and becomes wasted.

This results in metabolic bone disease.

The beardy’s skeletal structure begins to waste away.

Not only does this cause pain for your pet, but it also results in more bone breaks, organ damage, and potential death.

None of us want this for our pets, so we need to keep the UVB up.

But how long can they go without in an emergency?

Turns out, not very long.

Because of the UVB and its dire need, bearded dragons should never go more than two days without UVB.

Even if the pet can live past two days without UVB (which it can do), it’s at this point when damage and deficiencies start to set in.

This damage takes time to recover from, if possible.

But in many cases, it’s too late at this point, and your pet will never be quite the same.

So what do you need to do?

Always have multiple UVB light bulbs on hand just in case one burns out before you were planning on it.

If you lose power in your house for multiple days, it is scary.

You need to keep the heat up and the UVB.

How do you handle this?

Make sure you have a few battery-powered lamps around the house.

This way, a UVB bulb can be in the bearded dragon’s tank for a while.

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What’s The Difference Between UVA and UVB?

bearded dragon lighting requirement

There are two types of rays you want to learn about, UVB and UVA:


These are the rays of medium length.

They reach us easily and affect our skin on the outside.

These are the rays that cause sunburn on us as humans.

Due to their thinner skin and smaller bodies, UVB rays are a normal and essential part of beardy health.


These are the longest wavelength rays.

They reach us and penetrate deeper into the skin.

These rays cause wrinkles.

UVA is also beneficial for bearded dragons but not as much as UVB.

If you look for a bulb’s UVB output and base your purchase on it, your UVA will end up sorting itself out.

Just make sure you compliment the UVB with calcium supplements.

Wrapping Up: UVB Essentials for Bearded Dragons

We hope you enjoyed learning about how much UVB you should use for bearded dragons.

It’s a complicated topic with a simple answer.

You need a combination of ultraviolet and visible light for your bearded dragon’s tank.

Just make sure you get a light made for lizards like fluorescent and mercury vapor bulbs, that give off 8% – 10% UVB output.

Then, keep the lights on during the daytime, and your pet will be happy and healthy.

Did you find the information in this article helpful?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we want our readers to have all the details they need to provide a healthy and happy life for their pets.

If you want more information on setting up a bearded dragon’s cage or choosing the right food for it, we have a variety of articles to help you out.

Thanks for reading.

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