Crested Geckos are one of the most popular reptile pets for many reasons. In addition to looking cute and being suitable for children, they require low maintenance!
This poses an important question: when it comes to lighting requirements, do crested geckos need UVB?
Look no further for the answer! In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about crested lighting requirements and UVB. Let’s dive into the details.
Do Crested Geckos Need UVB?
The answer to this question is a little complicated. Crested Geckos don’t necessarily need UVB.
However, UV lamps can provide your reptile friends with a lot of benefits, like vitamin D3. That’s why many gecko keepers use them.
To simplify things, having UVB lamps is optional in most cases. Your geckos can survive without them.
How Are UVB Lamps Beneficial to Crested Geckos?
Crested geckos are nocturnal, which means they spend most of their day resting in shade.
Having UVB lighting in the enclosure can encourage your reptile friend’s natural hunting and sleeping cycle.
In the wild, they sleep in the shade when the sun is out. After dusk, they wake up and start hunting for food and exploring. The lighting will basically make the enclosure much more similar to their natural habitat.
In fact, many reptile keepers noticed that their geckos are more active in enclosures with UVB.
More importantly, UVB provides your reptiles with vitamin D3, which is crucial for their bones and overall health. However, you can still provide your pets with vitamin D3 supplementation in their diet.
On top of that, UVB light usually promotes the health and growth of live plants inside the enclosure.
In Which Cases Is Having UVB Lighting Essential?
There are some cases where it’s essential to have UVB in the enclosure. Let’s check them out.
1 – No Access to Sunlight
If you keep your crested geckos in a room without windows, it can be harmful to them. That’s because they need the sun to maintain their biological clock.
Without sunlight, your reptile friends will have a messed up biological clock. They wouldn’t know when to wake up or go to sleep.
In turn, this can cause stress and a lot of health issues to them. In this case, installing UVB is essential for the pets’ health.
2 – Cold Weather
Ideally, the crested geckos’ enclosure should be around 72 to 75 °F. So, if you live in an extremely cold region, the UVB can provide some warmth inside the terrarium.
However, you can’t rely on a UVB lamp to heat up the entire enclosure.
3 – Vitamin D3 Deficiency
When your reptile pets have vitamin D3 deficiency, the safest way to provide them with it is by UVB light.
The lack of vitamin D3 can lead to many health issues. That includes the following diseases:
- Nutritional Hyperparathyroidism
- Weakened bones
- Neurological disorders.
How to Keep Crested Geckos Healthy Without UVB
If you’re not planning to install UVB lighting inside the enclosure, there are some ways you can provide your geckos with their needs. Let’s check them out.
Ensure That Geckos Receive Sunlight
Although your reptiles sleep in the morning, their bodies need sunlight to synthesize vitamin D3. This doesn’t mean you should place the terrarium in harsh sunlight. Instead, just place the terrarium in a location where sunlight can reach it.
Additionally, you need to make sure that your friends have enough leaf cover to sleep under its shade. After all, they’re nocturnal and they don’t like bright sunlight.
This way, your reptile pets can maintain a healthy biological clock, as well as make their own vitamin D3.
Supplement Geckos With Vitamin D3
In addition to sunlight, your geckos need vitamin D3 supplementation in their diet. However, you need to be precise about the amount of supplementation you add to their diet.
Adding too much vitamin D3 and calcium supplements to your geckos’ diet can do more harm than good. The accumulation of vitamin D can lead to various health issues, including the following:
- Fatty liver
- Kidney problems
- Decreased skeletal growth
- Overall weakness
UVB vs. Supplements
Choosing the right way to provide vitamin D3 for your pets can be a hassle, especially for beginners. So, what’s the difference between the two methods?
Generally, UVB is a more effective method to provide your pets with their needs. In fact, researchers carried out a study on reptiles, where they used supplements in one group, and UVB in the other group.
The results were a clear win for the UVB group. The reptiles in that group had more vitamin D metabolite concentration in their blood.
On the other hand, oral supplementation wasn’t as effective. The reptiles in the oral supplementation group had lower amounts of the vitamin in their system.
UVB is also safer than oral supplements. For starters, adding a lower or a higher dose of supplements to your geckos’ diet can harm them.
Additionally, it can be hard to determine the right amount of supplements your reptiles need. On the other hand, UVB has fewer side effects on your little friends.
The only thing to look out for when using UV bulbs is temperature. Light bulbs can increase temperature, which can be a double-edged sword.
In cold areas, the extra warmth can be beneficial to your cresties. On the other hand, in hot areas, the bulbs can pose a threat to your reptiles’ health.
Luckily, you can just turn off the bulb on hot days. You can also set the timer to turn off the bulb during the hot afternoon.
Not only that, but you can also find certain UV bulbs that emit less light, and thus, don’t increase the temperature significantly.
Ease of Use and Maintenance
Adding supplements to your reptiles’ diet is as easy as it gets. You only need to add the right dose once or twice a week.
On the other hand, UVB might need a little more maintenance. For starters, some UVB lamps come with a timer, while others don’t.
So, if your UVB lamp doesn’t have a timer, you’ll need to manually turn it off at night.
Additionally, UVB lamps become weaker after a while. As a result, you’ll need to replace them every once in a while. Typically, you’ll need to swap the UV bulb every six months to a year.
Choosing the Right UVB for Crested Geckos
There are many types of UV lights in the market. When picking one for your reptile, you need to consider the size of your reptile and the enclosure.
Ideally, crested geckos don’t require a big light bulb. Instead, go for the small, compact ones.
Additionally, you need to consider the intensity of the lighting. Geckos don’t like bright lights. Therefore, you should get UVB light between 2 to 5%.
Harsh and intense UV light can be harmful to your gecko’s eyes and skin. More importantly, a low-intensity UV will be enough for them to synthesize vitamin D3.
It’s also best if you avoid using halogen or mercury-vapor bulbs in their enclosure. These types of bulbs emit too much heat that can be harmful to your little buddies.
Geckos typically only need around four hours of UV light per day. So, if you have a busy schedule, we recommend installing a light timer to turn off the UV light automatically.
UV bulbs need a replacement every six months. So, a package or an offer that includes more than one UV bulb will come in handy.
You can also set a reminder on your phone when it’s time to replace the lighting, as most people forget about the date they installed the bulb.
So, do crested geckos need UVB?
Your reptile pets can survive without UVB. However, you’ll need to supplement them with vitamin D3 and adequate sunlight.
On the other hand, UVB lights are highly beneficial to your cresties. Additionally, they’re safer and more effective than oral supplements.
Therefore, if a UVB light isn’t out of your budget, we recommend installing one in your geckos’ enclosure.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.