Picture of Reptile tank heating and lighting guide
In this instructable, I will try to make an in-depth and comprehensive guide to the different types of heating and lighting products that are available in the pet market.

Gather as much information as possible on a reptile prior to purchasing it so you will be prepared to meet the specific lighting and heating demands they require. Proper planning will result in a happy and healthy reptile and will lead to less health problems.
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Step 1: What is it all for?

Picture of What is it all for?
For reptile owners, there are many options available to provide a reptile with it's proper lighting and heating needs, and the challenge is to put together a system that both fits the needs of the animal and the owner's budget.

Light is important because it helps to regulate the pet's sleep cycle and mating habits and helps maintain the health of the animal.

Heat is important since it helps to maintain the reptile's body temperature and aids digestion.

Prior to purchasing a new pet, it would be smart to read up on the animal's specific needs, since they are all different. Check the library or helpful guides on the internet, ask questions at the pet store and try to get everything ready before you bring your new friend home.

Exotic reptiles and amphibians come from all over the world and re-creating their specific environment is important and sometimes challenging. The goal is to get everything just right, which will lead to a long, healthy life with few vet bills. And, with a little planning and forethought, a healthy habitat can be achieved. Along with good food and proper husbandry, adequate light and heat are essential to your pet's health.
kris.bouncer5 months ago

I got a 10 gallon tank with a day light and the heating pad underneath but I don't seem to be able to get my tank temp to anything above 75.. I need to have it between 80-92 for my ball bython.. any suggestions? I don't want to take away her cool off area though

You should probably get a black light, which is a UV heating lamp, and you could leave it on in the night, keeping the tank warm. A cover tends to help keep in heat as well. You could put both lights on one side of the tank and put a thermometer there to measure the difference in heat for different parts of the tank.

repunzel4 months ago
I've got a four foot glass opening.what animal apart from fish could I put in it
tkoumoudouros5 months ago
a word of advice. if u are using one of those cheap ahitty plastic tanks for your reptiles, the heat rope( we have the lower wattage one I think its like 14watts or something) WILL melt the bottom of the tank. our solution. my b/f pushed the heat rope into the tank, covered it with the mulch in the tank (its between 2-4 in thick in the tank-the thicker part around where the heat rope is) put the snake's hide over that and put an infra red light up top. our apt building hasn't turned our heat on yet so the light has an added bonus of heating up our living room too
lbj6 months ago

WOW) that snake is big. i bet that will be good

citin1 year ago
hy i have Bartagamen and i try to get the terrarium comfortable for them. Heat from the ground was not good because they dig in . Im not ready but maybe you take a look.i wai t for the light sensor to check uva/b.
freeza363 years ago
do not use heat rocks. they can seriuosly injure or kill the snake.
ilpug3 years ago
Well, If i have a cold snake, I now know what to do!
draj3 years ago
Very nice, thanks for posting and pictures.Reptile vivariums
rkimm45 years ago
How do I remove a heat mat so I can reuse it on a different tank. I started to pull it off and decided I better ask someone. K
When I remove heat pads from my vivs I tune the heat pad on and also use a hair dryer on high to get the glue hot enough to get the heat pad off with out damaging it. After doing this a few time the glue will not be sticky any more so you will need to replace it.
iPodGuy (author)  rkimm45 years ago
Heat mats are not made to be reusable. Most packages come with warnings. Removal might cause a short or something because you might damage the electronics inside. Maybe you can try to heat the side stuck onto the glass with a hair dryer to loosen up the adhesive. Whatever you do, test it out and make sure that the heat mat still works properly and won't catch on fire or become too hot.
Cheezpaper4 years ago
What types of basking lamps are good for turtles? I remember reading about basking lamps and I'm just wondering what type of gas filling is best. Any suggestions?
Surfbum125 years ago
i was wondering if you could give me a detailed description of all the electronics i would need to have for an eastern water dragon please. please email me at; thank you so much for great instructables
androidred6 years ago
For my leopard gecko I use Zilla's desert series flourescent bulb. He was a little deficient in some vitamins and this bulb helped a lot. Being consious of uva and uvb is sooo important. I learned that the hard way.
LBos116 years ago
awesome DIY what kind of snake is that on the intro page?
iPodGuy (author)  LBos116 years ago
She's one of my boa constrictors.
LBos11 iPodGuy6 years ago
wow she's beautiful
F1X0R6 years ago
I have a wooden flooring to my Snake's set up. I have a 20 watt heat mat that heats it perfectly. In fact I'm finding myself in need of a thermostat to regulate the temperature, because it gets too warm in there for him.
iPodGuy (author)  F1X0R6 years ago
May I suggest using a rheostat instead? It will make the heat pad stay at the optimum temperature continuously throughout the day whereas a thermostat would turn the mat on to the max temperature and off repeatedly.
F1X0R iPodGuy6 years ago
Yeah. I am (once a few more parts arrive) going to have a light in there. At the moment it isn't in there because its a 75Watt bulb and I don't have a guard for it. Though a rheostat may be the way to go. Though I wonder how sensitive a thermostat would be to temp change turning devices off and on.
iPodGuy (author)  F1X0R6 years ago
Try making sure your pet gets some sun during the day to replace the UVA & UVB light that the standard light isn't providing. Trying to fight metabolic bone disease is hard and expensive. The sensitivity of a thermostat depends on where it is in the cage. The further away the sensor is, the longer it will make the heat pad work (at full heat). Try out a rheostat instead if your pet is intended to lay on the mat. Then, you can adjust the mat itself to become whatever temperature that your pet is comfortable at. If it likes 105 degrees F, then the mat itself can continuously maintain the optimum temperature without needing a thermostat to turn it on and off. Plus, it will give your pet a nice warm place to lay out on while allowing portions of the cage to be cooler, thus creating a thermal gradient. If you need any help with your setup, PM me and we can talk about it.
F1X0R iPodGuy6 years ago
hi there. I should have have made clear the light does go on in the day and is a UVA/UVB one, plus he has a vitamin solution that goes into his drinking water every day. The bulb how ever is outside the viv at the moment because I don't have a guard (should tun up in the post in the next few days, bit of a backlog due to the snow that london has seen lately) He won't be lying directly on the mat. Once everything I've ordered turns up then He'll have light in the day and Heat pad at night. I did also get the thermostat in the end, on advice from the reptile center up the road because of the set up, it doesn't need to be constantly adjusted with a rheostat.
iPodGuy (author)  F1X0R6 years ago
I see. And yes, you are probably able to skip the temp controls if the mat is just for ambient heat. However, if it gets too hot, then your setup would be perfect for a thermostat. Is your snake nocturnal? You could check into IR or moon lights, too.
F1X0R iPodGuy6 years ago
I did think about getting one of these. But the room temperature (combined with the heat mat) is very comfortable at night time for a corn snake. He is largely active at night, how ever sometimes active during the day, unless going through a shed. The other issue is, his Vivarium is right by my bed, I can't sleep if I have left my computer speakers on, because of the power LED.
=SMART=6 years ago
WAOH !!! Sally is awesome !!!