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UVA/UVB

Learning Points on vitamin D3

Bearded dragons receive UVA and UVB radiation naturally from the sun. Sun radiation is absolutely important for bearded dragons health. it's important to understand bearded dragon's needs and their lighting requirements. It is important that your bearded dragon receives at least 10 to 12 hours of lighting each day. If you don't provide UV radiation it can lead to a lot of health issues including mental problems, loss of appetite, and metabolic bone disease. Bearded dragons need radiation that comes from the sun, we must recreate it for captive bred bearded dragon's. The best way to recreate these rays is by specialized, full spectrum lighting supplied by fluorescent tubes. The most well known and vital effect of UVB is it's ability to convert a natural cholesterol in the skin to pre-vitamin D3. Warmth is typically also absorbed while basking, it converts the pre-vitamin D3 to vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is used for vital functions throughout the body. It is taken up from the skin/scales into the bloodstream, then carried to the liver, where it is converted into a storage form called calcifediol. This then re-enters the bloodstream and is carried throughout the body. A blood test for calcifediol is the best way of measuring an animal’s vitamin D3 status.

A small amount of calcitriol is important for a bearded dragons life. It is processed by the kidneys into the active hormone. This vital endocrine hormone controls the levels of calcium in the bloodstream. Calcium is absolutely necessary for muscles and nerves to function, and is also vital for normal growth and reproduction. Vitamin D3 gives the gut to absorb calcium from there diet, also maintains and stores calcium laid down into the bones. If a bearded dragon develops metabolic bone disorder (MBD) as a result of vitamin D3 shortage, this means that levels were very poor, not even enough to make the tiniest amount of active hormone necessary for a bearded dragons life.

When supplies of vitamin D3 are abundant, the liver can produce much more vitamin D3 than is needed by the kidneys. Other organs can take up vitamin D3 and turn it into the active form inside their cells. There, it controls as many as 2,000 genes influencing a huge range of functions, including cell division and the immune system. Acceptable vitamin D3 is needed for full health, not just the bare minimum that keeps MBD at bay.

  • UVA radiation helps your bearded dragon to remain healthy, stimulated, and maintain a healthy appetite.

  • UVB radiation gives the bearded dragon the ability to metabolize vitamin D3 and calcium.

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ARCADIA LIGHTING SIMULATION

For desert dwelling animals

Full spectrum tubes are required for giving UV radiation for bearded dragons. Many reptile enthusiasts use linear fluorescent tubes to give UV radiation. Do not use just any fluorescent tube, always use tubes that are made specialized for desert dwelling reptiles.

  • You should use a fluorescent tube that is at least 80% the length of the enclosure.

  • ​Reptiles can see a lot of things we can't see. UVA is visual to reptiles and enhances quality of life. reptiles have 4 color receptors, humans only have 3. UVA helps to increase activity levels, appetite, good response to there surroundings and reproductive behaviors. Without UVA, they are colorblind.

  • Bearded dragons need UVB for vitamin D3 production and calcium metabolism. With the right temperatures your bearded dragon will create D3 and process calcium from their diet.

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High Level Vivarium

If you have a taller enclosure, select a higher output lamp such as the 14% Arcadia Dragon lamp, where you will achieve the same UVB level's at a basking distance of around 45-60cm. (18-24")

 

Mid-level Vivarium

If the enclosure is mid-level, you can consider a midrange 12% Arcadia Dragon​ lamp, that will achieve the UVB level at basking distance of around 30-45cm. (12-18")

 

Low Level Vivarium

If the enclosure is lower, you should use a lower output system, such as Arcadia Desert D3 T8 12% distance of  25-30cm. (10-12")

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HEAT REQUIREMENTS

Basking bulbs

There should be a consistent temperature across the entire enclosure. The hottest point should be directly under the basking spot on stone slate or a basking perch/branch. The temperature should be the warmest in the basking zones while cooling gradually into the coolest zone. A thermostat specifically designed for use with enclosures will help regulate consistent temperatures.

Bearded dragons know how to regulate their own temperature. A bearded dragons knows when it needs to bask, and when to move to a cooler end side of the enclosure if it gets too warm for them. It is very important to provide proper temperatures for them to regulate body temperature.

Heat basking lights are incandescent bulbs designed to provide radiant heat for your bearded dragon. They come in all different sizes from 10 watts to 150 watts and come in different variety of brands. For your pet bearded dragon, we would recommend to use bulbs designed for basking, such as the Zoo Med Repti Basking Bulb, or the Exo Terra Intense Basking Spot Bulb. Both bulbs are excellent choices for incandescent-style basking bulbs.

Bearded dragons require the basking area temperatures to be between (104° to 109°  Fahrenheit ) ( 40° to 43° Celsius) on the hot side of the enclosure. The cooler side temperatures in the enclosure should range between ( 80° to 90° Fahrenheit )( 26° to 32° Celsius)

  • Nighttime temperatures should be around ( 72° to 80° Fahrenheit ) ( 22° to 26° Celsius )

  • Use good quality digital probe thermometers to maintain a temperature gradient throughout there enclosure.

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