How to Build a Dual Light Stand With Heat for a Tortoise

Written by lesley graybeal
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A dual light stand that provides both heat and light is essential for any reptile enclosure, and tortoises need both UVA and UVB lamps to stay healthy and happy. UVA rays simulate natural sunshine for indoor pet turtles, and encourage reptiles to eat, sleep, mate and follow other normal behavioural routines. UVB rays provide heat for basking and provide vitamins that help turtles build and maintain healthy bones. A tortoise heat lamp is essential for giving your pet a long and healthy life.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Reptile enclosure
  • 2 clip-on desk lamps
  • 1 UVA bulb
  • 1 UVB bulb
  • 2 thermometers or thermostats
  • Water spray bottle
  • 2 x 4 wood segment (optional)

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  1. 1

    Make sure that your reptile enclosure is large enough to accommodate a dual light stand since a tortoise heat lamp should heat only part of the enclosure, leaving the rest of the enclosure cooler than the basking area.

  2. 2

    Buy two separate clip-on desk lamps with 10-inch metal dome enclosures at your local hardware store or supermarket. Lamps for use in reptile enclosures should have a ceramic fixture for a 60-watt bulb.

  3. 3

    Buy one fluorescent UVA bulb for providing light in the enclosure, and one mercury vapour UVB bulb for the tortoise heat lamp in the basking area.

  4. 4

    Place the light bulbs in the lamps, and create a dual light stand by attaching the lamps directly to the enclosure if the walls are sturdy wood or acrylic. Position the lighting lamp in the middle of the reptile enclosure, and place the tortoise heat lamp at one end, with the dome of the lamp pointed into the corner to focus the heat in the basking area.

  5. 5

    Clip the lamps onto a 2 x 4 wood segment the length of your reptile enclosure to create a dual light stand if the enclosure walls cannot accommodate the lamps themselves. Place the wood segment flush with the side of the reptile enclosure and position the lamps as directed in the previous step.

  6. 6

    Attach a thermostat or thermometer to the tortoise heat lamp to ensure that the basking area stays about 32.2 degrees Celsius. Attach another thermometer to the opposite end of the tank, which should be about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

  7. 7

    Keep the sand, moss or other substrate in the reptile enclosure moist under the tortoise heat lamp by spraying with water regularly to maintain a high level of humidity in the enclosure.

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