Pet reptiles require special care so that their tank is similar to their natural environment. This means replicating their natural climate, which is done by heating the tank. Most reptiles come from warm, tropical or desert climates and need temperatures warmer than room temperature to thrive. There are a couple of cheap ways to heat a reptile tank.
Light bulbs are the cheapest ways to heat your reptile tank, costing less than 60p each. The wattage you need depends on the reptiles species in the tank, but in most cases a 40- to 100-watt light bulb should do. One downside to using a light bulb is a higher upfront cost because you must buy a light fixture for the bulb. Another downside is that the light should not be left on for 24 hours a day, leaving the tank cold at night.
Ceramic Heat Emitter
A ceramic heat emitter or a ceramic heat bulb is an infrared bulb that heats objects in the tank but not the air in the tank. This can be a low-cost way to heat a basking spot like a large flat rock in the tank.
One of the biggest advantages to a ceramic heat emitter is that it is not a light bulb and can be left on for 24 hours per day. A ceramic heat emitter can cost between £3 and £13, depending on the brand.
Under Tank Heat Pad
If the tank is small, an under-tank heat pad is a cheap heating option that simply sits underneath the tank. The under-tank heater or heat pad is sticky, but covered with a protective film until you attach it to the tank. Another way to save money is to not stick the heater to the tank, but leave the film on so the heat pad so it can be reused again with different tanks or moved easily. Small under-tank heaters cost about £5.
Increasing the ambient temperature in the room where your reptile tank is can be one of the most cost-effective and cheap ways of heating your reptile tanks, if you have many. For example if you have 10 reptile tanks, it will save you from having to buy 10 under-tank heat pads or 10 ceramic heat emitters, even though it may increase your energy bills by a few dollars a month.