What type of lighting should be used for frogs? Compact fluorescent or incandescent bulbs?

“I bought my friend a Exo-Terra terrarium 18x18x18 but didn’t get a hood for it yet. What type of lighting should be used for the frogs she has, compact fluorescent bulbs or low wattage incandescent bulbs?”

It depends. Lighting does several things:

  1. Provides a photoperiod and light for inhabitants.
  2. Provides heat.
  3. Provides access to ultraviolet radiation, if needed.

Most likely compact fluorescent bulbs will be best for the terrarium. These don’t produce much heat but they are great for growing plants and lighting enclosures.

There are also compact fluorescent bulbs which produce ultraviolet-B radiation, so if your friend will be keeping a species of frog that could benefit from UVB consider this when choosing the bulb.

You would want to use low wattage incandescent bulbs if you thought the lighting would be used mainly for heat and temperature control. For instance, if the terrarium is going to be in a cool basement it might be advantageous to use incandescent bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs would not necessarily provide the right light for plants though, so if you plan to use live plants either choose species that do not need especially bright light or use compact fluorescent, fluorescent, LED or other types of lighting in combination with incandescent light for heat.

Lastly, don’t forget to include a high quality thermometer. Digital ones with external probes are best and will help determine whether or not a heat lamp is needed.

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