Do Crested Geckos need UV to Survive and Thrive?

If you own a crested gecko, you might wonder if providing UV lighting is just another trend or an essential element. The answer is a definite yes when it comes to bioactive terrariums where plants and your pet need this crucial light source for thriving. However, some experts claim that UV lighting isn’t necessary for vivarium setups that aren’t bioactive. While it might be true, it’s still debatable. Wild crested geckos typically wake up and hunt at dawn and dusk, spending time under the sunlight, and don’t always sleep during the day in enclosed spaces. Since many reptiles use UV to produce Vitamin D3, today, we’ll clarify the topic and help decipher whether to invest in UV lighting. Additionally, we’ll share some tips on where to place the bulb and how to ensure safe and effective usage.

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Reptile keeping is a niche hobby, and it’s no surprise that opinions regarding crested geckos and UV lighting vary. Based on my pet care experience as a writer, obsessed with reptiles and science, and a crestie owner, I’ll share my perspective on the issue.

Does Your Crested Gecko Need UVB Lighting?

It’s technically possible to maintain a crested gecko vivarium without UVB lighting, and some pets might even survive for several months or years without it.

Which Type of UV Lighting is Best for Cresties?

The ideal UVB lighting for a crested gecko is a UVB bar with the same length as the top end of the vivarium. Arcadia and Exo Terra are currently the most popular brands, but other options are available.

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Where Should You Place Your Crested Gecko’s UVB Light?

Your crested gecko will most likely reside in an 18 x 18 x 24-inch tank with a mesh lid. To illuminate at least half of the vivarium, place the UVB bulb on top of the screen cover. I suggest positioning the heat bulb at the back of the tank with a thermostat below it and the UVB bulb at the front. Make sure there is sufficient hiding space for your shy pet in the form of decor or foliage in the vivarium.

Is UVB Lighting Necessary for Crested Geckos at Night?

It’s okay to put your UVB light on a timer or turn it off when you sleep. Crested geckos are most active during darkness, and mimicking their natural environment as closely as possible is beneficial to their well-being.

How Often Should You Replace UVB Bulbs?

UVB bulbs burn for longer than they emit UV. Depending on the brand, you’ll need to replace the UVB bulb every six months or once a year. When you install a new UVB bulb in your pet’s habitat, set a reminder on your phone to ensure timely and safe replacement and avoid going too long without any UVB lighting or excessively changing the bulb too frequently.

Can UVB Lighting Harm Your Crested Gecko?

Improperly placed or excessively bright UVB lights may cause eye, skin, or general health problems for crested geckos. However, this holds for many pet care products that are safe when appropriately placed and used. Therefore, a reptile-safe UVB light appropriately placed and turned off at night will not injure your pet.

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Do Your Crested Geckos Need UVB Lighting?

When I decided to switch from mammals and fish to reptile keeping, I spent years researching to create a friendly environment for my new pets. Though a basic setup might be sufficient, providing your pet with optimal conditions is crucial. As humans, we may survive without comfort or luxury, but it makes us feel happier and more comfortable. Likewise, your crestie will appreciate a UVB lighting bar over their tank for optimal health, so why not invest in one?

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