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RE: Mercury Vapor bulbs

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Posted by: PHLdyPayne at Thu Nov 18 14:58:16 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by PHLdyPayne ]  
   

I expect 55 gal tanks come in different shapes so some may be wider than others...but even then, what you want for an adult dragon cage is one that is at least 4' long by 2' wide. Height can be anywhere between 18-24". Mercury vapour bulbs are better for bigger tanks than bearded dragons typically need....and often don't put out enough heat to serve as the primary basking lamp. They do need to be at least 18" above the basking spot which puts them outside most standard glass tanks. As they are outside, heat escapes far more so they don't serve very well as a basking spot

IN a 24" high cage, you could mount the MVB inside the cage...which will help prevent heat escape (providing the top isn't all screen which lets heat escape quickly. But with an inside mounted MVB bulb, you have to make sure the basking spot is very low...only a few inches above the 'floor' of the cage (and this includes the thickness of any substrate, as well as the basking spot, if sitting ontop of sand.(though better to have the basking spot flat on the floor of the cage, and have sand around it). As a MVB itself may hang 4-6" from the fixture (some are pretty long bulbs) you really dont' have much room for any height to a basking spot in a 24" cage. You have none for any cage that is less than 24".

So, you would need to get a higher cage than 24" for MVB to be mounted inside a dragon's cage...and to me, this just is a waste of money when a basic 8 or 10.0 florescent bulb (the long tubes, not the compacts) will still provide enough UVB light, last just as long as the MVB and you can have the basking spot alot closer without any harmful effects. You still need a warm basking lamp but in most situations you need one with a MVB anyway.

Thus, your best bet is to first, get a bigger cage than you plan...if you have any carpentry skills (and you don't need alot really to build a cage, just a little planning ahead) or know somebody who does and enjoy working with their hands, build your own cage. It doesn't cost much in material to build a 4'x2'x2' cage or even a 4'x2'x 18". You can go bigger as well, as these are the minimum sizes. All you really need is a saw, drill and screw driver (or you can use a hammer and nail but I find using nails tends to just split wood..plus it makes it impossible to take the tank apart of needed..also using a drill and screw driver eliminates hitting thumbs with hammers LOL)

You can use melamine to build your cage...pretty straight forward to make a big rectangle with front mounted doors. The doors can be screen, in a frame, sliding glass doors or plexiglass mounted in a wooden frame (glass can be used too but easier to drill holes through plexiglass...and glass may require using a router to make groves in the frame for it to sit on).

I don't have any special carpentry skills nor do I have any fancy power tools..other than a standard drill. There are also plenty of 'Do It Yourself' sites with plans on how to build cages, even if they may not be specifically for bearded dragons...all you have to keep in mind is it must hold heat well, have plenty of floor space and simple enough to match your building skills.
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PHLdyPayne

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