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Old 02-28-2020, 12:14 AM
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Default Lighting for a tall terrarium

Hey guys just starting a terrarium/Vivarium build and I’m custom making a 5’ tall unit x 2’ wide. Wondering if a 20 x20 glass top with a led light on top would be enough light to hit plants and substrate at bottom or should I incorporate a second led strip light half way through? Maybe the strip light could be under a cliff/dirt over hang that I can make? Or am I just wasting my time and money and won’t have a thriving tank lol. I would post a pic of the inclosure but I don’t know how to do it yet.
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Old 02-28-2020, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Lighting for a tall terrarium

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Originally Posted by Micro_myke View Post
Or am I just wasting my time and money and won’t have a thriving tank lol.
Define 'thriving'. What is it you're aiming for?

LED COB spots, or MH lamps can punch down a few feet easily. You might have to grow wheat at the top, though, and the shading effect would be incredible.

Lighting inside a viv can be challenging. Water and electricity and all that. Even the little 12vdc LEDs in my snake enclosures are more problematic than all my dart viv lighting.

Do note that rainforest floors are virtually devoid of plants, so if you're going for anything like a natural look (as opposed to a carpet of moss or some other YouTubey look) you'll only need light on the top half, anyway.

Is this an enclosure for fauna, or only flora?
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Old 02-28-2020, 12:59 AM
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I’ll have both in terrarium, it will be for 3-4 crested geckos. I am very very new to this hobby. The floor would be a natural look but I would love to have moss everywhere else. When I comes to flora I’m not sure as of yet what I’ll be planting. I just don’t want plants I put in to die do too lighting not be sufficient enough. Should I start the plants half way up so they get decent light? What would be the purpose of the wheat? Like I said I’m new to this haha.
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Old 02-28-2020, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Lighting for a tall terrarium

Wheat: it is a joke; it'll be really bright on top.

Do your research on cresties first, before you design the viv. Any viv that grows moss is way too wet for cresties. And a densely planted viv is really unnatural for rhacs in general -- a jumble of cork tubes is much more comfortable for them. They like to hide, not fall off plants that can't hold their weight.

I'd strongly recommend one crestie to start, in a reasonably sized/shaped/off the shelf viv (exo terra 18 x 18 x24 would be ideal for one, with room to add another). Cohabbing animals is for the experienced, who have a chance of knowing what to look for when one is going downhill (it isn't often obvious).

Once you learn the animal, and basic viv maintenance, then think big and creative.

You're in this with your kid, you had said -- best not to kill anything that a kid is attached to, which is easy to do if you think you can game the learning curve.
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Old 02-28-2020, 01:36 AM
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great thanks for your help with everything
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Old 02-28-2020, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Lighting for a tall terrarium

Agreed, putting a ton of light into this tank isn't going to make for happy crested geckos. They'll be more prone to fully hiding if there are bright lights in the tank.

Cork tubes, cork flats on angles, vines, etc. are much more crested gecko friendly.
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Old 02-29-2020, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: Lighting for a tall terrarium

I am planning on building a couple of tanks and have purchased a shop light at Home Depot like this one by commercial electric model # 1002 235 453. This light would illuminate your tank from the top to the bottom.

Home Depot 3 foot Shot light.







It is an LED light with a 3 foot tube which is powered at one end. I have removed the plastic receiving end which is opposite of the power supply. I going to be sealing the empty end of the tube so that it is water proof.

I will be drilling a hole in the front corner of the tank from the top and inserted the light through the hole so that it hangs on the tank and decends down into the tank at the very front corner of the tank.

It is a very inexpensive and it nicely illuminates the tank from the front, top to bottom.



I have also purchased several other lights, Lithonia model # 239 UAK that I am using in other ways.


Home Depot Lithonia 2 foot stip light.






It has a ¾ plastic diffuser that slides over and attaches the LED strip to the diffuser.. LEDs are typically powered from one side. These lights are. I am planning on drilling a hole in the top corner of the side of the tank which will feed the wire into the tank. I will seal the diffuser to the glass so that it will be waterproof, will be hidden behind the plastic rim along the top of the tank, and will again illuminate the tank from the front. Having a vent above the light will also aid in tank ventilation / air circulation and will keep the heat from building up in the tank.

I have also modified reversed these lights so that they sit on top of the tank, with a very low ¼ inch profile. They work very well.
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Last edited by davecalk; 02-29-2020 at 02:32 PM.
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