If you just got a veiled chameleon or if you want to get one, lighting can be a very confusing topic. There are tube bulbs, coiled bulbs, spots and tons of other bulbs. So you might have even looked for how to set up veiled chameleon lighting in forums and after that you are probably even more confused, because everybody has a unique opinion on this topic.
Don´t worry! In this article you will learn how to set up the lighting correctly, which bulbs you need and which parts you don´t need. Further I will explain to you what else you should keep in mind when it comes to lighting for your chameleon.
I promise, after reading this article you will be confusion free 🙂
Let´s Break It Down!
Lighting for most reptiles can be broken down into three different sections: Light, heat and UVB. Below you will learn what this means and what you need to create a proper lighting for your veiled chameleon.
Veiled Chameleon Heat Lamp
As all reptiles, veiled chameleons are cold blooded. That means that they need their environment to control their body temperature. In the wild, veiled chameleons use the warmth of the sun to get their body on temperature. As soon as their bodies are warm enough, they start to hunt food, look for a partner or defend their territory from other chameleons.
If veiled chameleons have no possibility to get their body on temperature, their bodies won´t function properly. They can´t move properly and they are unable to hunt food.
That´s why you have to create a sun in your chameleon inclosure. When it comes to heating, you simply need to get heat lamp like this. I recommend to use this fixture for the heat lamp so you can place the heat bulb with the fixture on top of your tank´s screencover.
Veiled Chameleon Temperature
Of course, the heat bulb needs to reach a certain temperature. This is actually pretty easy, as veiled chameleons are very hardy and happy with most temperatures.
You should have a tall enclosure. At the bottom, make sure that the temperature is at least 68 °F (20 °C). In the upper section there should be a temperature of up to 86 °F (30 °C). The hot spot, which is the area right below the heat lamp, should be between 95 °F (35 °C) and 104 °F (40 °C). Yepp, this is hot.
It is okay if the temperature varies from time to time. If it is too hot, your veiled chameleon will hang out in the lower section of the enclosure. If it is too cold, you will see your chameleon near the heat lamp all the time. As I said, it is okay if the temperature varies from time to time, just make sure that it isn´t too hot or too cold all the time.
Veiled Chameleon UVB
UVB is needed to produce vitamin D3. If veiled chameleons do not produce vitamin D3, they are not able to process calcium. Calcium is needed for growth and for solid and healthy bones. If your veiled chameleon doesn´t get that, the bones will get soft, eventually your veiled chameleon won´t be able to eat anymore and it will die.
Not to mention how horribly deformed they get when their bones get soft. I know this sounds like a horror movie, but it is true. That´s why you need to make sure that you have a great UVB bulb.
ReptiSun - The Best UVB Bulb
The ReptiSun is one of the greatest UVB bulbs you can get on the market.
The best UVB bulb is this one. If you want to get a good UVB bulb, there is no way around it. The lights should be placed on top of the enclosure as well. The bulb should be as wide as your tank, so simply choose your needed size and you are fine. It even comes with a fixture.
What About Light?
Many people think that veiled chameleons don´t need too much light. They think it is okay if it is rather dark in the tank. However that is not true. You should make sure that the tank is very bright. Most chameleon species love that.
Further you should make sure that you create a day and a night cycle. 12 hours of light is okay for a chameleon. Please do not leave the lights on during the night. I get so many emails from reptile keepers who tell me that they leave the lights on 24/7, because they don´t know if their chameleon dies if they turn off the lights.
Chameleons need sleep, so turn the lights of manually or use a time switch like this. Both bulbs, the heat bulb and the UVB bulb.
What Else Should You Know?
You should know that the UVB bulbs have to be replaced every six to eight months. The UVB output wears off after some time.
Further you should make sure that your veiled chameleon is able to get out of the sun. So put a lot of plants inside the chameleon enclosure. In my opinion a ficus is good for a veiled chameleon cage. There are a lot of leaves and branches your chameleon can use for climbing and it offers a lot of protection from the "sun" if the chameleon feels it has enough.
If you need help with setting up a complete veiled chameleon tank, read my veiled chameleon tank setup guide.
As you see, veiled chameleon lighting is not really hard. The only hard thing about it is the research. So make sure you create an awesome lighting for your veiled chameleon. If you have any questions, leave a message below and I will be more than happy to help you out.