Do Bearded Dragons Need UVA and UVB?

This is a question that has been debated in bearded dragon forums for years and years. The fact is that bearded dragons are nocturnal and mostly arboreal, which means that they spend most of their time in the trees.

In the wild, their diet is very similar to that of other arboreal lizards, which means that UVB light is consumed in the same way as it is in other reptiles; through the food, they eat. However, the issue here is that bearded dragons live in captivity, where the food they eat is prepared in a way that prevents the UVB light from coming through. So, do bearded dragons need UVA and UVB?

Do bearded dragons need UVA and UVB?

Yes, bearded dragons need both UVA and UVB light to stay healthy. These rays help them produce vitamin D3 which is essential for their well-being. They will not be able to do this if they do not have access to both of these forms of light. A bearded dragon must have at least 10 hours per day of natural sunlight or artificial UVB lighting in order to produce the required levels of vitamin D3.

While UVA lights are good for your beardie, they have a higher intensity and deeper skin penetration than UVB lights and may hasten skin shrinking and premature aging in your bearded dragon. I advise you only expose your bearded dragons to only UVB lights.  I recommend (Reptisun 10.0 Uvb Fluorescent Lamp) for your bearded dragon. It has been of great benefit to my bearded pets. 

You’re the proud and protective caregiver of a bearded dragon. You take good care of him and make sure he has a clean habitat, but you want to do something to help him winter properly, or at least not get too cold during the day when it’s in your home? Well, this is where UVB light comes in.

Also Read: 5.0 UVB vs 10.0 UVB for Bearded Dragon: Which of these is the Best?

It’s important for your pet’s health that he get enough UVB light throughout the day. If your bearded dragon does not get this light, he’s not going to be able to produce vitamin D3 in the skin, and if he doesn’t produce enough vitamin D3 in the skin, his bones are going to begin growing too much. When this happens, it can prevent him from standing up straight during the day (which is a big problem for a reptile) and can cause him to have a metabolic bone disease that could eventually kill him.

It is also important to realize that not all UVB lighting is created equal. The intensity of the UVB light produced by a fluorescent tube will be vastly different from that produced by an incandescent bulb, colour ballast, or light-emitting diode (LED).

A UVB bulb close to the basking spot emits less ultraviolet radiation at any given wavelength than a dimmer bulb which is further away from the basking spot. The UVB output from a dimmer bulb also falls off at a slightly different rate than the other bulbs.

A high frequency (HID), a fluorescent lamp, or an incandescent bulb does not have the same detrimental effects on your bearded dragon’s health as standard incandescent bulbs.

What UVB light is best for bearded dragons?

A fluorescent tube should be avoided at all costs because it emits very little UVB radiation.  However, some people do use fluorescent tubes as a source of UVB light for their bearded dragons. I discourage this practice because the UVB emission from these bulbs is very low. It is important to use only UVA and UVB bulbs to control your bearded dragon’s vitamin D3 levels.

The higher the UVB output from your lighting system, the better. Do not use a full-spectrum fluorescent bulb as a source of UVB light for your beardie. These bulbs do not produce enough ultraviolet radiation to be effective. Incandescent bulbs are not the best choice either because they emit less UVB than the sun, and more UVA.

Yes, UVA is also very important and should be included in your bearded dragon’s complete lighting system. However, remember that UVA does not promote vitamin D3 production in bearded dragons. UVA has a detrimental effect on your bearded dragon’s skin. A UVA bulb close to the basking spot is more detrimental than the one further away from the basking area.

If you need a UVB bulb for your bearded dragon, here are some recommendations which I use for my beardies:

ZOO MED ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Lamp

Because it provides 10% UVB lighting in a tiny form, the ZOO MED ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Lamp is the finest overall selection for UVB lights for your bearded dragon. This lamp is suitable for use in hood or dome light fixtures.

This lamp produces 30% UVA while remaining cool, which means it will not raise the temperature in your tank. UVA lighting helps to boost your reptile’s attitude, appetite, and activity. It can be used vertically or horizontally to fit various fixtures and fits into any standard threaded socket.

Because this is a quartz bulb, it should not be handled with bare hands. The oils from your hands will corrode the bulb, reducing its lifespan and perhaps causing it to shatter. To preserve UVB efficacy, this lamp should be replaced every 6 months, even if it is not burned out.

Buy ZOO MED ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Lamp on Amazon

Is UVA necessary for bearded dragons?

Although UVA lights are also good, we do not recommend them for a younger bearded dragon. For indoor lighting with no natural sunlight, we recommend intense UVB light bulbs to ensure that the bearded dragon has enough exposure to vitamin D3. Supplemental UVA is probably not needed as they may burn the skin of your bearded dragon and cause premature aging due to their high UV intensity also known as photoaging.


Purchasing a UVB lamp for your bearded dragon may appear to be a difficult undertaking, but it isn’t so bad when you consider the various possibilities! This should help you narrow down your options and serve as an excellent starting point for selecting a bulb for your tank. Keep in mind that many of these do not come with a light fixture, which must be purchased separately.

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