Reptiles love the heat. They love being out in the sun to heat their bodies and get warm. A reptile heat lamp takes the place of the sun in their captive habitat.
Before you run out and just buy a reptile heat lamp for your reptile aquarium you need to know a little more about your own species. Many reptile starter kits come bundled with two separate clamp lights because they know many species require two, or more, different kinds of lights.
The most common reptile heat lamp is the simple basking spotlight. These provide a full spectrum of visible light including UVA rays. What is important about the spotlight is the concentrated focus of light and heat it provides for reptile species who like it very warm. They will get into the concentrated light to warm up their bodies.
One aspect of the heat lamp you must take very careful concern with is the proper placement. You must keep it far enough away to not overheat your reptiles, but close enough to supply the proper amount of heat. Check information on your species to see what heat is ideal and then test various distances using a thermometer. Remember as the bulb ages it will diminish in intensity and may need adjustment on distance. Plan on replacing the bulb about every 2000 hours of usage.
The second critical form of heat lamp provides much less visible light, but important heat. An infrared heat lamp is an important portion of any nocturnal reptiles life. It provides heat during those cooler nighttime hours without destroying the reptiles normal day to night transition. Infrared heat lights are commonly used during the daytime hours to provide added heat without increasing the intensity of brightness. Depending on the size or your reptile enclosure you may need more than one clamp light fixture for your infrared reptile heat lamp setup.
One other hybrid form of reptile heat lamp produce either no light or almost no light. These ceramic heating elements are often considered bulbs simply because they screw into the same fixtures as your basking lights and infrared lights. They are used to provide even greater heat in the basking areas. The big advantage of the ceramic fixtures is their life. They are designed to last nearly 10,000 hours.
Some reptile heat lamps are not in the shape of a spotlight at all. They are designed to fit in the lids of the reptile aquariums and provide generalized heat to the entire tank.
The most important element of choosing a reptile heat lamp setup is to evaluate the needs of the species and then use thermometers to adjust the number of bulbs and their distance from the reptiles. Proper heating is a crucial element in the health of your cold-blooded reptiles. With a little testing and effort on your part, you will have lizards, snakes, or turtles basking in the glow of their new heat lamp.