Terrarium and Vivarium Lighting

Vivaria, enclosures that contain both living animals and plants, are quickly growing in popularity. One of the more difficult aspects of keeping a vivarium is lighting. Lighting for vivaria is typically necessary just to keep the plants happy. There are 2 popular forms of vivarium lighting currently offered by Josh’s Frogs: LED Lighting and T5 Lighting.

For more information on vivarium lighting, be sure to check out the Josh’s Frogs blog on vivarium lighting entitled ‘Let There Be Light‘.





LEDs are the new kids on the block when it comes to vivarium lighting. This technology is still growing, but there are LED lighting solutions on the market that are appropriate for vivarium use. LEDs use remarkably little energy and produce very little heat for their light output. On top of that, the lifespan of an LED is typically 10 years or more! They have been utilized in the hydroponics industry longer than the dart frog hobby has taken advantage of them, and there are several brands available. They can sometimes be a little difficult to find, but are well worth the effort. LED lighting also tends to remain more intense at a distance, allowing the lower reaches of a vivarium to be lit.




T5 lighting is an upgrade to T8 bulbs. T5s are narrower, but they produce considerably more light and heat, and consume more energy. I use T5 bulbs in my frog room, which can take advantage of the extra byproduct heat (it’s a basement in Michigan). Popular in the hydroponics industry, there are many different brands available – most of which are appropriate for use with the home vivarium.


Formerly the Exo Terra 2.0 UVB bulb, Exo Terra's new Natural Light compact fluorescent bulbs emit high levels of UVA light, which promote natural behaviors and aid in breeding in many species of reptiles and amphibians. Exo Terra Natural Lights have a high visual light output and a color of 6700K, making them great for plant growth, and ideal for use with a naturalistic vivarium.

The brand new Exo Terra Reptile Vision compact fluorescent bulb is specifically designed with a reptile's perception in mind. Reptile eyes see at different wavelengths of light to the human eye. The Exo Terra Reptile Vision bulb emits the wavelengths of light most vital to a reptile's perception of it's environment, and will greatly improve the well being of your pet reptile. Josh's Frogs strongly recommends using the Exo Terra Reptile Vision Bulb in conjunction with a Compact Fluoresecent UVB bulb in an Exo Terra Compact Top.
  The Exo Terra Natural Light ION Deodorizing Bulb uses new technology to produce negative ions that help to sterilize and clean the air. The Exo Terra Natural Light ION Deodorizing Bulb eliminates odors, purifies your terrarium's or vivarium's air, neutralizes mold spores, and creates a healthy environment for your pet reptile or amphibian. The Exo Terra Natural Light ION Deodorizing Bulb also produces high levels of quality visible light, aiding in your pet reptile's or amphibian's psychological well being. Josh's Frogs recommends the Exo Terra Natural Light ION Deodorizing Bulb for use with any reptiles and amphibians that prefer moderate to bright light levels. The Exo Terra Natural Light ION Deodorizing Bulb is also great for naturalistic vivaria, as the light spectrum is great for plant growth.