I've owned reptiles for at least 15 years now. In the past, it was hard to find the correct lighting for any kind of reptile-you had to search for stores that carried the products, then pay an arm and a leg for the specialty item. A lot of pet stores would have told you in the past to use aquarium lighting. If you're a good reptile mommy or daddy, you know that these guys need special stuff-lights, heat, the correct foods, and vitamin supplements in a lot of situations. When we take them out of the rainforest or the desert, we remove the environmental necessities that they had there, too. Thankfully, it's gotten a lot more affordable to take good care of your pet.
Aggie, my iguana, is about 12-15 years old. She's more than 3 feet long, in good shape, and happy in her 55 gallon aquarium (she gets out regularly for monitored strolls outside or in a sunny window when it's cold outside). A couple weeks ago, my original lighting fixture broke-it was a 4 foot aquarium light with the special reptile lamp in it. The fixture was at least 10 years old and had been on its last legs, so I needed to go get a new one. Shopping around, I saw that I'd have to spend 80-100 dollars on a new fixture!! With money being a bit tight since the economy took a hit recently, I just didn't want to spend that kind of money. I saw a new kind of fixture, though, a 18 inch lamp and fixture together in a boxed set for just $34! Not bad when you consider the lamp itself was about $40 for the 4 foot and $20 or 30 for the 18 inch. I went ahead and bought it-it works great! It offers the full spectrum lighting for a very reasonable price. The unit is durable, fashionable, compact, and doesn't seem to heat up or do anything negative. For that price, you can't go wrong!
The only things I didn't like about this were 1. the cord could have been a little longer-I think it's a 5 foot cord, long enough for the purpose, but a little longer would have been more convenient. 2. have the unit come with the tropical bulb-they have specified that there is a ddesert bulb and a tropical bulb-there shouldn't bee too much difference but only offer the set with the desert bulb included, so Aggie will have to deal with a desert bulb for a little while. and 3. offer a larger fixture-I would have paid a little more for a fixture that would come closer to covering my aquarium although this is a lot better than nothing and it does offer her a good basking spot versus a darker area for relaxing.
I highly recommend this for the beginning reptile owner-it mkes a lot of sense to have a good fixture and the correct bulb for a good price, especially if the items are for a kid-this fixture is very durable and encasesd in tough plastic so it doesn't seem like it would break with one little drop like the old fixtures would have. If you do get a reptile, take care of it! It's a living animal too and it has a righ t to have the correct living situation if we are going to take it out of the wild-this item is a good way to get one of the biggest requirements out of the way at a reasonable cost!!
(Side note-lighting is very improtant for the reptile to metabolize vitamin D, allowing its bones to take in calcium the correct way. Without correct lighting and heat, the metabolism goes wrong and you will end up with a very sick animal, most likely contracting a spongey-bone condition called metabolic bone disease. Please look up your animal and do some reasearch before buying to ensure its health.)