Compact reptile UVB bulbs or you can know as short fluorescent bulbs are usually squiggly-shaped and screw into a regular light socket. Compact UVB bulbs have created a lot of controversy among tortoise hobbyists as there were a lot of problems with them in the past.
Some of them didn’t generate enough UVB light, and others seemed to generate too much. Some of them also have caused severe eye problem for tortoises. This is why compact bulbs are not best UVB bulb for tortoise and tubular bulb are more prefer than the compact one. This post is about some risks of health and disadvantages that you can see in Compact UVB bulbs.
#1 Possible irritate tortoise’ eyes
In the past, when the compact UVB lamps first came out, some tortoise owners reported about eye problems in their animals that cause by the very intense UV radiation from some compact fluorescent bulbs at short distances.
However, most turtle experts believe that the problems have been fixed. These compact UVB bulbs was re-designed or be removed. These bulbs have now been replaced with new, improved designs. You just need to ensure that Compact fluorescent UVB bulbs you choose are from reliable well-know manufacturer.
#2 Small UVBX areas
I would like to recommend you should not use compact fluorescent UVB bulbs for you tortoises enclosure as even if you get the best compact uvb bulbs, they are usually provide a small UVB areas at sufficient intensity. They do not create an ideal UVB gradient in the enclosure – too strong and possible harmful at close distance and too weak at a usable distance
#3 UVB output is higher than normal
The older models of compact fluorescent bulbs may have an initial burn-in period. That means they will create higher UVB output than normal. To fix this, you will need to place these bulbs higher than usual or further from the tortoise enclosure. It can take 150 hours of lighting until it get the normal UVB output.
#4 Cannot be used with mirrored fixture
If you use compact fluorescent bulbs, it is better to not use a mirror-type metal reflector with it as it concentrates the UVB light too much. Avoid using mirrored fixture. Instead you can use satin metal or white-painted interior fixture. If your tortoises shows any sign of eye irritation, you should turn off the bulb for a few days and observe them.