Lighting Decisions with a New Display

Lighting Decisions with a New Display

Some vivarium displays are laid out such that there's really no tough decisions to make about lighting because the sizes all line up nicely.  But if you're building custom enclosures, or just like sizes where nothing off the pet store shelf fits well, then you've got to make some choices. 

Where you like to place the top vent in your vivarium also greatly impacts what kinds of lighting you can use -- front, middle or back vent?  It seems like everyone's got a different opinion about what works best.  It's often contextual though so having flexible options means that you're not locked into one overall design formula.

This new viv, with the "poor man's Lehmanni" (banded leucomelas) has a center vent and a long width with not much depth (38"x15"x22").  Just one long strip light won't cover it well from front to back, so two lights would seem to be the obvious choice.  But there's really two options here as well.

It can be done either way shown here.  I've found that covering the vent in places with these light panels has not been an issue, either with ventilation or the effect the humidity has on the light itself.  There is some cosmetic discoloration of the LED strip over time, but it's not affecting the performance of the light.

*Two 16" x 13" panels over the vent

*Two 36" x 5" panels that do not touch the center vent

The later choice is the one that literally everyone goes with, but there are situations where the first lighting layout might make sense for you.  If so, that's a choice that's a viable option now.