Zoo Med Reptisun 5 High Output UVB T5 Lamp Review

Zoo Med ReptiSun 5 T5-HO UVB LampThis review is for the T5-HO ReptiSun® 5.0 fluorescent bulb from Zoo Med. Click here to read the T8 version review. You can also read about the differences between T5 and T8 lamps.

These lamps offer the same high quality you expect from ReptiSun, but they’re stronger, giving you more flexibility in where you put the lamp. Where the standard ReptiSun 5.0 lamps need to be about 12 inches from your pet in order to offer enough UVB, these lamps give your pet the same 5% UBV at up to 24 inches. This makes them ideal if you have a taller habitat set-up.

Reptile keepers and even zoos use the ReptiSun brand because it’s reliable and high quality. Many won’t use anything else.

Keep reading for more about the ReptiSun 5 High Output T5 bulb:

Jump to the Section You’re Most Interested In
.           Light & Heat Output           Life Expectancy           Benefits
.                Safety                Pros & Cons                Check Prices

Light and Heat Output of This T5 Lamp

Just like other ReptiSun lamps, this is strictly for light, not heat. It gives off the full spectrum of visible light so both you and your pet can see his habitat in the most natural light possible.

UVB rays reach to 24 inches away from the bulb. This is helpful if you’ve made the habitat on the tall side to make sure your boxie can’t climb out. Now you can be sure she’s getting enough UVB to help keep her healthy.

The stronger UV penetration is also helpful if you have a fine mesh cover over your habitat. This kind of cover can filter out about 50% of UV rays. With the stronger bulb, enough can still get through to benefit your pet (although you’ll probably need to put it closer to her than you would without the cover.).

According to Zoo Med, these bulbs are available in three sizes:

  • 22 inch (24 watts)
  • 34 inch (39 watts)
  • 46 inch (54 watts)

It does use slightly more power than the similar T8 bulb, but you get “more bang for your buck,” with brighter light and stronger UV rays.

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Life Expectancy of the ReptiSun 5.0 T5 Lamp

All UV bulbs put out fewer UV rays over time. Even if the light is still bright, the amount of UV rays is decreasing. UV output may be adequate up to about 1-1/2 years, but you have no way to know when it gets too weak, unless you have a UV meter (an expensive piece of equipment). Zoo Med (and most reptile keepers) recommend replacing UV bulbs once a year.

The bulb is made in Germany and Zoo Med’s warranty on it is for 12 months.

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How Your Turtle Benefits From this UV Lamp

Your box turtle needs Vitamin D to help her absorb calcium to keep her bones and shell strong. Without it she will develop metabolic bone disease (MBD). You can give Vitamin D3 supplements but it’s hard to make sure you get the dose right. Too much can make her sick or even kill her. So it’s safest to let her body make it naturally from exposure to UVB rays.

If your pet is already suffering from MBD, UVB rays can help reverse it so her shell and bones can harden again. But it can’t reverse any damage that has already happened. So, for example, a deformed shell will stay deformed. But it won’t get more deformed.

UVA light helps your box turtle see normally (they can see UVA rays), which helps her act and eat normally.

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How to Use/Safety Considerations

Don’t put this lamp too close to your pet. Remember this is a high output bulb that’s stronger than the standard ReptiSuns. According to the Zoo Med UVB reach chart, you want to position it from 12 to 24 inches away. Closer to 24 inches is better.

Don’t look directly into the lamp without wearing UV eye protection. UV light can damage your eyes.

Don’t use these lamps on a thermostat or dimmer. According to Zoo Med, they need specific line voltages. You shouldn’t need to anyway. They don’t give off much heat, so you don’t need to regulate that (it does give off some heat, so you might need to turn down you other heat sources slightly). And you want to turn them off at night to mimic a normal day/night cycle. So even if you have the habitat in your bedroom, it won’t disturb you. You can put it on a timer so that it will turn off automatically.

Keep in mind these are T5 bulbs and need to be used in T5 fixtures (ballasts). They are not interchangeable with the older T8 bulbs.

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Pros and Cons Summary for the ReptiSun 5.0 T5 Lamp

Reptisun 5 HO T5 UVB

These bulbs have a lot going for them and not much against.
product name prosPros:

  • Puts out brighter light and UV rays that reach farther than the standard ReptiSun 5.0 lamp. So it’s better for larger/taller habitats.
  • UVB exposure is the best way for your pet to get the Vitamin D she needs, by making it herself.
  • Helps prevent metabolic bone disease.
  • UVA rays help promote natural activity and feeding behaviors.

product name consCons:

There really aren’t any; at least not as far as how they work goes.

They do contain mercury, so you’ll need to find a place to recycle bulbs (but this is true of all UV bulbs). Many hardware stores, like Home Depot or Ace, have recycling programs. Ask your local store if it participates, or check out LampRecycle for other recycling options.

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    Review Price and Availability for this T5 UV Lamp

    Although these lamps have been available for a couple of years, we found several retailers don’t seem to sell them (or maybe they were just out of stock when we looked). At any rate, the following had this lamp in stock as of this writing:

    If you need a different length than what we’ve linked to, you can search on each site for the right one. But be careful, your search may bring up both T8 and T5 lamps. Remember, they are not interchangeable, so make sure you get the right one for the fixture (ballast) you have.


    You may also want to browse these options:

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    2 thoughts on “Zoo Med Reptisun 5 High Output UVB T5 Lamp Review

      1. boxturtleworld Post author

        Hi Jenn,

        No, these UV bulbs are only for UV light. They don’t provide heat.

        Something like the PowerSun bulb provides heat plus UVA/UVB.


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