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When it comes to lighting our reptiles’ enclosures, our first thoughts are usually infrared (heat), UVB, and maybe UVA. However, in nature the sun provides more than just heat and UVA/UVB. It also supplies visual light — and a lot of it!
What is visual light, and what makes it different from UV? Well, first of all, visual light is visible to humans. Other wavelengths of light, namely ultraviolet and infrared, are not visible to humans, even though reptiles can see ultraviolet A (UVA). Visual light is what illuminates the world around you and contains all the colors of the rainbow.
Reptiles depend on visual light to help regulate their circadian rhythm, or day/night cycle. “Sun worshipping” reptiles like bearded dragons and uromastyx need light even more—bright light is critically important to their mental wellbeing and energy levels.
If you have live plants in your reptile’s enclosure, visual light takes on additional importance. Generally speaking, plants need 3 basic components to survive: soil, water, and light. But not just any light will do—it needs to be the right kind of light, as similar to natural sunlight as possible, between 2700 and 7000 Kelvin. Ultraviolet light and infrared can actually damage plants! But the sun produces ultraviolet and infrared, so why aren’t all the plants on Earth dead? The key is to provide plants with enough visual light to enable them to heal and grow faster than the ultraviolet and infrared can damage them.
Plant growers used to use red- and blue- colored LEDs to give plants to simulate this full spectrum of light, because white LEDs that could provide the necessary spectrum and brightness hadn’t been invented yet. But modern white LEDs can now provide the full spectrum and brightness of light that plants need, while using the least amount of power and lasting the longest, making them the most effective option.
Today, ReptiFiles is reviewing the White Python Daylight White LED Light kit. White Python is a UK-based reptile equipment manufacturer that offers options in ceramic heaters, heat mats, LED lighting, and a small selection of reptile diets.
- Starts at $29.95
- 6000-6500K color temperature
- 447nm (blue) peak wavelength, with another peak between 530-573nm (green)
- Does not emit UVA or UVB
- Produces 20.5 lumens/watt per strip
- Uses 3.6w per strip
- Uses SMD 5050 LEDs
- 15 LEDs per 10.5”/27cm strip
- Kits are available in 1’, 2’, 3’, and 4’ lengths, but can be extended
- Each kit includes a 18w transformer with plug, wires, connectors, mounting magnetic tape
- Also includes metal clips for more secure mounting
- 50,000 hour lifespan
- 3 year warranty
- Advertised for crepuscular species such as leopard geckos, corn snakes, and royal (ball) pythons
One of the first things I looked for when I received this product was a note about UVB. Many new reptile keepers mistakenly assume that any product advertised as a “daylight” lamp produces UVB, much to the harm of their new pet. I was happy to see a clear note on the package which stated that this product does not produce UVA or UVB. It was a bit small, though—if I had my way, lamps like these would have a large message on the front, akin to a Surgeon General’s Warning, about the product not producing UVB.
The product kit arrived with a dimmer, which I found very helpful. LED lights require a different kind of dimmer than fluorescents and incandescents, and using the wrong type of dimmer can permanently harm a lamp, so this is a good way to guard against consumer error.
The product kit also arrived with supplies for mounting: a choice of hardware and magnetic strips to suit the user’s needs and preferences. I found the magnetic strips particularly genius, as they made installation on the ceiling of a PVC enclosure almost suspiciously easy.
The instruction booklet was quite comprehensive, professionally formatted, and easy to understand. The instructions themselves were available in several different languages!
Putting it Together
The design of the White Python Daylight White LED Light kit is quite ingenious—you can link together as many 10.5” strips together as you want to create the desired length for your enclosure. Kind of like LED Legos!
I found the magnetic strips that were included with this kit particularly genius, as they make installation on the ceiling of a PVC enclosure almost suspiciously easy.
The Final Product
For testing this product, I added about 32” (3 strips) of White Python Daylight White LED Lights to a 4’ long bearded dragon enclosure that already had a 100w halogen heat bulb, 22” T5 HO UVB bulb, and a 22” T5 HO 6400K fluorescent for lighting.
The result was a noticeable difference in the amount of available light in the enclosure. It wasn’t bright enough to adequately light a “sun-worshipping” diurnal species on its own, but it was certainly beneficial in the quality and quantity of light that was added to the setup. Aside from helping to nourish the live succulents that are part of the setup, the attractive daylight-like white light makes for beautiful in-enclosure photos.
Things I Liked About the White Python Daylight White LED Light
- Easy to assemble and install
- Slim, can install just about anywhere
- Low power consumption helps keep the power bill and electric load down
- The daylight-simulating spectrum helps produce beautiful photos
- Diodes are relatively closely packed at every 1.8cm or ¾”, helping prevent light spotting
- Peak wavelength in the blue spectrum, which is the most important color of light for plants
- Eco-friendly way to provide extra light for diurnal reptiles
Things I Didn’t Like About the White Python Daylight White LED Light
- Too few diodes for optimal plant growth, especially in large enclosures
- Weak — only produces 74 lumens per strip
- Must be used with other lights for optimal brightness in diurnal enclosures
Conclusion: A rather halfhearted way brighten a reptile enclosure
ReptiFiles Rating: 3 stars
The White Python Daylight White LED Light does a good job of providing white light for reptile enclosures with an unobtrusive, easy-to-install fixture. It has few significant negative points, but my biggest concern with this product is that, while it’s better than nothing, it’s just not enough for healthy plant growth.
I don’t recommend using the White Python Daylight White LED Light on its own for any species, and if I want a lamp for extra illumination, I’m going to opt for one or two full-length T5 HO 6500k bulbs or a high-PAR LED bar — especially for setups which house a diurnal species. That said, if you’re really worried about making the enclosure too bright for your forest-dwelling, nocturnal reptile, but still want extra illumination, then this LED may be useful alongside appropriate heat and UVB lamps as long as there are no live plants involved.
ReptiFiles’ tips for using this product:
- Light strip(s) should span 75-100% of the enclosure’s length.
- Not recommended for use with diurnal species or for illuminating enclosures larger than 36″L x 18″W x 18″H.
- Install multiple strips placed close together for lighting a cluster of plants (will require multiple kits).
- The metal clips should be used if the light is being installed in a high humidity environment, dusty environment, or where surfaces may not be 100% flat.