Artificially timing AFT day/night cycles with UVB

Mythicus

New Member
Messages
2
Location
Michigan
I've kept and bred Bearded Dragons before but I'm still pretty new to African Fat Tailed Geckos. I currently work and live on a night shift schedule and thought that I might naturally get to see/interact with a nocturnal lizard more while I work this schedule. But I'm concerned that just leaving the day/night cycle to be determined by when the house lights are on vs. off will not provide a steady cycle since daylight comes through the blinds during the day ... and room lights are on at night when I'm awake. I'd like to provide a steady cycle by giving extra shaded hiding areas and artificially reinforce the day/night cycle with uvb lights (5.0 ZooMed) but I'm not sure how to time/program this considering my unusual schedule.

If they're naturally more active at night, then it would seem the best option would be to have the UVB on during the day like normal, and off at night when I'm awake. I'm just worried that my overhead room lights (incandescent ceiling light) might send mixed signals? Is there any way to avoid or minimize this? Any ideas and suggestions that might be useful in this situation?

In case specs are needed:

My geckos are housed in a "gecko bookshelf" using heat tape for heating with a programmable thermostat. Each shelf/enclosure is 24"L x 13"W x 13"H. Non Adhesive shelf liner used as "substrate". Moist hides provided in cool and hot side (I tried to use Sphagnum moss in the hides, and this held moisture very well but my picky AFT's didn't like it. They boycotted it. So I switched to paper towel in the moist hides and now they sleep in there. Finally). An extra hide (dry) sits in the middle. Cage is furnished with plastic ivy type vines secured by suction cup to the walls. My AFT's prefer their hides when the entrances are partially hidden by these leaves. Shallow water dish and calcium dish provided at all times. Currently feeding mealworms though testing out a little variety with superworms and Phoenix worms (bsfl). Will never use crickets again, due to bad experiences with parasite infections in my Beardies from crickets. I've never had trouble with any of the "worm" varieties before so I'm sticking to those. Roaches are, unfortunately, not an option at this time due to squeamish family members. Dusting with rep cal + d3 and herptivite. When UVB's are installed, I'll switch to purely calcium without d3. Since my AFT's (1 yr old and a 2 yr old housed separately) are only eating about once a week at the moment, I'm dusting at every feeding.

Hot spot - 96F (I tried starting them at 88 but they were sluggish and lay as flat as they could in the hottest portion of the cage, barely moving even for food. I slowly adjusted temps until I found they seemed comfortable exploring a little at 96 which tells me they're successfully thermoregulating at that point.) Cool side usually sits between 75-78F. Temps are taken using a digital laser infrared temp gun and the digital probe attached to the thermostat.

This is my first post here, so let me know if I missed anything or you need more info to answer the question. I know it's a weird one but, hey, that's my life right now.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
11,301
Location
Somerville, MA
My geckos are in my living room and dining room. I spend most evenings in the living room (I'm there now) with the lights on. The geckos (all 65 of them) are fine. They sleep during the day and they're active at night and don't seem to really mind the overhead light.

Aliza
 

Mythicus

New Member
Messages
2
Location
Michigan
Thanks for all the replies everyone! Sorry I didn’t respond sooner, I thought I’d set my account to notify me of replies but I guess not.

There’s no better place in the house for them right now. Everything else is drafty or has large temperature swings that even their thermostat might have trouble regulating.

So I’ve installed 12 inch 5% uvb in each cage set on a timer for 12 hours of daylight (should it be 14?) So far they actually seem a bit more active than before.
 

indyana

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,334
Location
Massachusetts, United States
On the hours, I actually vary mine a bit throughout the year so that it's down to 9-10 in winter and up to 14 in summer. If you aren't going to bother, 12 is fine for an average.
 
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