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    Default UBV Lighting + D3 Supplements?


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    I am pretty new to Geckos having purchased a pair of Phelsuma grandis about 1.5 months ago.

    I recently read somewhere that excessive amounts of D3 could be harmful and even fatal to reptiles. I am a bit concerned because I am using a fairly strong source of UVB (125 Watt Mercury Vapor bulb) and I have been dusting all my crickets with Exo Terra Calcium + D3 supplement. I feed each gecko about 15 to 20 crickets per week.

    Do you think that I am providing my geckos with too much D3 from both the UVB lighting and the supplement? If so, do you have any suggestions for how I should change my routine or other products (supplements) I should use? Thank you so much for any feedback and advice you can offer.

    Edit: For your reference I checked Exo Terra's website for information about the supplement and they say that it contains 14,740 IU per lb of D3 which amounts to about 32,000 IU per kg.
    Last edited by skoram; 07-30-2016 at 06:38 AM.
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    As long as you're using Mercury Vapor bulbs, your Phelsuma grandis should not need any powdered D3.

    However, I've not used 125 Watt Mercury Vapor bulbs. A screen top cuts down on the effective UVB transmission, so be sure to read the directions.

    I've kept Phelsuma barbouri under Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0 UVBs for about 10 years. The only powdered supplement they get is Zoo Med's plain (no D3) ReptiVite multivitamins about 2x per month. I feed their crickets a good powdered diet of finely ground Zoo Med's Natural Adult Bearded Dragon food. Sometimes I also feed the crickets pesticide-free dandelion flowers/leaves or collard greens. There are other high calcium, low phosphorus, veggies.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for your helpful reply Elizabeth When you say "However, I've not used 125 Watt ... bulbs", do you mean that mine may be weaker than the MV bulbs you are familiar with? I ask because I've not seen anything stronger than 125 Watt MV bulbs here in Korea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skoram View Post
    Thanks for your helpful reply Elizabeth When you say "However, I've not used 125 Watt ... bulbs", do you mean that mine may be weaker than the MV bulbs you are familiar with? I ask because I've not seen anything stronger than 125 Watt MV bulbs here in Korea.
    Good question!

    I've only heard of MV bulbs. I don't know anything about them.

    I'd make sure the MV bulbs are the strength you need. I would NOT combine UVB lighting with a powdered D3 supplement. In my experience the Phelsuma barbouri are getting the D3 they currently need from the Reptisun 5.0 UVB fluorescent tube fixtures. In contrast to most Phelsuma, Phelsuma barbouri do well in "short" horizontal enclosures.

    When I use powdered D3 calcium for geckos, I don't use it at every feeding. There's is a huge variation in D3 amount per brand. For instance Rep-Cal's D3 Calcium contains 38x more D3 than does Zoo Med's D3 Repti Calcium. For further details check out post 24 in the Leo Caresheet link below.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 02-09-2017 at 06:55 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
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    Thank you for your clarification Elizabeth

    I've since done some further research and apparently 32,000 IU per kg of D3 is quite low - more than ten times less than what is included in RepCal and some other supplements. Alan Repashy recommends the "low end of the range, between 60,000 and 120,000 international units per kilogram" and this is even significantly below that. I wonder if this Exo Terra supplement was designed with diurnal reptiles in mind and the D3 dose was intentionally kept low. After all, it has an image of a Phelsuma gecko on the container.

    I wonder if it may be safer to give this little extra dose of D3 just in case? The MVB is a spot lamp and, to be honest, I do not see my geckos spending great deals of time directly underneath it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skoram View Post
    Thank you for your clarification Elizabeth

    I've since done some further research and apparently 32,000 IU per kg of D3 is quite low - more than ten times less than what is included in RepCal and some other supplements. Alan Repashy recommends the "low end of the range, between 60,000 and 120,000 international units per kilogram" and this is even significantly below that. I wonder if this Exo Terra supplement was designed with diurnal reptiles in mind and the D3 dose was intentionally kept low. After all, it has an image of a Phelsuma gecko on the container.

    I wonder if it may be safer to give this little extra dose of D3 just in case? The MVB is a spot lamp and, to be honest, I do not see my geckos spending great deals of time directly underneath it.
    You're welcome.

    As far as I know, Repashy's D3 recs do not consider UVB lighting. Some folks breed Phelsuma without UVB tubes or bulbs. It also depends upon the frequency of the dosage. Some of Repashy's products are designed to be used at every feeding.

    Don't assume that because a Phelsuma is pictured on a container that the Phelsuma is getting UVB rays too.

    When you use UVB lighting, and that lighting provides suitably strong rays, powdered D3 is overkill and could be dangerous. If the opportunity is present and if temps are suitable, your P. grandis will take advantage of the rays when necessary.

    My question is how do experienced breeders manage breeding Phelsuma and D3? Maybe @Tamara, a GU Phelsuma grandis breeder and breeder of challenging species, will return soon.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3 has even lower amounts of D3 and good built-in calcium levels:
    "Zoo Med Repti Calcium with vitamin D3---phosphorus-free ***Highly RECOMMENDED***
    38%-43% precipitated calcium carbonate
    Vitamin D3: 10,390 IU per pound or
    22,907 IU/kg"


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Exo Terra's Calcium with vitamin D3---phosphorus-free...... contains dextrose (sugar) & oyster shell flour

    Click: Exo Terra : Calcium + D3 / Calcium + D3 Powder Supplement

    North America
    Ingredients:
    Calcium carbonate, oyster shell flour, dextrose, Vitamin D3 supplement.

    Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Moisture (max) 12.0%
    • Calcium (min) 35.0%
    • Calcium (max) 37.0%
    • Vitamin D3 14,740 IU/lb

    EU
    Ingredients:
    Calcium carbonate (35%), ground oyster shells, salt.
    Contains EU permitted additives.

    EU Typical Analysis:
    • Calcium 35%
    • Vitamin D3 65 mg/kg
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 02-09-2017 at 07:03 AM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
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  7. #7
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    I thought I heard someone calling my name...

    I basically agree with everything Elizabeth has mentioned , but to give you a little insight on how we keep our Giant Day Gecko's , here's a little overview of our feeding/supplementation/lighting schedule.., which is besides the additional fruits exactly the same as how we keep our Malagasy Chameleon's.

    First, from februari till june, we keep them indoors, providing them with 5.0 Zoomed UV-b bulbs for a period of 13 hours of light per day. During that time we feed them insects, 2 times per week, and fresh fruit, also 2 times per week.
    Needless to say we feed them as varied as possible, with the fruits having high natural calcium levels and the insects being well guttloaded with lot's of healthy stuff such as various greens and bee pollen , prior to feeding them off.
    All this time we only supplement them with plain Calcium, once each week, that's it.

    From the beginning of june to , usually half of september we keep them outside in screen enclosures (only if the temperatures are okay offcourse).
    Besides that we also supplement their fruit once a week with some Minner-All outdoor (NO D3) because the males become more active and the egg production increases when we keep them outside.
    Atleast, that's the case with our gecko's.

    From september to november we take them back inside and we keep them the same way as they where being kept outside, but the males get seperated from the females.
    The feeding and supplementation remains the same though as the females will continue to produce eggs for some time.

    From december to februari, usually the egg production has stopped and we reduce the daylight hours from 13 to 10 hours per day. The males go back to the schedule from februari till june but we continue to provide the females with extra vitamins to get all their levels back up for the next season.
    Than in februari, daylight hours go back up and everything starts all over again.

    As you can see, we also don't provide them with any supplement that contains D3, and besides some additional plain calcium, we give them very little supplementation overall actually.
    But they do offcourse get a lot off of natural sunlight during the summertime so they can produce their own D3.

    As Elizabeth has stated above, combined with good lighting additional D3 can do more harm than good, the last thing you want is a gecko with hypervitaminosis D from too much supplementation.

    To keep our animals as healthy as possible I have always believed much more in a well balanced and varied diet than in laboratory made vitamins.

    Anyway, these are my 2 cents, feel free to ask if there is anything you think I can help with.

    Good luck.
    Tamara.
    E. macularius
    H. imbricatus
    C. pubisulcus
    C. ciliatus
    M. chahoua
    R. auriculatus
    B. cyclura
    S. ciliaris
    S. wellingtonae
    S. taenicauda
    S. spinigerus
    S. krisalys
    P. grandis
    P. abbotti chekei
    E. inunguis
    P. masobe
    p. picta
    U. henkeli
    U. lineatus
    U. sikorae
    U. sikorae
    Mt. d'Ambre
    U. phantasticus
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  8. #8
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    Oh yes, normally MV bulbs are much stronger than the regular ZooMed or other, coiled-up type bulbs so your gecko's should get all the UV-b they need, i wouldn't worry about them not being directly under it.
    You might even be overdoing it a little with such strong bulbs.
    Overhere they are usually used for thick skinned desert species such as bearded dragons , or for species that require a large enclosure such as iguana's and monitor lizards.

    Do you maybe know someone that has a UV meter so you can do a reading in your enclosure?
    Last edited by Tamara; 08-01-2016 at 09:54 AM.
    E. macularius
    H. imbricatus
    C. pubisulcus
    C. ciliatus
    M. chahoua
    R. auriculatus
    B. cyclura
    S. ciliaris
    S. wellingtonae
    S. taenicauda
    S. spinigerus
    S. krisalys
    P. grandis
    P. abbotti chekei
    E. inunguis
    P. masobe
    p. picta
    U. henkeli
    U. lineatus
    U. sikorae
    U. sikorae
    Mt. d'Ambre
    U. phantasticus
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  9. #9
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    /\ and HERE Tamara is!

    Thanks so much, !
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

    "May the peace that
    You find at the beach
    Follow you home"

    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
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    wow, thanks for the amazing replies. I could not have asked for more thorough, detailed information. Based on everything you have both posted it seems that my 125W MV bulb is definitely sufficient, and perhaps even overkill, as far as D3 goes. On top of that, the Exo Terra calcium + D3 is apparently not very healthy.

    So I've decided to do 2 things:

    First, I plan to replace my 125W MV bulb with a 70W version. In fact, I also was worried that 125W would be overkill since temps at the top of my vivarium sometimes got near 40 degrees Celsius. I'm not sure what effect the lower wattage will have on the UVB levels, but it will undoubtedly still be higher than Zoomed 5.0 UVB bulbs.

    Secondly, I had hoped to replace the Exo Terra supplement with the Zoomed Repti Calcium, but unfortunately it is not sold in Korea, where I reside. Pretty much my only 2 options are Exo Terras Calcium supplement without D3, or Rep-Cals calcium, also without D3. Rep-Cal's calcium is also made from oyster shells - in fact it is proudly advertised on their website as an "all natural" source of calcium.
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