The Best Leopard Gecko Lighting Setup

Updated: June 1, 2022 by Jennifer Munsell

A lot of people believe leopard geckos are nocturnal animals that don’t need any type of lighting in their tanks. As it turns out, leos are actually crepuscular species, which means they are the most active during dawn and dusk. To help your pet reptile maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, you will need to find the best lights for your leopard gecko.

While leopard geckos spend the better parts of their days snoozing, they are surprisingly in tune with their environment. Like all other animals, leos know to tell night from day, and their survival in the wild depends on this ability. Though your leopard gecko is no longer living in the wild, it’s your job as an owner to provide them with a setup that mimics a leopard gecko’s natural habitat!

There is a ton of misinformation about gecko lighting, and this care aspect is often completely overlooked by novice reptile keepers. But don’t worry; I’m here to help! Read on to learn why leopard geckos need light and what kind of light they need. I’ll also review the best light bulbs on the market ideal for these delightful little reptiles.

TOP PICK

If you are looking for affordable leopard gecko lighting that emits both light and heat, then I recommend the Lucky Herp UVA UVB Reptile Light 5.0. Easy to mount and compatible with all standard US size sockets, this fluorescent lamp is ideal for all leopard gecko tank setups. Best of all, this light can provide up to 8,000 hours of use, so you won’t need to replace it often.

Presenting… The Best Lights for Leopard Geckos


Listed below you will find in-depth reviews of gecko lighting that can be mounted on any type of gecko tank or enclosure. To help you find the perfect light for your pet leopard gecko, I’ve also included the key features, pros, and cons of each light bulb. Without further ado, let’s shed some light on this subject!

1. Lucky Herp UVA UVB Reptile Light 5.0 – Best Light and Heat Source

LUCKY HERP UVA UVB Reptile Light 5.0, Tropical UVB 100 Compact Fluorescent Lamp 23W

The Lucky Herp UVA UVB Reptile Light 5.0 is designed for tropical and sub-tropical species, but it also happens to generate the ideal amount of UVB light for most common species of pet geckos. This compact fluorescent lamp is designed to emit both light and heat without producing any harmful UVC.

Key Features

  • Delivers 5% UVB and 30% UVA output
  • Fits a standard size E26 socket
  • Lasts up to 8,000 hours of continuous use

Made to emit both heat and UVB rays, this Lucky Herp reptile bulb produces just enough UVB to make it safe for leopard geckos. While many people assume that geckos don’t need UVB lights to stay healthy, leos use and benefit from UVB light when it’s available to them. The right amount of UVB light encourages the production of vitamin D3 and calcium and reduces the chance of metabolic bone disease.

The bulb’s special glass tube is designed to produce a stable UVB output. Also, the fading rate of UVB is also low, so you won’t have to replace this gecko lighting that often.

The thing I like the most about this particular light is that you can use it with all kinds of different tank setups. This particular leopard gecko lighting setup is available in several different options that deliver 10% UVB, though 5% is sufficient for most leopard geckos.

Pros

  • A reliable source of heat and UVB lighting for pet leopard geckos
  • Easy to mount and works with standard-sized electrical sockets
  • Long-lasting and doesn’t need to be replaced often
  • Doesn’t produce harmful UVC light

Cons

  • The downside of this light is that it has to be turned off at night, so you’ll need an additional heating source to keep your gecko’s tank warm if your home’s temperatures drop below 70F or so.

Overall, the Lucky Herp UVA UVB Reptile Light 5.0 is a great option if you’re looking for a daylight and heat bulb for a leopard gecko.

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2. Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamp Incandescent Bulb, Day White – Runner Up

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamps Incandescent Bulb, Day White, 75W

The Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamp Incandescent Bulb provides both light and heat. This leopard gecko lighting setup mimics the natural environment of your pet gecko by producing a bright white light that gives off the impression of sunlight.

Key Features

  • Available as a 75-watt bulb, ideal for heating larger enclosures
  • Made from glass containing neodymium phosphors
  • Full-spectrum lamp

This reasonably priced Zilla Incandescent Bulb is a great option if you are looking for a full-spectrum lamp that emits energy across all visible wavelengths. Made to stimulate the natural daytime environment of both desert and tropical reptile species, this bulb generates heat and bright white light that won’t irritate your gecko’s eyes.

This bulb is available in 75 watts, which is ideal for leopard gecko tanks of various sizes. Made from glass containing neodymium phosphors, this light produces bright, white light that mimics your pet reptile’s natural environment. Since this bulb is made from heavy-duty filaments, it tends to last longer than other incandescent bulbs.

Pros

  • Generates both light and heat
  • The full-spectrum lighting intensifies the natural colors of the environment and your reptile
  • The bright white light simulates the sunlight in the leopard gecko’s natural environment
  • Long-lasting and doesn’t need to be replaced often

Cons

  • This lamp may not be able to heat up the edges of a larger leopard gecko tank

All in all, the Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamp Incandescent Bulb is an inexpensive but long-lasting light and heat bulb for leopard geckos.

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3. Fluker’s Red Heat Bulb, Incandescent Reptile Lighting – Best Budget

Fluker's Red Heat Bulbs for Reptiles 1 Count (Pack of 1) Black

Fluker’s Red Heat Bulb is a great option if you are looking for night lighting for a leopard gecko. Unlike daytime bulbs, this light isn’t made to simulate daylight but to give you a chance to observe your leopard gecko during the night, which is when they are the most active. It’s especially great if temperatures in your home are too cold at night for your gecko.

Key Features

  • Available in 75 watts
  • Provides radiant heat
  • Works with any UL-approved light fixture

Fluker’s Incandescent Reptile Lighting is designed to provide the perfect low light heat for your leopard gecko. Besides heating the entire terrarium, this type of lighting also creates some discreet, subtle light to make it easier for you to view your pet gecko during the night.

The best thing about this night light is it is low enough not to disturb your pet’s nighttime activities or disturb your sleep. While leopard geckos might not see red, they can still see light, so don’t leave the lamp on for more than a few hours every night (unless temps in your home drop below 70F or so).

While many red lights are meant to stay running 24 hours a day, Fluker’s recommends a 12-hour day and 12-hour night light cycle. This means you should use a daytime light during the day and a red light only for a few hours per night.

Pros

  • Provides the infrared light leopard geckos need to regulate their temperature
  • Serves as a night light and a reliable source of heat
  • Available as a 75-watt bulb, which is ideal for most enclosures
  • Gives off just enough light for you to view your pet gecko during the night

Cons

  • If not packed or handled properly during shipping, these bulbs can arrive damaged

Overall, Fluker’s Red Heat Bulb Incandescent Reptile Lighting is a great choice if you are looking for a reliable heat source and a night light that allows you to view your gecko at night.

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4. Zoo Med Reptisun LED Terrarium Hood — Best Light Only Fixture

Zoo Med Reptisun Led Terrarium Hood

The Zoo Med Reptisun LED Terrarium Hood is an excellent choice if you’re looking for complete lighting for your leopard gecko’s tank. Not only does this LED light fixture feature red LEDs that emit heat, it also has blue LEDs that simulate night lighting.

Key Features

  • Adjusts from 18” to 26” long
  • Lasts for up to 20,000 hours of use
  • 6,500K daylight high output LEDs

Besides emitting blue and red lights, this light fixture is also capable of generating 6,500 Kelvin daylight high-output LEDs that simulate the natural lighting found in your gecko’s native environment. Besides promoting your gecko’s health and natural behavior, this light also promotes the growth of any live plants you may have growing in the terrarium.

Another great thing about this fixture is that you can change or replace the LED panels whenever you want to. Additionally, thanks to its adjustable rails, this lighting can be mounted on a variety of tank sizes. This particular light can last for more than two years when used and maintained properly.

Pros

  • Gives off blue light for nighttime viewing
  • High LED output generates bright daytime light that simulates natural sunlight
  • Can be adjusted to fit tanks of different sizes
  • LED panels are replaceable, and you can easily change them when they burn out

Cons

  • A few owners reported that this light couldn’t heat very large-sized tanks, but it generates more than enough heat for 10 to 30-gallon enclosures

If you are looking for all-in-one lighting for your leopard gecko, the Zoo Med Reptisun LED Terrarium Hood is a great choice! Besides the bright white light, this LED light fixture also generates blue and red lights.

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5. Zoo Med Day Night Reptile Bulbs Combo Pack

Zoo Med Day Night Reptile Bulbs (60 watts) Combo Pack

The Zoo Med Day Night Reptile Bulbs Combo Pack is one of the most popular lighting options on the market for leopard geckos. Instead of just one daylight bulb, you get two lights, each with their own specific purposes. If you are still wondering what kind of light leopard geckos need, this pack of two lamps might be the best hassle-free option for you and your pet.

Key Features

  • 60 watts
  • One daylight blue light bulb
  • One red glass heat lamp

This reasonably priced pack contains two light bulbs – one daylight blue bulb and one nighttime red bulb. Each bulb is incandescent, which makes them ideal for leopard geckos, as the bulbs won’t damage your gecko’s skin by producing too much heat.

The 60-watt blue daylight bulb generates heat and bright naturalistic lighting that is gentler on your reptile’s eyes compared to regular light bulbs. This bulb is meant to be used during the day and will mimic the lighting in a leopard gecko’s natural environment.

The red bulb is made of real red glass and is designed to work as a night light for viewing and a heat lamp. Unlike many other red lights, this one can be used as a 24-hour heat lamp and shouldn’t interfere with your reptile’s night and day cycle.

Pros

  • This pack contains both night and day lights which also emit heat
  • The red light is made from genuine red glass and can be used as a 24-hour heat lamp
  • The soft blue light simulates natural sunlight and is gentle on a reptile’s eyes
  • Both bulbs last for up to six months of continuous use

Cons

  • A few owners reported that their bulbs weren’t packed securely and that they arrived broken. You may have better luck purchasing these at your local pet store.

All things considered, the Zoo Med Day Night Reptile Bulbs Combo Pack is an excellent choice if you are looking for reasonably priced and reliable lighting for your leopard gecko’s tank.

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Recommended Leopard Gecko Lighting Setup

You want your leo’s lighting setup to simulate their natural environment, which means you want something bright and sunshine-y during the day, and minimal lighting at night, so as to keep their natural circadian rhythm. One important thing to note, though, is that while their lighting needs differ from day to night, leos need heat around the clock. So you need to figure this into your setup.

Setup Option 1: Different Lamps for Day and Night

You can have a basking lamp that gives off lamp and heat during the day, and have a different heat source for the nighttime, like a ceramic heat lamp or heating mat.

You’ll also need to hook up both of these lamps to a thermostat and/or timer, so you don’t have to worry about switching lamps on and off according to a schedule.

Setup Option 2: Separate Light and Heat Sources

Another option is to have just a light source on during the day and a heat source that stays on 24/7. This means you only have to think about keeping your light source on a schedule and not think about your heat source at all.

I would still recommend installing a thermostat for your heat source to help you avoid overheating your leopard gecko’s space, and a timer for your light source to keep your day and night timings.

best light for leopard gecko

How to Choose the Best Lights for Your Leopard Gecko Pet

There is a lot of misinformation about lights for leopard geckos, and choosing the best fixture is often easier said than done, especially if you are a novice keeper. Leopard geckos have special lighting requirements as they are more active at night and in the early morning hours and don’t bask in the heat all day like bearded dragons or many other reptiles.

While UVB isn’t strictly necessary, recent studies have shown that leopard geckos benefit significantly from lower intensity UVB lighting. Leopard geckos are crepuscular, so they are most active at dawn and dusk, but leopard geckos are still exposed to small amounts of UVB in the wild. Because of this, it’s safe to assume they will do better with at least some exposure to UVB light in captivity.

Having said that, here are the most important factors you should keep in mind when purchasing lighting for your leopard gecko.

Wattage

“What wattage UVB bulb should I use for my leopard gecko?” Is one of the most common questions I get from first-time gecko keepers. The best wattage for leopard geckos is the one that mimics natural sunlight and illuminates your particular tank properly.

Depending on the size and shape of your tank, a low-wattage, full-spectrum bulb ranging from 50 to 75 watts or so should do the trick. For very large enclosures, you may need to use a bulb with a slightly higher wattage, or around 75 to 100 watts.

Leopard geckos don’t require real lighting at night if there is any ambient light in the room, and they don’t need much heat at night, provided temps don’t drop below 70F or so. If the room you keep your gecko’s enclosure in lacks ambient lighting, you can use a low-intensity blue bulb that simulates moonlight and also gives you a chance to view your pet gecko during the night.

Type

There are several types of lights you may come across while searching for the best light for your pet reptile. Not all bulbs are created equally, and it’s up to you to figure out which one works best for your leo’s tank setup.

Incandescent lights produce a good amount of heat and light and are probably the most affordable type of gecko lighting you’ll come across. Infrared lamps usually cost more, but they also last a long time and generate a good amount of heat. These types of lamps may require a special socket and are typically made from ceramic or porcelain.

LED lights are also becoming increasingly popular, as they are very efficient and last a long time. Depending on the type, LED lights may or may not give off any heat, so you can use them in combination with other heat sources like under-tank heaters or additional heat bulbs.

Color

The color of the light may not seem like a big deal, but it can become a huge issue if you choose the wrong one. For daytime lighting, a full spectrum white or yellow light is recommended.

Leopard geckos don’t have any light requirements for nighttime, but if there is no ambient light in the room their enclosure is stored in, you can use a blue, red, or black night light to view your pet and offer them a bit of heating if it gets particularly cold at night.

Temperature

Many leopard gecko keepers opt to use a heating mat to maintain the ideal temperature inside the enclosure. If you decide to use a heating mat, you don’t have to worry much about finding a suitable heating bulb. However, if you are looking for an alternative way to heat up your gecko’s tank, you’ll need to look for a light and a heat combination bulb.

Lifespan

How long the light and/or heat bulb will last isn’t something most owners think about when choosing bulbs for their geckos’ tanks. However, the bulb you choose will have to work at least 12 hours every day. Consequently, most leopard gecko lights don’t last nearly as long as standard light bulbs.

If you don’t want to change the light bulbs on your gecko’s tank on a weekly basis, choose a quality bulb with a longer lifespan. Generally speaking, good quality lights should last for around six months of continuous, daily use, and that is something you should consider when shopping for the perfect gecko light.

FAQs on Leopard Gecko Lighting

Do leopard geckos need UVA or UVB light?

While leopard geckos don’t need UVB light to survive, research has shown that UVA and UVB lights are beneficial for both diurnal and crepuscular reptiles. As a crepuscular species, leopard geckos are exposed to lower levels of UVB light in the wild.

Use a low-intensity UVA/UVB bulb in your leopard gecko’s enclosure and set it on a timer for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening when they are the most active for best results.

Do leopard geckos need bright light?

During the day, leopard geckos need a bright light that will simulate sunlight in their natural habitat. Choose white or yellow bulbs that closely mimic your gecko’s natural environment to support their circadian rhythm.

Since leopard geckos can tell day from night, they don’t need any light at nighttime, especially if the tank is illuminated by the ambient light in the room. However, if you want to view your gecko during the night when they are the most active, you can leave a blue night light on for a few hours per night.

Does light bother leopard geckos?

Leopard geckos have sensitive eyes, and they aren’t very active during the day. Still, leos usually get at least a small amount of natural sunlight each day in their native habitats, even though they spend most of their days snoozing. As long as they have plenty of hides inside the tank and you are using a low-intensity light, your gecko won’t be bothered too much.

What wattage bulb should I use for my leopard gecko?

There are many different types of heat and light bulbs ranging in wattage from as low as 15 watts all the way up to 150 watts. When it comes to leopard geckos, generally anything between 60 and 100 watts should do the trick. The size of your gecko’s tank is an important factor to consider when it comes to wattage, since bigger tanks need higher wattage bulbs and vice versa.

A Final Word About Leopard Gecko Lighting

Contrary to common beliefs, leopard geckos need both heat and proper lighting inside their tanks to stay healthy and thrive. As a crepuscular species, leopard geckos are the most active during dusk and dawn, and they require a balanced day and night schedule to maintain their circadian rhythm. In captivity, none of this is possible without the right lighting setup.

Keeping that in mind, I found that the Lucky Herp UVA UVB Reptile Light 5.0 is the overall best lighting for leopard geckos. Made to generate both heat and light, this affordable light bulb is easy to mount and has a low UVB fading rate. Best of all, this light bulb fits all US standard size electrical sockets.

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