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Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:47 am
by critterguy
Wondering how concerned breeders are over maintaining exact photoperiods for reptiles. Do you have lights on a timer, or just remember to do it manually everyday? Or do you just depend on ambient light from outside? Do you make sure other lights in the room don't go on? Even though it is winter and my skink is supposed to be brumating sometimes I will have room light on later than usual. We know that photoperiods are quite important in dictating the daily, monthly, and yearly cycles in animals but I'm wondering how much deviation can they can tolerate.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:00 am
by Fatal_S
I've only bred for one year, so don't take my reply too seriously, but my photoperiods are pretty awful. When the skinks are awake the tanks have lights that are on from about 9:30-9:30 to provide heat. So that's consistent. But my room lights are manual and I'm a major night-owl. Sometimes room lights go on as early as 5am, sometimes they go off as late as 5am. My guys also usually get fed late, occasionally as the lights are going off. They've adapted alright. However, during brumation all my skinks are in opaque bins with the air holes providing the only source of light. So very little light all winter (aside from when I check on them). I try to force them to sleep so I can get some quiet over the winter :lol:

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:46 am
by Jeff
My photo-periods are strictly set and maintained, however I have no idea how important that is. It is just very easy for me to do in my situation, so I do it.

My theory is that the photo-period is less important with more extreme cooling, and more important with little or no cooling. I have not tested that theory, and don't really plan to in the near future, but I would like to some day.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:09 pm
by mark_w
I am pretty strict with daylengths too. As a rule (across animals and plants), photoperiod is much more important than temperature in regulating natural cycles. But, Jeff is right in that daylength and temperature are interacting factors. The relative importance of each with blue tongues I'm not so sure about. Right now, I have my skinks on a 5h daylength, with ambient room temps sitting at around 15 or 16 degrees. They have basking lights, but i have turned the thermostats down, so that the basking temps are prob. about 25 or 30. No heat at night. I started reducing daylength on the 30th December. I aim to turn all lights off for 3 weeks before warming up and increasing daylength around the end of February.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:07 pm
by kl
Are you saying that you completely turn off all lighting for a full 3 weeks before warming them up? I know that in the wild, the colder climate species like Blotched probably spend a lot of time underground during the Winter so maybe they actually experience very little daylight as opposed to Indonesian species where's the temperatures rarely fluctuate that much. I'm not very scientific at all with photoperiods though I err more on the side of giving them too little. Every couple of days I don't turn on any lights in the room and it's very dim with only light coming in from a couple windows.

Kim

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:33 pm
by mark_w
Hey Kim,

Hope you are well. Yes. I'm going to try turning off all lights for a while. There will be weak ambient lighting from a small window, but this is partially blocked. My friend actually pins a blanket across the front of his blue tongue vivs so that they sit in total darkness for a while. All of this is almost certainly over the top, but I am trying to ensure that when my animals come out of the winter, they are properly cycled and ready to go...

All the best,
Mark.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:17 pm
by Richard.C
this past season,i left day length the same year round,forgot to change timer,lol,normally i aim for shorter days over winter,with tropical species,temperate,eg blotchies,easterns,rugosa aspera get no heat over winter,for 6 weeks,they get light through plastic sections of shed roof only,though i didnt cool the stumpys last winter,as i was short of room for a kimberley male whom didnt want to stay in his own enclosure,and kept finding his way in with the stumpies,im not sure its overly important,but it cant hurt,and with other stimuli could all add up well to cycling

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:15 am
by hurricanejen
Like Fatal_S I have my cages on timers, but I do leave my apt lights on sometimes late at night.

For brumation, I never turned the lights off completely for an entire day. However, I did remove the mercury vapor bulb I use for my northerns and put in a plain incandescent basking light at half the wattage, and had that turn on for a couple of hours mid-day. When I brought them up out of brumation, I increased the amount of hours the light was on per day until 10 hours, then switched back to the mercury vapor for 13 hours of 'day'light.

I found it interesting that there was no breeding behavior at all until I switched back to the mercury vapor, and within a couple days there was a drastic and noticeable difference.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:04 am
by KateBeer
Thats quite interesting, as the MVB is a source of UV also, where as an incandescent wouldnt be.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:31 am
by Jeff
KateBeer wrote:Thats quite interesting, as the MVB is a source of UV also, where as an incandescent wouldnt be.


I can only assume that UVB is irrelevant to breeding due to the fact that I have bred dozens of bts from different species without ever exposing any of them to UVB light.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:34 am
by hurricanejen
While yours have never been exposed to UVB, mine have, so that may be the reason I see a difference with it and you do not. To go from have relatively intense UVB, to none (during brumation I did not use any UVB), then back to relatively intense UVB may be what triggered the breeding behavior in mine. Since yours do not have that change, it would be irrelevant.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:15 pm
by Jeff
Using that reasoning, you are suggesting that removing an unessessary stimulus (UVB), and then reintroducing it may trigger breeding behavior. If that is the case, there is not really any reason to think that the phenomenon has anything to do with the UVB specifically, just the reintroduction of a stimulus that was witheld during cooling.

If UVB was necessary for BTS that receive their D3 requirement through proper diet/supplements, then I would be more inclined to consider that reintroducing it could trigger breeding behavior. Since it is not, it's affect is probably no different than any other unessential factor that can be added and subtracted from the animal's environment. For example, if you subjected your skinks to music for 12 hours a day all year but the witheld it during cooling, reintroducing it after cooling would be just as likely to trigger breeding as reintroducing UVB is.

I am not suggesting that you should do anything different, especially if your skinks are breeding consistently, just pointing out that in my opinion, the UVB was not responsible for triggering breeding behavior in your skinks.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:26 am
by Richard.C
i 2nd what jeff is saying,ive bred blotcheds indoors following season from when they were housed out doors,with out any uv light,my guess with yours is nothing to do with the type of bulb used but the fact u mentioned normal incandesent was half the wattage of the uvb bulb,hence cooler temps,moreso than uv levels of bulbs,but i guess the uvb as well as the heat stimulation could also have a higher light level that also stimulates them into out of brumation mode,but i still think the heat output would be the main trigger

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:34 am
by hurricanejen
All I said was that I found it interesting; I didn't draw any further conclusions beyond that. I did increase the wattage of their incandescent light (I needed to get a new MVB, broke the old one) for the last week or so prior to switching bulb styles, but incandescents do not seem to get as hot as the MVB's do.

Shrug, if you don't need to use UVB, more power to ya.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:00 am
by Richard.C
well im not ruling out the lights benifits,i know of a few folk who swear by those types of lights,with other species,one chap whom i got my juvie mertons water monitors off a few years ago in particular mentioned his breeding success since using them skyrocketed,the uv never hurts them i guess but also light intensity would be a plus,over here the prices for them are ridiculously high,plus you would be spewing if one blew just after purchase

have u had any luck getting them back together

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:43 am
by hurricanejen
I use ZooMed's MVBs, not sure where you're at but they do have a year warranty of them if they blow out. I use UVB for everything, frankly, even my crested geckos and amazon tree boas, who technically don't need it. My cresteds are huge and beautiful though, and my amazons...well, they're still brand new, so we'll see how they pan out.

I haven't tried putting the skinks back together yet, I am waiting until my next day off so I can watch them. We'll see. I was thinking back to last year and remembering that there were some minor scuffles a couple weeks before brumating, but then they went into brumation and it was no big deal. I may not be able to house them together anymore at all.

Re: Breeders, how careful are you with photoperiods?

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:50 pm
by anchietae
I use UV lights as well as a radiant heat panel, both on timers. I find it is especially helpful when the length of days are waning in the fall. At this time of year, we lose 3 1/2 minutes of daylight per day. The cages are in a room with large windows so the skinks definitely pick up on the seasonal rhythms. I also reduce the wattage of the UV bulb and turn off a supplemental light at this time. As the light cycle is shortened, the basking source is reduced in both temperature and duration. I also adjust the temperature of the room to give the skinks their first chill, although they are allowed to warm up during their shorter day. Of course feeding is reduced, then finally stopped. My goal is to do it as naturally and gradually as possible. By mid November, I don't have to do much except pull the plug. The skinks have already been conditioned for the winter. I increase the duration of lights and heat a bit quicker in the spring, over a period of a month or so. This is after I start seeing some signs of life in the skink's enclosure due to slightly warmer temperatures and lengthening daylight from the windows. This means adjusting the timers nearly every day. I don't know if all of this is necessary but I've used basically the same technique to breed other species and it has worked well for me. I'm crossing my fingers for baby Shinglebacks this year.

Casey Lazik
http://www.reptilia.com