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Red Electroluminescent Tape

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  • Red Electroluminescent Tape

    Hello! I got my first crestie this past weekend (today is Tuesday), and I'm working on her terrarium (she's a four month-old red dalmatian). I've done extensive reading and video-watching of crested geckos (mostly reptiles in general) and light. There appears to be a consensus that geckos (and most reptiles) don't perceive red light, but there is ambiguity as to whether they perceive something in its place or not (ie., do they see a silhouette of light or nothing?). My question is not that specifically, but of a specific light source. My terrarium is a tall, 10 gallon enclosure with black, foam-ish wood (forgot the specific name of the wood, but it's specifically designed to better retain moisture) with a clear, plastic front lined with air vents at the top and bottom. What I'd like to do is line red electroluminescent tape inside two of the walls and thread it through the vent (a standard LED strip is too thick to fit) to my Raspberry Pi (to handle automatic scheduling and to display digital readings of the temperature and humidity and alert me via email if out of range) on top. I was curious if anyone else has tried this electroluminescent tape, and if so, if they thought their crestie perceived its light emission?

    Unrelated to this topic - I'm fairly certain she hasn't eaten since I got her, and it's now been three full nights.. perhaps I'm just a paranoid new caretaker, but is this typical? At what point should I really start to worry? Thank you in advance!

  • #2
    I know this is old (hope your crestie adapted to it's new home well), but wanted to share something I found regarding discernment of light within the visible spectrum. Here's the details: My take on this is that, even though the cones in their eyes are tuned to 360, 440 and 520 nm wavelengths, anything in the yellow, orange, red spectrum will be indiscernible from green...but they will still see the light. They are like a colorblind human, except with extreme low light sensitivity.

    [Edit] After re-reading that study, I'm less convinced they can see red light as well as I first thought. It seems their sensitivity drops off pretty quickly from about 550nm to about 650nm after which it might be barely discernible. I'm seeing several LED options in the 650nm range (allegedly) which seem to be geared towards growing plants or some kind of red light therapy. Pricier, but something I would prefer over the power draw and heat which comes with the incandescent options around which are made for herps.

    This chart is for Hawk Moths, but the study seems to suggest they compare very closely with nocturnal geckos w/regard to their eyes:
    Click image for larger version

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    Personally, I'm also looking into EL panels or tape as I think the key here is to keep everything as dim as possible and the source as spread out as possible. So instead of a single point of light you'll have an overall glow all around the tank.
    Last edited by LucidObscurity; 02-19-2020, 01:12 AM. Reason: opinion modified due to further study


    • #3
      I think I might try this one. Please reply if you find a better deal/brand.

      Ultimately still want to try a setup with electroluminescence (panel or tape) as I think it could be setup to illuminate more evenly for evening/night viewing, but really want something easy for now as I've got a baby crestie who's still getting used to the new home and want to be able to observe behavior so I know all is going well.

      Going forward, I'm sure we'd all like some more ideas about night lighting, since it seems there's not many product options out there to choose from and there's a lot of conflicting info and differing options w/regard to how crested and other nocturnal geckos see and react to light at night.

      Maybe I should start a new thread on this...I just might...If anyone beats me to it, please link here.


      • #4
        So I bought this: since it was available on prime and I wanted something quickly. I also bought the one above but will be a week or two.

        The bulb is supposed to be red, but looks orange to me. It states 620 - 6?? (smudged) on the box it came in...wavelength wasn't specified on Amazon. 620 nm is the boarder between orange and red, but again, looks orange to me.

        I've only had it on for a bit (just got it today) but my gecko didn't seem to seek shelter while it was on and his/her eyes stayed dilated. I'll likely return the bulb once I get the new LED light since it's not red as advertised, but based on the gecko's reaction to this wavelength vs other light sources, it seems the red spectrum is promising (the LED one states 660nm)...again, it's a baby and I've only had it for a week now, so some behavior may be chalked up to it growing more comfortable in it's new environment.

        I think that a light source which comes from multiple directions (EL tape or panels) would be ideal as red light isn't the easiest for humans (me) to see in, and all the shadows cast by a single source don't help. I don't think putting EL tape/panels inside the enclosure is a good idea though...probably best to figure out a way to affix to the outside.


        • #5
          It is my understanding that they can see red, and that if it's left on at night, it disrupts their sleep cycle. At night I just leave a night light on across the room, since they need it mostly dark but not pitch black. That seems to be just fine for them, and I can still see them out and about if I need to.
          TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
          Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0


          • #6
            Thanks TAD!

            To follow up, the first light I bought (the bulb) is fairly orange in appearance, but is not overly bright. My cresties eyes stay almost completely's clear the light is visible to the gecko to some extent.

            The second light is a deeper red and would probably be a better choice in terms of wavelength, but it is incredibly bright and focuses most light directly forward. Even pointing it at the ceiling causes my gecko's irises to contract about half way. If I can find a way to dim it, it might be less noticeable by the gecko than the bulb.

            Of course these are meant for viewing during activity and are only on for a short duration in the evening, not to be left on at night. This is my son's room anyway, so there's always at least one night-light on, but mostly dark all night.

            I'd have to recommend the first cheaper "bulb" option. It does change behavior, but is far different than turning on the room lighting. The larger led light is just too bright...Maybe if diffused through a lamp and kept across the room.

            If I get and EL based light setup or figure out how to dim the large LED I'll update this thread.