How to Pick the Best Russian Tortoise Heat Lamp Watt

russian tortoise in enclosure

Do you plan to get a Russian tortoise as your pet? Is this your first time to have a Russian tortoise? If yes, you may be wondering how to grow this cute reptile. The internet offers several tips and recommendations concerning the right heat lamp wattage that is perfect for the Russian tortoise.

Before you purchase a Russian tortoise, it is important that you know the things that may happen in the future. In this post, we are going to share with you some tips on how to pick the best Russian tortoise heat lamp watt.

When you own a Russian tortoise, it is like you adopted a baby from a foster home. These delicate creatures should be handled with love and care. One of the essential things that these reptiles require is adequate lighting.

When it comes to lighting, you need to ensure that it can provide your Russian tortoise with enough heat, a good source of UVA/UVB, and can be used during daytime and nighttime. In line with that, we highly recommend you to try the MVB (Mercury Vapor Bulbs).

These bulbs can provide the three requirements mentioned above, especially when lit for at least 10 hours daily. Aside from picking the right heat lamp watt, you should also know the proper place where you can put the bulbs.

If you want an easy and cheap choice is this lamp. We can tell that this is the lamp that most Russian tortoise owners buy and like.

The Type of Lighting Russian Tortoises Require

Russian tortoises are known in different names, including four-clawed tortoise, Central Asian tortoise, Horsefield’s tortoise, and Afghan tortoise. These reptile species are found first in Iran, Russia, Afghanistan, China, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. Fun fact: Russian tortoises are one of more than 50 species of tortoises living in the world.

One of the reasons why Russian tortoises are a popular pet among homeowners is because of their adaptive ability. They can easily adapt to hot and cold temperatures. Russian tortoises can withstand up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in areas with hot climates. On the other hand, they can live in countries with cold climates that can drop down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Many Heat Lamp Watt Do Russian Tortoises Need

How many heat lamp watt does your Russian tortoise need will depend on the size of the tank where you place them. For example, a 100-watt heat lamp is ideal if you place your Russian tortoise in a standard 75-gallon tank. A 100-watt heat lamp is recommended as it provides the reptile the feeling of wandering in their natural habitat.

If you don’t know how many watts are recommended for a Russian tortoise, we highly recommend you to purchase heat lamps that can produce at least 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also ideal to purchase a thermometer so that you can regularly monitor the temperature in the tank.

Can I Use Natural Sunlight for my Russian Tortoises?

One of the common questions you may be asking is, “Do I need special lighting for my Russian tortoises even though I also use natural sunlight?”

The answer is yes. Your Russian tortoise prefers the natural light produced by the sun instead of other special lighting tools. Take note that sunlight produces UVB light rays, which is the number one care requirement of a Russian tortoise you need to provide.

But take note that this only works if your tortoise receives direct sunlight with no interference. Remember that if you place your Russian tortoise in a tank made with glass, they will not receive enough UVB rays.

In line with that, it is ideal for pairing the natural sunlight with some special lighting tools, such as a heat or basking lamp. Through this, the ideal temperature inside the tank will be maintained throughout the day.

Aside from that, you also need to ensure that your Russian tortoise receives natural sunlight every single day. Remember to provide them with enough heat temperature even during cloudy days, considering that their natural habitat receives direct sunlight.

How Many Watts Should A Heat Lamp Have?

When you decide to take care of a Russian tortoise, you must know how to set up an optimum heating and lighting system as it plays a vital role in the overall welfare of your pet. In their natural habitat, Russian tortoises are exposed to direct sunlight for as much as 14 hours a day. Thus, it is important to recreate the heat temperature they receive in the wild when placing them inside a tank.

When purchasing a heat lamp for your Russian tortoise, it is ideal to choose those that can produce at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a small-sized tank, a 50-watt heat lamp may be enough. But, if you have a large-sized tortoise tank, it would be best to opt for a 100-watt heat lamp.

What Kind of Heat Lamp Do I Need for a Tortoise?

UV lighting is one of the essential factors that should be taken into consideration when planning to pet a Russian tortoise. This is because it is their main source to keep themselves warm and absorb enough vitamin D3.

Providing your Russian tortoise with a heat lamp can keep them from metabolic bone diseases and other ailments. In line with that, selecting the right heat lamp for your Russian tortoise can significantly improve their well-being and overall health.

The following are some of the different heat lights you may choose from to provide the right amount of heat to your Russian tortoise:

UV-B Heat Lamps

A UV-B heat lamp is the most recommended heat light for Russian tortoises. This is because it can imitate the heat temperature outdoors, which these pets need. But take note that these lamps can provide high levels of heat. Thus, ensure to purchase the one with the right wattage enough to produce a specific heat temperature needed by your tortoise.

Full-Spectrum Fluorescent Lights

Another ideal heat light you may need when petting a Russian tortoise is a Full-Spectrum Fluorescent light. As its name suggests, this type of heat light offers a full-spectrum light source. But take note that the heat it produces may not be enough to satisfy the needs of your pet. In that case, you may need an additional incandescent light bulb.   

Reptile Basking Lights

Reptile basking lights are widely available in most pet stores in your area. Although you can use it as a heat source for your Russian tortoise, you should not completely rely on the heat it produces. This is because this kind of heat light does not emit enough UV, which means that it does not offer any metabolic benefits to your pet.

1. REPTI ZOO Dual Reptile Light Fixture for Reptile Dome UVB Light Fixture Dual Lamp Cap Combo Integration Design Heat Lighting Lamp Kit

This may be one of the most expensive tortoise heat lamps you may find on the market. Despite being inexpensive, this is one of the best. This heat lamp is made with heat-resistant and solid ceramics. Thus, you can ensure that it can keep your tortoise pet warm for longer years. 

2. Reptile Heat Lamp – Certified Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter Bulb 110V 50W for Pets

One of the best things about this tortoise heat lamp is that it is cheap but made with quality materials. Aside from that, it can also provide heat source for your pet for 24 hours. It creates infrared heat that is beneficial to the overall health of your pet. 

3. Reptile Heat Lamp, UVA UVB Reptile Light Basking Spot Lamp

For less than 25 US Dollars, you can have a quality reptile heat lamp that will keep your pet healthy and happy. It provides enough heat to keep them warm and healthy. Beyond that, this basking light also produces heat that creates an ideal temperature and warmth for your tortoise. 

How Far Away Should a Heat Lamp be From a Tortoise?

As we mentioned earlier, Russian tortoises require a special lighting source. With that, you should install both UVB bulbs and heat bulbs inside their tank to provide them with an ideal environment. Proper lighting is vital for the health of your pet tortoise. If you did not provide them with the right lighting and heat temperature, their health might be at risk.

UVB rays are naturally produced by the sun. Once you place your tortoise in an enclosed area, the rays might be blocked by the screens or glasses. When installing a UVB light in your tortoise tank, make sure to place them at least 10 inches above. You need to place the UVB light at the right distance because your tortoise may experience thermal burns when placed too close in their bedding.

Should I Turn Off My Russian Tortoise’s Heat Lamp at Night?

If you own a Russian tortoise, it is important to place them in an environment that complements their needs. In other words, you need to place them in a tank with enough space for them to wander. Beyond that, they also need enough light and heat.

If this is your first time taking care of a Russian tortoise, you might be confused about how much light and heat they need to survive in the tank. In addition, you may be asking if it is necessary to turn off their heat lamp during the nighttime.

The quick answer is yes. Even if the heat lamp is turned off, your Russian tortoise will be fine. It is recommended to keep the heat lamp on for about ten hours to provide your tortoise with the right amount of heat temperature.

Before you turn off your Russian tortoise’s heat lamp, make sure to check the heat temperature inside the tank. It is recommended to keep the heat temperature in the tank between 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your tortoise warm throughout the night.


There is no doubt that Russian tortoises are the most-loved reptile pet of many because of their natural cuteness. If you have a Russian tortoise in your house or are planning to get one in the future, make sure that you are fully committed to providing its needs.

You need to place them in an environment where they can receive enough heat and lighting. Take note that the ideal heat lamp wattage that you need to install in a large-sized tortoise tank is 100 watts, while small-sized tanks need at least a 50-watt heat lamp.


George Hicks

George Hicks

Hey! I'm George Hicks I'm from Northridge and I always loved tortoises. I think it's such a beautiful and calm animal. I started this blog because I wanted to share everything I learned about them with you. Enjoy!

About Me

Hey! I’m George Hicks I’m from Northridge and I always loved tortoises. I think it’s such a beautiful and calm animal. I started this blog because I wanted to share everything I learned about them with you. Enjoy!

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