Terrarium Lighting: The Ultimate Guide

Terrarium lighting is the key to creating the perfect habitat for your favorite plants and enclosures. With the right lighting and setup, you can make a wonderful space for your plants, and animals to thrive.

In this article, we’ll explore the basics of lighting for a terrarium, discuss the types of lighting you can use, and introduce you to our highly efficient and customizable Terrarium Light Top Set, designed to meet all your terrarium lighting needs.

Benefits of Using Terrarium Lighting 

The right type of lighting can provide several benefits to a miniature ecosystem. It provides all of the nutrients, features, and requirements necessary for terrarium plants to grow and flourish while making the habitat look more aesthetically pleasing.

Depending on what type of lighting you use, these lights will also create conditions to help microorganisms and other animals survive and regulate various bodily functions.   

Best Types of Terrarium Lighting 

When it comes to terrarium lighting, there are a few different types to choose from. The best types are incandescent, fluorescent, LED, and natural lighting.

Each of these types of lights provides different intensities of light, different temperatures, and different needs. Let’s cover the basics of each type of lighting to help you decide on what will be the most ideal for your enclosure:

Incandescent Bulbs 

Incandescent bulbs used to be one of the most common types of terrarium lighting. They operate under the same principle as a traditional light bulb but instead produce a much more subtle glow, often in the yellow to blue range. 

Incandescent bulbs provide more intense lighting in a shorter period and are especially well-known for creating aesthetically pleasing views of terrariums. 

chameleon hanging off a branch

The downside to using incandescent bulbs compared to other types of lighting options is that they are less efficient and they burn out quickly. They also create more heat, so they should be used only in enclosed terrariums and spaces to prevent overheating.

In addition, the intensity of the light needs to be monitored to ensure that plants are not being damaged or over-lit.

Fluorescent Bulbs 

Fluorescent bulbs are another commonly used form of terrarium lighting, due to their energy-efficient and long-lasting capabilities. These bulbs emit a bright, warm luminescence, and their cool operation means that they won’t heat up and damage plants or animals. 

Additionally, when compared to incandescent bulbs, fluorescent bulbs are more efficient in terms of energy use and burn out slower.

Terrariums with Fluorescent Bulbs

However, one of the main drawbacks of fluorescent bulbs is that they require a special ballast and wiring to be set up correctly, which can be challenging for some terrarium hobbyists to figure out. 

LED Lighting

LEDs are quickly becoming one of the most popular terrarium lighting options. LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is composed of smaller lights that in total can provide bright, white light that can be used to sustain the needs of plants, animals, and fish. 

Our Terrarium LED Light Set is incredibly energy efficient, making it very cost-effective. They’re generally very long-lasting and overall, offer customizable LED options that provide the perfect balance of light and heat, ensuring your terrarium thrives.

One downside to using LED lighting is that it can be much brighter than other forms of lighting, making it difficult to determine the right intensity and preventing the terrarium from achieving a natural balance.

If you opt to use this option, I highly recommend the guide on how to measure light intensity for plants. Another major downside is that LEDs can create a lot of heat, which can be dangerous to the environment and create an uncomfortable and unhealthy atmosphere.

Natural Lighting 

Natural lighting is one of the best options for creating a beautiful and natural environment for plants and animals. When used with the right kind of windows, natural lighting allows for the perfect amount of both light and heat to grow and flourish.

As opposed to artificial lighting, natural lighting is more efficient, longer lasting, and yields more consistent results. It is also one of the most sustainable options, as no energy is wasted on producing the light. 

One downside to using natural lighting is that it is often limited to specific times of the day, so optimal results may not be achieved if the lights are not treated accordingly. Additionally, natural lighting may be limited by geography and climate to certain times of the year.

Terrarium with natural lighting

As a result, it’s important to use other forms of lighting to supplement natural light exposure. Ultimately, natural lighting is a great way to create a vibrant and inviting environment for plants and animals but should be used as an addition to other lighting systems.

Best Terrarium Lighting Solutions for Maximum Efficiency 

When it comes to creating the best terrarium lighting conditions for your plants, it’s important to consider the size and availability of the terrarium space. After all, you want to make sure that the lighting you choose best fits the terrarium and its occupants.

For example, if space is limited, using LED lighting can often be a great option as it shines brightly and spreads well. Alternatively, if the space is larger, it may be more optimal to use a combination of lighting sources that provide the right intensity while also conserving energy costs. 

In addition, plant owners can use acidic solutions to enhance their terrarium lighting. These solutions help to promote the growth of plants that require high-intensity lighting to thrive, as they will help to keep plants healthy and strong. These acidic solutions are often made of a mixture of things like sulfur and ammonium sulfate and help to absorb light while also providing nutrients to plants. 

Finally, when selecting the best lighting solution for your terrarium, also be sure to factor in cost efficiencies. Depending on which type of lighting you choose, you may incur higher or lower energy bills. Therefore, it’s best to compare the various types of lighting and look for ones that offer the best bang for your buck.

For those looking to achieve maximum efficiency with their terrarium lighting, our Terrarium Light Top Set stands out as a top choice. With customizable settings, energy-efficient LEDs, and easy installation, it provides everything you need for optimal terrarium lighting.

Troubleshooting Tips for Terrarium Lighting 

Troubleshooting problems with your terrarium lighting can be difficult to do on your own. To ensure you are getting the proper intensity for your plants, make sure to keep your lighting system regulated and maintained properly. 

Avoid Overheating

It is also important to avoid overheating, as this can cause your bulbs to burn out prematurely. Proper ventilation and the right type of lighting are essential.

The Bantam Terrarium Light Top Set is designed to provide optimal light without overheating, ensuring a safe environment for your terrarium inhabitants.

Set Up Timers

When dealing with fluctuations in your terrarium lighting, it is helpful to invest in a timer to keep your lights on a regular schedule. This not only helps regulate the light flow but also allows you to control the hours of light exposure, making sure that your plants get enough of both light and darkness. 

Consider The Lights Color

Finally, take the color of your lights into consideration when setting them up. Some plants benefit more from various colors on the visible spectrum. This guide on How light colors affect plant growth will come in handy when shopping for the perfect terrarium lighting.

By using any of these troubleshooting tips, you can maximize the efficiency of your terrarium lighting and create the perfect environment for your plants and animals.


Vivarium lighting is a vital part of creating a healthy and aesthetically pleasing environment for your plants and other animals. By following the tips we outlined above and selecting the right kind of lighting, you’ll be able to take full control of your terrarium and create the perfect habitat for your plants and animals. After reading this article, you should have the knowledge you need to start creating the perfect terrarium lighting setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, terrariums can survive in low light. However, without enough light, the plants in the terrariums may not grow as well. Make sure to provide your terrarium with indirect or diffused natural light from a window or adequate artificial light from a properly intensified lamp.

No, terrariums just need adequate lights to maintain proper plant growth and health. Depending on the type of plants in the terrarium, you may need different types of terrarium lighting.

To light a terrarium, you will need to use an artificial light source or a well-lit room from natural lighting. Ensure that you have a suitable light fitting that is close enough to your terrarium, and attach the light source to it. Adjust the distance of the light source and the timer settings to achieve the desired light cycle.

Yes, LED lights are a good option for terrariums. They provide ample light, are energy efficient, and give off minimal heat.

It depends on the type of plants or animals you have in your terrarium. Generally, some type of fluorescent bulb or fullspectrum LED lighting is recommended.

The best place to put a terrarium is in a location where it will receive indirect sunlight and is away from any sources of direct heat or air conditioning. Make sure the terrarium is in a place where it is easy to access for maintenance.

No, terrariums should not be in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is too intense and can overheat the terrarium and damage your plants. Place the terrarium in an area that receives indirect sunlight or bright artificial light instead.

Closed terrariums need light because the closed environment helps to maintain high humidity levels, and terrarium lights help to keep the plants thriving.

No, terrariums do not need light 24/7. They should be exposed to light 1012 hours per day.

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