A bunch of questions about your setups.

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
I’ve officially settled on a baby from Fram’s Cham’s. It will be a little while before before he’s shipped to me as he’s still under 3 months, and I’m still getting everything set up. It’s real now - I’ve got an actual chameleon picked out. I was definitely expecting to be excited (and I am!! Very, very much so), but I was not expecting there to be such a strong element of anxiety to this process. I did well with my last chameleon, but I’m going with a panther instead of a veiled this time. This will also be the first time I’ve kept a chameleon so young and small. It’s so very hard not to obsess, overthink and generally make everything about ten times more complicated than it needs to be at this this point. My apologies if these are all questions that have been asked time and time again. I have been making use of the search function, just not finding specific answers I’m after and I want to get this right.

Plant lights. The jungle dawn from Arcadia is awesome, but I’m having to scale back a little on expenses. For anyone that uses plant lights, which have you found work best for you? Any less costly alternatives to the jungle dawn strip light?

Drianage. Hopefully this one turns out to be as easy of a solution as I think it will be. I’ve decided on a condensate drainage pan with a front draining bulkhead. Trying to come with ideas for what to use to slightly raise the cage up on from inside of the pan so the bottom isn’t sitting in water. I’m sure this is a really easy fix, but any suggestions?

Thermometers/Hygrometers. I was considering using both the Govee thermometer/hygrometers and simple digital combinations of the two with probes as well. Is this overkill? For those of you that use Govee, do you mount the display screen inside your cage (and how do you keep moisture from ruining it)? Can i get away with this set up without having to rely on a temp gun? I know they’re a useful tool, but don’t want to be limited to something that only measures surface temps. Any suggestions as to where to place the thermometer probes in the middle and bottom of the cage? (I don’t have pictures yet, just wondering what has worked for you.)

Basking. I’ve read that babies tend to screen climb, and I’ll be using an all screen viv. I’m concerned about burns. How high up do you mount your basking lamp and what do you use to set it on or lift it?

UVB. Ive been looking at hoods with reflectors. I can’t really seem to find any information on whether it is advisable to use a reflector or not? And last but not least..

MISTING. I’m home during the day, usually all day. I considered hand misting so that I can save for a Mistking. I worry that even being home all day to hand mist wouldn‘t be adequate. A friend is offering to sell me two Exoterra Monsoons for $75. That’s a bit more in range at the moment than the price of the Mistking. Wondering if anyone has had any GOOD experience with this specific mister and is it possible to set it on a timer?

This isn’t really an enclosure question, but i’d love to know what d3/calcium/multivitamin supplements any of you prefer as well. Sorry this was so long winded.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ve officially settled on a baby from Fram’s Cham’s. It will be a little while before before he’s shipped to me as he’s still under 3 months, and I’m still getting everything set up. It’s real now - I’ve got an actual chameleon picked out. I was definitely expecting to be excited (and I am!! Very, very much so), but I was not expecting there to be such a strong element of anxiety to this process. I did well with my last chameleon, but I’m going with a panther instead of a veiled this time. This will also be the first time I’ve kept a chameleon so young and small. It’s so very hard not to obsess, overthink and generally make everything about ten times more complicated than it needs to be at this this point. My apologies if these are all questions that have been asked time and time again. I have been making use of the search function, just not finding specific answers I’m after and I want to get this right.
Try to cool your jets/slow your roll. I'm sure you've heard it before, and I know it can be difficult for some, but anxiety/worry over things you cannot control is not positive or productive, and just wears you out. Won't change a thing.

1623119294367.png
Plant lights. The jungle dawn from Arcadia is awesome, but I’m having to scale back a little on expenses. For anyone that uses plant lights, which have you found work best for you? Any less costly alternatives to the jungle dawn strip light?
Sansi: https://www.sansiled.com/70w-led-grow-light-full-spectrum.html
Lower cost, better penetration, longer rating & warranty, coupons.

Drianage. Hopefully this one turns out to be as easy of a solution as I think it will be. I’ve decided on a condensate drainage pan with a front draining bulkhead. Trying to come with ideas for what to use to slightly raise the cage up on from inside of the pan so the bottom isn’t sitting in water. I’m sure this is a really easy fix, but any suggestions?
To keep the bottom of the enclosure out of water, furniture risers.
To provide pitch, shims/spacers under the two corners of the drain pan or table farthest from the drain.

Thermometers/Hygrometers. I was considering using both the Govee thermometer/hygrometers and simple digital combinations of the two with probes as well. Is this overkill? For those of you that use Govee, do you mount the display screen inside your cage (and how do you keep moisture from ruining it)? Can i get away with this set up without having to rely on a temp gun? I know they’re a useful tool, but don’t want to be limited to something that only measures surface temps. Any suggestions as to where to place the thermometer probes in the middle and bottom of the cage? (I don’t have pictures yet, just wondering what has worked for you.)
IMO, yes, but I don't even own a cell phone—much less a smart phone. Inexpensive combo hygrometers/thermometers w/ probes work fine for me. They're more accurate than most temp guns due to emissivity.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/my-home-made-enclosure.182780/page-2#post-1670406

Whichever type you use, keep the main unit outside of the enclosure (and misting effects); only the probes should go inside.

I put the probes for the middle and bottom of the enclosure in the middle and bottom of the enclosure. 🤷‍♂️ They're OK to just hang in space in places the chameleon is likely to hang out in.

Basking. I’ve read that babies tend to screen climb, and I’ll be using an all screen viv. I’m concerned about burns. How high up do you mount your basking lamp and what do you use to set it on or lift it?
My 48W x 24D x 48H enclosure is really flimsy, so all lights are supported by/on slats (1x2) of wood spanning the width of the enclosure and distributing the weight to the frame instead of the mesh.

My 65W incandescent basking flood is just a couple/few inches above the mesh, but I can keep my hand on the mesh indefinitely, so the temp is safe (and they all seem to screen-climb when young—my male panther still does it at 9 months ☺️).

UVB. Ive been looking at hoods with reflectors. I can’t really seem to find any information on whether it is advisable to use a reflector or not?
I have reflectors on all my linear T5 UVB lights. Mirrored reflectors increase both output and range of your UVB bulb.

As it happens, practically all of these type fixtures come from the same mfr.—Shenzen Sunlight Lighting Co. (OEM) and all are virtually identical.


1618240919804.png

  • Arcadia Pro T5
  • Biodude T5HO
  • Carolina Custom Cages T5HO
  • Hydrofarm "Jumpstart"
  • Sunblaster T5HO Nanotech
  • Vivarium T5
  • and Others
so shop for price. ;)

And last but not least..

MISTING. I’m home during the day, usually all day. I considered hand misting so that I can save for a Mistking. I worry that even being home all day to hand mist wouldn‘t be adequate. A friend is offering to sell me two Exoterra Monsoons for $75. That’s a bit more in range at the moment than the price of the Mistking. Wondering if anyone has had any GOOD experience with this specific mister and is it possible to set it on a timer?
Ever notice that you don't see (as many) used MistKings for sale like you do Monsoons? :unsure:
I would save your money for the MistKing (or CliMist).

Hand misting is adequate—it's just a PITA, and subject to forgetting to do it.

This isn’t really an enclosure question, but i’d love to know what d3/calcium/multivitamin supplements any of you prefer as well. Sorry this was so long winded.
I can't say it's preference. I use the same for my cham as I do for my beardie.

1623121535607.png
_____
1623121635204.png
_____
1623121708586.png

All three are still over half-full after a year & a half—a little goes a long way.
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
Try to cool your jets/slow your roll. I'm sure you've heard it before, and I know it can be difficult for some, but anxiety/worry over things you cannot control is not positive or productive, and just wears you out. Won't change a thing.


Sansi: https://www.sansiled.com/70w-led-grow-light-full-spectrum.html
Lower cost, better penetration, longer rating & warranty, coupons.


To keep the bottom of the enclosure out of water, furniture risers.
To provide pitch, shims/spacers under the two corners of the drain pan or table farthest from the drain.


IMO, yes, but I don't even own a cell phone—much less a smart phone. Inexpensive combo hygrometers/thermometers w/ probes work fine for me. They're more accurate than most temp guns due to emissivity.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/my-home-made-enclosure.182780/page-2#post-1670406

Whichever type you use, keep the main unit outside of the enclosure (and misting effects); only the probes should go inside.

I put the probes for the middle and bottom of the enclosure in the middle and bottom of the enclosure. 🤷‍♂️ They're OK to just hang in space in places the chameleon is likely to hang out in.


My 48W x 24D x 48H enclosure is really flimsy, so all lights are supported by/on slats (1x2) of wood spanning the width of the enclosure and distributing the weight to the frame instead of the mesh.

My 65W incandescent basking flood is just a couple/few inches above the mesh, but I can keep my hand on the mesh indefinitely, so the temp is safe (and they all seem to screen-climb when young—my male panther still does it at 9 months ☺️).


I have reflectors on all my linear T5 UVB lights. Mirrored reflectors increase both output and range of your UVB bulb.

As it happens, practically all of these type fixtures come from the same mfr.—Shenzen Sunlight Lighting Co. (OEM) and all are virtually identical.


1618240919804.png

  • Arcadia Pro T5
  • Biodude T5HO
  • Carolina Custom Cages T5HO
  • Hydrofarm "Jumpstart"
  • Sunblaster T5HO Nanotech
  • Vivarium T5
  • and Others
so shop for price. ;)


Ever notice that you don't see (as many) used MistKings for sale like you do Monsoons? :unsure:
I would save your money for the MistKing (or CliMist).

Hand misting is adequate—it's just a PITA, and subject to forgetting to do it.


I can't say it's preference. I use the same for my cham as I do for my beardie.


All three are still over half-full after a year & a half—a little goes a long way.

‘Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this! I so appreciate the thorough response and the links as well. I’m definitely seeing some things cheaper than I was able to find on my own, which is always a plus. You’re absolutely right in that anxiety over things have not yet happened/can’t be controlled help no one. Definitely very useful to hear from someone else at times, though. :)

One final question, for now.. What would you recommend as a misting schedule to start with? I’d like whatever mister I end up with to run for two minutes in the morning before lights on, two minures after lights off at night. The weather here has been decent this week, but it won’t be long before we’re back into dry triple digit weather. Wondering if there should be a midday misting as well.

Once again, thank you so much for all the immensely helpful advice and links!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
One final question, for now.. What would you recommend as a misting schedule to start with?
It depends. I live in the Northeastern US, so what works for me here may/may not work for you in your part of the world. Like establishing a basking region, it's a matter of trial & error based on a bunch of variables. I can tell you what I did and the process I used.
  1. I established a length for a 'misting session'. From a dry state, I turned the mister on manually, and let it run until water began running down the drain. There's no point in running it any longer than that because from that point on it just wastes water, and distilled water is expensive.*
    Coincidentally, it was 2 minutes.

  2. Then I waited for the enclosure to dry out completely (pretty much) to determine frequency of sessions.
    Coincidentally, it was 3 hours.

  3. Starting with sessions at lights-on & lights-off (12/12) I added one daytime session in-between so drinking water would be readily available morning, midday, and evening.

  4. I don't currently need a fogger, but to keep nighttime humidity at proper levels, I added nighttime sessions spaced 3 hours apart. Keep it moist/humid, but don't waste water.
This boiled down to six 2-minute sessions (or 6 two-minute sessions :p ) at:
  1. 6 am (lights-on)
  2. Noon
  3. 6 pm (lights-off)
  4. 9 pm
  5. Midnight
  6. 3 am
  7. Repeat
*You can also use RO or demineralized water (which is less expensive) but we use distilled for a number of purposes, and buy it on regular grocery shopping trips. Anywhere else and we'd have to figure time, mileage, and inconvenience. YMMV.
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
Once again, incredibly helpful! I think that’s a great starting point for me to emulate and see what works. If only nights would stay as cool as they are are the moment, I probably wouldn’t have any issues with night time temps or keeping the humidity up (sigh, in a perfect world). I did decide to bite the bullet and get a MistKing; I figured it makes exactly 0 sense to spend so much time worrying about doing wrong by a chameleon I don’t even have in my possession yet and then proceed to get a garbage mister. Your comment about there being an over abundance of used exo terras and practically no MistKings really spoke volumes.

Pretty sure this is the last question I’ll come up with before calling it a night. For the Sansi 70 watt grow light, would that need to be elevated as well or could it be placed directly over the top screen of the cage?

I really don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but your input is so very helpful and appreciated. Again, thank you so much!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Pretty sure this is the last question I’ll come up with before calling it a night. For the Sansi 70 watt grow light, would that need to be elevated as well or could it be placed directly over the top screen of the cage?
As mentioned above, I have those lights supported on slats that distribute the weight and provide a slight space (less than 1") between light & top screen. Enclosures will vary, but I don't want the weight directly on the screen; too much weight could warp the mesh.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/simple-uvb-fixture-supports.177896/

LEDs don't put out much heat. These give off some heat due to size & wattage, but it primarily goes upward, and I can easily keep the back (more sensitive than the palm) of my hand on the screen there indefinitely. My little dude has been walking around up there since mid-December and has never been burned.

When chameleons bask, they tend to gravitate to the brightest source of light. In nature this would be the sun which provides everything, but in captivity, plant lights often can & do outshine basking lights.
For these reasons, there are 2 more things I do:
  1. Mount basking lights at an angle. This provides a temperature gradient rather than a hard number and allows the cham to seek out the basking temp it prefers.

    1623159472746.png
  2. It also allows aiming the basking light so the three types of light can be arranged in a sort of Venn diagram—again allowing the cham to seek out what light combination it needs/wants.

    1623159633776.png
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
As mentioned above, I have those lights supported on slats that distribute the weight and provide a slight space (less than 1") between light & top screen. Enclosures will vary, but I don't want the weight directly on the screen; too much weight could warp the mesh.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/simple-uvb-fixture-supports.177896/

LEDs don't put out much heat. These give off some heat due to size & wattage, but it primarily goes upward, and I can easily keep the back (more sensitive than the palm) of my hand on the screen there indefinitely. My little dude has been walking around up there since mid-December and has never been burned.

When chameleons bask, they tend to gravitate to the brightest source of light. In nature this would be the sun which provides everything, but in captivity, plant lights often can & do outshine basking lights.
For these reasons, there are 2 more things I do:
  1. Mount basking lights at an angle. This provides a temperature gradient rather than a hard number and allows the cham to seek out the basking temp it prefers.

    View attachment 303170
  2. It also allows aiming the basking light so the three types of light can be arranged in a sort of Venn diagram—again allowing the cham to seek out what light combination it needs/wants.

    View attachment 303172

I know the term “thank you” has more than lost its effect by this point, but I really cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write out these incredibly detailed responses. Mounting the basking light at an angle is pretty genius, so that’s what I will be trying as well. I’ve got some really solid advice here thanks to you, and I can’t articulate how much it’s appreciated. My chameleon anxiety is gone! Now I can enjoy feeling excited in peace 🙄 all there is left to do now is finish ordering the rest of the supplies for my chameleon’s set up and wait for everything to come in.

I keep saying “this is my last question,” but I mean it 😂 what type of chameleon (or chameleons) do you have? I know not everyone around here is big on crossing locales, but my future boy is a nosey be x nosey boraha cross and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ll have to share pictures of him when he arrives.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I keep saying “this is my last question,” but I mean it 😂 what type of chameleon (or chameleons) do you have? I know not everyone around here is big on crossing locales, but my future boy is a nosey be x nosey boraha cross and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ll have to share pictures of him when he arrives.
You're welcome.

I have a male Ambilobe, and AFAIK, he is only Ambilobe. A true chameleon has been on my bucket list since kindergarten. When I was a kid—and then again post college—I had green anoles, and I've had many other reptiles & other pets over the last 60-mumble years.

JMO, but I like reptiles that are as close to what nature has done as possible. I know "morphs" and cross-breeding occur in nature, but not like they do in the pet industry. Some breeders experiment with genetics because they can, rather than to keep their lines healthy.



I went through this with my bearded dragon. I wanted what was called a "standard" (no morph), but since exporting from Australia has been illegal since the 1960s, there are AFAIK no longer any "standard" bearded dragons outside of Australia; everything today has been cross-bred, in-bred, morph-bred etc. Just one side effect is that CB beardies are getting smaller. Instead of 22-24", the average is now 16-18". I think that's kinda sad.

It's not like that with chameleons... yet, but it could happen—especially with dwindling habitats.

I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do—or even what I think they should do—just stating personal experience & opinion. :)
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
As a huge fan of the Simpsons, I’d like to thank you so much for sharing that clip. I enjoyed that very much 😂

I definitely did not interpret your last response as you telling me (or anyone else that’s purchased a locale cross) what to do. You make some very valid points. I actually went into this with my heart set on an Ambanja or a Nosey Be, but couldn’t decide between the two (I really had a preference for a chameleon with a lot of natural blue/turquoise/teal colors, and there were things about each locale that I liked). I will be entirely honest and say that up until just recently, I wasn’t even aware that the Nosey Boraha was a locale of panther chameleon that existed. I ended up researching the Island of Nosey Boraha a bit and looked into summer weather patterns. I was interested not only to find that it is CLEAR ACROSS the island of Madagascar and on the very opposite side as Nosey Be, but that the Island of Nosey be is a little warmer as well. I guess I’m getting off topic.

You’ve enlightened me on the history of bearded dragon exports! I vaguely knew it about it being illegal to source them directly from Australia, but didn’t realize that had been the case since the 60’s. I also wasn’t aware that captive beardies were getting smaller. I wholeheartedly agree with you here, it is sad. I don’t doubt in the least that years of selective breeding for specific colors and traits has contributed to their shrinking, but I’m wondering if living in captivity has had anything to do with that as well? We’ll never be able to mimic any reptile’s habitat entirely (though we may come close).

If I had read your response prior to putting down a deposit on my future chameleon, I might have thought twice about purchasing. I was very taken with him upon first sight though, so it’s hard to say with absolute conviction whether or not I would have passed him up. I can’t speak for anyone else that purchased a chameleon from the same clutch, but I won’t be contributing to the gene pool as I have zero intention of breeding him. That’s something best left to the experts!
 
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