am i doing things right???


New Member
ok. i've had my male veiled chameleon for 13 days now (boxing day, actually). his name is Marley (like 'bob marley') and he was born july 2007. he's 4" long from nose to bum. the first couple days were alright as we were both adjusting to him being here but now things seem to be amiss...
i use a ZooMed 75W infrared basking spotlamp that's always on - i recorded at 10F deg. drop at night in the ambient temp, but the basking spot is about 90.3 at the moment, with ambient temp of 76.6. i have a new 4' long ZooMed 5.0 UVB tube that is within a foot of his 2 upper basking areas. i use a seperate lamp on top of the cage just for lighting. the temp in his basking spot goes down at night to about 80F and the ambient temp is down to 65F.
his cage right now is an upright tank with a soft chicken wire type side for maximum airflow 30" tall X 18" wide and 12" deep [however, i am in the process of building a 5' tall X 2.5' wide and 2' deep. it is made from 1"x2" red cedar, i will be using black aluminum screen (patio door stuff).]. his main plant is a ficus - which have tiny little bite marks here and there (i've even seen him eat a couple whole!). he has treated driftwood for climbing and a cup for crickets.
the humidity is about 70% and when i mist it goes a bit higher about 80% or more. i mist right near his basking spot at least 2X a day and about 3X on my days off. i preboil and use some cooled water mixed with boiled to create a hot temp in the spraybottle. about 10" away from the spray it is lukewarm to touch. every other misting i will use ExoTerra's "calcimize", a water conditioner, and "electrodize", a supplement containing electrolyte and vitamin D3. i wasn't sure how to mist at first even though i read a lot about it. i just spray near him - he is usually near the basking spot anyway - and if he runs away i will spray further away. the times where he turns towards me i will spray him directly and he licks his chops and drinks the water. last night he drank for almost the whole time i misted! - about 2 min. the first few days he barely drank from what i could see, but i think that he is coming to like the warm mistings. i think that i will make a dripper system for his big cage so i can have some reassurance that he can have water when he desires. i bought a water based sealant for the wood that protects against water/rain and uv, and have 'slate' style bathroom floor stick-on tiles for the bottom so i don't have to worry about wood rotting! at first i was using the additives for all the mistings but he was getting nose crusties and i read in a few sites that it could be from over supplementing, so i cut back and he has been crusty-free since.
every morning i have been feeding/offering 6-8 1/2" and some full size crickets as a staple each day, and have also given wax worms once last week (2) and 2 butter worms/day for the last 3 days. i use T-Rex 2:0 Calcium/no Phosphorus powdered supplement with vitamins {Calcium carbonate, ascorbic acid, vit A acetate, cholecalciferol *D3*,and stabilizers} to dust the crix a few days in a row and then no dust for a day. the crix stay in the cup below his fav spot and he climbs down every so often and eats one or two. he was eager to eat in the beginning but the last 2 days he has eaten very minimal. yesterday he only had the 2 butter worms and refused the crickets,and in the morning he has the most massive poop!! i could never imagine all that poop in one little body. it was like 3 cricket sized bits and one watery + jelly part and then the calcium part - white and a bit yellow . today he has only eaten one cricket and he pooped only once.
[wow im talking a lot about poop, huh?]
i also offer chopped kale & bok choy, grated carrot, diced green bean etc. (veggie mixture i have for my bearded dragon and also for my crickets and mice) in the cricket cup. i have seen him eating some when he was snatching the bugs.
i don't know why he has stopped being interested in the food all of a sudden... he even had an appetite when he started shedding on Dec 29. i got all worried about him then because he was closing his left eye a lot and started 'popping' it out when i misted. his little problem seemed to fix itself after a couple days and all his shedding was complete.
he is quite shy and does not like his space invaded even when i clean his cage he gapes and bobs towards me. i have been concerned that he is stressed in his new environment, and have noted that he was a greyish green for a few days this last week. today was the first time that ive seen him his bright lime/blue spots in a while.
today i covered the front of his cage with a towel so that he wouldn't be bothered as much by me, my husband, and our 2 yr old daughter. Marley is located in our office where we spend a couple hours in each day and a bit more on the weekends.
he is right by a single pane window, but when i have the full size cage set up he will be perpendicular to the window so the temp will be unaffected by the single pane. its kinda cold out there lately and the temp there is about 10F difference from the rest of the room. it makes the nights a bit cooler and that's why i have kept the heat lamp on for him.
so what i would like to know is why has he stopped wanting crickets? i am going to go tomorrow and get some silk worms and other bugs to see if he is just bored... is it possible that he is really stressed out and its now just starting to show? i just want to make sure that i am doing absolutely everything i can to make his transition smooth. i would be heartbroken to find that he is having some more serious problem!!
i never paid attention to his bum area before, but it looks kind of bulgy since he had that major poop yesterday...
if anyone has any ideas i am open to suggestions!
i also wanted to mention that he is not exploring as much and is going to sleep an hour before i turn the lights out. he rests very close to the branches and just looks around. at least he ate another cricket in the last little while...
Make sure the 5.0 UVB lamp is not shining through any glass or plastic. It will block all the UVB rays. This means (if I understand your set-up correctly) you will have to shine the UVB tube through the front of the enclosure.
DO NOT add any supplement to drinking or misting water! Especially misting water!!!
No heat lamp at night. Have you checked the night time temp in the enclosure at night without the heat lamp?

Be careful with the d3. Sound like he may be getting a little too much of this if it's in his drinking water as well. Cold you post a pic of his vent? That would help others to give you their ideas about what may be wrong if anything. All chameleons will go through periods of food slow downs or strikes. Just be sure he is well hydrated. I would spray him directly every time you mist. Usually after a few minutes they will start drinking and continue licking leaves after you stop. Would also put up a dripper now. Otherwise, your setup sounds very good. Good luck and keep us posted. David
Marley's water is now additive/suppliment free! the tank is upright and the open left side is where the light is, and it runs the full height of his enclosure (the wire cover is 1/2" squares - no problems letting those uv rays through).
I am still concerned about the night time temps.. they are about 60F, is that ok to have such a temp difference?
My veiled's night time temp is right between 58 and 60 Farenheit. I use a ceramic heat emitter to keep the temp to that at night. (Our house is on the cold side during the winter !)
oh wow! ok the, i was mostly concerned about the cold window that he is near... the new cage he's going into will be about 6 feet away from the window and i have no worries about a draft. and i did measure the temp at night without the bulb and it was 62F (thank god for digital- thermometers!!!
ok i have a pik of his temperary enclosure... i know that it's small, and glass, but he is only 5 months old and he will be in a new home within the next week. at night i cover the open part with more of the screen you see, i just want to have as much airflow as possible.
Marley's temp tank.JPG
another thing i've noticed is that he eats more when i feed him in the evening rather than the morning feeding, i wonder why?

Ideally, you want your light sources (UVB, basking etc.) coming in from the top and not the side. Eye strain and other issues can result. That's going to be difficult with your glass top. I didn't read your entire post :)o) so if you said you were getting a new enclosure then you're covered.

Ideally, you want your light sources (UVB, basking etc.) coming in from the top and not the side. Eye strain and other issues can result. That's going to be difficult with your glass top. I didn't read your entire post :)o) so if you said you were getting a new enclosure then you're covered.

i am in the process of building a new enclosure 5' high, 2.5' wide and 2' deep.. however, i was planning on using the light vertically in the new cage... any suggestions on how to solve my dilemma? i don't want to have to go out to buy a new bulb (this one was $60!) and i would rather have the bulb inside because of the screen (filtering uv, etc.).
The reptisun 5.0 should cost you know where near sixty. I usually pay about 24 for mine online. Are you talking about the fixture and all. If so, you can get the fixture at home depot for around ten.
The reptisun 5.0 should cost you know where near sixty. I usually pay about 24 for mine online. Are you talking about the fixture and all. If so, you can get the fixture at home depot for around ten.
unlike it there in the states, here in Vancouver, Canada, everything like this is extremely overpriced. the tube is 48" long 5.0 "ZooMed" brand and it really did cost 60 for just the bulb. they sell ballasts at home depot for about $50 and up for the 4". i got the 'end-cap' style ballast for $100. ridiculous, huh!?!
Damn!!! Had no idea. Can't you order from LLLreptile and the like, or would the shipping offset your savings?
Light needs to come from the top.
What you're doing now is fine ... in fact I mentioned doing it this way in another thread or earlier in this one, but, it's not a good permanent solution.
Can you return the tube? Exchange it for a shorter one?
Not sure why you bought one so long in the first place .... unless that's all they had.
I'm not surprised you paid $60 for a 4' tube.
Reptile store here charges over $40 for 24"

You also do not want to have the bulb directly in your cage once you build the new one. Resting on top is fine as long as your chameleon can get withing 6 inches of the bulb. The screen will block some rays but aluminum screen doesn't block enough to make risking burns from having the light inside the cage worth it. The bulb may not feel that hot to you but if the chameleons rests against it/hangs off of it for a period of time it will cause a burn.

Your temporary setup is fine for now as long as you get him into your new enclosure as soon as you possibly can. I would defintely extend the screen all of the way to the bottom of the tank though. Otherwise you risk a burn or losing your chameleon! UVB light from the side is definitely better than no UVB light at all or UVB that passes through glass.
alright its settled then. i can place the light right on top of the new cage and in 5 1/2 months i will just buy a smaller uv bulb. i do however, have the option to give the uv bulb to my bearded dragon and take his 24" canopy and just buy a new uv bulb for it to give to my cham :). thanks everyone for the tips!!!
i will also put screen for the bottom of his temp enclosure asap.
problem solved
Thank YOU for taking the time to seek suggestions and learn how to do things right BEFORE a problem arises... on behalf of your chameleon :D
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