Another lesson learned here

ZEROPILOT

Avid Member
I just joined recently and was reluctant to change a few things about what I thought was very good and responsible Chameleons keeping.
But I wanted to learn. Knowing I didn't know everything.
I primarily keep Redfoot tortoises...And both of the things I was doing WRONG are related to that.

1) I use T8 tubes for my tortoises. I can't even say that I knew what a T5 was. So I had purchased and installed brand new fixtures with T8 5.0 UV tubes (on my 3 four foot deep Reptibreeze cages)
After some schooling, I've ordered 3 T5 fixtures and they'll be here this week.

2) substrate. I have the cages silicone sealed around the bottom edges and have a central drain hole with a strainer and the cages are attached to a table. Also sealed. With a matching drain hole. There are buckets under the table. It actually looks decent and it worked great. Nice drainage. No leaking.
But I decided that I'd use medium sized stones, Orchid bark and moss as a substrate to help keep humidity up. Orchid bark is great for keeping Redfoot on because it holds moisture but doesn't stay soaking wet.
What the Hell, the Chameleons are never down there. It should be a non issue.
Wrong.
Today I noticed a small drip. The front flip open, lower cage panel needed to be re sealed. The water from the drippers and MISTKING had saturated the moss and bark. Not letting the water drain out like before.
I pulled the cover off and was met by a swarm of ...ants?
No.
Millions of tiny crickets!
Enough crickets to completely invade the cage and possibly EAT MY CHAMELEON.
Next cage, same thing!
I don't generally let crickets free range in my enclosures. So these where from a few escapees.
O.K. No substrate. No moss and no bark!
The Chameleons are all outside tonight getting some lovely south Florida steam while I carefully and completely clean these cages.
So thank you to this forum and to its helpful members.
I will now keep my Chameleons in the correct temperature and humidity with the correct lighting, plants and water. And with bare bottomed cages.
 
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nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
You know, about half way through #2, i was thinking (how does he not have a sea of crickets?). And a few lines later i was not disappointed. Its funny when people ask how to setup a cricket breeding colony. Most of us are actively trying to prevent them :)

Who cares if a dozen or 2 of dubia escape. You have not seen hell till you see "moving" dirt. Just a sea of "stuff" that can destroy a head of lettuce in mere minutes.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
My tortoise tables always had superworms living in them!
I also had crickets breeding in some of my other (non chameleon) cages. Neither was a problem...I just put food in their for the insects too. I never did end up with cages/tables that were overrun with insects luckily.
 

ZEROPILOT

Avid Member
My tortoise tables always had superworms living in them!
I also had crickets breeding in some of my other (non chameleon) cages. Neither was a problem...I just put food in their for the insects too. I never did end up with cages/tables that were overrun with insects luckily.
My tortoises mostly live outdoors.
They eat an insect that they can get.
 

ZEROPILOT

Avid Member
Just being "that guy" but T8's are not unacceptable, but T5's are my choice for many applications. Ultimately you need a solar meter for exact performance, but T8's are not evil ...
No
I'll continue to use them with my tortoises or any other UV needing reptiles that live a foot away from the fixture.
Right now, all but one of my torts live outside. The UV is free.
 

skoram

Established Member
You know, about half way through #2, i was thinking (how does he not have a sea of crickets?). And a few lines later i was not disappointed. Its funny when people ask how to setup a cricket breeding colony. Most of us are actively trying to prevent them :)

Who cares if a dozen or 2 of dubia escape. You have not seen hell till you see "moving" dirt. Just a sea of "stuff" that can destroy a head of lettuce in mere minutes.
It sounds like crickets breeding could be a problem in any bioactive enclosure, regardless of whether orchid bark is used or not, but it's never happened to me before. Would a temp drop into the low 60s at night prevent them from hatching/surviving?
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
It sounds like crickets breeding could be a problem in any bioactive enclosure, regardless of whether orchid bark is used or not, but it's never happened to me before. Would a temp drop into the low 60s at night prevent them from hatching/surviving?
Im going to spit ball and say the cleaner crew starves them out They need a very large quantity of food to thrive.
 
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