Basic Lighting

QueenKT

New Member
Hello! I am planning on getting a veiled chameleon soon, and am working on gathering supplies and everything before hand, so I can set it up and have it all ready for when I do get one. I am planning on getting live plants (I have a friend who works at Earl May who's going to get me a discount on some lol)

I have read SO many different threads on here about the different lighting people use for their chameleons, and all of them seem to be different! Just a basic list of what I need for lighting would be very much appreciated! Somehow, every time I google it all I can find is essays about why they ned UVB and the spectrums and all. I know they need heat, light, and UVB, but what have you guys found are the best lights and combination of them for yours? If you have a cheaper Lowes or Walmart option for some, that would be great, but if you guys think full on Zoo Med and all that stuff works best that is perfectly fine! I just want what's best for the little guy.
If you need to know anything else about it just let me know! I'm not sure what you experts need to know to give the best answer.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello! I am planning on getting a veiled chameleon soon, and am working on gathering supplies and everything before hand, so I can set it up and have it all ready for when I do get one. I am planning on getting live plants (I have a friend who works at Earl May who's going to get me a discount on some lol)

I have read SO many different threads on here about the different lighting people use for their chameleons, and all of them seem to be different! Just a basic list of what I need for lighting would be very much appreciated! Somehow, every time I google it all I can find is essays about why they ned UVB and the spectrums and all. I know they need heat, light, and UVB, but what have you guys found are the best lights and combination of them for yours? If you have a cheaper Lowes or Walmart option for some, that would be great, but if you guys think full on Zoo Med and all that stuff works best that is perfectly fine! I just want what's best for the little guy.
If you need to know anything else about it just let me know! I'm not sure what you experts need to know to give the best answer.
Ok keeping it simple.... Lighting for both plants and UVB. Get a quad light 1 plant pro bulb, 2 6500 daylight bulbs, and 1 uvb bulb. This is where I will be specific. For this fixture if you buy one that has 1 reflector for all bulbs this is a single reflector unit and needs to be paired with a 10.0 zoo med or 12% arcadia uvb bulb. I prefer arcadia as they only need to be replaced once a year. With this specific combo you want basking level (the highest they can get to) to sit at 6-7 inches below the quad fixture. This will give you a UVI level of 3-4 at basking for UVB. The quad must be placed directly on the enclosure top. Please note all this info is specific to set up with a fixture of this type and these bulbs to achieve these levels of UVI. This will produce temps of about 82-85 at basking. So you may not need the basking fixture set up right off the bat depending on the age of the cham.

Hope this helps :)
 

QueenKT

New Member
There's tons of pages on google, and half of them are a brand advertising something or someone with a clear bias, but this way I can get a more broad opinion of everything.
I would rather be safe than sorry! Clearly there are a good amount of people here who know what they're doing, and a lot of the time experience is better than just reading off from a basic care sheet.
 

QueenKT

New Member
Ok keeping it simple.... Lighting for both plants and UVB. Get a quad light 1 plant pro bulb, 2 6500 daylight bulbs, and 1 uvb bulb. This is where I will be specific. For this fixture if you buy one that has 1 reflector for all bulbs this is a single reflector unit and needs to be paired with a 10.0 zoo med or 12% arcadia uvb bulb. I prefer arcadia as they only need to be replaced once a year. With this specific combo you want basking level (the highest they can get to) to sit at 6-7 inches below the quad fixture. This will give you a UVI level of 3-4 at basking for UVB. The quad must be placed directly on the enclosure top. Please note all this info is specific to set up with a fixture of this type and these bulbs to achieve these levels of UVI. This will produce temps of about 82-85 at basking. So you may not need the basking fixture set up right off the bat depending on the age of the cham.

Hope this helps :)

Thank you so much! It can get confusing trying to wade through all the different things and it's nice to get a clear direct answer. Sorry for more questions, I just want to make sure I have everything set up right.
Is there a good fixture you recommend to hold them all?
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQU8F2O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
seems to be the main one I can find, and it seems to only hold one bulb. I wouldn't really love to buy like three of those if I don't have to!

So you would recommend getting all of these-

Arcadia: (8 inches or so above the top)
https://www.lllreptile.com/products/35825-arcadia-d3-12-uvb-t8-bulb--24

Quad: (positioned about a foot and a half or so above the cage?) since this one is more separate, would a basic hood fixture to hold it work or would I need a specific reptile one like the zoo med one?
https://www.marineandreef.com/Aquat...f_HDcz4Z9pFWbKkT1dQhNmVKV3xlPMHBoCWOMQAvD_BwE

I couldn't quite figure out a good 6500 watt, is this what you meant?:
https://gardendistribution.com/prod...F471eDuChbJNSIdlCUEBqeabnDDkLV8BoCf4cQAvD_BwE
 

mkeBob

Avid Member
Amazon: T5 Grow Light (2ft 4 lamps) DL824 has 4 6500k bulbs $54.99
Josh's Frogs: Arcadia D3+ 12% T5 Bulb 22" $21.49
Change one of the center blubs on the quad light with the Arcadia uvb bulb and your good to go.
Check with the quad vendor to be sure the tubes (bulbs) are 22" prior to purchasing. The total fixture seems to be 23 1/2" long.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Or this one here... https://www.amazon.com/Odyssea-Timer-Aquarium-Marine-Cichlid/dp/B01714RE7O/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=odyssea+t5&qid=1564671427&s=gateway&sr=8-1&th=1
Uvb would be in an outside edge position on one with a single reflector for all bulbs. This one has timers for the bulbs in each two set. I believe it comes with the daylight bulbs. So you would just need the UVB bulb and if you want a plant pro bulb.
I believe the one @MissSkittles posted has individual reflectors which in that case you would need a 6% and your distance will be further away at about 9 inches for basking.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you so much! It can get confusing trying to wade through all the different things and it's nice to get a clear direct answer. Sorry for more questions, I just want to make sure I have everything set up right.
Is there a good fixture you recommend to hold them all?
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQU8F2O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
seems to be the main one I can find, and it seems to only hold one bulb. I wouldn't really love to buy like three of those if I don't have to!

So you would recommend getting all of these-

Arcadia: (8 inches or so above the top)
https://www.lllreptile.com/products/35825-arcadia-d3-12-uvb-t8-bulb--24

Quad: (positioned about a foot and a half or so above the cage?) since this one is more separate, would a basic hood fixture to hold it work or would I need a specific reptile one like the zoo med one?
https://www.marineandreef.com/Aquat...f_HDcz4Z9pFWbKkT1dQhNmVKV3xlPMHBoCWOMQAvD_BwE

I couldn't quite figure out a good 6500 watt, is this what you meant?:
https://gardendistribution.com/prod...F471eDuChbJNSIdlCUEBqeabnDDkLV8BoCf4cQAvD_BwE
See the post I just did... Don't get the zoo med fixtures they suck. :) I will be on tomorrow if you have other questions.
 

QueenKT

New Member
Thank you so much everyone!! I think I have a set plan in place now. I think I'll get that Vivosun that MissSkittles linked, since a bit of looking shows that the replacement bulbs are 22 inches, so it would fit. And then an Arcadia D3 6% UVB T5 bulb, the 22 inch of course (I linked them below just to make sure). And then like Beman said, put the UVB one on the outer edge. And then keep the whole thing about 9/10 inches up. I'll also be getting a heat gun, just to make sure everything is all lined, so I can adjust the distance as it gets older and needs it a bit warmer.
Does that seem to work? Is there anything else you guys can think of that I need to be sure of, heat and lighting -wise? I'm sure I'll be posting other questions later on as I get things set up and situated and things come up!
Once again, thank you so much to everyone for taking time to teach and help me!


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XFNLMQ...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

https://www.reptilebasics.com/arcadia-forest-6-uvb/arcadia-d3-6-uvb-t5-bulb-22/
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you so much everyone!! I think I have a set plan in place now. I think I'll get that Vivosun that MissSkittles linked, since a bit of looking shows that the replacement bulbs are 22 inches, so it would fit. And then an Arcadia D3 6% UVB T5 bulb, the 22 inch of course (I linked them below just to make sure). And then like Beman said, put the UVB one on the outer edge. And then keep the whole thing about 9/10 inches up. I'll also be getting a heat gun, just to make sure everything is all lined, so I can adjust the distance as it gets older and needs it a bit warmer.
Does that seem to work? Is there anything else you guys can think of that I need to be sure of, heat and lighting -wise? I'm sure I'll be posting other questions later on as I get things set up and situated and things come up!
Once again, thank you so much to everyone for taking time to teach and help me!


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XFNLMQ...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

https://www.reptilebasics.com/arcadia-forest-6-uvb/arcadia-d3-6-uvb-t5-bulb-22/
I guess the question is what all do you have already or are planning to get. No lights on at night. If it gets really cold (under 60*) at night, you can use a ceramic heat bulb.
Not lighting related but maybe can save you from some common mistakes. Some things that many of us get and then learn aren’t good or needed are things like floor carpet/substrate, waterfalls or daytime foggers andwater bowls. All can lead to bacterial growth and make your cham sick. Many of us also fell for the orange cubes to feed our feeder bugs...they aren’t any good. Make sure the plants you’ll be getting are safe as veileds eat them. Pothos is a favorite, schefflera, all dracaena, hibiscus, ficus Benjamina and areka palm are good. What supplements will you be using? Some use Repashy brand calcium with LoD every feeding and no other supplement is needed. Another way is phosphorus free calcium without D3 every feeding and then twice a month calcium with D3 and twice a month a multivitamin. If you get a female veiled, she’ll lay infertile eggs a few times a year and you’ll want to keep a lay bin in her enclosure at all times. One thing very overlooked is finding a good reptile vet near you and if possible, an emergency reptile vet. Make sure to check out the resources section...lots of great info there. Keep asking all the questions you need.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you so much everyone!! I think I have a set plan in place now. I think I'll get that Vivosun that MissSkittles linked, since a bit of looking shows that the replacement bulbs are 22 inches, so it would fit. And then an Arcadia D3 6% UVB T5 bulb, the 22 inch of course (I linked them below just to make sure). And then like Beman said, put the UVB one on the outer edge. And then keep the whole thing about 9/10 inches up. I'll also be getting a heat gun, just to make sure everything is all lined, so I can adjust the distance as it gets older and needs it a bit warmer.
Does that seem to work? Is there anything else you guys can think of that I need to be sure of, heat and lighting -wise? I'm sure I'll be posting other questions later on as I get things set up and situated and things come up!
Once again, thank you so much to everyone for taking time to teach and help me!


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XFNLMQ...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

https://www.reptilebasics.com/arcadia-forest-6-uvb/arcadia-d3-6-uvb-t5-bulb-22/
If this fixture has individual reflectors for each bulb then you will need to make sure your basking area is about 9-12 inches below the lights. I think that is what you mean about 9-10 inches up? Or the UVI level will be much too high at basking. Give multiple perches at basking between those areas that way the cham can pick what is best for them. Also if it is an individual reflectors to each bulb the placement of the UVB bulb does not matter only when it is a quad that has one reflector for all the bulbs. Distance for this fixture will never be adjusted unless you get a solarmeter to dial in your UVI level even better. So this fixture would stay in place. Then if you need it a bit warmer you can use a regular household incandescent bulb and a dome fixture. Let me know if I am not making sense lol.
This is a good podcast... And I recommend any of Bill Strand's podcasts. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-131-making-uvb-work-for-chameleons/
 

QueenKT

New Member
I guess the question is what all do you have already or are planning to get. No lights on at night. If it gets really cold (under 60*) at night, you can use a ceramic heat bulb.
Not lighting related but maybe can save you from some common mistakes. Some things that many of us get and then learn aren’t good or needed are things like floor carpet/substrate, waterfalls or daytime foggers andwater bowls. All can lead to bacterial growth and make your cham sick. Many of us also fell for the orange cubes to feed our feeder bugs...they aren’t any good. Make sure the plants you’ll be getting are safe as veileds eat them. Pothos is a favorite, schefflera, all dracaena, hibiscus, ficus Benjamina and areka palm are good. What supplements will you be using? Some use Repashy brand calcium with LoD every feeding and no other supplement is needed. Another way is phosphorus free calcium without D3 every feeding and then twice a month calcium with D3 and twice a month a multivitamin. If you get a female veiled, she’ll lay infertile eggs a few times a year and you’ll want to keep a lay bin in her enclosure at all times. One thing very overlooked is finding a good reptile vet near you and if possible, an emergency reptile vet. Make sure to check out the resources section...lots of great info there. Keep asking all the questions you need.

My house is fairly toasty, so I'm not super worried about them overnight!
I got a refillable IV dripper for water for them, I know it sounds silly but there's a little roller thing to tighten or loosen the tubing to control how much or little comes through, which I was going to put over the plant so it wouldn't just pool on the floor. I also have a nice sprayer for my ball python I'm planning on using a couple times a day for the chameleon tank. I'm definitely going to get a pothos and either a ficus benjamina or umbrella tree, and then I have a list of about five other ones (I added a couple from your list) to pick minimum two other ones from to have a good variety. I hadn't thought about supplements yet, thank you for the tip! I added the Repashy one to my list of things to get.
The only things I KNOW I need to decide on are how I'm going to situate the planting situation on the bottom. Do you just leave your trees etc in pots in the bottom? I could then just get a wider pot for them if I do get a female so she could use that soil for the eggs. This may seem very simple to you since you know what you're doing, but would I need to worry about going in and removing the eggs? I assume I would, but how long would you recommend waiting from the day she started laying?
 

QueenKT

New Member
If this fixture has individual reflectors for each bulb then you will need to make sure your basking area is about 9-12 inches below the lights. I think that is what you mean about 9-10 inches up? Or the UVI level will be much too high at basking. Give multiple perches at basking between those areas that way the cham can pick what is best for them. Also if it is an individual reflectors to each bulb the placement of the UVB bulb does not matter only when it is a quad that has one reflector for all the bulbs. Distance for this fixture will never be adjusted unless you get a solarmeter to dial in your UVI level even better. So this fixture would stay in place. Then if you need it a bit warmer you can use a regular household incandescent bulb and a dome fixture. Let me know if I am not making sense lol.
This is a good podcast... And I recommend any of Bill Strand's podcasts. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-131-making-uvb-work-for-chameleons/

Yes, that's what I meant. Sorry about the bit of confusion! You made perfect sense, don't worry. Would you recommend getting a solarmeter and the heat gun, or would one be definitely preferable to the other?
Most places list 85-95 degrees as the basking temperature, do you find that fairly accurate? I know sometimes some information like that is kind of generalized and I wasn't sure if I should lean more toward the higher or lower side as an ultimate goal for that area, and sometimes hands on experience tells a different story than a basic care sheet.
I am planning on getting some galapagos mossy sticks from lllreptiles and putting a bunch in there, especially around the basking area for the cham to use and adjust themselves, especially since then the vines from other plants could wrap around them and give additional coverage and a more 'natural' look. I'll also have a tree, as I told Miss Skittles, but I doubt I can grab a perfectly sized one right off the shelf so it would take some time to grow to the perfect size and strength for them so I thought those sticks would be a good option.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
My house is fairly toasty, so I'm not super worried about them overnight!
I got a refillable IV dripper for water for them, I know it sounds silly but there's a little roller thing to tighten or loosen the tubing to control how much or little comes through, which I was going to put over the plant so it wouldn't just pool on the floor. I also have a nice sprayer for my ball python I'm planning on using a couple times a day for the chameleon tank. I'm definitely going to get a pothos and either a ficus benjamina or umbrella tree, and then I have a list of about five other ones (I added a couple from your list) to pick minimum two other ones from to have a good variety. I hadn't thought about supplements yet, thank you for the tip! I added the Repashy one to my list of things to get.
The only things I KNOW I need to decide on are how I'm going to situate the planting situation on the bottom. Do you just leave your trees etc in pots in the bottom? I could then just get a wider pot for them if I do get a female so she could use that soil for the eggs. This may seem very simple to you since you know what you're doing, but would I need to worry about going in and removing the eggs? I assume I would, but how long would you recommend waiting from the day she started laying?
Using IV tubing doesn’t sound silly at all. I used an enteral feeding bag for the same reason...the roller clamp. ;) You will want to set up a good drainage system. I use the ReptiBreeze stands and just drilled holes in the enclosure floor and a 5 gal bucket beneath. I’ve also tried a plastic card table with a big hole drilled thru it. It worked but I didn’t put much effort into making it better as I was just waiting for the stand. To help guide the drainage I place the lay bin on a plastic mesh sink mat over my drainage holes. For the lay bin, I use about a 13x9x13” plastic tote (small drainage holes in the bottom) with a mix of clean play sand and organic soil. I have a small plant in one corner of it and made sure there’s some vines and branches going down to it. When I suspect they are near to laying, I make sure it’s moist enough and can hold a tunnel. I’ve only been thru one laying so far (another is due any day) and once I knew she was done, I removed the bin a day or two after. Took the eggs out and put the bin back in. FYI: once they go in the lay bin they need total privacy. I cover the bottom half of the enclosure with a sheet I’ve poked peek holes in so I can check how she’s doing. If it’s in your budget, I love love love Dragon Strand dragon ledges! They make it super easy to attach your branches, vines and plants up high. If you’re crafty/creative you could also make a scaffold or trellis for the sides to attach stuff to. Btw, I’m still relatively new at this too...only had a cham since the end of May and never had any reptiles before. Whatever I know I learned here and keep learning every day. :)
How to set up a lay bin. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/laying-bin-set-up-educational-video.77225/
Great podcast full of info. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, that's what I meant. Sorry about the bit of confusion! You made perfect sense, don't worry. Would you recommend getting a solarmeter and the heat gun, or would one be definitely preferable to the other?
Most places list 85-95 degrees as the basking temperature, do you find that fairly accurate? I know sometimes some information like that is kind of generalized and I wasn't sure if I should lean more toward the higher or lower side as an ultimate goal for that area, and sometimes hands on experience tells a different story than a basic care sheet.
I am planning on getting some galapagos mossy sticks from lllreptiles and putting a bunch in there, especially around the basking area for the cham to use and adjust themselves, especially since then the vines from other plants could wrap around them and give additional coverage and a more 'natural' look. I'll also have a tree, as I told Miss Skittles, but I doubt I can grab a perfectly sized one right off the shelf so it would take some time to grow to the perfect size and strength for them so I thought those sticks would be a good option.
Avoid the fake vines... The mossy ones they will chew off the moss and the jungle vines they can get pieces of the coating stuck in their eyes if they rub on them.... Everything is based really on the age, species, and sex of the cham. Males need different temps then females. I prefer having a solarmeter. I then know exactly what UVI he is getting and when to replace my bulb. However if you can mimic the exact set up fixture, bulbs, placement of uvb bulb, and distance to basking off of someone else then you will have a pretty close idea to what yours is based off theirs and their readings. I highly recommend a heat gun. If you want to get fancy get a herpstat thermostat... You set it to control the output of the basking light and it has a probe that you put in at basking. This way if it is cold or hot out it reads the temp and adjusts appropriately.

You said a few things I just want to double check... They? Are you getting more then one? if so you know they must be housed separately and unable to see each other right? and you said tank.. This word we always double check on... What type of enclosure are you using?
 

QueenKT

New Member
Using IV tubing doesn’t sound silly at all. I used an enteral feeding bag for the same reason...the roller clamp. ;) You will want to set up a good drainage system. I use the ReptiBreeze stands and just drilled holes in the enclosure floor and a 5 gal bucket beneath. I’ve also tried a plastic card table with a big hole drilled thru it. It worked but I didn’t put much effort into making it better as I was just waiting for the stand. To help guide the drainage I place the lay bin on a plastic mesh sink mat over my drainage holes. For the lay bin, I use about a 13x9x13” plastic tote (small drainage holes in the bottom) with a mix of clean play sand and organic soil. I have a small plant in one corner of it and made sure there’s some vines and branches going down to it. When I suspect they are near to laying, I make sure it’s moist enough and can hold a tunnel. I’ve only been thru one laying so far (another is due any day) and once I knew she was done, I removed the bin a day or two after. Took the eggs out and put the bin back in. FYI: once they go in the lay bin they need total privacy. I cover the bottom half of the enclosure with a sheet I’ve poked peek holes in so I can check how she’s doing. If it’s in your budget, I love love love Dragon Strand dragon ledges! They make it super easy to attach your branches, vines and plants up high. If you’re crafty/creative you could also make a scaffold or trellis for the sides to attach stuff to. Btw, I’m still relatively new at this too...only had a cham since the end of May and never had any reptiles before. Whatever I know I learned here and keep learning every day. :)
How to set up a lay bin. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/laying-bin-set-up-educational-video.77225/
Great podcast full of info. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/

I was planning on getting a little nightstand so I can put the bucket underneath behind a closed door. I have three cats who like to get into EVERYTHING, so I’m just making sure I have one tall enough they can take mess with it! I have some black landscape fabric I was planning on making a little cover with. The Cham tank will be going next to (not directly next to, a yard or two away) a ball python tank, so there will probably be the fabric covering the side facing the snake all the time.
I was looking into the dragon strand, I’m glad to know they’re as good as the website says! I was planning on using wooden dowels along the sides just to help set up the vines to start. I’ll probably sand the dowels and kinda take a knife to chip at them a bit, since even though I won’t be using them them as a main way for them to move around, I’ve heard they’re kinda hard on the cham’s feet ignore they do use them since they’re more slick.
 

QueenKT

New Member
Avoid the fake vines... The mossy ones they will chew off the moss and the jungle vines they can get pieces of the coating stuck in their eyes if they rub on them.... Everything is based really on the age, species, and sex of the cham. Males need different temps then females. I prefer having a solarmeter. I then know exactly what UVI he is getting and when to replace my bulb. However if you can mimic the exact set up fixture, bulbs, placement of uvb bulb, and distance to basking off of someone else then you will have a pretty close idea to what yours is based off theirs and their readings. I highly recommend a heat gun. If you want to get fancy get a herpstat thermostat... You set it to control the output of the basking light and it has a probe that you put in at basking. This way if it is cold or hot out it reads the temp and adjusts appropriately.

You said a few things I just want to double check... They? Are you getting more then one? if so you know they must be housed separately and unable to see each other right? and you said tank.. This word we always double check on... What type of enclosure are you using?

If you like both of them so much, I’ll probably just grab both a heat gun and the solarameter! I’m also going to get a couple of thermometer probes for it to set in the basking spots and general areas around it just to keep a constant eye on them.

Don’t worry! I’m only planning on getting the one. Perhaps WAY down the road a second one, but definitely just one to start an get used to everything. I have the reptibreeze mesh XL, the 48x24x24. I have a ball python, so I’m just used to saying tank!
 
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