Bioactive Setup Help!!

k8shm8

Member
Ok so I have gathered my “shopping” list for my bioactive build and wanted to know if it sounds like im on the right track. I have a panther chameleon only 6 month old as of now. Im still debating on screen vs. glass cage and plan on speaking to the breeder we got him from at a reptile expo on Saturday. As of now I was thinking of the ZooMed 24”x24”x48”. Unsure about misting system as of now too, I have been hand misting 3-4 times per day for like 4 minutes per time. I find misting systems pricey and I honestly think I might be ok with hand misting.

Drainage :
For my drainage layer I watched a youtube video on a simple drainage system. Im gunna use one 1” pvc pipe cut according to the height of my substrate. I was thinking of using hydroballs on the bottom and window screen as my superator (I still have some window screen leftover). To get the water out I was gunna use an air tube, similar to those for fish tanks and siphon the water out.

Substrate:
Mix of peat, coco fiber, orchid bark, scott’s premium top soil. About 70% will be the organic top soil. I wanna use oak leaf litter and mix in broken of wood. Isopods for the cleanup crew.

Lights:
LED Plant light, not sure exactly which so recommendations will be appreciated.
(plus my heat lamp & UVB)

Plants:
Im not sure whicy local garden center has so I composed a list of all chameleon safe plants and then I will pick & choose. I am interested in bromeliads, hibiscus, jade plant, dracaena, asparagus fern, and ficus.

Decor:
Ghost wood branch, something tall for main climbing source. Vines & branches to help him move up & down.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!! I wanna make sure I am on the right track. I read over a lot of files on a FB bioactive page as well as tons of articles & have been watching youtube videos. Below I will add some pics of my inspiration for his vivarium.
 

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Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not sure I would use that soil mix. You can purchase a few pre-made soils(which are designed for proper drainage and plant growth) from a few places. I use thebiodude.com, some order the ABG mix from Josh’s frogs. You’ll want to add charcoal and I personally crush up some cuttlefish bone and add it as well. Your plant list sounds good, just remember more is better. I would spend the money and buy a misting system. This is very important, and eventually, you will get tired of hand misting. If you live in a cooler climate, I recommend glass terrariums from exo-terra(largest one only), but if you’re in a more warm, more humid area, screen is probably the way to go. If you want to mix your own soil, there are a few posts about people’s preferred mixes. I recommend watching the bio dude’s YouTube channel for reference on proper construction. Drainage is key.
 

k8shm8

Member
Not sure I would use that soil mix. You can purchase a few pre-made soils(which are designed for proper drainage and plant growth) from a few places. I use thebiodude.com, some order the ABG mix from Josh’s frogs. You’ll want to add charcoal and I personally crush up some cuttlefish bone and add it as well. Your plant list sounds good, just remember more is better. I would spend the money and buy a misting system. This is very important, and eventually, you will get tired of hand misting. If you live in a cooler climate, I recommend glass terrariums from exo-terra(largest one only), but if you’re in a more warm, more humid area, screen is probably the way to go. If you want to mix your own soil, there are a few posts about people’s preferred mixes. I recommend watching the bio dude’s YouTube channel for reference on proper construction. Drainage is key.
Actually if you look at the mixture in ABG soil, its literally the same as everything I just listed. Biodude and Joshs Frogs overcharge you for products you can DIY for cheaper with same results. I am making a drainage layer so im not worried about water buildup. I will add cuttlefish bone though so thanks!
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
The drainage layer is important, but the soil must drain well also. If it holds too much water, you will run into mildew issues, and if it drains too fast, then your beneficial bacteria’s and cleanup crew won’t survive. If you are following the ABG mixture, it will work great though. Good luck, and remember to add tons of bugs. Isopods alone will not be enough. I’ve added springtails, super worms, night crawlers, black soldier fly larvae, and horn worms regularly. Looks like earwigs and Dubia roaches have become popular elements of a cleanup crew as well. Not only do they help maintain the enclosure, they’re free range food for the chameleon.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
The drainage layer is important, but the soil must drain well also. If it holds too much water, you will run into mildew issues, and if it drains too fast, then your beneficial bacteria’s and cleanup crew won’t survive. If you are following the ABG mixture, it will work great though. Good luck, and remember to add tons of bugs. Isopods alone will not be enough. I’ve added springtails, super worms, night crawlers, black soldier fly larvae, and horn worms regularly. Looks like earwigs and Dubia roaches have become popular elements of a cleanup crew as well. Not only do they help maintain the enclosure, they’re free range food for the chameleon.
How do you keep your BSFL contained?
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
When they hatch out and fly, they are consumed nearly immediately. I did have an issue where I added way too many larvae at once, ended up with over 150 flies in the enclosure! Took a few weeks for them to all be eaten. My enclosure is completely automated, so I just kept the doors closed and my chameleon lived on BSF’s for a couple weeks.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m talking about the larva. Mines completely automated as well so I rarely open it either but I keep finding these escapees!
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hmm, I’ve never had any escape. I’m using a glass Exo Terra enclosure. I can see them tunneling along the glass once in awhile. The minute I put them in, they burrow down.
 
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