Cage Cleaning Reality Check...

julieopdx

New Member
Hi Folks,
I've been watching this forum for nearly a year, and just now posting. I have a veiled female, Loki, who is I think is about 11 months and doing great (after some brutal heartache and learning-the-hard-way losing a previous baby female). I got her from a local pet store who has chams regularly. She was upgraded 3 mo ago to a huge screened cage ($100!), larger, dual lighting for 150watt heat and UVB, lots of live plants, branches, etc. She is a funny girl, as I've gotten to know her I have observed her activity, her keen vision and noting of every movement, her moods (cranky most the time but will walk on my hand to get a cricket), habits (pooping and sleeping in the same place) and energy. I am so tickled by watching these creatures and while they are quite expensive to keep (worth it), the quiet therapy and joy from just observing them is something to behold. What is challenging is when its cage-cleaning time. I have to remove all her set-up, and try to recreate it like it was before cleaning-- since she seems to like her "spots" and always does the same thing pretty much every day. It takes me over an hour to remove (she goes into another smaller ventilated cage with a plant for that time), clean, sanitize, dry the green substate, and put everything back with lights, set up thermometer, humidity thingy, sprayer, dripper, etc. Does anyone have a better process for spot cleaning or do you recommend switching up their set up and environment to stimulate them? She's a great hunter, she's active, she can be quite fast when hunting, and she has already laid eggs once (proud mom!). Appreciate any/all tips.

PS: I'll post a pic when I can figure out how...
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi Folks,
I've been watching this forum for nearly a year, and just now posting. I have a veiled female, Loki, who is I think is about 11 months and doing great (after some brutal heartache and learning-the-hard-way losing a previous baby female). I got her from a local pet store who has chams regularly. She was upgraded 3 mo ago to a huge screened cage ($100!), larger, dual lighting for 150watt heat and UVB, lots of live plants, branches, etc. She is a funny girl, as I've gotten to know her I have observed her activity, her keen vision and noting of every movement, her moods (cranky most the time but will walk on my hand to get a cricket), habits (pooping and sleeping in the same place) and energy. I am so tickled by watching these creatures and while they are quite expensive to keep (worth it), the quiet therapy and joy from just observing them is something to behold. What is challenging is when its cage-cleaning time. I have to remove all her set-up, and try to recreate it like it was before cleaning-- since she seems to like her "spots" and always does the same thing pretty much every day. It takes me over an hour to remove (she goes into another smaller ventilated cage with a plant for that time), clean, sanitize, dry the green substate, and put everything back with lights, set up thermometer, humidity thingy, sprayer, dripper, etc. Does anyone have a better process for spot cleaning or do you recommend switching up their set up and environment to stimulate them? She's a great hunter, she's active, she can be quite fast when hunting, and she has already laid eggs once (proud mom!). Appreciate any/all tips.

PS: I'll post a pic when I can figure out how...
You could go bioactive and only spot clean the arboreal parts of the cage, just watch for her eating substrate. Also get either a t5HO or T8 linear uvb bulb and fixture when you get the chance (strength depends on cage size). I totally argree with above on just watching them and the calmness of it! Could you fill out the ask for help form just to make sure your husbandry is in tip top shape, please?
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi Folks,
I've been watching this forum for nearly a year, and just now posting. I have a veiled female, Loki, who is I think is about 11 months and doing great (after some brutal heartache and learning-the-hard-way losing a previous baby female). I got her from a local pet store who has chams regularly. She was upgraded 3 mo ago to a huge screened cage ($100!), larger, dual lighting for 150watt heat and UVB, lots of live plants, branches, etc. She is a funny girl, as I've gotten to know her I have observed her activity, her keen vision and noting of every movement, her moods (cranky most the time but will walk on my hand to get a cricket), habits (pooping and sleeping in the same place) and energy. I am so tickled by watching these creatures and while they are quite expensive to keep (worth it), the quiet therapy and joy from just observing them is something to behold. What is challenging is when its cage-cleaning time. I have to remove all her set-up, and try to recreate it like it was before cleaning-- since she seems to like her "spots" and always does the same thing pretty much every day. It takes me over an hour to remove (she goes into another smaller ventilated cage with a plant for that time), clean, sanitize, dry the green substate, and put everything back with lights, set up thermometer, humidity thingy, sprayer, dripper, etc. Does anyone have a better process for spot cleaning or do you recommend switching up their set up and environment to stimulate them? She's a great hunter, she's active, she can be quite fast when hunting, and she has already laid eggs once (proud mom!). Appreciate any/all tips.

PS: I'll post a pic when I can figure out how...
Pictures
B2BB863B-B074-40DB-8B26-7ECA42A192A0.jpeg
 

April McGregor

Established Member
I had the same issue so I now adjusted my set up to make this process easier.

I have all his vines and branches attached to the sides and have them in a position where I can just slip out the plant pots sitting on the bottom, clean the bottom cage etc and wipe down all the plants and slip everything back in when clean.

It took me a few tries to get it right, to know what needed to be moved where.
 

julieopdx

New Member
Great idea ErkleRose, I like bioactive, and I think I'm mostly there save for cleaning up all the shed, I am considering a small cordless vacuum to get dead leaves and shed out of there. Poop pick up is easy since she is usually dropping it one place. April-- I like your idea of having all vines/branches attached. However, Loki's cage is all screen, so not easy to poke holes in small screen, even with zip ties the screen structure does not support it. I saw pieces on some partner site you can buy for $65 that attach snugly to screens so make that possible. Does anyone have those? (the partner site I saw was dragon-something).

ErkleR- I will look for the ask for help form and fill it out. I welcome any and all tips to make sure we're doing everything 120%. This site has been a HUGE help, because I could not rely on the local pet shop or even the exotic animal vet to steer me in the direction for the best care. Much of what I've learned, other than trial and error-- 've learned from this incredible site and all you guys!
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Great idea ErkleRose, I like bioactive, and I think I'm mostly there save for cleaning up all the shed, I am considering a small cordless vacuum to get dead leaves and shed out of there. Poop pick up is easy since she is usually dropping it one place. April-- I like your idea of having all vines/branches attached. However, Loki's cage is all screen, so not easy to poke holes in small screen, even with zip ties the screen structure does not support it. I saw pieces on some partner site you can buy for $65 that attach snugly to screens so make that possible. Does anyone have those? (the partner site I saw was dragon-something).

ErkleR- I will look for the ask for help form and fill it out. I welcome any and all tips to make sure we're doing everything 120%. This site has been a HUGE help, because I could not rely on the local pet shop or even the exotic animal vet to steer me in the direction for the best care. Much of what I've learned, other than trial and error-- 've learned from this incredible site and all you guys!
The attachments are by Dragon Strand, a site sponsor. Here’s the ask for help form: https://www.chameleonforums.com/how-ask-help-66/ I have bioactive set ups so let me know if you need any help!
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
How often are you removing everything to clean the cage that thoroughly? This is not something you have to do more than a couple times a year, tops. Otherwise, spot cleaning is perfectly acceptable maintenance for the majority of the time
 

julieopdx

New Member
Syreptyon- I have been trying to remove/clean everything about once a month, every 5-6 weeks... I was worried b/c I lost a chameleon baby early this year due to respiratory issue. Not clear if she had it already when we got her from the local pet shop.

Here's my info:
  • Loki is approx 11 mo old veiled female. From local pet store, owned since April 2018.
  • Handling - no more than 1-2x a week.
  • Feeding - Feeding 10 crickets per day, waxworms 2x a week, intermittent veg and fruit, swiss chard, carrot, apple (all organic). .
  • Supplements - ZooMed ReptiCalcium without D3 twice a week (increasing now to every other feed). Gutloading with Repashy Superload, ZooMed Cricket Care and dusting crickets 1x week with Reptivite (D3). Feeders get apple, some veg.
  • Watering - Watering with ExoTerra mister every hour for 60 sec, hand mist when needed (1x daily) to really soak all parts of the enclosure.
  • Fecal Description - normal (shiny when new) with urate, dries quick, not been tested for parasites.
  • History - bought from local pet store when we got her she had a tiny piece of her tail (like a snip) off on the near end. Seems to be no problem, her tail curls normally and is used like a 5th foot.
  • Cage Type - upgraded at 9 mo to full screen, ExoTerra 30x18x30. Multiple bamboo sticks, twisting vines and fake “trees”, fake vines and live plants, fake lotus flower. I’d like to add live hibiscus, maybe orchid.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - in Fall (now) cage floor 70F, basking 75F-85F depending on location in cage and height. Summer months temps are 80-90 and 75-85 on floor.
  • Humidity - humidity 40-70% depending on misting. Can get up to 90% when I soak with hand misting.
  • Plants - mix of live plants in pots (ficus, schefflera, pothus) and fake vines.
  • Placement - cage is currently on the floor (table was too small for the bigger cage upgrade). On carpet, under south-facing window with natural light, no vents nearby. Sheltered, no walk-by area. She can see movement in the room in the afternoons when my son is home. Not a heavily used room.
  • Location - Portland, OR
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Syreptyon- I have been trying to remove/clean everything about once a month, every 5-6 weeks... I was worried b/c I lost a chameleon baby early this year due to respiratory issue. Not clear if she had it already when we got her from the local pet shop.

Here's my info:
  • Loki is approx 11 mo old veiled female. From local pet store, owned since April 2018.
  • Handling - no more than 1-2x a week.
  • Feeding - Feeding 10 crickets per day, waxworms 2x a week, intermittent veg and fruit, swiss chard, carrot, apple (all organic). .
  • Supplements - ZooMed ReptiCalcium without D3 twice a week (increasing now to every other feed). Gutloading with Repashy Superload, ZooMed Cricket Care and dusting crickets 1x week with Reptivite (D3). Feeders get apple, some veg.
  • Watering - Watering with ExoTerra mister every hour for 60 sec, hand mist when needed (1x daily) to really soak all parts of the enclosure.
  • Fecal Description - normal (shiny when new) with urate, dries quick, not been tested for parasites.
  • History - bought from local pet store when we got her she had a tiny piece of her tail (like a snip) off on the near end. Seems to be no problem, her tail curls normally and is used like a 5th foot.
  • Cage Type - upgraded at 9 mo to full screen, ExoTerra 30x18x30. Multiple bamboo sticks, twisting vines and fake “trees”, fake vines and live plants, fake lotus flower. I’d like to add live hibiscus, maybe orchid.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - in Fall (now) cage floor 70F, basking 75F-85F depending on location in cage and height. Summer months temps are 80-90 and 75-85 on floor.
  • Humidity - humidity 40-70% depending on misting. Can get up to 90% when I soak with hand misting.
  • Plants - mix of live plants in pots (ficus, schefflera, pothus) and fake vines.
  • Placement - cage is currently on the floor (table was too small for the bigger cage upgrade). On carpet, under south-facing window with natural light, no vents nearby. Sheltered, no walk-by area. She can see movement in the room in the afternoons when my son is home. Not a heavily used room.
  • Location - Portland, OR
Reptivite with D3 should be every two weeks. Change out the Cricket Care for organic fresh fruits and veggies (there’s a gutload list in food and nutrition in the resources tab here) or another quality commercial gutload besides Repashy, like Mazuri, Cricket Crack, or Pangea. Misting needs to be at least 2 minutes long. You’ll need a 36” tall cage or bigger (unless that’s a typo and your cage is 36” by 18” by 36”?). What’s your lighting? Could you post a pic of her enclosure? Do you have a lay bin? Get a stand if possible, the taller the better! The veiled care sheet here is a great resource if you haven’t read it already!
 

julieopdx

New Member
Reptivite with D3 should be every two weeks. Change out the Cricket Care for organic fresh fruits and veggies (there’s a gutload list in food and nutrition in the resources tab here) or another quality commercial gutload besides Repashy, like Mazuri, Cricket Crack, or Pangea. Misting needs to be at least 2 minutes long. You’ll need a 36” tall cage or bigger (unless that’s a typo and your cage is 36” by 18” by 36”?). What’s your lighting? Could you post a pic of her enclosure? Do you have a lay bin? Get a stand if possible, the taller the better! The veiled care sheet here is a great resource if you haven’t read it already!
I have a lay bin, need to put it back in her enclosure. I took it out after she laid eggs (late Aug?). I'll snap a pic of her lighting. Here is one of her today.
 

Attachments

julieopdx

New Member
Thanks ERKleRose, I will up the misting another minute, and get a 2nd commercial gutload (Mazuri, Pangea, Cricket Crack). Cage is 30x18x30, I measured it. Lighting pics and current cage setup here. I'm ordering a small table/stand to put the enclosure on. That way she will also get the natural sunlight through the window, which she used to have until we got the bigger enclosure.

The big dome is a 150W and a UVB, the small dome is a 100W and other side is a ceramic heat emitter (turned on during cooler indoor temps)
 

Attachments

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks ERKleRose, I will up the misting another minute, and get a 2nd commercial gutload (Mazuri, Pangea, Cricket Crack). Cage is 30x18x30, I measured it. Lighting pics and current cage setup here. I'm ordering a small table/stand to put the enclosure on. That way she will also get the natural sunlight through the window, which she used to have until we got the bigger enclosure.

The big dome is a 150W and a UVB, the small dome is a 100W and other side is a ceramic heat emitter (turned on during cooler indoor temps)
If you want a cheaper bioactive cage set up, get the 36” by 18” by 36” screen Exo Terra cage and put it on top of a 40 gallon breeder aquarium, then you have enough depth in the substrate (if you fill the aquarium all the way to the top) to not have a lay bin, she can lay right in the soil. Make sure to set up a drainage system, too. Get either a t5HO or T8 linear uvb fixture and bulb (uvb strength depends on cage size). Uvb cannot pass through windows, just an fyi. Add some more branches and vines (mostly horizontal) and plant cover, too.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
ERKle, do you have a picture of this kind of set up? I'm intrigued....
Sorry, my chams are in temporary cages with bare bottoms while I build them bigger custom bioactive vivs! I am planning on using what I said above for a female carpet (furcifer lateralis lateralis). I can link my build thread, though
 

amfire125

Established Member
One of my favorite things I changed when I upgraded enclosures was making sure the potted plants aren't laying flat on the bottom of the enclosure. I find that the space between a potted plant and the bottom is a breeding ground for bacteria since there's usually at least some standing water caught under there. I use really simple wire racks that way I can reach under everything and I can clean the entire bottom of the cage without moving anything! As for cleaning other things...well...it's always a pain in the butt. But this right here was a game changer for spot cleaning for me!

plant rack.jpg

https://smile.amazon.com/Grayline-4..._rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=V14K8M98S788VVRS53PZ
 
Great idea ErkleRose, I like bioactive, and I think I'm mostly there save for cleaning up all the shed, I am considering a small cordless vacuum to get dead leaves and shed out of there. Poop pick up is easy since she is usually dropping it one place. April-- I like your idea of having all vines/branches attached. However, Loki's cage is all screen, so not easy to poke holes in small screen, even with zip ties the screen structure does not support it. I saw pieces on some partner site you can buy for $65 that attach snugly to screens so make that possible. Does anyone have those? (the partner site I saw was dragon-something).

ErkleR- I will look for the ask for help form and fill it out. I welcome any and all tips to make sure we're doing everything 120%. This site has been a HUGE help, because I could not rely on the local pet shop or even the exotic animal vet to steer me in the direction for the best care. Much of what I've learned, other than trial and error-- 've learned from this incredible site and all you guys!
I have the Dragon Strand ledges in both of my cages - they are well worth every single expensive penny. When installed correctly, they hold an unbelievable amount of weight so nothing has to sit on the floor of your cage. Mine have been going strong for almost 3 yrs now.
 

amfire125

Established Member
I have a Dragon Strand enclosure and I wish I had bought additional ledges just for that reason! They are excellent and I rave about them all the time!! I just have some realllllyyyy big heavy pots (for these enclosures) and didn't want to risk it, lol. Plus, what cham doesn't love a billion plants everywhere?! haha :p
 
Thanks ERKleRose, I will up the misting another minute, and get a 2nd commercial gutload (Mazuri, Pangea, Cricket Crack). Cage is 30x18x30, I measured it. Lighting pics and current cage setup here. I'm ordering a small table/stand to put the enclosure on. That way she will also get the natural sunlight through the window, which she used to have until we got the bigger enclosure.

The big dome is a 150W and a UVB, the small dome is a 100W and other side is a ceramic heat emitter (turned on during cooler indoor temps)
Where did you get this cage from? Love it
 
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