Cage Suggestions

k8shm8

Member
Hello!
Per my last post, I am upgrading my chameleons whole cage. I just bought the 24" x 24" x 48" Zoo Med Reptibreeze Large today for my male panther. I just wanted some suggestions for the following items below. Feel free to link to websites or suggest brand names. I have read over some other forms and have ideas but theres so many options. I already have a ton of vines and branches to put inside so I just wanna focus on the lighting, humidity, plant bulbs, plants, etc... Any recommendations please!
  • Strip UVB light, the fixture and bulbs. I was looking at the Carolina Custom cages but im not sure which size to get. I also like the reptisun fixtures and found a T5 one that comes with a UVB bulb for like $50. Just want opinions and recommendations.
  • Mist/Fogger. I saw some cheaper ones for like $50 on amazon but who knows how good they truly are. I do not want to spend a fortune on it because its lower on my list of things I would like to purchase. I am doing very well with humidity for my guy by hand misting so its just to make my life easier.
  • Plant grow bulb, im not sure if I should get a strip of one compact bulb with a daylight? Brand names please!!
  • Best plants for cage, I know some of the standards that are chameleon safe but I want to know what you guys personally prefer
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
I like the t5ho light fixture, would def invest in a mistking and flchams has an extensive plant safe list, pothos dracaena umbrella and ficus plants are fan favs tho. I'm not sure on the plant bulbs though, maybe a more experienced member can chime in on that
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
So I have a T5 quad light fixture from lightyourreptiles.com. 1 plant pro bulb, 2 daylight bulbs and the Arcadia 12% uvb bulb. I really love the light it puts out and my plants are thriving.
I love the pothos plant. Very forgiving and sturdy vines.
 

iMi

Established Member
I have the same size cage and personally really like the Zoo Med HID metal halide lighting system. I personally feel the T5 is not as efficient and has limited reach, which in an enclosure this size is limiting. I realize majority here do not agree, but do your own research and decide what you want to do. A fully planted, bioactive setup is doing well with the lighting as well. Plants are growing fast. A misting system is a must as well. Good luck!
 

k8shm8

Member
I have the same size cage and personally really like the Zoo Med HID metal halide lighting system. I personally feel the T5 is not as efficient and has limited reach, which in an enclosure this size is limiting. I realize majority here do not agree, but do your own research and decide what you want to do. A fully planted, bioactive setup is doing well with the lighting as well. Plants are growing fast. A misting system is a must as well. Good luck!
Do you still use any other lights/bulbs with the HID metal halide?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Please do your research if you are going to try Mercury Vapor or metal halide lighting. You will need to have a solarmeter 6.5 as well to measure your uvi levels. They can produce a lot of heat and UVI which is why they are typically only used on very large enclosures.
UVB lighting pic.jpeg
 

iMi

Established Member
Do you still use any other lights/bulbs with the HID metal halide?
No, metal halide lights provide all the necessary UVB and heat. I personally find the information pertaining to metal halide lighting on this site to be outdated. Latest products are very efficient and safe to use.

I contacted the manufacturers of two most popular models. One way to avoid UVB deficiency as the bulb ages is to replace them every 12 months. They can actually last 18 to 24 months and this is where the meter will come in handy. With proper setup in a standard 2x2x4 cage, you cannot over UVB the chameleon. It’s simply not possible and he will regulate his exposure on his own, as long as full foliage cover is provided, which is exactly what they do in the wild.

I am a big fan. They cost more but can actually be less expensive to run long term and the quality of lighting is unmatched by anything else on the market.
 

iMi

Established Member
Looks great. I would only point out one thing. You're looking at 96W plus you'll need a source of heat, which will be another 50-75W. The Zoo Med HID system is 70W total. The 50W Exo Terra would also be sufficient. Half the power you'll be using or even a third if you consider the Exo Terra.

I only mention this to help dispel the myth that metal halide are inefficient and only work well at high wattage. That is simply not true. Also, compare the light spectrum and I think you'll be amazed at the difference.

However, What you bought will work great. Nothing wrong with the setup you're pursuing. Good luck!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks great. I would only point out one thing. You're looking at 96W plus you'll need a source of heat, which will be another 50-75W. The Zoo Med HID system is 70W total. The 50W Exo Terra would also be sufficient. Half the power you'll be using or even a third if you consider the Exo Terra.

I only mention this to help dispel the myth that metal halide are inefficient and only work well at high wattage. That is simply not true. Also, compare the light spectrum and I think you'll be amazed at the difference.

However, What you bought will work great. Nothing wrong with the setup you're pursuing. Good luck!
I have a question since you are all about metal halide.... are you using a solarmeter to check your uvi levels?
 

iMi

Established Member
I have a question since you are all about metal halide.... are you using a solarmeter to check your uvi levels?
I am waiting for one to arrive. Should be here next week. A supplemented chameleon would literally take weeks or months to develop a deficiency. Levels are almost certainly well above what is required, but I agree. A meter will take the guess work out of the process, especially as the bulb ages.
 

iMi

Established Member
I have a question since you are all about metal halide.... are you using a solarmeter to check your uvi levels?
I would add one more comment. To most novice keepers and those with a more conventional setup, I would agree that T5 would probably be the safer and more convenient setup. Those who go with a heavily planted, natural setup... I personally feel metal halide system is by far the best. That's just my opinion and it's based on hours of careful research.

With metal halide proper foliage that allows for full retreat is absolute must, in my opinion. It's what they do in nature. I have noticed that our chameleon become more active and picked up colors. Plants seem to be thriving same as before, to be honest. Some of the ones in the shade seem to grow a little faster, but that's about it. The brightness and spectrum of the light is phenomenal.

One big downside, relatively narrow "floodlight" effect, regardless of the brand used (I have both). That's perhaps the biggest minus.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am waiting for one to arrive. Should be here next week. A supplemented chameleon would literally take weeks or months to develop a deficiency. Levels are almost certainly well above what is required, but I agree. A meter will take the guess work out of the process, especially as the bulb ages.
I am asking because I have seen you recommend this to a few new keepers. I am happy for you that you found something that you think will be great however I find it very concerning that you would recommend this to brand new keepers without even using the product or testing uvi levels with a solarmeter. When a tried and true method of lighting like the T5 fixture with the proper bulb strength works perfectly for chameleons and paired with a basking bulb that can be swapped out for different wattage levels to achieve the right heat levels as the Cham matures works perfectly. I am not saying your wrong but that maybe you should do some testing on your own when you get your unit before recommending to new keepers that are still learning and do not understand all aspects of lighting and how to do it appropriately.
I myself do not supplement with d3 because I have a solarmeter to double check my levels and am following the Arcadia method of d3 conversion from light only but this is something I am doing and do not tell others that are new because frankly there is so much information out there and this is a hobby that continues to evolve as more is learned about keeping chameleons.
 

iMi

Established Member
I am asking because I have seen you recommend this to a few new keepers. I am happy for you that you found something that you think will be great however I find it very concerning that you would recommend this to brand new keepers without even using the product or testing uvi levels with a solarmeter. When a tried and true method of lighting like the T5 fixture with the proper bulb strength works perfectly for chameleons and paired with a basking bulb that can be swapped out for different wattage levels to achieve the right heat levels as the Cham matures works perfectly. I am not saying your wrong but that maybe you should do some testing on your own when you get your unit before recommending to new keepers that are still learning and do not understand all aspects of lighting and how to do it appropriately.
I myself do not supplement with d3 because I have a solarmeter to double check my levels and am following the Arcadia method of d3 conversion from light only but this is something I am doing and do not tell others that are new because frankly there is so much information out there and this is a hobby that continues to evolve as more is learned about keeping chameleons.
In general, I agree with you. I see no flaws in the logic you presented and your advice is certainly sound. I have said it before and perhaps should repeat it -- research, research, research. There is a wealth of info out there. The conventional method works and it works well. I'll share my readings once available. There are pros and cons to every approach.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would add one more comment. To most novice keepers and those with a more conventional setup, I would agree that T5 would probably be the safer and more convenient setup. Those who go with a heavily planted, natural setup... I personally feel metal halide system is by far the best. That's just my opinion and it's based on hours of careful research.

With metal halide proper foliage that allows for full retreat is absolute must, in my opinion. It's what they do in nature. I have noticed that our chameleon become more active and picked up colors. Plants seem to be thriving same as before, to be honest. Some of the ones in the shade seem to grow a little faster, but that's about it. The brightness and spectrum of the light is phenomenal.

One big downside, relatively narrow "floodlight" effect, regardless of the brand used (I have both). That's perhaps the biggest minus.
In general, I agree with you. I see no flaws in the logic you presented and your advice is certainly sound. I have said it before and perhaps should repeat it -- research, research, research. There is a wealth of info out there. The conventional method works and it works well. I'll share my readings once available. There are pros and cons to every approach.
And I would love to learn through your research as well when you have readings. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in your response and I am not at all against other options but not everyone does the research and that is what is scary. So maybe try to stress that a solarmeter is needed and they need to fully look into it to avoid someone using the product incorrectly and causing harm to their Cham.
 

k8shm8

Member
ok!! So I bought a whole lot of stuff & im still waiting for some of it to come!

Cage: 24” x 24” x 48”
UVB T5HO Zoomed light strip
Reptisun T5 bulb
Light fixture stand
Dripper
Plant bulb from lowes
Croton, pothos, spider plant, bromeliad, and african violet
organic plotting soil (fertilizer & pesticide free!)
River stones (to cover the soil, prevent compaction)

I am very veryyy excited for this build! I will def post pictures when its all done. Im just waiting on the cage!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
ok!! So I bought a whole lot of stuff & im still waiting for some of it to come!

Cage: 24” x 24” x 48”
UVB T5HO Zoomed light strip
Reptisun T5 bulb
Light fixture stand
Dripper
Plant bulb from lowes
Croton, pothos, spider plant, bromeliad, and african violet
organic plotting soil (fertilizer & pesticide free!)
River stones (to cover the soil, prevent compaction)

I am very veryyy excited for this build! I will def post pictures when its all done. Im just waiting on the cage!
Yayyyyyyyy soooo exciting congrats!!! Are you planting out the bottom or using pots?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Pots! I didnt want to deal with the pain of making a drainage system
LOL yeah I did pots as well. It was not so much the drainage system that got to me as the bugs you gotta put into it to keep it clean and running well. hehe. No microscopic bugs that can escape for me. ewwwww. I look forward to seeing your pictures!
 
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