Chameleon future owner

Blustrgzr

Member
Good day,
I've done research on being a chameleon keeper. I've found the chameleon I'll be purchasing. He is an Ambilobe Panther Chameleon. I've met the breeder, I've met the chameleons, including the one I'll be bringing home. He directed me to your site.
I have dumpy tree frogs now and have kept them for over ten years.
Although their enclosure is not bioactive, I would like to make it so.

For the Chameleon, I just wanted to start out bioactive, but do I want to do bioactive from the start, is that even possible? I've seen it stated that I need to wait three weeks to introduce him to his enclosure if I do start out that way. He is in a bioactive enclosure with his breeder now if that matters.

I'm extremely overwhelmed with knowledge, ha ha.
I feel like I'm making it harder than it is.

Your group has a lot of amazing people from what I have read so I felt it was time to stop lurking.

I would like an enclosure that is suitable for bioactive. The breeder suggested all screen xl reptibreeze, but the dragon strand site had some that are both screen and clear which I liked, is that a bad option? How do you do bioactive with an all-screen enclosure?

The lights I understand, the timers, the misting, the dripper, no questions about that.

I found lots of info on the supplements here, so for now, I'm not confused about that.

I suppose my biggest area of struggle is the enclosure.

I would love to hear some starter info, what to do, not to do, before I bring my baby home.

I did not fill out a sheet, as again, I don't have him at home just yet. I believe he is 3 1/2 months old.
 

Tony_S

Avid Member
Welcome to the forum.

Where are you located at? What are the rooms relative humidity highs and lows? What are the rooms temperature highs and lows. This is both for where the enclosure will be kept.

This information will help to decide if glass, screen, or a combo of the two will be best for your enclosure.

I see you are getting a panther. They require a 50-70% daytime humidity.

Here is the panther care sheet.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/
 

Blustrgzr

Member
I'm located in Hedgesville, WV. The humidity in the room is generally 49% - 54% at least the past three months that I've monitored. The room temp is usually 69 to 72. Thanks for the reply. And the help.
 

Blustrgzr

Member
I will tag people in to help you. I myself do not run a bioactive set up but these people do and know there stuff. I do have a dragonstrand... There is a wait for them but I like them over all other cages unless you plan on converting a cabinet. :) FYI reptibreeze cages can rust :(
@jamest0o0 @SharpShooter @dshuld @GoodKarma19 @Brodybreaux25 @snitz427
Oh, I didn't realize that about the reptibreeze, I do not want rust. I don't know if I want to convert a cabinet, but I've seen a few on here that make it very tempting! Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh, I didn't realize that about the reptibreeze, I do not want rust. I don't know if I want to convert a cabinet, but I've seen a few on here that make it very tempting! Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!
Yeah they can :( look into this one instead .... https://www.diycages.com/collections/vertical-screen-reptile-chameleon-cages/products/sc4-48x24x24-jumbo-vertical-screen-cage
Unless dragon strand has availability you would be waiting quite a while. DIY are much better cages then the screen reptibreeze ones and you get almost immediate shipping. They do sell out pretty quickly though as well. You can buy the dragon strand ledges for it. Then you could get a planter box for the stand and waterproof it.
 

Blustrgzr

Member
Yeah they can :( look into this one instead .... https://www.diycages.com/collections/vertical-screen-reptile-chameleon-cages/products/sc4-48x24x24-jumbo-vertical-screen-cage
Unless dragon strand has availability you would be waiting quite a while. DIY are much better cages then the screen reptibreeze ones and you get almost immediate shipping. They do sell out pretty quickly though as well. You can buy the dragon strand ledges for it. Then you could get a planter box for the stand and waterproof it.
Awesome, thanks, I'll go look now!
 

Blustrgzr

Member
If you are short on time because the baby already has a ship date then you could do bio active later. In that case you could get a drip pan as well from dragon strand. His ledges and drip pans have almost immediate shipping. :) https://dragonstrand.com/alternative-cage-manufaturers/ Good luck in your adventure and welcome to the forum :)
No ship date, I get to go pick him up! So I have a little control. I like the idea of getting the enclosure, then going bio after. I wonder if that's the smart way to do it?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
No ship date, I get to go pick him up! So I have a little control. I like the idea of getting the enclosure, then going bio after. I wonder if that's the smart way to do it?
You will get many different opinions on what the smart way is. But in my opinion having absolutely everything set up first and running your tests on temps and humidity is the way to go. I believe bio active does require a cycle time but I am not sure. lol I think it just depends on what you want for the enclosure and how fast you can learn the info required lol. I tagged a ton of our bio active people though so you should get additional feedback. :)

Your boy is a beauty. Congratulations. :)
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
How "pretty" are you looking for? The exoterra large/ x tall screen and a home depot hdx 38 gallon tote for a "plant box" would do the trick to dip your toes in bioactive. Not pretty, but, it works. If you're handy, build a wood "plant box" and line it with flexseal.

As to the diy cages vs zoo med, yes zoo med will rust. However, I don't like my diy cages version. It feels more flimsy then the zoo meds do.
 

Blustrgzr

Member
How "pretty" are you looking for? The exoterra large/ x tall screen and a home depot hdx 38 gallon tote for a "plant box" would do the trick to dip your toes in bioactive. Not pretty, but, it works. If you're handy, build a wood "plant box" and line it with flexseal.

As to the diy cages vs zoo med, yes zoo med will rust. However, I don't like my diy cages version. It feels more flimsy then the zoo meds do.
Thank you very much! My dad is pretty handy so maybe he'll help me out. :)
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you very much! My dad is pretty handy so maybe he'll help me out. :)
Perfect!! I prefer the wood boxes myself but did find the 38 gal hdx to make it easier for my daughter when she moved out of state.

1x10 for the sides with a 3/4 plywood bottom is what I use. Lifegard aquatics bulkheads are fairly cheap on Amazon. I silicone the bulkhead in then seal everything inside with 2 pretty heavy coats of flexseal paint on version. Flexseal stinks to high heaven so paint on outside if you go this route lol.

Beyond the box, what questions did you have on it?
 

Blustrgzr

Member
Thanks! What I need to know now is, can I start out with a clear bottom, and then use the "wooden box" that I make using your advice above, to start up my bioactive, then switch over? OR am I incorrect in thinking that will work?
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks! What I need to know now is, can I start out with a clear bottom, and then use the "wooden box" that I make using your advice above, to start up my bioactive, then switch over? OR am I incorrect in thinking that will work?
As long as you cage fits what ever you're trying to use, roll with it lol. I've used flower pots, hdx totes, wood boxes...
 

Blustrgzr

Member
As long as you cage fits what ever you're trying to use, roll with it lol. I've used flower pots, hdx totes, wood boxes...
Yes of course! Thank you! My ultimate goal is to go bioactive. I don't mind waiting the time it takes to make sure everything is right, I also didn't want to wait another month plus before bringing him home. I would, if needed though. If it's possible to start him out with the clear bottom, and living plants, while also working on my bioactive, then that would be ideal. I didn't want to just rush into bioactive since I haven't done that yet.
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes of course! Thank you! My ultimate goal is to go bioactive. I don't mind waiting the time it takes to make sure everything is right, I also didn't want to wait another month plus before bringing him home. I would, if needed though. If it's possible to start him out with the clear bottom, and living plants, while also working on my bioactive, then that would be ideal. I didn't want to just rush into bioactive since I haven't done that yet.
I've got a mix of bio and clear. Biggest part is as mentioned, track how the cage reacts to the changes and adjust as needed. Bio isn't "as hard" to setup as one may think in some of the reading...depending on species. I'm working my way through a bio setup for a blood python and having to pull from my cham and ball python knowledge cause there's not much for bloods and bio out there.

Everyone here has a different way of doing it though which can cause some confusion though I suppose. For instance, I use safe t sorb rather then clay balls for drainage.
 

Blustrgzr

Member
I've got a mix of bio and clear. Biggest part is as mentioned, track how the cage reacts to the changes and adjust as needed. Bio isn't "as hard" to setup as one may think in some of the reading...depending on species. I'm working my way through a bio setup for a blood python and having to pull from my cham and ball python knowledge cause there's not much for bloods and bio out there.

Everyone here has a different way of doing it though which can cause some confusion though I suppose. For instance, I use safe t sorb rather then clay balls for drainage.
Yes that has been the most difficult part, trying to wade through all of the information.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome! Lots of great advice already in this thread. :)

I'm currently working on a bioactive conversion for a ReptiBreeze, and can attest to the ReptiBreeze rusting when left in consistent contact with water. However, if you don't mind some extra prep you can add a couple coats of a rust inhibiting paint, or a rubberized coating to extend its lifespan! I just finished touching up my rusting ReptiBreeze with Rustoleum spray paint.

The great thing about having a planter box that the cage rests on is the fact that you can technically cycle the bioactive portion separately from the enclosure! So, theoretically you can have your boy in the ReptiBreeze with a free draining bottom, while cycling the bioactive bin elsewhere. Then you wouldn't have to wait to bring your boy home! General cycling time seems to vary depending on who you ask, but I'd aim for 2 week to a month. My existing build is a month old, and has only just finished stabilizing!

My much handier grandpa whipped me up a simple box planter for use with my ReptiBreeze build, and I have since coated inside with LiquidRubber (equivalent to Flexseal) and plan on adding a vinyl liner as well to ensure that I won't have any water seepage.

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A plastic tote would also work, though less aesthetically pleasing! Maybe if you took a plastic tote and disguised the outside... :unsure:
 
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