Check My Setup

ASobbleMom

New Member
Hi everyone! Soon I will be welcoming home a 4 month old male panther cham. He is not my first, as I had a veiled about 18 years ago, but a bit has changed since then, so I put together a whole new setup.

Will you give me some feedback on anything that can be improved?

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - 2x2x4 ZooMed reptibreeze screen cage with solid plastic bottom. Dragon ledges installed.
  • Lighting - basking: 50W halogen (runs cheaper than incandescent) set directly on screen top in deep reflector; UVB: 24" arcadia 6% in the arcadia high power pro T5 kit and supershiny reflector, directly on top of cage. Both are on a 12 hr cycle, 9:30am-9:30 pm due to matching the light in the bedroom it's in/family's schedule of light/blackout shades, north side of house. This schedule gives the least chance of disruption, so far.
  • Temperature - basking is 78-82. ambient daytime in the room is 72. I have a GoVee wifi thermometer and a temp gun, both of which I am still figuring out (emissive properties of surfaces, etc). Room is heated by a mini split and electric mica heater, and sometimes I open the door to get a little warmth from the fireplace in the adjacent room.
  • Humidity - 50-80. Ambient humidity normally is around 50% (we live in coastal Connecticut/new England). I have a mistking on the following sched: 4:30am, 3min...8:30am, 5 min...5pm, 5min....11:30pm, 3 min. This might be too much. I adapted/ adjusted the mist+drip schedule from chameleon academy.
  • Plants - all live plants, all small: 2 money trees, 3 umbrella plants, 3 philodendron scandens, 4 fittonia argyroneura, one related species tiny, dying pink polka dot plant, 3 creeping fig ficus pumila and 9 pothos.
  • Placement - cage is on a 2 ft high end table, in bedroom, next to curtained window on north side of house. Room is very insulated and I know by a window is not ideal, but curtains are closed and we have a very busy small house (indoors: 2 adults, 4 kids ages 1-7, 3 cats, 4 fish and a snake). This is one of the top places for the least disturbance but where I can still keep an eye on him.
  • Location - coastal Connecticut, northeast/New England, US
Also, I have some pain points/wish list:

I need to figure out a drainage system. I can drill a hole in this end table I got from grandma. Right now my roach-bin-to-be is under it, and it fits so nicely! I will need to get drainage, though.

I may get the generic tray that is on the outside of the cage rather than the ZooMed one that's on the inside.

I am unsure where to put/how to attach my GoVee wifi thermometer/hygrometer. I don't think it should be misted or watered.

I need to figure out how to water the plants without disturbing the little guy...and figure out how to water them without making a muddy mess.

I don't have a UV meter yet, but I hope I'm close enough with my setup, as seems to be the case in my research.

I will probably get one of those wire racks. I feel like the cage is a hair low (I'm 5'9"). I just feel like the table it's on now, which is 25x23 is too small - will the cage hang off the wire shelving or get warped or unsteady?

I have a bunch of plants sitting on the floor. I'm a plant person so I just bought a bunch and will rearrange, move them out, hang them, etc as needed.

my sticks are driftwood that I washed in my bathtub several times. I licked one and it wasn't salty and I didn't die so I am hoping they are ok. I hope to get more branches. I washed all the leaves off the plants, put some large-ish washed smooth beach rocks in the dirt. Put organic veggie soil where I could on top of plants. Some pots are doubled for easy removal. I used about 92 8' zips and 15 4" zip ties and used a nipper to cut the thingy off the end of the zips. I turned them down so the chameleon doesn't touch the sharp part and I may sand sharp ones down.
 

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ASobbleMom

New Member
Oh and here is my carrying case to pick him up in. Any feedback or changes I should make are appreciated! I have a little towel to cover it with to keep it dark and warm.


Also, I forgot to mention I am a little worried about how to do the nighttime temp drop. I run cold and I sleep with a heated blanket but I keep my house warmer than most people. I've been gradually lowering my room temp at night so I get acclimated to colder night temps, and it's not easy!
 

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DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the group! Your cage looks really great. Temps, UVB, and humidity all look good, and you’ve done a great job branching and planting the cage

To keep your plants looking good you might consider an additional light for them. A T5 6500k fluorescent or an LED fixture works well for the plants

that is quite a bit of misting and you’ll definitely need good drainage solutions for it. I typically mist once before lights on for 1-2 minutes, once after lights out for a minute or two, and once about midnight before my fogger starts running through the late night/early morning

Dragon strand also makes a drainage tray that works great for containing water. Some people use a wet dry vac to suck water out of them. I put a bulkhead through the bottom of the tray to drain water to a reservoir that I dump out once a week

I Just use a long neck watering can once per week or so to water plants. They don’t love it, but occasional short term stresses like watering plants shouldn’t hurt your new Cham

it really does look great. Your cham should be very happy in there

Nutrition is also really important. Lots of variety in feeder types and in the foods you feed/gutload your feeders with. And of course proper supplement schedule

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ASobbleMom

New Member
Thanks guys! Haha glad my technique made you laugh. YES! I've been reading about LED plant lights and have one on my Amazon list. Going to get a tray, too, and do some drilling, probably. And thanks for the feeder care sheets, I DLed them to my phone to put on my Google drive so I always have them.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also, I forgot to mention I am a little worried about how to do the nighttime temp drop. I run cold and I sleep with a heated blanket but I keep my house warmer than most people. I've been gradually lowering my room temp at night so I get acclimated to colder night temps, and it's not easy!
So you really need to be able to get the room down to at least 65. I know but that is better than 60... But seriously though it is best for them. Add an extra blanket and don't throw an arm out. Welcome to one of the many changes you will make to accommodate your new little friend.
 

ASobbleMom

New Member
Lol I didn't! Although I have a Sobble collection and I LOVE Sobble. ASobbleMom is also my Pokemon Go name. I was thinking about naming him Intelleon, but my daughter wanted to name him Ryan (I think due to the kids youtube show Ryan's World, goodness help me).
 

ASobbleMom

New Member
Thank you everyone! Ryan the Chameleon is home!

He is from Fram's Chams. I was so incredibly impressed by their setup, quality and feeder insects too. They are is Massachusetts and ship all over US. I am from CT so I wore a mask and picked him up. I highly recommend them as a breeder - they were so helpful, generous and kind. All their animals were extremely well cared for and so, so clean.

Ryan is doing well so far, I got my Sansi plant light now, thank you DocZ for the recommendation!

Ordered a tray to go on the outside of the cage that I will set up with a bucket and drain, but it's not here yet so I've been at it with the turkey baster here and there.

Also got a 24x30 wire rack like many people have since I've had some spills and I want to be better organized (mistking and reservoir and fogger are on the top two shelves of my bookcase...and..books/water is no good.) Plus one of my cats keeps going on top of the cage and is just being a pest so I think a rack will keep her off, as I can block it up better.

I added some more branches in front, I made a little platform out of more clean driftwood to dump food on, and I got the TK Chameleon shooting gallery feeder, but he seems a bit little to use it still.

I just keep buying stuff! Upgrading my timers to the GoVee wifi ones, and bought some supplies to better care for my silkworms. Roaches are doing well with their heat mat and snacks in their bin above my snake tank. But again, the cat perches on the gluegun glued screen of the roach bin and I'm just waiting for a terrible, terrible catastrophe to happen in the middle of the night with that. Darn cat is up there right now.

In any case, Ryan is such a great little guy and a good eater, although he freaked me out today by somehow eating two worms at once!
 

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ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you everyone! Ryan the Chameleon is home!

He is from Fram's Chams. I was so incredibly impressed by their setup, quality and feeder insects too. They are is Massachusetts and ship all over US. I am from CT so I wore a mask and picked him up. I highly recommend them as a breeder - they were so helpful, generous and kind. All their animals were extremely well cared for and so, so clean.

Ryan is doing well so far, I got my Sansi plant light now, thank you DocZ for the recommendation!

Ordered a tray to go on the outside of the cage that I will set up with a bucket and drain, but it's not here yet so I've been at it with the turkey baster here and there.

Also got a 24x30 wire rack like many people have since I've had some spills and I want to be better organized (mistking and reservoir and fogger are on the top two shelves of my bookcase...and..books/water is no good.) Plus one of my cats keeps going on top of the cage and is just being a pest so I think a rack will keep her off, as I can block it up better.

I added some more branches in front, I made a little platform out of more clean driftwood to dump food on, and I got the TK Chameleon shooting gallery feeder, but he seems a bit little to use it still.

I just keep buying stuff! Upgrading my timers to the GoVee wifi ones, and bought some supplies to better care for my silkworms. Roaches are doing well with their heat mat and snacks in their bin above my snake tank. But again, the cat perches on the gluegun glued screen of the roach bin and I'm just waiting for a terrible, terrible catastrophe to happen in the middle of the night with that. Darn cat is up there right now.

In any case, Ryan is such a great little guy and a good eater, although he freaked me out today by somehow eating two worms at once!
Congrats! Ryan is so cute, and his set-up sounds and looks amazing! If possbile, I would try to keep the cat out of the room your reptiles and feeders in, though!
 

ASobbleMom

New Member
Congrats! Ryan is so cute, and his set-up sounds and looks amazing! If possbile, I would try to keep the cat out of the room your reptiles and feeders in, though!
Thank you!

I have a very strange/open/non traditional house, so although it would be highly impractical to keep the cat out, I have actually devised a way to keep the cat off the top shelf of the setup, and have a dark plant-printed piece of fabric I got that prevents the cat from seeing any perching/jumping surfaces.

So far, the cats (namely the siamese kitten) haven't bothered Ryan at all...but she DID fall through my roach bin at 3am, as predicted...so I had to get a whole new bin and cut small, square ventilation holes rather than a large one.

As a note: in between the cat busting through the roach bin and me getting a new one the following day, this is what I did: My bathroom was too cold and I don't have a closet big enough to stick the bin in easily, so I put a short/wide upside down laundry basket over the top...still had ventilation but no entry for the cat...and that worked great.

Here is the Old Bin = Bad and the New Bin = Good
 

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suprdude

Established Member
GoVee wifi thermometer/hygrometer
I learned something new today...didn't know about this, thanks. You clearly spared no expense! It's cool how it displays variances over the course of day, although once you get into a routine you probably wouldn't use it too often.
 
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