DYI Cage - What Plants to put in it

VC Floki

New Member
Hello, I am new to this Forum. Floki is our first lizard and he is a Veiled Chameleon and he is about 4 or 5 months old. We are aware this is not a beginner lizard, but we have a strong local VC support network. My wife and I are both professionals in our late 30's with no kids, but we do have an old dog and cat at home. We did tons of research online and talking to our local reptile store before we decided to purchase Floki in Dec of 2020. Currently he lives in an aquarium with a screened top and this is a temporary home. We were told that a baby VC needs to hone in on their hunting skills in a smaller enclosure before they get put into a larger unit. I am looking into making my own cage with at least 3 sides being screens. I haven't pinned down the exact size of the cage, but it will be at least 3 feet by 3 feet and at least 4 feet tall. But before I start to finalize this, I would appreciate some feedback from others about what kind of plants can go in it. I am hoping to have some kind of live plant in it. I will also have ways to connect a rope inside so that he can walk on it, and a way that will make it so that it can easily be changed to create different paths. I understand this is a big undertaking, but during these COVID times, I find myself with more time on my hands then usual. We are open to any comments that can help us improve the life of Floki.

  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Male veiled chameleon. Approximate age, 5 months. Has been in my care for 1 months.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? Right now a few times a week, as his temporary aquarium is high maintenance.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Right now he eats about 8-10 small to med size crickets a day. Any crickets he does not eat get removed from his cage before lights outs.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? I use Repti Calcium powder on my crickets every other day. This has calcium and D3. Click HERE for more info. I also have a very nice setup for the crickets and they get Gut loaded with either Apples, Carrots or potato’s. I will be using the gutloading method of blending and freezing as per the care sheet found on this forum.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? Currently we spray his cage when the lights go on and lights go off. We have seen Floki drink before. I have a sensor inside his cage.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? poop is brown and firm, but still moist, urine is mostly clear
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:


Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? Currently he is in an 25L aquarium with a screen top. Currently building an adult enclosure, see initial help inquiry.

Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? When I went to Reptile Kingdom I explained the current Aquarium and future Cage and bought what they said I would need in Dec 2020. Both Heat Light and UVB light are ZooMed. Heat light is “Deluxe Porcelain Clamp Light” and we have a 34” T5 High output Reptisun Terrarium Hood. The UVB light sits on top of his aquarium and he has a spot to rest about 6 inchs from the UVB. I have the Heat Lamp clamped above his aquarium about 6 inchs with a resting spot just below him to lay under. If he basks to long under this spot he will lay with his mouth open. I am aware that the UVB light bulb will probably need to be checked or replaced after 12 months of use. Both lights get turned on at the same time everyday and remain on for about 12 hours.

Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? Daytime range is between 75 to 80 at the top of his aquarium, and we have a ZooMed Digital Combo Thermometer well as a Digital Thermometer Laser. The temperature directly under his basking heat lamp is pretty steady at 85 during the day. Nightime temp drops to 67 to 75.

Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? Daytime humidity is typically between 30% and 80%, and nighttime his humidity may drop a little lower then that. In his new home I will have a mister or a fogger, open to suggestions

Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? None right now, but his new home will have this.

Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? The aquarium is currently 3 ft off the floor, near a huge big window, so he gets extra sun that way.

Location - Where are you geographically located? I live in a small town outside of Niagara Falls in Canada.
 

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ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sadly, there is a lot wrong, so could you please read through all of these links and images (especially make sure to read through every module and the veiled species profile, as well as listen to as many podcasts as possible, from The Chameleon Academy, as they have the most accurate and up-to-date info available!), then let us know if you have any questions, need more clarification, etc:
ttps://www.chameleons.info/en/
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/external-resources/
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://chameleonacademy.com/veiled-chameleon-care/
https://chameleonacademy.com/setting-up-a-chameleon-cage/
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html
-He needs a proper cage ASAP! Aquariums are not suitable for chams! Glass terrariums (like Exo Terra’s where there’s ventilation at the bottom to have the chimney effect), all screen cages, or hybrid enclosures (like DragonStrand’s hybrid cages) are the acceptable types of cham cages! His adult cage (which he can go into now) needs to be a minimum of 2’ x 2’ x 4’ tall, but preferably 4’ x 2’ x 4’ tall or bigger. Bigger is always better!
-Are you sure he’s a he? Posting a pic of the side view of the back of his back feet will help us make sure he really is a male, as females have different care requirements.
-You don’t want to use rope, chams can get their nails caught in it!
-The UVB is way too close! What strength bulb is it (5.0 or 10.0), and do have a screen top on the aquarium? Zoo Med bulbs need to replaced every 6-9 months (I say replace them after 6 months) unless you have a Solarmeter 6.5 to check the actual UVI levels.
-Veileds need live plants only, as fake plants are an impaction risk! You want veiled-tested chameleon-safe live plants that are properly cleaned beforehand and have rocks too big for him to eat covering the soil in the pots before putting them in his cage!
-You need a quality phosphorus-free calcium without D3 (so get the Zoo Med ReptiCalcium without D3) to use on every feeding, a quality phosphorus-free calcium with D3 (which you already have) to use once every two weeks, and a quality multivitamin without D3, preferably with preformed Vitamin A (like Zoo Med Reptivite without D3), to use once every two weeks as well! So say use the calcium with D3 on one day every week, then the next week use the multivitamin without D3 instead of the D3 calcium that day, then repeat.
-You need a better and more varied gutload.
-How long do you mist for?
-His heat bulb should be at least 7” away from where his casque/top of his back is when he’s on his basking branch, but preferably 8-9” away or more! Place a probe from a digital thermometer with a probe there to measure basking temps. You’re going to need to get nighttime temps to stay below 67*F, but preferably 65*F (as the max!) or lower (lower is better)!
-Daytime humidity needs to be between 30-50% and up to 100% at night (only that high with adequate airflow, which you don’t have in an aquarium)!
-Is the window energy efficient or does it change the air temps near it inside of the house? Can he see his reflection in either the aquarium or the window?
-Have he gotten checked for parasites?
 

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CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
OK so you are getting there, but that cage is wrong. It needs more ventilation. what strength a 34” T5 ? 34 in or cm? doesn't look like 34 in.

I have a site about getting started. https://caskabove.com/new-pet-chameleon

Main thing is that tank has to go. If you need more enclosed that is ok, but look at the cages like zen habitats, or converting a screen to hybrid. We need min of screen on one side and screen top. Where he is now will cause raspatory problems.

Drop you basking temp, low 80s. Ambient is OK. Try to make sure you get below 70f at night.

Quick temp fix is to get a small computer fan. they have them that plug into usb. place on top of cage in on the corner. This will aid in air flow till you get something better.
 

VC Floki

New Member
OK so you are getting there, but that cage is wrong. It needs more ventilation. what strength a 34” T5 ? 34 in or cm? doesn't look like 34 in.

I have a site about getting started. https://caskabove.com/new-pet-chameleon

Main thing is that tank has to go. If you need more enclosed that is ok, but look at the cages like zen habitats, or converting a screen to hybrid. We need min of screen on one side and screen top. Where he is now will cause raspatory problems.

Drop you basking temp, low 80s. Ambient is OK. Try to make sure you get below 70f at night.

Quick temp fix is to get a small computer fan. they have them that plug into usb. place on top of cage in on the corner. This will aid in air flow till you get something better.
Thanks, i will look into that fan. I know his cage is wrong thats why I posted asking about what plants people would recommend I put into his new cage, and I promise at least 2 sides and the top will be screened
 

VC Floki

New Member
Sadly, there is a lot wrong, so could you please read through all of these links and images (especially make sure to read through every module and the veiled species profile, as well as listen to as many podcasts as possible, from The Chameleon Academy, as they have the most accurate and up-to-date info available!), then let us know if you have any questions, need more clarification, etc:
ttps://www.chameleons.info/en/
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/external-resources/
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://chameleonacademy.com/veiled-chameleon-care/
https://chameleonacademy.com/setting-up-a-chameleon-cage/
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html
-He needs a proper cage ASAP! Aquariums are not suitable for chams! Glass terrariums (like Exo Terra’s where there’s ventilation at the bottom to have the chimney effect), all screen cages, or hybrid enclosures (like DragonStrand’s hybrid cages) are the acceptable types of cham cages! His adult cage (which he can go into now) needs to be a minimum of 2’ x 2’ x 4’ tall, but preferably 4’ x 2’ x 4’ tall or bigger. Bigger is always better!
-Are you sure he’s a he? Posting a pic of the side view of the back of his back feet will help us make sure he really is a male, as females have different care requirements.
-You don’t want to use rope, chams can get their nails caught in it!
-The UVB is way too close! What strength bulb is it (5.0 or 10.0), and do have a screen top on the aquarium? Zoo Med bulbs need to replaced every 6-9 months (I say replace them after 6 months) unless you have a Solarmeter 6.5 to check the actual UVI levels.
-Veileds need live plants only, as fake plants are an impaction risk! You want veiled-tested chameleon-safe live plants that are properly cleaned beforehand and have rocks too big for him to eat covering the soil in the pots before putting them in his cage!
-You need a quality phosphorus-free calcium without D3 (so get the Zoo Med ReptiCalcium without D3) to use on every feeding, a quality phosphorus-free calcium with D3 (which you already have) to use once every two weeks, and a quality multivitamin without D3, preferably with preformed Vitamin A (like Zoo Med Reptivite without D3), to use once every two weeks as well! So say use the calcium with D3 on one day every week, then the next week use the multivitamin without D3 instead of the D3 calcium that day, then repeat.
-You need a better and more varied gutload.
-How long do you mist for?
-His heat bulb should be at least 7” away from where his casque/top of his back is when he’s on his basking branch, but preferably 8-9” away or more! Place a probe from a digital thermometer with a probe there to measure basking temps. You’re going to need to get nighttime temps to stay below 67*F, but preferably 65*F (as the max!) or lower (lower is better)!
-Daytime humidity needs to be between 30-50% and up to 100% at night (only that high with adequate airflow, which you don’t have in an aquarium)!
-Is the window energy efficient or does it change the air temps near it inside of the house? Can he see his reflection in either the aquarium or the window?
-Have he gotten checked for parasites?
Thanks for the feedback, this is alot. I know his cage is not recommended and I am looking to change that ASAP, thats why I am asking about what plants to use. And thanks for the tips on not using rope. When i get home tonight I will look at all the info you provided.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for the feedback, this is alot. I know his cage is not recommended and I am looking to change that ASAP, thats why I am asking about what plants to use. And thanks for the tips on not using rope. When i get home tonight I will look at all the info you provided.
Great! The two plant list photos I attached are all veiled-tested chameleon-safe plants! The Chameleon Academy also has a module on plants, as well!
 

VC Floki

New Member
-He needs a proper cage ASAP! Aquariums are not suitable for chams! Glass terrariums (like Exo Terra’s where there’s ventilation at the bottom to have the chimney effect), all screen cages, or hybrid enclosures (like DragonStrand’s hybrid cages) are the acceptable types of cham cages! His adult cage (which he can go into now) needs to be a minimum of 2’ x 2’ x 4’ tall, but preferably 4’ x 2’ x 4’ tall or bigger. Bigger is always better!
-Are you sure he’s a he? Posting a pic of the side view of the back of his back feet will help us make sure he really is a male, as females have different care requirements.
-You don’t want to use rope, chams can get their nails caught in it!
-The UVB is way too close! What strength bulb is it (5.0 or 10.0), and do have a screen top on the aquarium? Zoo Med bulbs need to replaced every 6-9 months (I say replace them after 6 months) unless you have a Solarmeter 6.5 to check the actual UVI levels.
-Veileds need live plants only, as fake plants are an impaction risk! You want veiled-tested chameleon-safe live plants that are properly cleaned beforehand and have rocks too big for him to eat covering the soil in the pots before putting them in his cage!
-You need a quality phosphorus-free calcium without D3 (so get the Zoo Med ReptiCalcium without D3) to use on every feeding, a quality phosphorus-free calcium with D3 (which you already have) to use once every two weeks, and a quality multivitamin without D3, preferably with preformed Vitamin A (like Zoo Med Reptivite without D3), to use once every two weeks as well! So say use the calcium with D3 on one day every week, then the next week use the multivitamin without D3 instead of the D3 calcium that day, then repeat.
-You need a better and more varied gutload.
-How long do you mist for?
-His heat bulb should be at least 7” away from where his casque/top of his back is when he’s on his basking branch, but preferably 8-9” away or more! Place a probe from a digital thermometer with a probe there to measure basking temps. You’re going to need to get nighttime temps to stay below 67*F, but preferably 65*F (as the max!) or lower (lower is better)!
-Daytime humidity needs to be between 30-50% and up to 100% at night (only that high with adequate airflow, which you don’t have in an aquarium)!
-Is the window energy efficient or does it change the air temps near it inside of the house? Can he see his reflection in either the aquarium or the window?
Thanks for the advice.
New Enclosure will be built in a week, 40 inch (L) by 22 inch (W) by 48 inch (H)
He is a he, thats been verified
I won't be using rope in his new cage, instead Whispering Jew
I have raised the UVB and I have access to a Solarmeter and will check the bulb after 6 months
I will only be putting LIVE plants in his new enclosure, and only the plants on the sheets you provided. Swinging more towards the Money tree and the one with the big leaves and several other side plants
I have ordered the 2 other types of powder and have been using them lately as perscribed
We just made our very first gutload using the food processor and all those greens in the list you attached.
Currently I mist for about a minute, but will be getting a new mister with his new enclosure.
I never realized they like it this cold at night, so his nighttime temp last few weeks is about 60 to 65
I'm new to this, and appreciate the advice so that Floki can live his best life!
 
Thanks for the advice.
New Enclosure will be built in a week, 40 inch (L) by 22 inch (W) by 48 inch (H)
He is a he, thats been verified
I won't be using rope in his new cage, instead Whispering Jew
I have raised the UVB and I have access to a Solarmeter and will check the bulb after 6 months
I will only be putting LIVE plants in his new enclosure, and only the plants on the sheets you provided. Swinging more towards the Money tree and the one with the big leaves and several other side plants
I have ordered the 2 other types of powder and have been using them lately as perscribed
We just made our very first gutload using the food processor and all those greens in the list you attached.
Currently I mist for about a minute, but will be getting a new mister with his new enclosure.
I never realized they like it this cold at night, so his nighttime temp last few weeks is about 60 to 65
I'm new to this, and appreciate the advice so that Floki can live his best life!
Welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of chameleons. The info to learn and research is a lot but recreating a slice of jungle in your home is fun.🙂 you're definitely on the right track best wishes for you and your new cham.
 

Flick boy

Avid Member
Hi and welcome I see you mention you have access to a solar meter is it a 6 5. If so check what reading you are getting now below it to the closest branch
 

VC Floki

New Member
Hi and welcome I see you mention you have access to a solar meter is it a 6 5. If so check what reading you are getting now below it to the closest branch
Hello Flick, not sure. I just bought it and my friend has the Solarmeter that he says I can use at any time.
 

Flick boy

Avid Member
Piece slice chunk outback whatever, im sure the ladies will agree (chameleon) that the quality not quantity is what matters . If you got both sweet
 

Flick boy

Avid Member
Yeah the golden pothos is great for coverage hanging up high and hanging down very sturdy plant which withstands heavy pruning if need and your pruning can be easily propagated si more plants for backup or your home sksi wandering jew
 

VC Floki

New Member
So his new build is almost complete, and just put him in it last night so NO more aquarium. I will be installing the CliMist system tomorrow as well as hanging one of the potted vines from the top to give him a better basking spot. In the mean time I am just misting constantly to keep the humidity up.
I have 1 UVB light that is a T5 High output Reptisun Terrarium Hood and 1 heat lamp.
Any tips or advice on finishing touches? I just want to make it so that he can be happy.
 

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Flick boy

Avid Member
I love the colour of your cabinet. So you could see about getting some real branches varying sizes to make some little super highways and more places for your little guy to adventure but yeah def progress 😉
 
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