False Bottom Vivarium

jackschamnewbie

New Member
I am undergoing a complete redesign of my enclosure. I have an a drain table with 6"+ of plexiglass surrounding the base. I have screened it over and placed a series of rocks at different sizes from largest to smallest.

I am wanting to place the root balls of my plants onto the rocks and backfill with organic soil. I am hoping that this will enable me to use less water every day and provide aditional humidity. I am assuming that fans placed at the hermetically sealed top will draw air up through the cold and wet rocks/soil and create a natural swamp cooler effect.

Has anyone had sucess with this and chameleons? I have only seen this used for frog vevariums that require good air flow, high humidity and low temperatures

Picture shows the pots on top of the rocks. I am hoping to get rid of the pots entirely. I realize that this will reduce the vertical size to roughly 30" however this is easily changed with additional legs and poly. As well as that is still retartedly huge for a 5m old jacksonii jacksonii
 

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Im interested to see how this turns out, can you post up some more pics of what you have now? Are the sides also plexi, or is that mesh? how are you going to combat mold/bacteria w/ the added moisture and soil?
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
The sides are just 12mm poly sheeting right now with 2 screen doors. I am hoping to eventually cover all sides with clear plexi but that stuff is expensive as hell.

Idk what I am going to do to combat mold and bacteria,
I was hoping the bugs and growing plants within the soil would combat that for me. I dont understand what else there is to aid this. Misting twice/day keeps the soil moist and the living space dry. The fans help a bit to move air through the rocks and soil. Anything you doo or have heard that I can do to help this? I dont understand why no one has ever discussed how to prevent mold within the pots their plants are in.

Would this not be considered one large pot??
 
I'd avoid full plexi for the sides; you'll want some bottom-top airflow and the false bottom probably wont provide enough... maybe a plexi frame w/ the middle screened?
As long as things dont get water logged and airflow is high enough then it wont be a huge issue... you'll have to figure out some way to deal w/ the chameleon's waste though. It might be a good idea to check out the poison dart frog forums; same advice I was given. Mild water-hydrogen peroxide solutions are good to airate plant roots and it also kills mold spores and bacteria, for what its worth
I have a planted viv too, but opted to have a bare bottom and sides and just planted the background. I have yet to run into any issues, but I think thats because the bottom is substrate free
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
I'd avoid full plexi for the sides; you'll want some bottom-top airflow and the false bottom probably wont provide enough... maybe a plexi frame w/ the middle screened? As long as things dont get water logged and airflow is high enough then it wont be a huge issue... you'll have to figure out some way to deal w/ the chameleon's waste though. It might be a good idea to check out the poison dart frog forums; same advice I was given. Mild water-hydrogen peroxide solutions are good to airate plant roots and it also kills mold spores and bacteria, for what its worth
I have a planted viv too, but opted to have a bare bottom and sides and just planted the background. I have yet to run into any issues, but I think thats because the bottom is substrate free

I was curious about whether or not the false bottom would provide much if any air flow. I was thinking about adding a few PVC pipes screened on both ends and masked with a few rocks may provide some extra airflow. Having a forested bottom with enough micro-organisms to eat the bacteria and provide food for the feeders did seem like a long shot. Bringing the outdoors inside is really a lot harder than I thought it would be...

Once I finish getting this hermetically sealed I will find out exactly how much negative pressure is required to draw air in through the rocks with and without the pvc addition to the bottom. I will get back on here in about 30 with the results.

edit
RESULTS

This might be useful or suggestions

Dimensions of enclosure 35"x18"x30"

so

Vomulme of enclosure 18,900in ÷ 12 = 1,575ft

÷

Fan 500cfm 500cfm =3.15 airchanges/min

Negative pressure at .3
Temperature is dropping to 62 at the bottom :( too cold

I am not going to be satisfied untill I have replicated the kenyan low lands and immitated to the best of my ability to local ecoand micro biosphere as well as climate. In a down scaled fashion of course, as money and resources are limited.
 
Having a forested bottom with enough micro-organisms to eat the bacteria and provide food for the feeders did seem like a long shot. Bringing the outdoors inside is really a lot harder than I thought it would be...

might be better suited for poison dart frogs or other similar herps; as appealing as it might seem a full substrate bottom offers a LOT of potential problems for chams. Dont know much about your experience, but going off your username Im guessing youre new to the chameleon/herp world? Jumping into the deep end first might not be a great idea

I am not going to be satisfied untill I have replicated the kenyan low lands and immitated to the best of my ability to local ecoand micro biosphere as well as climate. In a down scaled fashion of course, as money and resources are limited.

scaled down and limited resources are definitely going to be a problem; any issues that might be omissible in a larger enclosure are going to be multiplied in a smaller one, and limited resources generally leads to cut corners which never ends up well.
Most of the people you see doing full planted micro climates devote an entire room, or make a room sized enclosure. Yes, chameleons do encounter plenty of dirt and ground in the wild, but they're not confined to it. They are primarily arboreal, so putting them into a viv that focuses on that section of their habitat is generally avoided, especially for new hobbyists
there are a few threads on this site w/ people who have done planted tanks w/ full substrate, check em out

Anything you doo or have heard that I can do to help this? I dont understand why no one has ever discussed how to prevent mold within the pots their plants are in.

Would this not be considered one large pot??

yes and no. the big difference here is the reduced cross section a pot takes as compared to the entire bottom, a full bottom is going to collect and retain all the water from misting as compared to a smaller % of it. Also, in your particular setup, there's a reduced airflow, which means its going to take longer to dry out. There are quite a few threads w/ people talking about over-watering their plants and dealing w/ mold. The other big issue is removing all the cham's waste from the substrate, a micro-climate can only process so much and a chameleon poops a lot
 

CNorton

Avid Member
I wanted to add additional confidence in what chefboyardee is saying- he is giving great advice.
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
I know he was, I was skeptical but then I realized that he was right. Clean bottoms are easy to keep sanitary and therefore more ideal. Bringiaple outdoors indoors is not a good idea and simply is simply complex and difficult. Simple care is exactly that... And it is proven to work for prety much everyone.

But
To further complicate or explore this bad idea I am now wondering if it is possible to have 2 seperate environments that these chams are pimarily observed moving between, and replicate them and connet them. Of course keeping in mind that waste removal is a vital factor and not confining them to one particular area as well.

Can anyone point me to some actual research into the micro/biolife of the jackasonii X.
 

juice28

New Member
ive been doing alot of research on how to create a "full" environment for my chams as well for my own personal knowledge and one day when i fell i know enough and have gone through enough issues and have enough ducks in a row to feel comfortable trying it out, ill set one up....im also going to have a standard set up for lack of a better phrase as well..just in case it doesnt work like want it to or thought it would but thats no time soon...still too much i gotta learn so for now, i have the standard set up thats advised because hey, if it aint broke dont fix it right?

there are some people here who have had luck with fully planted set ups but they are either pygmys or arent in small enclosures, very intricate and took alot of time trial and error and money to get right..im still very new to keeping chams myself so everything is information to me, old ways and new...

i can say that the easiest...complete self sustaining/semi self sustaining environment ive created or come across was a saltwater reef tank set up..which wasnt easy lol nor was it fast...took about 3 years until it was pretty much automated to the point that all i did was keep up water quality and feed the few fish i had a couple times a week...

comparing it to that.. its very similar when attempting to combine 2 environments whether it be the ground and the trees...or the river and the forest..etc etc..it can be done but your pockets better be ready for it, you better have the space as well as time and patience...take a tree on average generally speaking 5-10 plus years to get a trunk thats 2 inches thick
 
I know he was, I was skeptical but then I realized that he was right. Clean bottoms are easy to keep sanitary and therefore more ideal. Bringiaple outdoors indoors is not a good idea and simply is simply complex and difficult. Simple care is exactly that... And it is proven to work for prety much everyone.

But
To further complicate or explore this bad idea I am now wondering if it is possible to have 2 seperate environments that these chams are pimarily observed moving between, and replicate them and connet them. Of course keeping in mind that waste removal is a vital factor and not confining them to one particular area as well.

Can anyone point me to some actual research into the micro/biolife of the jackasonii X.


Dont get discouraged, I think a move towards new husbandry techniques will do the hobby a lot of good. There tends to be a lot of parroting/regurgitation of info in niche hobbies, so Im always supportive of new approaches (assuming they're feasible). If youre a new hobbyist, its best to focus on chameleon husbandry alone, as that tends to be more than enough work. Once you have a feel for what these animals need, then you can start to explore different approaches

I dont mean to plug my own thread, but here's how I set up my own viv:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/custom-viv-reconstruction-111774/
I actually ended up dropping the LED grow light (the red/blue colors werent really good for the chameleon), and replaced it w/ several 6500K lights, a basking bulb, and a 5.0 UVB light. The bottom and sides are bare, which is convenient for cleaning, but the heavily planted background really adds to a 'natural' look and helps with humidity.

OFWfRN9.jpg


take some time and explore the poison dart frog forums; they have a lot of interesting cork-bark setups that could be incorporated w/ a chameleon viv while still keeping to a bare bottom setup. If youre going to attempt to take a cross section of their habitat, aim for the one they spend the majority of their time in, and stick with a setup that focuses on vertical space as opposed to horizontal
 

Chameleopatrick

New Member
I am undergoing a complete redesign of my enclosure. I have an a drain table with 6"+ of plexiglass surrounding the base. I have screened it over and placed a series of rocks at different sizes from largest to smallest.

I am wanting to place the root balls of my plants onto the rocks and backfill with organic soil. I am hoping that this will enable me to use less water every day and provide aditional humidity. I am assuming that fans placed at the hermetically sealed top will draw air up through the cold and wet rocks/soil and create a natural swamp cooler effect.

Do you even understand the term hermetically sealed? Hermetically sealed chameleon habitats....... Ha ha ha, good one. :rolleyes:

False bottoms have been discussed here many times before.

Intentionally building a swamp in your chameleon cage = bad idea, really bad idea.

Perhaps you should try frogs instead.
 
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