Ficus tree

Chammy007

Member
My ficus is shedding leaves like crazy. I brought it to the plant nursery and they said it wasn’t getting enough light. Anyone you’d vouch for that could help in rescuing my plant. Without the leaves my chammy isn’t getting enough cover. Thanks much.

Also at the plant nursery they said to mount uvb lighting on the sides of the terrarium.
 

Horaceunit

Established Member
Do what I do. If it's nice and sunny and above 65 degrees (Fahrenheit) take it outside. Nothing like natural sunlight to rev up a plant ( or a Chameleon!) Also brown or wilting leaves aren't necessarily a sign of underwatering it can also be overwatering or lack of proper fertilizer. Make sure any fertilizer you use is going to be safe for your Chameleon.
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Chammy007

Member
Do what I do. If it's nice and sunny and above 65 degrees (Fahrenheit) take it outside. Nothing like natural sunlight to rev up a plant ( or a Chameleon!) Also brown or wilting leaves aren't necessarily a sign of underwatering it can also be overwatering or lack of proper fertilizer. Make sure any fertilizer you use is going to be safe for your Chameleon.
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As of now my plants are in pots. I was planning on going with, for lack of a better term, a biotank. If I was to just go with just keeping them in pots what would be my options for when winter rolls around. It’ll get way to cold for the ficus. I really like the biotank option. Any suggested reading to get me started would be great.peace
 

Horaceunit

Established Member
Not sure about temperature requirements for ficus, I've never had one. Most house plants can stand temperatures down to 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) at least for a period of time. Months? Probably not, but a few days to a couple of weeks should be manageable. If you are using a glass enclosure then you can manage your temperatures more and I see the point of a bio-active system. If it's a screened enclosure (even a 3 sides covered hybrid one) I'm not sure what difference bio-active as opposed to potted plants would be temperature-wise.
 

Chammy007

Member
Not sure about temperature requirements for ficus, I've never had one. Most house plants can stand temperatures down to 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) at least for a period of time. Months? Probably not, but a few days to a couple of weeks should be manageable. If you are using a glass enclosure then you can manage your temperatures more and I see the point of a bio-active system. If it's a screened enclosure (even a 3 sides covered hybrid one) I'm not sure what difference bio-active as opposed to potted plants would be temperature-wise.
My enclosure is a zen habitats 24x24x48 if that makes a difference
 

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Horaceunit

Established Member
My enclosure is a zen habitats 24x24x48 if that makes a difference
That's a nice one! Front and top screened? If so I'm not sure what bio- active will do for you. Please understand I'm somewhat new with all this and I am in the process of putting an enclosure together. From what I can gather bio-active is not done as much with chameleon set-ups as it is with other types of reptiles. For example I have a Crested Gecko in a bio-active set-up and both it, and the Gecko have been doing great for almost 2 years. Because of the humidity requirements there is a lot of moisture generated and it will need to be drained. You will have to make provision for regular draining of the bottom.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also, I wouldn’t go bioactive in a Zen Habitats tank, as for the chimney effect to work, the bottom screen panel needs to be clear. They’ve been talking about creating screen doors, so once those come out, you can go bioactive if you want to.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Please examine your ficus carefully. I had a beautiful braided trunk Ficus benjamina that was dropping leaves. After ruling out drafts (which they can be very sensitive to and drop leaves) and watering issues, we discovered some kind of nearly microscopic parasites. Had to trash it completely (had exactly one leaf left).

ALL lights should be mounted on/above the top of the enclosure.
Best plant light for that size enclosure (IMO) is the Sansi 70W pad.
Coupons are available. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=sansi+coupons

When chameleons bask, they tend to gravitate to the brightest source of light. In nature this would be the sun which provides everything, but in captivity, plant lights often can & do outshine basking lights. For these reasons, there are 2 more things I do:
  1. Mount basking lights at an angle. This provides a temperature gradient rather than a hard number and allows the cham to seek out the basking temp it prefers.

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  2. It also allows aiming the basking light so the three types of light can be arranged in a sort of Venn diagram—again allowing the cham to seek out what light combination it needs/wants.

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The Zen hybrid can be used for bioactive as long as there is space between the bottom screen and the bioactive bin/tub, or an inch between the top of the bin/tub and the screen. Very little spece is actually needed to generate a chimney effect.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I had a beautiful braided trunk Ficus benjamina that was dropping leaves. After ruling out drafts (which they can be very sensitive to and drop leaves) and watering issues, we discovered some kind of nearly microscopic parasites. Had to trash it completely (had exactly one leaf left).
So as not to be a total loss, I'm going to salvage the braided trunk, separate the trunks, inspect & wash as necessary to get rid of any residual parasites, and use the 3 'corkscrew' trunks as branches in the enclosure. :)
 

Chammy007

Member
2. It also allows aiming the basking light so the three types of light can be arranged in a sort of Venn diagram—again allowing the cham to seek out what light combination it needs/wants.

1623159633776.png
hey, would you happen to have a pic of your lighting placement? If you have a basking,uvb and plant bulbs?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
You want the UVB bulb to be in the middle, either straight across or diagonal. If you have a linear plant light, it goes right next to it in the same fashion. The heat bulb should be angled over the basking site, and if you have a normal light bulb type plant light, it goes either over the plants or angled towards them in a free space
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
hey, would you happen to have a pic of your lighting placement? If you have a basking,uvb and plant bulbs?
Can't get a pic ATM (the stool I use to get up there is otherwise occupied on another project) but here's a scale dwg.


The basking lamp (8½" clamp light dome) is aimed backward to shine roughly where the dashed ellipse falls, and the linear UVB's beam angle goes from the back of the enclosure tio roughly where the purple dashed line is. The grow lights also have a 60° beam angle.

I used to have the grow lights separated so each was centered in one half of the enclosure with the basking lamp between them, but my chameleon kept trying to bask under the grow lights instead of under the basking lamp.

In a 24 x 24 enclosure, I would do similar, e.g.

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Alternatively, the basking lamp could go on either side of the plant light, which may slightly offset the plant light's placement, but everything could then move forward.
 
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