First Bio Build

aleagueofherown

Established Member
Hi All!
Ivy 1 February 2021.jpg

I've learned so much in the last week alone about chameleons. I've watched hours of husbandry and enclosure build videos, read countless forums here, read everything on Chameleon Academy, and reached out to a few members (@MissSkittles @ERKleRose @jamest0o0) to ask them additional questions. It was suggested that I share the progress of my first build, so that's what I'm here for! This build is for my female veiled chameleon, Ivy. She's just a baby right now, so I have about a month to complete this build and then give it about 4 weeks to do its thing and regulate before introducing her. To the right is a picture of her current setup. I am hand-misting, and rocks were added to each pot after the photo was taken. The bottom is covered by a puppy pad.

Today I finished building the frame and painted it (my 7 year old got to choose the color - her favorite has been blue since age 3)!

Ivy 2 February 2021.jpg
This week I:
Purchased a 48" Arcadia ProT5 Hood and 6% UVB bulb, Arcadia Jungle Dawn 34" 51W LED, and clamp light/reflector with an incandescent bulb for her new basking spot. Purchased a MistKing and additional nozzle. Purchased a SolarMeter 6.5 (pulled the damn trigger, @ERKleRose). Picked up all of the needed supplies for the bioactive aspect of the cage: horticultural charcoal, play sand, orchid bark (small and large), sphagnum moss, hydroton, DTE 3-3-3 fertilizer, and FoxFarm Ocean Forest soil. I collected leaves and pods today and will be sanitizing them for the leaf litter. Purchased a clean up crew variety pack from @jamest0o0 (and I have some small pieces of cork bark on the way for my isopods to feel safe under). Purchased a feeder cup from Full Throttle Feeders. Installed digital hygrometers in her current setup which I'll be moving into the new one.

Here's my next steps:
- Build the drainage system and mesh tray for the bioactive layers in the box
- Maybe purchase more LED lights? I feel like the 34" isn't going to be enough since her cage is 48". Anyone have opinions on this?
- Plan and paint a geometric chameleon on the bottom/front of the enclosure
- Construct my own supports similar to the very popular DS ledges
- Consult with NE Herp regarding plants and placement (I've seen the plant lists/graphics - I just want to explore my options!)
- Wait for cork branches to arrive from Spain (I purchased my cork from here. The owner of this shop is incredibly kind
and was so excited to hear I'm using the pieces for Ivy's cage. She even mentioned throwing in an extra freebie as a thank you for my purchase!)
- Insert tubing for drainage holes in pots to attach to back board
- Foam, paint, seal back board
- Drill holes and rig 1.5" to .5" PVC for fogger
- Attach the hardware cloth
- Build door/latch system
- Purchase timed power strip (any recommendations are welcome, not sure which one to get), organize and cover cords
- Add branches and vines (nothing artificial, I promise)
- Add plants and isopods​

TL;DR I'm super excited about my first bioactive build.

🌱 Always learning and growing: Liv & Ivy
 
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CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
On the timer. I would get the long multi ones for a shop. They are more money but they have enough space for wide adapters and timers. It is just easier and cleaner. On the timer get a 4 pack of Gosund smart plugs for $30. This makes timer adjustments simple and easy to use from a phone.
It is a bit more up front, but worth it if you can.
 

aleagueofherown

Established Member
On the timer. I would get the long multi ones for a shop. They are more money but they have enough space for wide adapters and timers. It is just easier and cleaner. On the timer get a 4 pack of Gosund smart plugs for $30. This makes timer adjustments simple and easy to use from a phone.
It is a bit more up front, but worth it if you can.
I just purchased 2 12-outlet Belkin surge protectors from Costco that I could probably run with some smart plugs. Are the Gosund compatible with Alexa? I've already spent so much money, but I know it'll be worth it in the long run and I'm okay with going the extra mile now so that she thrives.
 

GrayMadder

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi All!
View attachment 291345
I've learned so much in the last week alone about chameleons. I've watched hours of husbandry and enclosure build videos, read countless forums here, read everything on Chameleon Academy, and reached out to a few members (@MissSkittles @ERKleRose @jamest0o0) to ask them additional questions. It was suggested that I share the progress of my first build, so that's what I'm here for! This build is for my female veiled chameleon, Ivy. She's just a baby right now, so I have about a month to complete this build and then give it about 4 weeks to do its thing and regulate before introducing her. To the right is a picture of her current setup. I am hand-misting, and rocks were added to each pot after the photo was taken. The bottom is covered by a puppy pad.

Today I finished building the frame and painted it (my 7 year old got to choose the color - her favorite has been blue since age 3)!

View attachment 291357
This week I:
Purchased a 48" Arcadia ProT5 Hood and 6% UVB bulb, Arcadia Jungle Dawn 34" 51W LED, and clamp light/reflector with an incandescent bulb for her new basking spot. Purchased a MistKing and additional nozzle. Purchased a SolarMeter 6.5 (pulled the damn trigger, @ERKleRose). Picked up all of the needed supplies for the bioactive aspect of the cage: horticultural charcoal, play sand, orchid bark (small and large), sphagnum moss, hydroton, DTE 3-3-3 fertilizer, and FoxFarm Ocean Forest soil. I collected leaves and pods today and will be sanitizing them for the leaf litter. Purchased a clean up crew variety pack from @jamest0o0 (and I have some small pieces of cork bark on the way for my isopods to feel safe under). Purchased a feeder cup from Full Throttle Feeders. Installed digital hygrometers in her current setup which I'll be moving into the new one.

Here's my next steps:
- Build the drainage system and mesh tray for the bioactive layers in the box
- Maybe purchase more LED lights? I feel like the 34" isn't going to be enough since her cage is 48". Anyone have opinions on this?
- Plan and paint a geometric chameleon on the bottom/front of the enclosure
- Construct my own supports similar to the very popular DS ledges
- Consult with NE Herp regarding plants and placement (I've seen the plant lists/graphics - I just want to explore my options!)
- Wait for cork branches to arrive from Spain (I purchased my cork from here. The owner of this shop is incredibly kind
and was so excited to hear I'm using the pieces for Ivy's cage. She even mentioned throwing in an extra freebie as a thank you for my purchase!)
- Insert tubing for drainage holes in pots to attach to back board
- Foam, paint, seal back board
- Drill holes and rig 1.5" to .5" PVC for fogger
- Attach the hardware cloth
- Build door/latch system
- Purchase timed power strip (any recommendations are welcome, not sure which one to get), organize and cover cords
- Add branches and vines (nothing artificial, I promise)
- Add plants and isopods​

TL;DR I'm super excited about my first bioactive build.

🌱 Always learning and growing: Liv & Ivy
I love it!!! 😍😍
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just purchased 2 12-outlet Belkin surge protectors from Costco that I could probably run with some smart plugs. Are the Gosund compatible with Alexa? I've already spent so much money, but I know it'll be worth it in the long run and I'm okay with going the extra mile now so that she thrives.

Yes the Gosund work with all. It doesn't have to be them, but they are the cheapest I have found. They have their own app as well. If you have stull connected to alexa you know the drill.
Any surge protector will work. The normal ones just have the sockets too close for wide timers, so you may not be able to use each outlet. Thats all. If tou only have a few you are fine. I have like 12 things on timers lol so I need the space.
It is good to think about these things now so you can plan how you will access them once the cage is complete. Its the small things.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I use the Marine Life/Zilla analog timer power strips (great for if there is a power outage because the schedule will stay the same with an analog!). They have two day, two night, and four 24/7 plugs. The only timer I add to it is for the fogger. You might have to get two or more/use a different power strip(s) depending on how many plugs you need. Definitely recommend a grounded strip/grounded plug in to plug the strip into no matter what you pick! The Marine Life/Zilla strips are expensive, at around $25-$30, so if you decide to go with them (you don’t have to, I'm just giving you more options), I’d see if you could return the ones you already bought.
 

aleagueofherown

Established Member
Can I get some feedback on whether or not you guys think the foam will stick directly to this? If it won't, what can I use to help adhere it? Thanks!

20210206_125300.jpg
 

aleagueofherown

Established Member
Got the back figured out, installed the support for the drainage system, finished building out the doors/door frame. Next step will be to finish painting this and then seal all the cracks before starting on the foam after the seal cures. Tomorrow I'll cut the hardware cloth (good suggestion to switch to that instead of the pet mesh @ERKleRose), I feel a lot better about the available air flow that way. I'll also drill the pilot holes for the doors tomorrow and figure out my latch system. I might end up throwing some shelving on the back (there is a brace down the middle, I'll try to remember a photo next time) to hold the fogger/misting system/light support, etc.

I feel lucky that I grew up with 6 uncles and 3 aunts and a father who are all very handy and have taught me everything from drywall to plumbing to laying concrete. These skills (among others) have been essential in planning and building this new enclosure!

Ft. my fiancé Matt and my dad Dutch.

20210206_192909.jpg


20210206_201443.jpg

20210206_211806.jpg
 
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aleagueofherown

Established Member
You are sealing the wood to make it waterproof, not just sealing the cracks so they dont leak, right?
Correct! Sealing the wood, and the paint is exterior with weather guard. Already completed that process on the painted wood in these photos, just haven't done the doors yet because I wanted to wait to build them until the main frame was completed in case my dimensions were off or in case any design changes were necessary.
 

AmandaS

Moderator
Staff member
Correct! Sealing the wood, and the paint is exterior with weather guard. Already completed that process on the painted wood in these photos, just haven't done the doors yet because I wanted to wait to build them until the main frame was completed in case my dimensions were off or in case any design changes were necessary.
Ok, awesome! It is one heck of a cool project you have going on!
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Can I get some feedback on whether or not you guys think the foam will stick directly to this? If it won't, what can I use to help adhere it? Thanks!

View attachment 291769
The foam will stick to that no problem (as long as the wood isn’t sealed)! This build is spectacular!

Edit: the mesh on the wood will definitely hold the foam, so nevermind!
 

GrayMadder

Chameleon Enthusiast
Got the back figured out, installed the support for the drainage system, finished building out the doors/door frame. Next step will be to finish painting this and then seal all the cracks before starting on the foam after the seal cures. Tomorrow I'll cut the hardware cloth (good suggestion to switch to that instead of the pet mesh @ERKleRose), I feel a lot better about the available air flow that way. I'll also drill the pilot holes for the doors tomorrow and figure out my latch system. I might end up throwing some shelving on the back (there is a brace down the middle, I'll try to remember a photo next time) to hold the fogger/misting system/light support, etc.

I feel lucky that I grew up with 6 uncles and 3 aunts and a father who are all very handy and have taught me everything from drywall to plumbing to laying concrete. These skills (among others) have been essential in planning and building this new enclosure!

Ft. my fiancé Matt and my dad Dutch.

View attachment 291805

View attachment 291813
View attachment 291814
It's really coming along! I can't wait to see the finish product. 🤗
 
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