Get Basking Temp Up

Hey all -

Thanks for everyone's help so far. Khalid had his first vet visit yesterday and at one point the doc said things like "You've done your research! There isn't much more I can tell you."

And that's because of ya'll. Whether you know you've commented in the past, or whether you've just contributed to this whole forum at some point, I have read a lot on this site. Thank you.

One bit I learned yesterday from the doc, and it surprises the hell out of me that I don't recall coming across this somewhere in my studies, is that I can get salmonella from Khalid. So. Yeah. That's fun. Also the crickets could carry an array of parasites, so I shouldn't be surprised if the fecal comes back positive.

Well it came back today free from all parasites! :)

Anyway!

In the last week or so since it's been getting colder in MN, I have had trouble getting the basking temp above 80* F.

Here's an updated questionnaire on Khalid's husbandry:


Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - He is a veiled chameleon named Khalid. I got him on 7/21/19 at a local reptile Expo. The seller told me he was 10 weeks old at the time of purchase. That would put his birthday at May 12th, 2019. It's early September now, so he should be about 4 months old.
  • Handling - I take him out for 15min at a time maybe once every week or two. Just let him crawl around on my hands. He has a tree to sit on when I clean or re-work his cage once a month.
  • Feeding - I made a bug run bowl. He eats about 10-15 crickets spread out between two feedings a day. I add 3 wax worms, 3 super worms, and/or 3 dubia roaches to the bowl once a day depending on how hunger he seems. He has possibly never eaten a dubia roach, but goes for the worms first when offered. He's been a great eater since I got him. The crickets and dubias are gut-loaded using this frozen ice-cube method with some combo of carrots, sweet potato, apples, oranges, banana, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, and bok choy. I have Repashy Bug Burger on hand, but haven't used it yet. I'd like to write a few recipes for these that I can have on hand and rotate through. I've seen him eat pothos. I would like to experiment with feeding fruits and veges but haven't yet.
  • Supplements - I am dusting everything, every time, with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD. I need to iron out if he needs additional vitamin supplements.
  • Watering - There is a tall plastic cup on top of his cage with a small hole drilled in the bottom. I load that thing up with ice anytime I notice there isn't any in it. That is a steady drip for him, the ice is from the tap. I also have a Mist King set up with one nozzle for now. It goes off at 9:00AM, 12:30AM, 4:00PM and 9:50PM for about 2 minutes at a time.
  • Fecal Description - I've read the poop 101 post and they look healthy! :) He was tested for parasites 9/11/2019 and came back negative for all parasites.
  • History - No history on Khalid. This is my first reptile since I was an adolescent. I’m trying to learn a lot quickly. Khalid seems pretty easy-going, maybe that’s just his young age, though. I have 2 cats, one really skittish and easy going, and one year old curious, though generally well-behaved. No other pets.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Reptibreeze 16”x16”x30" screen cage for now, will upgrade to 24"x24"x48" or bigger. Painters plastic hangs over two sides. No substrate.
  • Lighting - He has a 24" T5-HO Reptisun placed right on top of the cage for UVB light. And currently there is a sylvannia 53w 1050 lumens A19 clear halogen bulb light for basking. The basking bulb itself is about 4 inches away from the top of the screen and the basking branch is approx. 5 inches away from the top of the screen. His timer is set to go on at 9:30AM and turn off around 10PM.
  • Temperature - I have 2 temperature gauges and 1 hygrometer in the cage. I also have a temp gun. One temperature probe is near the basking spot, the second is in mid-lower area of cage. The probe in the middle of the cage is usually 5-10* cooler than basking temp. Between 10:00PM-8:00AM the AC in the house takes the temperature down to 70*, and during the day it would need to get up to 76* for the AC to kick on again.
    • Let's talk more about this in the Current Problem section of this form.
  • Humidity - The humidity goes down to about 60% at the driest during the day, spiking when the mister goes on. I'm working toward following recommendations from this naturalistic hydration podcast, but I still have a ways to go in this aspect. I give the cage a 2-3 min mist cycle about 10 min before lights out to try to keep the humidity up at night, but will need to soon employ some kind of cool mist humidifier to get it going up to 80% or more. I'm also aware the humidity is too high during the day. I am still working on this aspect of my husbandry. Despite these less than ideal conditions, he hasn't shown signs of dehydration or lung infection.
  • Plants - There are 2 fake vines, a 4" and 6" pothos, and an umbrella plant that just about burst out of the cage, so there is a lot of foliage for him. The soil of the 3 potted plants is currently covered in either regular (large and small) sized marbles, or garden rocks. I have aluminum mesh I plan to add over the soil at the next month's full cage cleaning.
  • Placement - It is in my dining area. My house is very small and has an open-feel. There is a busy office, the kitchen/dining room/living room (where he is, and is honestly less busy than the office), then there is my bedroom, which is dark and quiet. I could move him there, but I also like to keep an eye on him. There is a ceiling fan over the dining room, but is rarely on. The cage is about 40"off the floor now, 33” high table and 6” or so of water basins as I was focused on figuring out humidity last week.
  • Location - Minnesota

Current Problem:
The basking spot gauge reads between 65-83* throughout the day, gradually getting warmer when the cooling turns off in the morning.
For the summer, the temp got to about exactly 85* F and that was great. But then 2 things happened at once. He was crawling on the top of the cage sometimes, which I realized was too hot, so I lifted the basking bulb from resting right on top of his cage, which threw off the distance from the bulb to the basking spot branch. Whereas the branch was about 6" from the top of the cage, and so about 7" from the bulb itself, I lifted the bulb about 1.5", making it that much further away from the basking branch. Also it is getting colder, the whole house is colder.
Well I guess there is a third thing I just realized while taking a super close look at the bulb box - These aren't 60w and 70w, they are their 'replacements'; the '75w' is actually 53w for example.
I also own this 60w Zoo Med Daylight Blue Reptile Bulb and tried that today.
The reason I'm posting is because none of these are getting above 80* anymore, and I think the biggest factor is the change in weather.
Please advise :)

Also feel free to talk about the rest of my husbandry. Trying to get better everyday :)
 

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Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
You just need a higher wattage basking bulb :) Make sure not to use colored ones (like your blue bulb), though. You want it to be white.

I know it gets tougher to keep temps up here when it gets cold. Now just wait til it's the dead of winter and humidity inside might as well be in the negatives like the temps outdoors :LOL:
 
You just need a higher wattage basking bulb :) Make sure not to use colored ones (like your blue bulb), though. You want it to be white.

I know it gets tougher to keep temps up here when it gets cold. Now just wait til it's the dead of winter and humidity inside might as well be in the negatives like the temps outdoors :LOL:
What wattage do you use? Does it matter if it's a clear or white bulb?
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
What wattage do you use? Does it matter if it's a clear or white bulb?
Honestly I've been using mine for so long, I have no idea anymore! The wattage you require varies highly based on the environment of your home and the surrounding climate outside. It's sort of a guess-and-check situation. So you'll basically want to try the next step up in terms of wattage. I believe either clear or white will be fine to use. You can also buy a "dimmer" to control the intensity and heat produced from a bulb or a dedicated thermostat
 
I have an array of sizes of "ceramic heat bulbs", mostly zoomed branded. Even though I live in Florida, we still need a boost to the ambient temps (which in turns heats the baking spot). When I lived in Kentucky years ago i used a basking lamp 75-100W, 1x 100W and 1x 75w ceramic bulbs when it got colder - this was for my Iguana at the time though. Regardless, the ceramic bulbs are nice as they work like a space heater... just be cautious as they can get INSANELY hot. My wife thought it was a burned out bulb and tried to change it, poor thing. She didn't have fingerprints for over a week!

Edit: You could also just use a space heater. The bulbs are just convenient for me and can be used for makeshift incubation and such.

Best of luck!!
 
I switched basking bulb to a larger clear 150w bulb. Now the temp probe reads 80*, the temp gun on the basking branch reads 85* and if I temp gun Khalid, he is about 94*. He is a brighter green now, looking better than the darker colors he's been the last few days when the temp was under 80*.


Is this OK? I got a variety of bulbs to try. One is coated in a milky-white rubber, do you think that will be OK? It's got rubber on it so it's 'shatter resistant', I only got it because the selection I had at the store wasn't much for the wattage range I wanted to get.
 
I switched basking bulb to a larger clear 150w bulb. Now the temp probe reads 80*, the temp gun on the basking branch reads 85* and if I temp gun Khalid, he is about 94*. He is a brighter green now, looking better than the darker colors he's been the last few days when the temp was under 80*.


Is this OK? I got a variety of bulbs to try. One is coated in a milky-white rubber, do you think that will be OK? It's got rubber on it so it's 'shatter resistant', I only got it because the selection I had at the store wasn't much for the wattage range I wanted to get.
I don't think there's any real issue since it's just for heat. If it were a UV bulb, the coating effects the amount of UV. The rubber may effect the distance of the heat maybe?

So, if all the materials are "safe" as they should be for a rubber coated light... I'd say you're fine. I think you've got it dialed in now. Just keep him in his happy colors ; )
 
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