Healthy Set up?


New Member
We are considering getting another baby veiled chameleon, as Corey's presence has been greatly missed, and I was wondering if you guys could either help me, or send me in the right direction to learn about the proper set up. I have found much conflicting advice by just searching the web. Here's the set up that we had:
1) A ten gallon aquarium (with a screen top), but that was only intended to be used while she was young and small.
2) A UVA/B 60 watt light (left on for 12 hours), changed every 3 months.
3) A ceramic heating lamp, left on 24 hours a day
4) two thermometers, the cool side reads at 75*, and the hot end will now read 90*. At night it reads about 80* on the warm side.
5) The bottom is lined with indoor/outdoor carpeting ... you know that plastic fake grassish green kind, so that it could be easily clean regularly.
6) There are store bought branches ... two that criss cross, and one other one. There is also a fake bushy thing that hangs down from the side of the tank. There was anothe fake bush, and a flat rock in one corner. She also had a bowl of reptile sand.
7) I used a water bottle with holes in it to drip the water down one log and into a water dish at the bottom.
8) We used a spray bottle to mist the cage about 4 times a day.
9) Fed gut loaded crickets (gut loaded with a mixture of dog food and flunkers orange gut load), and meal worms. (Corey at 10 crickets twice a day and 10 meal worms once a day ... is that a good amount?)

I'd like to include some live plants in my cage and was wondering if someone can point me in the direction of a website that sells chameleon safe plants without pesticides.

Thanks for your help everyone!
Hello Jam

The necessities:

Start with a screened cage. Aquariums are not good, especially with the higher heat requirements of a veiled. I can't seem to stress this enough. Petsmart sells smaller sizes that would work for younger chameleons, but a veiled would need a larger cage sooner than later.

  • You need a fluorescent hood and reptisun 5.0/10.0 bulb. This provides the uvb radiation your cham needs.
  • You will also need a basking light and reflector. This provides heat and a basking area for your chameleon.
Live Plants
Purchase a live plant or two. Plants help in raising humidity levels, will provide food to your veiled, and improve the look of your cage. They are also cheaper than fake plants/bushes.

Vines / Branches
Get some vines and/or branches. Have some go through your live plants. Make sure your cham will have access to the different temp/humidity gradients within your setup.

Water / Drainage / Humidity
These two variables are the real challenge. The requirements above are pretty basic and simple, but water and humidity can prove challenging. It is best to fully test your system and make sure it is perfect before bringing a new cham home.

Try searching these forums for some cage ideas. There are also some good articles at
I have given my opinion on the carpet and aquarium before. In addition to this I would say the heat lamp should NOT be left on 24 hours a day. All chameleons benefit from a drop in temperature at night. They cannot rest properly if a ceramic lamp is left on overnight for them. In the UK we don't let our houses get too cold during the winter by using central heating up until bed time.
I think one of the problems is that people can be confused by what they see in pet stores. I have never seen a chameleon in a screened cage at my local pet store. To make things worse, from my experience your average pet store operator really does not know much about the required care of a chameleon. They end up recommending items either out of greed or ignorance that you do not need; some of which could even hurt your chameleon's chances of living a long life.

plants: You can find plants on ebay, but you might be better off going to local stores.

I would look into using better food for your insects. Also, I did not see you mention a vitamin/mineral supplement schedule.
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