Heating in my terrarium


New Member
Cage Type - Reptibreeze - mesh - 16x16x30
Lighting - one 15 watt reptiglow - 5.O UVB and one 26 watt reptiglow- 5.0 UVB
Temperature - Range: 68 - 85 Lowest overnight temp: 64 measured using instant read thermometer
Humidity - Humidity: 60% Maintained using an automatic mister, measured with a hygrometer.
Plants - 2 pachira trees, one croton.
Placement - Top of the cage is 4 feet off the floor
Location - California

Current Problem -
I have a reptibreeze and I'm having trouble keeping the terrarium hot. My room never gets colder than 64 during the day. Currently, the temperature at the very bottom of the terrarium is somewhere between 66 and 68, the middle of the terrarium is between 69 and 71, the upper third is barely 75, and I have a basking spot at 83. I understand that this is too cold, and I'm using two, 100 watt basking bulbs, but I can't seem to get the temperature up. Humidity is also a minor issue.

Another question- should I keep one of the basking bulbs on at night? My room is usually around 65 during the nighttime.

Thank you!
Those temperatures actually sound about right. Have you double checked the care sheets for the ideal temp ranges for your species of chameleon?


I have a Jackson's Cham. I keep my enclosure at about 72-75F ambient with the basking temp at about 83-86F. I had it about 2-3 degrees cooler originally, but actually seems happier with the temps where they are now.

Your chameleon needs a temperature drop at night and complete darkness - so no heaters at night unless it is getting into the 50sF. No lights at night at all. Some animals (including chameleons) have a light-sensitive sensor called the parietal eye on the top of the head. It looks like a normal scale, but it actually senses light and dark. Lights at night may interrupt a chameleon's sleep pattern.

The harder part is balancing your humidity. Check the care sheets for idea humidity levels, but keep in mind, it will spike and drop over the course of the day, and that's fine. I strongly recommend a digital thermometer/hygrometer, if you don't have one already. Makes it very easy to monitor. The analogue (dial-type) ones sold by pet stores are notoriously unreliable.

FYI - Advice on Chameleon Forums is not free. As payment, you must upload photos of your baby! :D

Edit: I see you posted more information. I also have an average humidity of about 50-60%, with it spiking to 80-90% right after a misting and slowly dropping back down to 40% which is ambient for the house right now. I try to keep it balanced with shorter mistings during the day just to introduce moisture to the enclosure (and longer mistings for drinking and eye cleaning). Real plants have absolutely helped, so you have that covered. In the winter, when it gets really dry in the Midwest (20% RH in the house is not unusual), I run a cool mist ultrasonic humidifier into the enclosure during the day, which helps a lot. You can also cover a few sides of the cage with a plastic sheet to keep the humidity in. I always monitor droppings too to make sure my little guy is staying hydrated.
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Thank you for your help! I totally forgot to mention that I'm getting a panther chameleon. I don't have him yet but as soon as I get him I will post photos! :D
Congrats! Kudos to you for doing research and getting your enclosure set up and running before your new baby arrives!

Do lots of reading on the forum - this has been such an amazing resource for me. I only got my chameleon back in late February/early March, and without this forum, there is no way I would have been able to jump in at the ground level and offer such a high level of care. Everyone here is very nice if you do your research and take good advice when it is given.

Read up on all the scary things that can happen (respiratory infections, mouthrot, toe and tail infections, etc), so that you can recognize problems as early as possible. It made me really paranoid, but I felt so much better prepared when my cham did come down with a mouth infection last month.

Do you have a good vet with experience with chameleons and a "vet fund"? It is typically recommended to have a few hundred dollars in reserve for those emergency vet visits which always pop up. A vet who knows chameleons is a must - they are such unique animals and are very different from other commonly kept reptiles.


Also, I am sure other members in your area can recommend vets they like.

In all honesty, I started thinking about chameleons as a pretty pet that would be low emotional maintenance... but my little guy is so fun and has such a cute personality, I am madly in love. I am sure you will be too :D
I really appreciate all of your help. I will definitely do some research on the various scary things that could happen, because I can totally see myself getting freaked out in the future if I don't know what's wrong! I promise that I will post pictures of my new friend as soon as he gets settled in.
Thanks again :)
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