Help with existing cage

Discussion in 'Enclosures And Supplies' started by Hockey&Lizards, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Hockey&Lizards

    Hockey&Lizards New Member

    I just lost my baby veiled this morning due to a respiratory problem.
    I am a newbie and had done a lot of research before setting up and purchasing Slappy. When she was sick I posted in the health area and it was mentioned that I had a lot of mistakes in my set up. I want to fix those so that we can eventually get another cham.

    This is the setup.
    I have an exo terra glass terrarium, 36x18x36. During my research it seems to be a hotly debated issue. This specific type of terrarium has venting in the front and screen on top. It is suppose to create a chimney effect. I chose the cage because we have 2 cats and a 5 year old little boy. But now I’m debating between adding a small fan to help air circulation or changing out to a Reptibreeze LED deluxe 24x24x48.

    It is planted with clay balls at the bottom, screen, a mix of organic earth and coconut fiber. Sporgam moss on top and a springtail culture added. A small ficus, bromolid, and a couple small ivy plants from LlReptile.
    There is a magnetic fake rock ledge with a worm cup as well.
    Location: on top of a dresser in a bedroom. Near a window that the blackout curtain is drawn 99% of the time. About 4 ft off the ground and 3 ft away from the floor vent.
    Watering: MistKing- 4x a day, 1min duration. Dripper over ficus.
    Lighting: zoo med dual light hood with reptisun 10uvb and daylight blue 60watt. On a timer, 7:30am-7:30pm.
    Temp: 70.9 at bottom (digital), 75 at top (analog), 82.1 at basking (digital). I need to get these temps up but I’m not sure how.
    Humidity: currently close to 75% (analog) because I increased the mist for more humidity b/c of the respiratory issue. Usually about 55%.

    Feeding was:
    Crickets and dubias are the staple. Both gut loaded on Cricket Crack. Rotation different worms, butterworms, hornworms, pheonix worms. A wax worm for an occasional treat. Want to try silk worms.
    Suppliments: reptivite for all 3. Multivite 1x a month. Calcium w/d 1-2 times a week, the rest of the time Calcium w/o d.

    Thank you!!!
  2. Tiosk

    Tiosk Member

    It looks pretty good to me but you may ha e to edit it based on age and species of your next chameleon. I am so sorry for your loss. You say your chameleon was a female?
  3. dshuld

    dshuld Chameleon Enthusiast

    Firstly, sorry for your loss :(. It is hard especially when young kids are involved. The calcium w/d3 should be 2 times a month, vitamins 2 times a month on opposite weeks.

    For the basking bulb there a couple of different ways you can go. Regular household incandescent bulb, many like a br30 style bulb, and play with different wattages/ heights of the bulb to the basking spot to get your temps right. Another option is get a 100 watt bulb and a cord similar to this . There are several versions of a dimmer switch extension cord but it gives you an example. Then use the dimmer switch to control light output thus controlling your heat output. I would highly recommend giving yourself ample time to play with the dimmer before putting your new cham in though obviously.

    If you decide to go repti breeze, unless you specifically want the clear door it has, put the saved money towards other upgrades and go with the regular one. The lights in the deluxe are fairly useless for our purposes. The reds shouldn't be used at all and the white leds arranged the way they are aren't going to help much if any.
  4. Hockey&Lizards

    Hockey&Lizards New Member

    According the some helpful people one here... I thought it was male, but based on the picture they said female.
    As you can tell she/he was very sick...
    Tiosk likes this.
  5. Tiosk

    Tiosk Member

    It was female. So sad:notworthy::(:oops:
    dshuld likes this.
  6. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Not bad set up, I wonder if you bought her in already bad condition. I could nitpick your mist schedule a little.... instead of four 1 minute mistings do a ~5+ minute misting when lights come on and it's still cool to give time for drinking and eye cleaning. Then do another ~2+ misting around an hour before lights go out.

    Sorry you had to go through this
  7. Hi - I'm really sorry for your loss. Chameleons are so fascinating, but the trade off is their sensitivity.

    Reading your posting in the health forum along with this, here is what I would suggest.

    Humidity/enclosure -
    Veileds require less humidity than other chameleons. No zero, but less. There should be periods where the humidity is high (80%) but also periods where the enclosure is allowed to dry out (40%). This should be accomplished throughout the day with periods of humidity and dry spells, NOT by skipping days etc. This is where a mesh setup comes in. It allows substantial ventilation but can be adjusted to the specific climate of your home. I have mine in a reptibreeze with two sides taped over with plastic - without that I can't even get close to 80% unless the mister is actively running. But if I tape all sides it never dries out. Thus, compromise. This will also allow you to increase the mist times to more like 4 or 5 minutes without making it too wet. Chams really benefit from sustained mistings. In my experience 1 minute at a time just doesn't cut it, especially if they're not feeling well. Sorry to break it to you, but you're going to have to set up a drainage system if you haven't already :/ it's a pain but the alternative is restricting the moisture you introduce into the environment - which really just can't be an option. You want to mimic an arboreal environment. I'd yank the earth and coco fiber out. If you end up with another female, read about making a laying box. Having that much fiber that can stay wet is not only too much for a veiled but it holds onto bacteria and other gross stuff that can harm your cham - plus they can ingest the bedding while hunting. If you're concerned about your kitty getting into trouble, you can build a second screen to go over the top of the first. Like, a box in a box with a couple of inches clearance. This is how people build outdoor enclosures for chams. It keeps stuff from being able to nab them through the first layer of mesh. Honestly, you could probably build this entire thing yourself for a quarter of the price of a reptibreeze. I just got 80 inches of screen for 15 bucks on amazon. Just depends how handy you are. That would give you money to sink into other things that you can't make.

    For your live plants, I suggest covering the substrate with a fine mesh (like from a screen door) to avoid impaction. Also, I've read that most ivys are toxic to chams (I'm no botanist though). As always, better to play it safe. If you're looking for filler, boston ferns are awesome. Here's a list that I used to pick mine: - I have bogunvilla (with the spikes trimmed off) and a boston fern right now. I rotate them with a hibiscus and ficus so none of them get too sick from lack of sunlight.

    There are two types of UVB bulbs - a coiled one and a tube one. Don't use the coiled. Even the newer ones can cause eye issues,from what my vet has told me and other cham owners say. There seems to be some argument about this but with chameleons I think it's better to play on the very safe side. For getting your heat up try putting an incandescent frosted bulb in there, the kind they use in can lights in large areas. I use a thermostat to control the lights so it doesn't overheat the enclosure. The Inkbird brand is a really good one, I've had mine for several years - just secure the thermometer where the hottest point is and that will pretty much solve your temp problems. Also, if at all possible, try to let them get out in natural sunlight a couple of days a week minimum. This REALLY helps. Sunlight from the window doesn't count - that's bad for them.

    Vitamin A/Nutrition
    I think this is probably what ultimately caused your little gal to crash. If your cham has a vitamin A deficiency they will be extra susceptible to...basically everything. It affects their eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Dusting probably isn't enough honestly, and supplementing vitamin A can be risky because if you go overboard, their organs fail - that's why you don't hear a lot about adding it to diets. I HIGHLY recommend adding vitA rich veggies to your feeder's gutload 24 hours before feeding them to your cham. By highly, I mean you're basically setting them up for failure if you don't gutload properly. There is a lot of info out there on how to gutload properly. Don't use just anything. Things like tomatoes can be super bad for your cham. I read the ingredients in cricket crack, it sounds like it would be great for keeping feeders alive for extended periods of time, but not so great when it comes to gutloading for feeding. Just keep in mind chams are really sensitive and they truly are what they eat. Also stay away from meal worms (don't see them listed on your list but they are like the mcflurries of the reptile world.) If you aren't, please make sure you dust with a multivitamin at minimum a couple of times a month. Calcium every day when they are growing. D3 a couple of times a month depending on natural sunlight exposure.

    Chams are really tricky and really loveable. To keep them, you have to use your brain and be honest with yourself, and have a great vet. If you can pull it off, it's worth it. If you can't, it's heartbreaking. Good luck.
  8. Darthroastcoffee

    Darthroastcoffee Avid Member

    Talking about vitamin a i was reading that provitamin a is found in vegetables, fruits, and plant- based products most commonly known is beta carotene. Preformed vitamin A is found in meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Preformed vitamin A is the one that’s better for you/chameleons but it verry easy over used and can cause vitamin A poisoning, but it’s usually preformed vitamin A that it’s lacked in there diet.
  9. I wonder if wild chams get it from bugs that have eaten dead animals? They wouldn't be around those type of bugs often, but I'm sure they find their way up into the trees at least sometimes. It would be interesting to know what percentage that is and then try to mimic it in captivity.
    jamest0o0 likes this.
  10. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    @blondebrowncoat definitely a possibility, but retinol comes mostly from the organs like liver and I think eyes. I'd think it'd be a pretty low chance they would eat something that not only ate a dead animal, but also the organs containing preformed A. At least in any significant amount.

    With average-sized to larger chams(like Panthers through parsons) I would guess it comes from eating vertebrates like small lizards, rodents, and birds. I think it makes a lot of us sense for us to feed the occasional fuzzy or lizard to a large chameleon like Parsons or melleri though I'm no expert.

    For smaller chameleons, im not sure where it comes from. I guess there are still tiny lizards and animals for them to come by, but I'm not sure about that. Especially for pygmies and other very tiny reptiles/amphibians.

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