"If you need drainage for indoor habitats, you're doing it wrong!" Over watering

Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
so this is a statment made by another memeber, and i just wated to explore this a little more.
i know i water less than alot of keepers but still feel i require drainage, so i am curious about waht ammount of water would be safe for a cham yet not require the drainage.
just looking for a friendly helpfull discussion.
thx
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
I would have to disagree completely with that statement, in my personal experience and opinion chameleons benefit from long mistings, at least once a day. Mine will regularly sit under the mist for a good 5+ minutes with their eyes closed and their face pointed into the nozzle, just soaking. And they have the option to escape it, I don't aim the nozzle so everything gets soaked, I allow for their basking branch to stay dry. Besides them, I have a lot of plants to keep alive in there - misting less means I have to manually water the plants, which will need drainage anyway. Misting more keeps both my chams and my plants alive and happy.

I don't know how little is the minimum you could get away with, but that sounds like a silly game to play. What, apparently is the "right" method?
 

Lizardlover

New Member
I'm going to have to go with Olimpia on this one. There is no way you could keep your chameleon properly hydrated and not need drainage.
 

Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
I would have to disagree completely with that statement, in my personal experience and opinion chameleons benefit from long mistings, at least once a day. Mine will regularly sit under the mist for a good 5+ minutes with their eyes closed and their face pointed into the nozzle, just soaking. And they have the option to escape it, I don't aim the nozzle so everything gets soaked, I allow for their basking branch to stay dry. Besides them, I have a lot of plants to keep alive in there - misting less means I have to manually water the plants, which will need drainage anyway. Misting more keeps both my chams and my plants alive and happy.

I don't know how little is the minimum you could get away with, but that sounds like a silly game to play. What, apparently is the "right" method?
i dont really know and was confused by the statement witch is why i started this thread.
like i said i water alot less than others but still require drainage, i am not advocating using less water, i just want to hear thoughts like yours as well as other opinions
 

chameleonfan101

Established Member
I will also disagree. Most of my cages are indoors and I mist A LOT!!! I do it by hand which is tiring an takes a long time to water all of my indoor cages but I also empty one of those home depot gardening bottles on each cage daily. And I my house is not under water haha:D ian definitely interested on what others have to say. :)
 

Solid Snake

Avid Member
I think a lot of the water I provide is not necessarily "essential to life".
I could theoretically get away with much, much less.

I think geographical location is going to play a large role in how much water keepers use. When I lived in a dry climate, I used more water in order to keep humidity exceptable. Where I am at now, the humidity is appropriate most of the time, without any effort on my part. So, I use less water.

That said, I could just provide a dripper for drinking, and maybe mist the animals lightly every day so they can clean thier eyes, and I would not need drainage, and I would think I could keep them hydrated just fine.

The problem I would have with this, is that I am not keeping my animals in a state prison-like environment, just trying to keep them alive. I am trying to give my animals some sort of naturalistic habitat. In their natural habitat, the average yearly rainfall is 60-120+ inches per year.

In my opinion, it is better to empty a bucket every week, and have happy healthy animals, than to worry about them being dehydrated in any way.

I say, if you dont have some sort of drainage setup for an inside enclosure, you are doing it wrong.

My outdoor setups dont have drainage at all.

Why would they???
 

coldbloodedAL

Avid Member
I think the answer to this question can vary greatly, depending upon geographic location, species being kept, and types of housing/set ups. I also mist mine a lot less than most say here, but I mostly use glass vivs and still need drainage. I can see someone living in a constant humid environment not needing to mist often or much at all, given they still have a dripper going part of the day.
 

Chameleopatrick

New Member
so this is a statment made by another memeber, and i just wated to explore this a little more.
i know i water less than alot of keepers but still feel i require drainage, so i am curious about waht ammount of water would be safe for a cham yet not require the drainage.
just looking for a friendly helpfull discussion.
thx
Since that other member is me, let's discuss...

A little background first.

I have been cohabitating with and breeding chameleons since 1992. I also have hatched, raised and sold at least 600 chameleons of 10 different speciesin that time, mostly from 1995-2005. During that time I have seen Everything that can go wrong, mouth rot, eye problems, URI, prolapse, hypervitamintosis, broken bones, runt babies that have chronic health issues and on and on.

Most problems were because I loved my chameleons to death, literally. Too much everything, food, water, vitamins.

As a result of the evolutionary husbandry practicies, I have virtually eliminated all health issues regarding captive indoor management of many chameleons. Not all but most.

Now to the use of water. I use distilled water only that way there is no chlorine or fluoride. I apply water via a combination of a dripper, spray bottle and ultrasonic fogger.

Let's use the tricerous serreta for example. This species is from Cameroon and resides in a very humid mountainous region and thrives in a humid environment.

My habitat that doesnt require drainage is the exoterra glass enclosure that is 36x18x36 with a six light t5 ho fixture that generates approximately 24,000 lumens of quality 5000k full spectrum light with one Arcadia uv bulb.

When the lights come on I spray the entire enclosure down generously covering but not saturating, the surface of all my live plants. I never use fake plants. I use about 4-6 ounces of water via an industrial hand sprayer. I then use the fogger for approximately 30 minutes. The fogger keeps the minimal water sprayed on the plants much longer before it evaporates allowing plenty of time for the chameleon to be stimulated to drink. This method requires minimal water usage and will all evaporate in three to four hours. It's repeated again at three in the afternoon which allows plenty of time to dry out before the lights go out. Wet conditions at night often lead to URI.

I use drippers to water my plants and the chameleons love it too.

When watering via a dripper I use only the amount that the plant needs and no more, that way the chameleon benefits, the plant benefits, and there isnt a need to drain excess because of the minimal amount used, usually just a couple of ounces. I move the dripper around to water different plants on different days and I never saturate the plant. I only use drippers 3 or 4 times per week.

Having to drain your enclosure means that you haven't optimized your balance between the "use" of water and the chameleons "need" of water. Misting for 2-30 minutes multiple times a day is waaaaaaay too much and will almost certainly result in fungal or bacterial issues in a small period of time. Minimal water supplemented with a fogger reduces wasted or excess water immensely.
When using water in habitats, water and humidity still MUST be balanced with fresh moving air occasionally through out the day.

I call it "strategic watering". Most people think if a little water is good, more is better, and it's really the application method not the amount of water that makes or breaks your chameleons long term health. If you have to drain its just a matter of time, IMHO you are using too much and WILL result in problems.

Don't even get me started on cup feeding....
 

Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
Since that other member is me, let's discuss...

A little background first.

I have been cohabitating with and breeding chameleons since 1992. I also have hatched, raised and sold at least 600 chameleons of 10 different speciesin that time, mostly from 1995-2005. During that time I have seen Everything that can go wrong, mouth rot, eye problems, URI, prolapse, hypervitamintosis, broken bones, runt babies that have chronic health issues and on and on.

Most problems were because I loved my chameleons to death, literally. Too much everything, food, water, vitamins.

As a result of the evolutionary husbandry practicies, I have virtually eliminated all health issues regarding captive indoor management of many chameleons. Not all but most.

Now to the use of water. I use distilled water only that way there is no chlorine or fluoride. I apply water via a combination of a dripper, spray bottle and ultrasonic fogger.

Let's use the tricerous serreta for example. This species is from Cameroon and resides in a very humid mountainous region and thrives in a humid environment.

My habitat that doesnt require drainage is the exoterra glass enclosure that is 36x18x36 with a six light t5 ho fixture that generates approximately 24,000 lumens of quality 5000k full spectrum light with one Arcadia uv bulb.

When the lights come on I spray the entire enclosure down generously covering but not saturating, the surface of all my live plants. I never use fake plants. I use about 4-6 ounces of water via an industrial hand sprayer. I then use the fogger for approximately 30 minutes. The fogger keeps the minimal water sprayed on the plants much longer before it evaporates allowing plenty of time for the chameleon to be stimulated to drink. This method requires minimal water usage and will all evaporate in three to four hours. It's repeated again at three in the afternoon which allows plenty of time to dry out before the lights go out. Wet conditions at night often lead to URI.

I use drippers to water my plants and the chameleons love it too.


When watering via a dripper I use only the amount that the plant needs and no more, that way the chameleon benefits, the plant benefits, and there isnt a need to drain excess because of the minimal amount used, usually just a couple of ounces. I move the dripper around to water different plants on different days and I never saturate the plant. I only use drippers 3 or 4 times per week.

Having to drain your enclosure means that you haven't optimized your balance between the "use" of water and the chameleons "need" of water. Misting for 2-30 minutes multiple times a day is waaaaaaay too much and will almost certainly result in fungal or bacterial issues in a small period of time. Minimal water supplemented with a fogger reduces wasted or excess water immensely.
When using water in habitats, water and humidity still MUST be balanced with fresh moving air occasionally through out the day.

I call it "strategic watering". Most people think if a little water is good, more is better, and it's really the application method not the amount of water that makes or breaks your chameleons long term health. If you have to drain its just a matter of time, IMHO you are using too much and WILL result in problems.

Don't even get me started on cup feeding....

i very much apprecialte and value you insight into this matter, you defiantly have some great points.
i totally agreed that the cage should be dry at night and shouldnt be wet all day either.
i do think however that you approach does require a little more experience and for the most part the suggestions as the water ammounts made by many members and from the point of earing on caution, as not enough water will definalty be hard on the cham and we tend to see more dyhdrated chams than overwatered ones.
as a long time keeper i would like to hear your thoughts on many things it doesnt mean i am going to change the way i do anyhting but i get tired of seeing the same parroted responces all the time and a little freindly discussion only educates us all and allows for a better decision process.
i hope you dont feel i was calling you out, i have a honest interest in you opinion.
cheers
hoj
 

Chameleopatrick

New Member
It's a great question hoj, not called out at all. I will never claim to have all the answers, because we are all learning everyday. It has been a passion of mine and I'm sure yours too, that we provide the BEST, not good, BEST possible husbandry that we can for our coveted chameleons.

After a very long time reading the herd mentality here and the novice level of discussion that chronically misinforms our younger members, a good discussion is mandatory.

Learn from my mistakes. Have healthier indoor chameleons....


 
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nthompson

New Member
Thank you so much for this post!! I like the idea of moving the drippers to different plants so they don't become saturated, it makes sense. I've been trying to glean as much information as possible from this site before I purchase a cham (I had one as a kid).

I appreciate when these conversations arise where there are different ones who are VERY experienced but use different husbandry methods!!
 

JackP308

Established Member
If the feeders are well hydrated usually the animal eating them is going to be also regardless if they had 2 or 10 misting sessions. Most my cages don't require drainage at all.
 

Davonat

New Member
Im sure most of you have seen my new cage by now. The cage doesnt have drainage but my dripper catch does drain into an empty milk jug via 1/8"dia plastic hose. My dripper is 1 gallon size and I didnt want to put an ugly gallon size tupperware catch in it. I use short multipal mistings for humidity.

Wanna see what the owner of The Chameleon Company has to say about misters?....... See post # 172 in Canny Chams thread,, Faly Sick Help I still dont know how to do that cut & paste thing..... I wish someone could post that post here. Dave
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
If mimicking the wild is any aspiration, though, how can you not include long showers, at least occasionally? It rains in their part of the world, on average about at much as it does in Florida, and in some areas of the island more than in others. I think we have to mimic that, and I certainly do. Like I said, mine enjoy soaking in the mist water at least once a day, and will sit there a good chunk of the misting session just rolling their eyes, drinking it up, and soaking. Even if they aren't drinking, they like soaking. And I'm in Florida, so the humidity isn't an issue.

Just because you don't use a lot of water doesn't mean that doing the opposite is doing it wrong. And I find it strange that someone who has kept chameleons as long doesn't think by now that there are several ways to do this hobby with great success. What works for one person doesn't work for another if the circumstances aren't right. In a glass cage I understand how you face different issues, like more stagnant humidity and a higher risk of mold, but in screen cages it can be a different ball game. It completely depends on the species as well. For Meller's, for example, even Dr. Alfonso says that you shouldn't mist for anything less than 15-20 minutes, they need that rain effect for a few minutes before they are stimulated to drink. Your methods perhaps wouldn't work with this species, while it obviously does for others you keep. So there are a lot of variables in something like this.

Edit- To the person who mentions The Cham Company, I know what post you're talking about. But in an earlier interview he said this:
http://www.chameleonnews.com/06SepDescampsFlaherty.html

In working with these species, F. pardalis in specific, have you made any observations in nutrition or husbandry that you feel are important for keepers to know?

"This could be a long list, so I'll try to keep it fundamental:
1.Always over-water. Like a rainstorm, not a mist."
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
It's a great question hoj, not called out at all. I will never claim to have all the answers, because we are all learning everyday. It has been a passion of mine and I'm sure yours too, that we provide the BEST, not good, BEST possible husbandry that we can for our coveted chameleons.

After a very long time reading the herd mentality here and the novice level of discussion that chronically misinforms our younger members, a good discussion is mandatory.

Learn from my mistakes. Have healthier indoor chameleons....



First hello and that is one of the nicest terrarium's I have ever seen. It is completely beautiful.

I confess to being an overwater. I only have montanes and they all get watered at least 20 minutes a day. My melleri get about 30 minutes a day. They are in screen cages and my home is dry. I do have and need drainage. I also think what you are doing is a great way to keep chameleons. I hope you will share lots of insights as we can all learn from each other.
 

Ace

Avid Member
very interesting thread.

i too am interested in what chameleonpatrick posted.

i too dont have drainage, just a dripper and occasionally mist.

always good to hear experiences from others and discussions like these
 
I have been using automated drippers on my cages for 2 years and I think it is the best way to water chams hands down. I have had no eye problems since I stopped misting, I can't say for sure if it is connected.
 

lslcronk

New Member
"Don't even get me started on cup feeding.... "

I would LOVE to hear what you have to say about cup feeding!! I find it odd to put thier bugs in a cup (I do have one for when I go on vacation to help the pet sitter). What cham in nature gets its bug from a cup!? I am a huge fan of them "hunting" for exercise, environmental enrichment etc...I can't think of a bad side to hunting, unless the cham is incapacitated in some way. What is your take on this? I also find it amusing that most ppl do not recommend cup feeding a young cham...if a teeny tiny baby can hunt down its food, so can a healthy adult!

I am finding these debates very interesting as I find having to mess with water all the time tedious...I feel like I should perhaps have fish not arboreal reptiles! I may have to find a happy medium as I also agree with Olimpia on trying to mimic thier natural habitat as much as I possibly can, this is a great thread!
 

Ace

Avid Member
I have been using automated drippers on my cages for 2 years and I think it is the best way to water chams hands down. I have had no eye problems since I stopped misting, I can't say for sure if it is connected.
this i agree and find interesting too.


my chams seem to respond "better" to rain drops than misting, they immediately drink
 
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