I'm new and have many heating and lighting questions, please help.

dankasaurus8

New Member
Hi, I'm new to the chameleon hobby and am planning to buy my first soon. I have been doing plenty of research and was able to use some of the lighting knowledge I obtained from my tropical aquariums. I do have a few lighting questions though. I was going to start off with a 24"x12"x26" fresh-air habitat for a baby chameleon, of course eventually increasing tank size when he becomes larger.
My first question is how many 24" UVB bulbs should I be using for this habitat and what wattage do you recommend. I live in southern Maine where it is very cold in the winter. He will not be able to be taken outdoors except during summer months.
Second, considering the temperatures in the winter and the Fresh-air habitat I am worried about how well the cage will retain heat. I use a space heater when it's cold, will it be okay to run this in the room with the chameleon to help raise the overall room temperature. I think this should help keep the habitat warmer during the cold months. Tell me what you think.I also have available a humidifier if it is necessary but i was wondering what ranges in humidity veiled chameleons preferred.
Lastly I was wondering what type of basking light I should use for this enclosure, the basking light being the main source of heat worries me because at night time when lights must be shut off there will be no heat source. Should I use a ceramic basking heater?

So far I was planning on buying one 24" inch 20 watt 8.0 UVB light, would two of these be better? Anyone that lives in a cold area and uses a fresh-air habitat please help me, I don't trust anyone at a pet store when it comes to chameleon knowledge. Thanks in advance.
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Zoomed 5.0 or 10.0 UVB light is what I use. The 8.0 you mention and the size of tube sounds fine, you only need one.
A dome fixture for basking light (can get at home depot for 5 or 6 dollars) with a regular or hallogen bulb is good. You'll need a couple of thermometers to moniter heat and you want both lighting fixtures outside the enclosure. The basking light should be mounted so that it is a few inches from the cage to prevent your animal from burning itself.
You'll have to experiment with bulbs to get the wattage right for the temps you need.
The ambient temp should be 70-ish. The basking temp in the mid 80's for a young veiled.
10 to 20 degree drop in temp at night is recommended, no heat at night as long as the room stays at least 62 degrees. My night time temp is 65 to 68 and I use a space heater with thermostat to maintain this. The rooms daytime temp is 70.

-Brad
 

dankasaurus8

New Member
Thanks a lot, I was also wondering if anyone could give me info on substrates many sources say chameleons do best without it. If I've been mislead what kinds do you use?
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I use primarily live plants. The exception is some fake ivy to fill in spaces and bend-a-branches to create "chameleon highways".
Real plants help to increase your humidity by a surprising amount and seem to do well in optimal cham conditions.
Check out the plant list on this forum.

-Brad
 
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