Is My Set Up Ok? (Juvie Veiled)

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi guys, this is my first crack at setting up a chameleon enclosure. It was a very short notice ordeal (more info on my veiled chameleon Karma here: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/new-cham-owner-intro.167133/), and I'd be very interested in feedback! Sorry the the picture's so dark. This was taken just after I finished setting the enclosure up, well before I went to pick up Karma.

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His current enclosure is an 18"x18"x30" medium Zoo Med ReptiBreeze mesh terrarium, with a mini combo dome light equipped with 5.0 UVB Reptisun (left) and 60w Daylight Blue (right) bulbs. I was a bit pressed for time and ended up purchasing a kit, which came with the cage, dome, bulbs, and a couple small extras. Are these bulbs/dome acceptable, or should I get something else?

Perches are mostly Exo Terra vines, though there is a vine that came with the kit (the thin brown one) and some Malaysian wood on the bottom to act as an anchor, accessory, and possibly a perch if he decides to venture down there. After observing Karma's movements for a couple hours from across the room while he settled in this afternoon, I think I'll be putting in one more high perch structure. He kept scaling the fake plants at the top of the enclosure, and I'm not sure if it's because he's essentially blind while his eyes heal up, or because he's a tad chilly. The highest perch was reading at just above 85F (depending on which thermometer I used, it ranged between 85-88), so I'm not entirely sure what he's up to. The foliage up there seems to be his "safe spot", as that's where he has retreated both when I initially started misting his cage before lights out, and immediately after taking him out to give him his bath and eyedrops.

An Exo Terra Dripper Plant is running in the right hand corner, though I'm considering running an additional drip system from the top of the tank because I'm super paranoid about him getting enough water. He does seem to drink a fair bit during his morning mistings, though, so maybe I'm worried about nothing.

A cut to size ReptiCarpet is currently being used as a cage liner, but I plan on elevating the vivarium a bit and boring some drain holes to help with water accumulation. It seems to be mostly drying out between my test sprays, but I'm still a little concerned... and I don't want to cause unnecessary damage my nice wood dresser either haha! Would it be advisable to just take it out, or is it ok to leave?

All of the plants currently in the viv are fake, but I'd be really interested in incorporating live plants when I get around to building Karma's adult enclosure. I feel like i definitely need to do more research, first! I might purchase some sort of ficus or a pothos on a trellis to use as a portable "shower plant", though I could just as easily use my parrot's shower perch and secure some plastic greenery to it I suppose.

What say the community?

~Amanda
 

Nylah712

Member
Your setup is really nice! Just a few tweaks to it and it will be perfect! I think you should add more foliage like a live pothos or ficus tree and bit more horizontal branches near the basking spot. In my opinion, I wouldn't put Eco Capet at all but that's just my preference. Also get an additional dripper just to be precautionary! Other than that it looks pretty good!
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for the input! I'll pop by the pet store tomorrow and pick out a new branch or two, and see if they have any other drip systems in stock. If not, I suppose i could pick up some cups at the dollar store in the mean time! I'll see into possibly getting a small pothos (I'm pretty sure I could wedge a small pot in the back left corner), but the lighting's really terrible in my office and I'm not sure if I could cram a plant friendly grow light on top of the enclosure. My birds have taken up all of the prime lighting locales, and i dont want to stress Karma by putting him too close to them. I will, however, go and pick up another fake plant or two. I underestimated the space and sort of ran out haha! I'd also like to get a little magnetic ledge, though my regular shop was out so I may need to special order it. I think it'd be nice for a little variety, in surfaces, and possibly a place to stash fruits and veggies!

I've always really liked setting up cages. It'll be fun to do it again on a larger scale once Karma gets a bit older! I'll probably get it started early so that any live plants can sort of grow into it. I may need to get creative, as I'll need to be able to fit it down a pretty narrow staircase. It shouldnt be a problem if i build it in the room, but it'd be impossible to move without disassembling it. Not the end of the world, in any case!

~Amanda
 

pmdaggett79

Member
For a first timer I’d say you did a really good job. From what I can tell you little one will be happy till he gets to 9 months or so as the guys grow fast. You’ll blink and he’s a foot long.

If you are paranoid (like I am) about humidity and water I recommend purchasing a mistking system. Stay away from the monsoon and other pet store products. The guys at mistking almost perfected misting. I would get a Dripper and a mister. In the wild, Chams drink almost all their water in the morning from dew off the leaves. It makes sense to mist more in the morning. I would let the enclosure completely dry out before misting again. A wet environment can be bad news for our pets.

It looks like your definitely on the right path. Just make sure that whatever you buy going forward is going to work well with his enclosure when he’s an adult (ex. Lighting). Keep up the good work!
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you! I'll look into getting a Mistking system. It's funny that you mention the Monsoon, because I had been considering doing more research into automated systems! That saves me a little time and reading. I'll go ahead and add that to the "sometime in the near future" list! I'll want at least a semi automated misting system before I'm back on afternoon/evening shifts, when it'll be more difficult to keep up with a consistent schedule. I will definitely pick up/order a second dripper tomorrow, and I think I'll set it up on the top left corner and make sure it's easily accessible with a new perch.

Would it be alright to place a shower curtain or similar on one or two sides of the vivarium to contain the water from misting? I'm a little worried about swamping my walls and/or furniture during longer sessions (especially with an automated system). As of right now I've been wrapping a large towel around the back/sides while doing any intensive misting and then removing it afterward. Maybe if I angled the automated system's nozzle(s) in such a way that it avoided dampening the wall too much... hmm.

At what age is it best to swap to adult temperature ranges for males? I'll probably need to get a higher wattage bulb... the temp on the 60w Daylight Blue seems to cap out very near 85F. Which is perfect for now, but not forever! Assuming I sexed Karma correctly, anyway. I'll have to post an image in the Identification subforum to double check, but I'm pretty sure I see little tarsal spurs. I guess it could be wishful thinking! The girls scare me a bit... we see a lot of egg binding at the veterinary clinic.

~Amanda
 
With the lights for the chameleon I don't think you'd need an extra plant light. You should be fine with out. If you're in a dry climate (or dry office as they usually are) you can wrap up to three sides of the enclosure leaving the front and top open.
Also as far as drainage goes you can get a tray for a dog crate at a pet store and put your cage on top of it for added protection. Before I got my chameleon his permanent cage I had a smaller one that I propped and edge on to the crate tray then drilled a hole in the tray so the water would drainage into a bucket. Not 100% the best but it worked for the month or so he was there.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ah, smart! I think I have an old dog crate tray kicking around somewhere that I can use to protect the dresser. My other concern with wrapping the cage is encouraging rust, which I've read here that the ReptiBreeze models can be prone to. Maybe i'll try to rig it in such a way that the plastic isn't in direct contact with the mesh, and can drip off into a tray.

Though I live in a dry climate, I've long since started using various humidifiers to bump up the moisture so my office actually isn't too bad! My birds (especially my cockatoo) prefer high 30's low 40's for humidity and higher than standard room temperatures, so I strive to keep it pretty warm and moist for my girls. Apparently it also translates well to chameleons! :)

~Amanda
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I added a few additional branches (Manzanita, likely sandblasted; keeping a close eye for possible mold), another fake plant, and a makeshift drip tray. I've removed the EcoCarpet, and I'll be wrapping the sides with a shower curtain at some point within the next day or two. All of the pet stores near me are out of Little Drippers, but I did have one ordered so I should have it soon. Karma definitely has a favorite place to drink, and a dripper would fit perfectly! For now I'll just use a cup with a hole(s) or something. I'd like to get a live plant of some sort for the back corner, but I havent found one I like yet. I'm considering a smaller bromeliad or something. Undecided! :)

Poor Karma was very unamused with me fussing around his cage, and climbed as far away as he could from my nonsense. It's going to be a bit of a nightmare to fully disassemble cage cage to clean, what with all of the wire I used!

Karma is getting stronger every day, and even did a full "get away from me rawr look how big I am" display this morning when I had to syringe feed him! Baby steps. His eyes are still terrible, though. I'll take some pictures and talk to my vet tomorrow to see if/when I ought to being him in again.

Let me know if there's anything else that ought to be adjusted! This has been a lot of fun so far, and all of you have been fantastic. Thank you!

~Amanda


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GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, I have a 13w 5.0 Reptisun on the left side of the combo dome.

My phone makes images with bulbs deceivingly dark!
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
those are bad too, I don't exactly know why but I was told they were bad, use cricket crack or repashy or even create your own
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
"Those orange cubes are good for hydration and that's about it as far as gutloading goes. The cubes are designed to keep crickets alive, not to be a wholesome gutload for your reptile's sake or they would be much more expensive. While it does have some nutrients, they are a very low ratio to the gelatin part (or whatever they're made of) of the cube, so you're only getting a tiny bit of what you need. They are not a complete diet and should definitely be supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies as well as a regular dusting schedule."

this is what I found on the forums from one of the staff members here
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Interesting! Thank you very much, I'll replace the light fixture/bulb as soon as I get paid. This was an unexpected round of expenses, and I'm tapped out for the next week and a bit. Would you recommend switching the Daylight Blue bulb to a single dome, or keep it in the combo by itself?

I had purchased the orange cubes before reading the dedicated section. I had intended to use them in addition to fresh greens/fruit, not by itself. It's unopened as of yet, so I'll try returning it and swapping it for something else. Pardon my ignorance, but what is "cricket crack"? Karma is currently being syringe fed, anyway, as he cant see well enough yet to hunt. There's been a lot of improvement, though!

Thank you for your insight!

~Amanda
 
"Those orange cubes are good for hydration and that's about it as far as gutloading goes. The cubes are designed to keep crickets alive, not to be a wholesome gutload for your reptile's sake or they would be much more expensive. While it does have some nutrients, they are a very low ratio to the gelatin part (or whatever they're made of) of the cube, so you're only getting a tiny bit of what you need. They are not a complete diet and should definitely be supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies as well as a regular dusting schedule."

this is what I found on the forums from one of the staff members here
I think that might actually be what I read
Interesting! Thank you very much, I'll replace the light fixture/bulb as soon as I get paid. This was an unexpected round of expenses, and I'm tapped out for the next week and a bit. Would you recommend switching the Daylight Blue bulb to a single dome, or keep it in the combo by itself?

I had purchased the orange cubes before reading the dedicated section. I had intended to use them in addition to fresh greens/fruit, not by itself. It's unopened as of yet, so I'll try returning it and swapping it for something else. Pardon my ignorance, but what is "cricket crack"? Karma is currently being syringe fed, anyway, as he cant see well enough yet to hunt. There's been a lot of improvement, though!

Thank you for your insight!

~Amanda
If you get a single dome light make sure to get it from a hardware store not a pet store they're so much less expensive. But you can just use one side of your double if you have enough space for it.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
Interesting! Thank you very much, I'll replace the light fixture/bulb as soon as I get paid. This was an unexpected round of expenses, and I'm tapped out for the next week and a bit. Would you recommend switching the Daylight Blue bulb to a single dome, or keep it in the combo by itself?

I had purchased the orange cubes before reading the dedicated section. I had intended to use them in addition to fresh greens/fruit, not by itself. It's unopened as of yet, so I'll try returning it and swapping it for something else. Pardon my ignorance, but what is "cricket crack"? Karma is currently being syringe fed, anyway, as he cant see well enough yet to hunt. There's been a lot of improvement, though!

Thank you for your insight!

~Amanda
http://buycricketcrack.com/pricing/ its a brand of gut load that has a lot of nutrients in it
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you very much guys! I'm trying my hardest, but I can only read so fast! I didnt expect to have a chameleon fall into my lap, and I'm scrambling a bit (understatement, lol).

I'm not entirely sure if I can get cricket crack shipped here, but I'll see if it can! Repashy is readily available in the meantime, and either way fresh food will be involved.

I appreciate the patience!

~Amanda
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
The sides of the enclosure have now been wrapped with a plastic shower curtain, and once I get my second dripper and better lighting I think the bulk of my shopping list (for now) is complete. I'll be looking into a MistKing system sometime soon, once my resources replenish a bit.

I know I've said it a million times, but I really appreciate the guidance, folks! I know from experience how frustrating it can be to teach newbies the ropes.

~Amanda
 
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