I've just become a Chameleon step-dad

SeeJay

Member
Up until recently, the extent of my pet hobby has been saltwater aquarium and goldfish pond keeping. When my very, very excited wife and step-daughter called me from the reptile store I initially refused to approve the chameleon purchase. My wife insisted while I continued to adamantly refuse, so we compromised and got what she wanted...

She works very hard for us and works very hard to care for Cletus (a male nosy be that was sold to her as a juvenile ambilobe, but that's another story for another day). After having one spot on my hardwood floors ruined already, I decided to reward them both & save my floors at the same time. We searched around and found an armoire style entertainment center to convert to a vivarium.

I've been lurking here, learning as much as possible until I felt ready to begin this little endeavor. I'm still learning, so any input would be appreciated.

So far I've gotten it home, gutted it, replaced the flimsy back with 3/4' mdf, cut holes for some variable speed ventilation fans, cut out the sides for glass panels, removed the door panels for screen, sealed it up and got a coat of pond armor in it. At this point, I could fill it with water and put fish in it if I wanted to. Next is to install the drains, lights, mistking system, mount the temp & humidity probes then start scaping.

I have to say that I wasn't thrilled about the idea of owning a reptile of any sort, but he's grown on me. We may end up with another...


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SeeJay

Member
Currently my equipment list consists of:

-36" T5 HO from Pangea.
-basking light cannibalized from his current screen enclosure
-36" LED taken off one of my reef tanks. This will be primarily for plant growth. It has the ability to control light spectrum, intensity, automatic sunrise/sunset, moonlight, etc. via app control.
-Mistking system
-5 gallon storage tank
-2 variable speed ventilation fans
-High vis black aluminum screen
-36"x18" glass panels for the sides.
-An assortment of cork bark rounds, flats and show pieces from Biodude.
-Hydroton
-Silicone 1 and pond foam

Looking for recommendations on:

Controller. Something to monitor temp & humidity and ideally be able to adjust those remotely. I see that inkbird has a basic one. We use inkbirds a lot for heat control in aquaria, so I trust the product, but I was hoping for something a little more comprehensive. Their outles are on the control panel. This is a huge con considering the look I'm going for. I saw a really nice one one a custom cage I stumbled across, but now I can't find it.

Foggers/Humidifiers. Do you run them? Are they beneficial or should I just stick with the misting? I live in Atlanta, so heat and humidity aren't something we are lacking about 325ish days per year. This morning I scraped ice off my windshield and now I have my sleeves rolled up to stay cool.

Is RODI ok? I keep reservoirs of RODI and water for aquariums. I can modify my RODI to pull water before the DI if I need to, but it would be easier not to if RODI is ok. I've looked it up and the consensus seems to be split.
 

SeeJay

Member
Been busy not working over the holidays, so haven’t had much time for the project, but we made some good progress today.
Got the cork bark laid out, foamed it all in, shaped the foam with an angle grinder then siliconed it all with sphagnum. Can’t wait for it to dry so I can blow off the excess and see what I’ve got. That’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

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Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m very concerned about the lighting and urge you to rethink it. I’m telling you right now your going to get some burns from the current layout. If your not willing to move the lights out then you might as well start planning for that cage now.

Remember, your Cham is going to be climbing absolutely every square inch of that viv 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plenty of time to get himself in trouble.
 

SeeJay

Member
I’m very concerned about the lighting and urge you to rethink it. I’m telling you right now your going to get some burns from the current layout. If your not willing to move the lights out then you might as well start planning for that cage now.

Remember, your Cham is going to be climbing absolutely every square inch of that viv 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plenty of time to get himself in trouble
I think maybe the pictures make it look closer than it really is. I’ll definitely heed your warning and proceed with caution though.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think maybe the pictures make it look closer than it really is. I’ll definitely heed your warning and proceed with caution though.
Awesome.

It absolutely could be an optical illusion, is the white thing in the roof not a light fixture? Because that appears to only be 6-7 inches off that back wall. Your Cham, without the tail, is nearly that long. Your Cham wouldn’t miss a beat transferring from the back wall to that fixture. Just trying to help.
 

SeeJay

Member
Awesome.

It absolutely could be an optical illusion, is the white thing in the roof not a light fixture? Because that appears to only be 6-7 inches off that back wall. Your Cham, without the tail, is nearly that long. Your Cham wouldn’t miss a beat transferring from the back wall to that fixture. Just trying to help.
Well, the light is almost a foot from the wall. However with the width of the bulb and wall decor factored in, It does put the bulb only about 8” from the wall. I wanted to avoid having anything visible outside the unit, but I could cut a larger hole, screen it and use a can light above it. I’ll definitely reconsider that. Thanks.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Well, the light is almost a foot from the wall. However with the width of the bulb and wall decor factored in, It does put the bulb only about 8” from the wall. I wanted to avoid having anything visible outside the unit, but I could cut a larger hole, screen it and use a can light above it. I’ll definitely reconsider that. Thanks.
I’m not trying to beat you up, just want you to succeed the first time. Thermal burns are the #1 cause of injury to captive chams excluding husbandry mistakes. We see burns here at least once a week...

Glad your taking the time to hide all the equipment, totally ruins the look of a well set up viv! Mine, like yours, have crown molding around the top so it makes hiding that stuff pretty easy, especially your T5s. You can also opt for “nano” basking equipment, also easy to hide.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with, great experience most keepers miss out on!
 

SeeJay

Member
I’m not trying to beat you up, just want you to succeed the first time. Thermal burns are the #1 cause of injury to captive chams excluding husbandry mistakes. We see burns here at least once a week...

Glad your taking the time to hide all the equipment, totally ruins the look of a well set up viv! Mine, like yours, have crown molding around the top so it makes hiding that stuff pretty easy, especially your T5s. You can also opt for “nano” basking equipment, also easy to hide.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with, great experience most keepers miss out on!
I appreciate the input.

unfortunately, the top of the cabinet is flush with the top of the crown molding. The extra space this creates to hide things is on the inside. If I raise the light, it will be visible sitting on top. I’ll come up with a solution though. Not that big a deal.
 

SeeJay

Member
That leaves me with another question. Is there such a thing as too much light? I already have two 36” lights up there, one for uvb and an led to stimulate plant growth. Is the third bulb for basking a non issue? Should I consider just a heat emitter in that one? I figure if they can sit out in the sun all day he’ll be fine, but I don’t want to blind him or something.
 
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