Large Exo Terra Screen Terrarium vs Repti Breeze XL vs custom

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
I'm looking at doing a cage re-design and figured I would buy a new cage so I can take my time with setting it up versus having to find a temp place for my chameleon to hang out while I work on it for hour(s).

Debating between:
  1. Large Exo Terra cage (36" x 18" x 36") LLLReptile or Amazon
  2. Another Repti Breeze XL (24"x24"x48")
  3. Build one out of wood, likely 36" wide, 48" tall, 24" deep

Ideally I'd like to build one, but the Exo Terra caught my eye and I like the extra width that it has compared to the repti breeze XL. I would be losing 6" depth and 12" of height, but I think he would get more use out of the extra width and that out weighs the loss which should be fine as long as I can keep my temp gradient good.

Does anyone have experience with this Exo Terra cage or have any recommendations. Yes, I know, dragon strand, the one I'd want is $500 though.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
How big is your Panther that your putting in there? I have the medium tall clearside by dragon strand. I will tell you I love the additional width so I can see why you are drawn to the Large exo. But the depth could be an issue depending on the total length of your cham. Another option if you want the width is two 2x2x4's hooked together. pull the center screens where they meet. You could even get 20 guage marine vinyl to re screen the back panels and sides. Build a base for it to sit in.

Now with the exo the 36 inch height is not that big of a deal as long as the cage is sitting on a higher cabinet.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you're wanting to go bioactive, I highly recommend the large x-tall ExoTerra! I'm absolutely thrilled with mine, and will be housing a male panther.

245895


If you're looking for more size, then yeah - you can't really beat building it yourself haha! A cabinet conversion is on my future project list :D @Beman also had a good point- you can get a second 2x2x4 and just strap them together to make one big cage! I may do this for my Lily at some point.
 

Hashtag ChamLife

Avid Member
So here's my experience... and my answer.
20190909_114527.jpg

Cost: $35 for a roll of screen, $100 on flex seal, probably another few bucks on misc stuff. Basically, other than my time, it cost me less to build one. Hutches are a commonly free item as no one wants to move them. I also have an old entertainment stand that's my next cage project. Anything from an old wall cabinet to a curio cabinet works, just matters how creative you can get.

There's a sub forum here just on custom builds. Lots of good resources and people to answer questions.

Whatever you decide, best of luck!
 

Attachments

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you're wanting to go bioactive, I highly recommend the large x-tall ExoTerra! I'm absolutely thrilled with mine, and will be housing a male panther.

View attachment 245895

If you're looking for more size, then yeah - you can't really beat building it yourself haha! A cabinet conversion is on my future project list :D @Beman also had a good point- you can get a second 2x2x4 and just strap them together to make one big cage! I may do this for my Lily at some point.
I have good points here and there... I am a thinker you know. :hilarious:
 

Thatwizard420

Avid Member
It’s a 30x30x48... My Cham is Happy, and so I am. He will appreciate the extra space.
Whatever you choose, you cannot go wrong though.
 

Attachments

Thatwizard420

Avid Member
I love it have you added more horizontal branches for him?
Yes, I've added a Hibiscus And Dracenea, I Have Stakes In each corner And some sticking out the pots with fakes vines all wrapped around them. He pretty much has access to 95% of cage with the vines and Stakes .. I'm building the Base for it to make it Bioactive. Cleaning it weekly is a pain tbh.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, I've added a Hibiscus And Dracenea, I Have Stakes In each corner And some sticking out the pots with fakes vines all wrapped around them. He pretty much has access to 95% of cage with the vines and Stakes .. I'm building the Base for it to make it Bioactive. Cleaning it weekly is a pain tbh.
Awesome it’s a really good size. Gonna be great bio active too!
 

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
How big is your Panther that your putting in there? I have the medium tall clearside by dragon strand. I will tell you I love the additional width so I can see why you are drawn to the Large exo. But the depth could be an issue depending on the total length of your cham. Another option if you want the width is two 2x2x4's hooked together. pull the center screens where they meet. You could even get 20 guage marine vinyl to re screen the back panels and sides. Build a base for it to sit in.

Now with the exo the 36 inch height is not that big of a deal as long as the cage is sitting on a higher cabinet.
He's right around 15" from the tip of his nose to tip of tail. Dragon Strand cages are nice but I just can't justify the cost, I'd much rather build from scratch 100% as I want it then spend $500 on a pre-fab. I thought about connecting 2 ZooMed's but I don't want it to be ghetto rigged. Regarding the table, I can build that to keep him high up, right now his top/basking branch is at eye height.

Build your own. You and your panther will both be pleased with the extra size.
Yeah this is where I am leaning, but trying to think through the base for handling drainage. Maybe I'll build it using a washing machine pan as the base.

If you're wanting to go bioactive, I highly recommend the large x-tall ExoTerra! I'm absolutely thrilled with mine, and will be housing a male panther.

If you're looking for more size, then yeah - you can't really beat building it yourself haha! A cabinet conversion is on my future project list :D @Beman also had a good point- you can get a second 2x2x4 and just strap them together to make one big cage! I may do this for my Lily at some point.
I haven't looked into bioactive but maybe I'll start some research as I see many now doing it. Do you have the glass or screen version? What are requirements & benefits of bioactive? Can you give me your experience with it, is the juice worth the squeeze?

So here's my experience... and my answer.

Cost: $35 for a roll of screen, $100 on flex seal, probably another few bucks on misc stuff. Basically, other than my time, it cost me less to build one. Hutches are a commonly free item as no one wants to move them. I also have an old entertainment stand that's my next cage project. Anything from an old wall cabinet to a curio cabinet works, just matters how creative you can get.

There's a sub forum here just on custom builds. Lots of good resources and people to answer questions.

Whatever you decide, best of luck!
A hutch like that is nice and probably will once I settle into a place. I'll likely be buying soon and will not want to lug something like that so I'll get something more portable for now.
It’s a 30x30x48... My Cham is Happy, and so I am. He will appreciate the extra space.
Whatever you choose, you cannot go wrong though.
What you have there is kind of what I am envisioning, except maybe not as huge. I am thinking 48" tall, 36" wide, 24" deep.
 
Last edited:

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Are the walls on that thing glass? I thought that was a no no for chameleons? I haven't looked into bioactive but maybe I'll start some research as I see many now doing it.
Oh - you were referring to the new screen version! Didn't check the links :notworthy: The viability of glass varies on where you live. I live in a very dry, cold climate, and goats helps to insulate the enclosure and maintain humidity! A lot of the "glass is bad" mentality comes from the use of aquariums, which I agree promote stagnant air and a whole host of issues. But a well built terrarium witha frontal ventilation strip and a mesh top (creating a chimney effect to promote airflow) =/= an aquarium by any means! It's a completely valid choice, though some things need to be modified to compensate. Lack of external drainage endsto be taken into account, for one! Which is totally fine if you're bioactive and have a ton of substrate, and less fine if you don't.

Bioactive is really gaining momentum and has become more accepted by the mainstream. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I feel I have the basics down really well, and have a whole host of things that I'd do different the second time 'round if I knew better! :hilarious:

Though if you're looking to move it, you might want to hold off. Mine definitely weighs a solid 250lbs+, now, and is incredibly awkward to move even before I added about 60L of substrate!
 

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
I ended up sticking with my current Repti Breeze XL. I found that my umbrella tree would be too tall for the Exo Terra. I am happy with the outcome, the expandable trellis is awesome for this cage, it beats that bamboo structure I previously had. This allows him to climb on the walls without risking him losing any more finger nails while also providing a place to put branches/vines basically anywhere.

20190913_194512.jpg 20190913_194133.jpg
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I ended up sticking with my current Repti Breeze XL. I found that my umbrella tree would be too tall for the Exo Terra. I am happy with the outcome, the expandable trellis is awesome for this cage, it beats that bamboo structure I previously had. This allows him to climb on the walls without risking him losing any more finger nails while also providing a place to put branches/vines basically anywhere.

View attachment 246078 View attachment 246079
I'm planning on using expanding trellises for my girl's cage overhaul, as well! Looks like they worked well for you! :)
 

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
I'm planning on using expanding trellises for my girl's cage overhaul, as well! Looks like they worked well for you! :)
Yeah I am happy with it. It is a little annoying to cut and then prevent from expanding, what I did is cut a length of bamboo and drilled holes in each end and then set the trellis to the exact width I want, and then zip tied the bamboo in place using the holes I drilled to hold it. I did 3 pieces of bamboo for each piece of trellis, spaced maybe a foot apart. I then secured each piece of trellis to the screen using wire. He climbs on it all the time, much better then letting him climb on the screen.
20190915_093724.jpg
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yeah I am happy with it. It is a little annoying to cut and then prevent from expanding, what I did is cut a length of bamboo and drilled holes in each end and then set the trellis to the exact width I want, and then zip tied the bamboo in place using the holes I drilled to hold it. I did 3 pieces of bamboo for each piece of trellis, spaced maybe a foot apart. I then secured each piece of trellis to the screen using wire. He climbs on it all the time, much better then letting him climb on the screen.
View attachment 246139
Absolutely! And thank for you the attachment pictures - I think I've some ideas, now!!
 
Top Bottom