Live planted terrarium and Chameleon types

dlcarey89

New Member
I am looking to set up a 55 gallon fish tank I have laying around. I am a horticulture major in college and am very interested in setting up a large planted terrarium. I am interested in knowing the answers to the following questions.
• What type of chameleon would be a good beginner pet?
• What equipment as far as lighting, heating source, and such will be required to sustain plant growth and critter heath?
• What plant material should I look into, as well as other structures should be located in the cage?
• Will I need ventilation fans to reduce heat or increase air flow for both plant and critter health.
I am looking for a brightly colored pet that will serve as a show piece to go along with my plants I just want to make sure that the heath of the chameleon is maintained. I’m looking to spend no more than 10 hours a week on maintenance for both the plants and pet.
Is this feasible and do you have any pointers for me.
Thank you for your help
 

Julirs

New Member
A few questions-where are you located and have you had reptiles before. Chameleons are not a good starter reptile by any means, and the only chameleon that would live in a planted terrarium as you are suggesting would be pygmies. Chameleons need vertical height as they are arboreal. Chameleons also need multi-daily care as far as feeding and misting-they do not drink out of water bowls.
 

dlcarey89

New Member
I live in central PA I have had Fired Bellied toads and currently have two red ear sliders. I also have and live planted aquarium. Do you know of another type of lizard that would be better suited for a live plant situation? The vertical limit of my tank is 2 ft.
 

lisa h

New Member
As for pygmies (if you are looking for a "planted aquarium" chameleon), most of the more common ones are not very colourful.
I'm wondering if you would be interested in any of the dart frogs? They are definitely living art. I don't know the specifics of keeping them, although someone on this list may.
 

Jimturner

Established Member
I would agree. If you are into the plant aspect of it, dart frogs are really the way to go. Google dart frog or vivarium, you will see some great examples of planted terrariums.
 

Chris Jury

New Member
I am looking to set up a 55 gallon fish tank I have laying around. I am a horticulture major in college and am very interested in setting up a large planted terrarium. I am interested in knowing the answers to the following questions.
• What type of chameleon would be a good beginner pet?
• What equipment as far as lighting, heating source, and such will be required to sustain plant growth and critter heath?
• What plant material should I look into, as well as other structures should be located in the cage?
• Will I need ventilation fans to reduce heat or increase air flow for both plant and critter health.
I am looking for a brightly colored pet that will serve as a show piece to go along with my plants I just want to make sure that the heath of the chameleon is maintained. I’m looking to spend no more than 10 hours a week on maintenance for both the plants and pet.
Is this feasible and do you have any pointers for me.
Thank you for your help
Q1: Veiled and Panthers are pretty good choices as a first chameleon, though they wouldn't be very well suited for a tank of the size you're talking about as adults. Smaller to medium sized chameleons would be better suited for a tank of this size (e.g., species smaller than ~10-12 in or so). Rhampholeon species could potentially do very well, and some of the Ch. Triceros species could potentially work well. This is not to say that you'd mix multiple species--one individual, or perhaps a few of a particular Rhampholeon species could do well.

Q2: I'd suggest doing as much reading about vivarium design as you can. In short, I'd suggest a bulb that will produce some UVB (e.g., a fluorescent tube) and a low-wattage basking light for the animals, and decent lighting for the plants (e.g., a bank of compact fluorescent bulbs). When designed well, systems like this can have fluorishing plants and animals, and are very attractive.

Q3: Read about vivarium design. A lot.

Q4: Some ventilation is needed, but how much will vary a bit depending on the individual situtation. Fans may or may not be needed, depending. Small muffin fans could definitely be useful at times, even if they are turned off most of the time.

A chamelon (or small group of dwarf species) may or may not be a good choice, depending on your desires and intentions with the vivarium. As mentioned, some other critters could potentially be good choices as well. Dart frogs might work well for what you want to do, but they present their own challenges too. For example, baby dart frogs are very poorly suited to a large planted tank like this as it becomes very difficult to keep them and their food close enough together, and they often do very poorly. Adult dart frogs, on the other hand, can thrive in a large vivarium like this. Some chamelons could thrive here, while others, especially larger species, probably would not.

I would advise a few months of reading and careful planning, to figure out exactly what will work well for you and also allow you to achieve the kind of system you want to have.

cj
 

jpm995

Member
Poison dart frogs would be ideal for that setup, you could have a whole colony and they have amazing colors. Orchids, mosses, ferns, small begonis would work well. You could probably adapt it for a panther cham but it would be much more difficult. Plus they might destroy delicate plants. Their pricy also. Pigmy chams would work well, their cheap but their colors are drab. Their very interesting when in a group but not eyecatching. Show us some pics when your done.
 

FredChameleon

New Member
I am looking to set up a 55 gallon fish tank I have laying around. I am a horticulture major in college and am very interested in setting up a large planted terrarium. I am interested in knowing the answers to the following questions.
• What type of chameleon would be a good beginner pet?
• What equipment as far as lighting, heating source, and such will be required to sustain plant growth and critter heath?
• What plant material should I look into, as well as other structures should be located in the cage?
• Will I need ventilation fans to reduce heat or increase air flow for both plant and critter health.
I am looking for a brightly colored pet that will serve as a show piece to go along with my plants I just want to make sure that the heath of the chameleon is maintained. I’m looking to spend no more than 10 hours a week on maintenance for both the plants and pet.
Is this feasible and do you have any pointers for me.
Thank you for your help
aquarium not good for a cham, you should set it up for some poison dart frogs! they are only poisonous in the wild due to the types of insects they eat, captive they will eat pin head crickets and wingless fruit flies.
 

EvilLost

New Member
I would recommend that you check out PDF's (poison dart frogs).

In particular, it seems that what you are looking for may better be explained here:

www.dendroboard.com
www.vivariumforums.com

check out those 2 sites, and given your suggested setup more than likely frogs are your best bet...in a 55gal you can have quite a decent sized colony!
 
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