More light!!

Hi everyone I havent posed in a little while so I figured ide come back on!
I'm looking into getting a little more light into my enclosure!
My beautiful ambanja panther chameleon Laz is doing well and has been very happy the past few months that I've had him.
I've had a slight issue with some of my plants tho. My cage is full of plants and there are some lower down ones like two ferns and a umbrella plant that havent been doing so hot. They just dont get enough light. So I'm reaching out while also doing some more research to find some effective new lighting sources with minimal heat for my cage.
I own a 2x2x4 dragon strand screen cage with a HO double bulb fixture w/ 24in Arcadia 6% and a plant light.
I also have 2 dome fixtures one with a 65w incandescent and the other with a 70w blubrite plant light. Lmk thoughts on some other lights, ive been thinking some leds maybe??
 

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Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey question for ya... how much heat do they put out?
They do put out a fair amount of heat since it’s a very bright concentrated beam of light. So it’s best to raise them a good bit off the screen. I had to tinker with my height a good bit until I could get the temperatures where they needed to be but they can get into 100 degrees if they are sitting directly on the screen 8 inches from the highest basking branches.
 

JIFFYPOP

Avid Member
Sweet, I plan on getting one to try out.
They do put out a fair amount of heat since it’s a very bright concentrated beam of light. So it’s best to raise them a good bit off the screen. I had to tinker with my height a good bit until I could get the temperatures where they needed to be but they can get into 100 degrees if they are sitting directly on the screen 8 inches from the highest basking branches.
I plan on getting one in near future also, so this was super helpful. I Was looking at corncob style grow bulbs, but I heard alot of good things about the Jungle dawn. Now I know I want one, lol
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
They do put out a fair amount of heat since it’s a very bright concentrated beam of light. So it’s best to raise them a good bit off the screen. I had to tinker with my height a good bit until I could get the temperatures where they needed to be but they can get into 100 degrees if they are sitting directly on the screen 8 inches from the highest basking branches.
Awesome thank you for that. I know typically we think led and don’t expect heat so I am glad I asked you.
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes I didn’t expect that either when I bought them because mostly leds are relatively cool from my experience. I think since it’s such a high powered beam of concentrated light in a very small area it makes it very hot. The led bulb itself doesn’t get very hot Todd built fans inside of them to keep them cool which is pretty neat. The beam of light that comes down definitely puts off heat though. If you want plant growth this is your light. Absolutely amazing lights for plant growth!
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
There's another type of jungle dawn that is a bank of LED's and not a spot. They don't give off much heat downward and have a built in aluminium heat sink. I use these as the give a wider spread of light and with great success.
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’d also like to point out that everyone’s cage and situation is different so my temperatures might be different from what others might get. Don’t want to scare anyone into not getting one because they think it will be too hot. From what I’ve seen though the jungle dawns do put off a good amount of heat for being leds.
 

Connorology

Established Member
Greetings,

Good to hear you've got some ferns planted! I think they're underutilized in the chameleon setups I have seen. I am a big fan myself. As has essentially already been stated: if you're trying to get decent light 4' down into the setup, you'll need a spotlight or floodlight, nothing else will work. With normal non-focused lights in a 4' enclosure regardless of the output, you'll be getting about 1/16th the foot candles at your understory. Jungle Dawns may well be the gold standard, but my understanding is they run around ~$70 apiece and heat up quite a bit. If that's within your budget, you might want to try them out. If not, I have a budget option.

I am currently using two 15 watt 5000k LED floodlights from Lowes (Home Depot has comparable products). I have the "basic LED" which is PAR38 and has a 40 degree beam spread (~$20 for two). I use those two in normal dome fixtures. Overall, I have a quad T5 fixture that contains three full spectrum lights for plant growth and also my UVB bulb, and four domes, alternated floodlight, regular LED bulb, floodlight, and heat bulb (the basking light and regular LED balance out the spotlights so the lighting looks even). This lets me get to ~500 foot candles at my understory, and ~300 through the foliage cover (guessing based on experimenting: your ferns probably need at least 100-200+ foot candles to grow. Pothos and some Pilea can grow as low as ~75FC, but basically everything else wants 200+, with higher being better). I am currently able to grow three species of fern just fine at 3' with this method. I have rosy maidenhair, lemon button, and a rabbit's foot. All three are growing well.

I'd also recommend getting an inexpensive light meter off of Amazon (~$10), or at least downloading an app for your phone. I am a bit skeptical of their accuracy, but they give you an idea of how much light you're getting and where, and can let you mess around and have a gauge of how you changed the lighting.

Best,

Connor
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
What's the coverage like with the jungle dawns? If you have one, does it illuminate the whole cage? Or is there just one really bright spot?
If you think of how a spotlight works that’s what it’s like. Very good for getting penetration of light deep down in the bottom parts of the cage. It is very concentrated but since it’s so bright it really lights everything in the whole cage. I have two of them in my setup and this is what it looks like. The first picture is with just a basking bulb and and a double linear bulb with 2 6,500k grow bulbs in it. And the next picture is with those lights and the led spotlights on. Huge difference in light penetration all the way to the bottom of the cage. 87270770-1170-4AD8-A6C4-801561E9FF2E.jpeg0E83CD84-B360-409B-B3A5-FEAEE18F8B13.jpeg
 
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