My Bioactive Enclosure Build (Panther chameleon)

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've been slowly collecting supplies and researching, and I think I've compiled a workable list of plants for my bioactive build-to-be! The enclosure will be a 36x18x36 glass ExoTerra with a custom GreatStuff background and all the fixings for a male Ankaramy panther chameleon.

I've had a couple long talks with some experienced gardeners and they said that my chosen plants will likely thrive in such an environment, but I wanted to check in with fellow keepers (@Brodybreaux25 ,@jamest0o0, @Goose502 :D) and see if there's anything in particular I'll need to watch out for/pitfalls to avoid in regards to these particular plants!

The current list of plants to incorporate:

  • Wandering jew/inch plant - I have the purple variety, but would also like a green one of some sort
  • Umbrella tree
  • Pothos - golden, pearl and jade, marble queen
  • Ficus - unsure if I want an Amstel King or a weeping fig
  • Bromeliad(s)*- I was thinking guzmania "scarlet star" or similar
  • Tillandsia* - "pink quill" and a handful of smaller species for background plugs
  • Live Mosses - club moss, Irish or Scottish moss, maybe some rough gooseneck or something.
  • Ferns - haven't decided on species, maybe Boston or maiden's hair?
  • Nerve plants
  • Polkadot plants
  • Spider plants
  • Possibly a small orchid* species (once the enclosure is stable)
* = to be mounted as epiphytes

I'm very excited to start building sometime in the near future!

~Amanda
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've used pretty much every plant on your list. They should do well. I personally like to add a lot of sand for drainage. Looking forward to following along on this. Sounds like it'll turn out nice.

Little side note-I like to drill holes in branches and stuff the bromeliad roots in tightly with a little sphagnum moss. They anchor in and start growing off the branch like they would in the wild. Make sure to have them up close to the lights and misters.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've used pretty much every plant on your list. They should do well. I personally like to add a lot of sand for drainage. Looking forward to following along on this. Sounds like it'll turn out nice.

Little side note-I like to drill holes in branches and stuff the bromeliad roots in tightly with a little sphagnum moss. They anchor in and start growing off the branch like they would in the wild. Make sure to have them up close to the lights and misters.
Thank you! Yes, my plan for the bromeliads is to wrap the roots with a little soil and a layer of spagnum moss and stuff 'em in holes cut into cork, or otherwise attach the "moss ball" to a junction in the branches. I have some porous Malaysian driftwood that's just crying for me to stick things to it, as well!

I'm sure I'll have more things to confirm as I continue my research and gather supplies. I'm happy to hear that I'm reaching the correct conclusions so far! (y)
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I appreciate it - thanks James! I'll take a look at extensionofgreen's posts, and see what I can learn from them. I'm hungry for knowledge!

This hobby is definitely right up my alley - lots of research to do and constant progress being made! And I get an excuse to keep lots of plants and insects. :p
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your variety of plants sounds great! Plant them all! Here’s the hard part, you’re gonna loose some. Give the enclosure at least a month to sort this out. You will see some thrive and some fail. By the time you add your chameleon, you will have strong, mature plants that will tolerate him climbing all over. I’ve had many plants fail over the years. Could have been lighting, moisture level, or just my chameleon being rough on them, but the bioactivity and chameleon are extremely healthy. If the plant can’t tolerate the environment, then it dies or I remove it. This hobby is all about trial and error.
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
I've used pretty much every plant on your list. They should do well. I personally like to add a lot of sand for drainage. Looking forward to following along on this. Sounds like it'll turn out nice.

Little side note-I like to drill holes in branches and stuff the bromeliad roots in tightly with a little sphagnum moss. They anchor in and start growing off the branch like they would in the wild. Make sure to have them up close to the lights and misters.
I've always done poorly with bromeliads but I'm going to give this a try. Nice tip thanks.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your variety of plants sounds great! Plant them all! Here’s the hard part, you’re gonna loose some. Give the enclosure at least a month to sort this out. You will see some thrive and some fail. By the time you add your chameleon, you will have strong, mature plants that will tolerate him climbing all over. I’ve had many plants fail over the years. Could have been lighting, moisture level, or just my chameleon being rough on them, but the bioactivity and chameleon are extremely healthy. If the plant can’t tolerate the environment, then it dies or I remove it. This hobby is all about trial and error.
Thank you! I intend to plant as many plants with as I can reasonably fit and include as much variety as possible. I fully expect some die back, and I'll try not to be too disappointed if any of the especially nice plants fail haha! Since my boy won't be coming home to me until sometime in August, I have more than enough time to allow the plants to establish themselves properly and sort out any possible hiccups.

Side note: is clear bathroom silicone safe to use, or should I go and get aquarium silicone instead? I don't have the can on hand, but since it's advertised for bathroom use it may have fungicides.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I can't remember what chemical you're supposed to avoid in silicone. Aquarium silicone is basically free of that. My guess is that the bathroom silicone probably isn't the safe kind.
Yeah... that's a shame! I sort of figured that it wouldn't work, but I had some on hand so I thought I'd ask anyway! I'll go and find some aquarium safe sealant.

Edit: I did a bit of searching, and essentially this is what I came across:

  • GE silicone I and DAP 100% silicone are safe, GE silicone II is NOT due to antibacterial components added to it.
  • VOC (volatile organic compounds) contents between 32-36 is safe; above or below (anything below is not 100% silicone) is NOT
I'll check my labels when I get home, but I'm almost sure mine is ge silicone II.
 
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GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Such good information, I could sit around and read these post day after day! I’m being told I love y’all more than my partner, spending all my time on the chameleonforums.com! Lol
I hear you! I feel like I spend a slightly excessive amount of time researching and reading through the forums. I've always been obsessed with seeking knowledge when I'm interested in a subject!

wow, love the selection of plants, your little panther will be spoiled rotten!!!
And thank you! I plan on giving (Boy) George the best captive life I can possibly give him, and knowingly cutting corners as never been my style haha! I figure if you're going to do something, you may as well go all the way. :D
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I see nothing wrong with any of that. You may have mentioned it, diddnt read the whole post, what kind of lighting will you run?

Your plans sound very similar to my last build, may be helpful:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/bioactive-mentor.167174/
Thanks Brody - I was actually just rereading your thread! :)

I'll be running a quad fixture from LightYourReptiles with 1 6% Arcadia bulb, 1 plant pro bulb, and 2 6500k daylight bulbs, though I've yet to send Todd an email so who knows - he may recommend something else!
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks Brody - I was actually just rereading your thread! :)

I'll be running a quad fixture from LightYourReptiles with 1 6% Arcadia bulb, 1 plant pro bulb, and 2 6500k daylight bulbs, though I've yet to send Todd an email so who knows - he may recommend something else!
Sounds like a plan, have fun with it!
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you can, get one of those megaspot jungle dawn LEDs. Best plant light I've ever used.
One of these? Sounds like a plan!

What would you say is the best positioning, and would I want to ditch the plant pro bulb (so, 3 6.5k daylights instead of 2 and a plant bulb in the quad) if I run a jungle dawn spotlight? Hmm, I should pose that question to Todd as well...

I appreciate all the tips, guys! Keep em coming! :D

Sounds like a plan, have fun with it!
And thank you! I'm already having tons of fun. I love planning and learning. :)
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have 2 of those jungle dawns over my 4ft enclosure and then a quad t5 with the uvb and plant bulbs(just because I had it on hand), it comes down like a beam of sunlight. It's the only thing that has kept ground cover growing for me.
 
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