My Chameleon/Terrarium Enclosure

Mucky_Waters

New Member
Scooter4n saw a picture of my chameleon enclosure in the gallery and sent me a private message commenting on it and asked "can you please tell us about it with more details??". So, rather than just reply privately to (him?) I thought it would be better to reply by way of a thread in the enclosure forum.
So here goes....

My chameleon enclosure started as a sort of aquarium/terrarium thingy. It was designed with a removable, formed cement and foam solid land mass area, like a little island, that has hollowed out formed areas for placing 4" plant pots. The idea is that it would be easy to change plants, simply pull out the old pot and place in a new one.
The island also has a built in water line that feeds a small pool at the top, so that water can be pumped up to the top pool to create a little waterfall.. The original design had a small submersible pump located in the aquarium itself, this has since been replaced with a external Fluval type filter with a built in pump. This Fluval filter system is rated for a 100 gallon aquarium and is overkill for the small amount of water I have in my system (less than 10 gallons), but the extra circulation and filtering capacity insures that the water stays as clean as possible and maintenance is reduced. This is what the original terrarium looked like Terrarium Tank
When considering using this for a chameleon enclosure two things were obvious. (A): it needed more room with climbing and basking area for a chameleon, and (B): it would never be suitable for a female chameleon as there is no significant dirt area for a female to use when she became gravid. To take care of (A) I developed the top cage area that sits on top of the aquarium/terrarium tank.
The top lid of the top cage area is removable and has built in UV light and basking spot lights. The back board is waterproof plastic and holds two hanging, removable plant pots. To take care of (B) I simply got a male chameleon.
The whole thing was designed to be easily disassembled into smaller units for moving and easy cleaning.
The most significant departure I see from traditional chameleon enclosures is the water area in the bottom of the tank. In most case you don't want to have standing water in the bottom for fear of mold or bacterial growth, but in this case the water is constantly being circulated and filtered. The Fluval filter is nitrifying bacteria, bio-filter and mechanical filter commonly used in aquarium systems and, as mentioned earlier, it is more than adequate for the small amount of water it is filtering.
There is really very little open water area for my chameleon to fall into, and that open water has pothos vines growing throughout it and usually some water hyacinth growing in it, so there is almost no chance of drowning, especially now that he is adult size. The plant root systems growing in the water also help to purify the water by assimilating the nutrient byproducts of the bio-filtration process.
I have one goldfish living in the water area and a seldom seen small firebellied toad that spends most of his time hiding in the upper pool area concealed by the thick vegetation. They have all been living together in relative harmony for over a year now, so I guess the system works.
This is the picture from the gallery of what the finished terrarium/chameleon enclosure looks like now Click Here
 
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Mucky_Waters

New Member
You have standing water in there???and your chameleon is pooping in the water?? How long have you had your chameleon?
ChameleonsTree it seems strange that you would ask questions that are already answered in my post????? But here goes...
No there is no "standing" water in there. It is circulated, filtered water.
And to take a quote right out of my post
They have all been living together in relative harmony for over a year now, so I guess the system works.
Any other questions?
Opps, forgot the middle question... Yes I'm pretty sure that some of the chameleon's poop gets into the water, as does the toad's poop and the fish poop. That's the purpose of the bio-filter, to facilitate the nitrification process in the water. If you are unsure of what the nitrification process is all about I suggest you google it.
 
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Heika

New Member
Ahh, seeing your setup reminds me of who you are. I know many people have tried to tell you that your setup with multiple animals and open water is not safe, so I will save my breath.

Your last reply to ChameleonTree hinted towards the fact that you are a troll looking for good sport on this forum. Having seen you in action before in a now-deleted thread on another forum, I won't give you the pleasure.

I will say this to anyone veiwing this thread and considering Mucky's setup as something viable and good... keeping chameleons with multiple animals over several inches of water is not safe. The fact that the chameleon and the frog have survived for over a year is not of any consequence. Veiled chameleons are hardy animals. What happened to the anoles that were once in this cage as well?

Heika
 

Mucky_Waters

New Member
I'm sorry Heika, but I definitely am not a troll and it was insulting of you to insinuate that for no reason.
I simply explained my setup as I was asked by another forum member and answered, or rather, re-answered the questions that Chameleonstree asked.
Your insinuating that I am a troll with out reason is uncalled for and down right rude.
 

Mucky_Waters

New Member
Chameleons are pets, and much like dogs or cats there are multitude of ways of caring for them. Some people only keep their pets inside the house, some only keep them outside and never let them go inside, some even keep them in cages, some feed them dry food, some only canned food, some bath their pets every day, some never bath them, some let there pets drink out of the toilet, some only give their pets bottled water, some spend thousands of dollars taking them to pet grooming shops and obedience schools, others never bother to train there pets at all.....
Anyway, I think you get the idea.
I have never been much of a dog or cat kind of person, but I have years of successful experience with aquariums and terrariums and creatures that live in those environments. Sure there are some fail proof ways for keeping just about any creature, but this would be a pretty boring world if we all kept our (eg. dogs) in cages and fed them exactly the same food.
I have my ideas of how to go about things and I'm willing to explain my reasoning to the best of my ability, but I don't go about insulting people just because they don't happen to do things the way I feel is best.
It's a sure sign of weak character when a person has to resort to insults rather than reason.
I think you owe me an apology Heika.
 
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Heika

New Member
I think you owe me an apology Heika.
No apology will be forthcoming. You can use whatever reasoning you wish; this setup is idiotic at best. You never did answer my question... what happened to the anoles that you also housed with your veiled and your frog? For the record, this is my last response to this thread because I will not be drawn into a troll's attempt to stir crap up.

Heika
 

Mucky_Waters

New Member
OK then.
I guess it's safe to say this IS NOT a forum geared for the free interchange of ideas in a friendly and courteous environment.
Sorry, my mistake. :p
 

Rex88

New Member
Hmmm...

I have to say, I have a problem with the water at the bottom of the tank aswell. I have had my cham for almost a year now, and I have seen her trip over a vine and fall. I would NOT want water down there. What made you decide to have a pond in the vivarium?:confused:
 

bucky

New Member
What about the food? I dont remember reading anythign about what if the food falls into the water.
 

gentlejamo

New Member
not that anyone really cares what I think but...

Seeing new environments are cool and fun to discuss, but Mucky brings a good point that there are different ways of caring for different animals. But with reptiles they tend to be less forgiving in many ways. Anyways, I can see how some people (especially on this forum) would have a problem with the manner in which you are setting up your enclosure. Water at the bottom does not really make sense to me other than aesthetic purposes, and is that really worth putting the life of your cham at risk?

But I am going to go ahead and point out that this is one of the first threads in which "hostility" has been displayed....not too bad for considering anyone can get one here...its bound to happen.
 
Can we please keep digging up old threads?
This thread is from January of 2007.
Mucky Waters hasn't been an active member since March of 2007

Thanks
Justin
 

stapleton33

Member
i kept a veiled in a full 90 gallon aquarium for YEARS. half the aquarium was water! there was a small beach for the turtles (there were 4: 2 red-ears, a spotted, and a snapper) and the snakes (2 eastern water snakes) and the rest of the tank was hanging fake plants. there was a school of creek-caught fish that kept procreating, making endless food for the turtles and snakes, and of course the cham ate crickets. i remember spending countless hours watching my little self-sustaining ecosystem. i've even seen Charles Montgomery (my cham) swim across the tank to get to branches on the other side when he could have just as easily taken the arboreal route. he'd also hang down by the water and try to zap the turtles heads when they poked up for air. so i'm with murky on this one: you keep your chams like you want. i'll do what i want. as long as the chams are healthy, happy, and bright green, we're all doing damn good considering we're trying to raise middle eastern reptiles in our central-air homes on the other side of the planet. i certainly wouldn't want someone calling me an idiot because i do it differently.
 

hawaiianice99

New Member
i kept a veiled in a full 90 gallon aquarium for YEARS. half the aquarium was water! there was a small beach for the turtles (there were 4: 2 red-ears, a spotted, and a snapper) and the snakes (2 eastern water snakes) and the rest of the tank was hanging fake plants. there was a school of creek-caught fish that kept procreating, making endless food for the turtles and snakes, and of course the cham ate crickets. i remember spending countless hours watching my little self-sustaining ecosystem. i've even seen Charles Montgomery (my cham) swim across the tank to get to branches on the other side when he could have just as easily taken the arboreal route. he'd also hang down by the water and try to zap the turtles heads when they poked up for air. so i'm with murky on this one: you keep your chams like you want. i'll do what i want. as long as the chams are healthy, happy, and bright green, we're all doing damn good considering we're trying to raise middle eastern reptiles in our central-air homes on the other side of the planet. i certainly wouldn't want someone calling me an idiot because i do it differently.
I see that you are new so im sure people will let this slide, but this thread is old and dead. And standing up for Mucky_waters, not so good considering he is not generally liked on this forum. If you were sucessful on your enclosure experience , congratulations, what we do is try and inform on the general care for these animals in the easiest way to ensure they live comfortably and healthy.

OMG- I contributed to this dead thread, sorry i couldnt resist.
 
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