Need advice on an enclosure!

TheBipolarBear

New Member
Hey guys, I'm going to be putting my Yemen chameleon into a 48x24x24 screen enclosure in the coming months, and I'd like to switch to completely live plants!
The issue I'm having is I will be hand misting, and likely using a drip tray for drainage. That being said, is there a natural looking way to do a live enclosure, without just sticking a potted plant in? I will do that if need be, but all of my other reptiles have enclosures to mimic their natural habitat, and I'd like to do the same with him!

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juice28

New Member
i been thinking the same thing for my veiled's too.. im no pro so hopefully someone will chime in but theres alot of threads about this subject on here.(try the search feature)

biggest issue ive run into with researching it is drainage.. cleaning a food.. theres a risk of impaction from substrate and the cham eating it..my veileds are all over their cage...keeping it clean will be an issue, ive read success stories about it being done with species of chams but its alot of work..the bare bottom set up is just.. well easier to maintain...you can just pull a pot out instead of a 24x24 but 112-14 tray to clean it...thats pretty heavy to move not to mention a potential mess lol..and if you have a fairly large plant i have 2 camellia's im my 2 big cages which are nice but theyre like 3 and a half feet tall so they would require a fairly deep tray to sit in to stay alive at least 14-16 inches deep...and thats a LOT of potting soil..

im still doing my homework on a set up thats all planted but i dont think ill really be able to pull it off with a set up that im currently running.. not without redoing my stands and drainage etc etc...ive gotten a few ideas from a few members here who have had great success with their set ups but they keep a different type of cham than i do so not sure how itll work so for now..im set up the standard way untill i have more knowledge and experience with keeping chams under my belt
 

TheBipolarBear

New Member
i been thinking the same thing for my veiled's too.. im no pro so hopefully someone will chime in but theres alot of threads about this subject on here.(try the search feature)

biggest issue ive run into with researching it is drainage.. cleaning a food.. theres a risk of impaction from substrate and the cham eating it..my veileds are all over their cage...keeping it clean will be an issue, ive read success stories about it being done with species of chams but its alot of work..the bare bottom set up is just.. well easier to maintain...you can just pull a pot out instead of a 24x24 but 112-14 tray to clean it...thats pretty heavy to move not to mention a potential mess lol..and if you have a fairly large plant i have 2 camellia's im my 2 big cages which are nice but theyre like 3 and a half feet tall so they would require a fairly deep tray to sit in to stay alive at least 14-16 inches deep...and thats a LOT of potting soil..

im still doing my homework on a set up thats all planted but i dont think ill really be able to pull it off with a set up that im currently running.. not without redoing my stands and drainage etc etc...ive gotten a few ideas from a few members here who have had great success with their set ups but they keep a different type of cham than i do so not sure how itll work so for now..im set up the standard way untill i have more knowledge and experience with keeping chams under my belt

I'm glad I'm not the only one with this concern! I mean, I understand that potted plants are the easiest way to go. It just seems so... Fake looking to me I guess is what I'm trying to say. I wish I could replicate the setup I had him in, but its definitely broken a lot of rules! I had substrate and a waterfall (I'm really not %100 sold on how bad they are if you maintain it, I've used them for other reptiles for 10+ years).

A chameleon's setup is very simple to me, minus the bottom of the enclosure, I just can't wrap my head around a way to make that good looking!
 

grimjob

Established Member
It looks so good I had the same cage and what I did with mine was got a Perspex box made up that fit perfectly inside the cage drilled holes in the middle of it for drainage, then put a layer of pebbles then my soil (you want a good drainage soil) and just plant the plants into the soil I think I have a pic in one of my other post
 

TheBipolarBear

New Member
It looks so good I had the same cage and what I did with mine was got a Perspex box made up that fit perfectly inside the cage drilled holes in the middle of it for drainage, then put a layer of pebbles then my soil (you want a good drainage soil) and just plant the plants into the soil I think I have a pic in one of my other post

You my friend, just gave me an amazing conclusion! Thank you SO much!
- EDIT: I can't find the post of your box, is there any chance you could post a link to it? I'm really intrigued with this solution!
 

juice28

New Member
i was thinking of getting some ground cover type plants and some lattice maybe..run the latice on the open parts of the floor and plant them in my pots...and just letting them grow out and down the pots and cover the floor
 

TheBipolarBear

New Member
i was thinking of getting some ground cover type plants and some lattice maybe..run the latice on the open parts of the floor and plant them in my pots...and just letting them grow out and down the pots and cover the floor

I considered something similar, then I took into account the possible need to change soil! Having plants wrapped up in that lattice would definitely make that a chore I think!
 

juice28

New Member
yea..either way its gonna be work lol.. if i do that.. i got to worry about have vines all wrapped up everywhere.. if i have a small play box i have to worry about weight and using alot of soil and filler...guess that why i havent done either at this point in time LOL
 

TheBipolarBear

New Member
yea..either way its gonna be work lol.. if i do that.. i got to worry about have vines all wrapped up everywhere.. if i have a small play box i have to worry about weight and using alot of soil and filler...guess that why i havent done either at this point in time LOL

Weight doesn't really concern me, besides it'd only be about 20 pounds. Keeping it open would mean you could just scoop out the soil and such, removing any need to lift it out again for a long time!
 

grimjob

Established Member
I couldn't find it but here is a rough pic of what it looks like, I cut a hole in the top of the cupboard and placed a bowl there to collect the water it works well and it's just safe to have it there, it never filled up that much cause most of the soil would collect the water and would dry up before the next spray you can see in the pic the pebbles then the soil worked a treat. I can't upload pics atm something is going wrong with my app will get it sorted with pics
 

Mike Fisher

Established Member
If you are worried about substrate ingestion, you do know that you can buy nylon window screening that can be cut to fit the enclosure bottom and just slit enough for the plants to pass through right? Same goes for the nylon weed block, but the weed block does not look as nice. You can barely notice the screen if you do it right. It just sits directly on the soil, tight to it. You tuck the loose screen into the sides, just like making a bed. Only the finest particles might slip through.

Don't use aluminum screen though. It does not conform well and may have loose ends that can poke feet.

You can also do this with plants in pots so you don't have to put a bunch of rocks in there.
 

TanyaM

New Member
False bottom?

To solve the unsightly drip pan and plant pots I'm thinking of doing some kind of false bottom. I have a cabinet-converted to cage setup the front and back being screened. I'm thinking of basically raising the bottom and installing a wire bottom with garden fabric underneath. I'm hoping the gardens fabric will collect the majority of dripping and center it over the drip pan. Im also going to put a few vines in each corner and cut a hole in the garden fabric to allow the vines to grow up through the new wire cage bottom. Thus all you will see is the cage floor and past that blackish shadows of the fabric. No drowning, no digging, and it should keep insects out of the bottom. Will have to have a door to get at the pan and pots but shouldn't be too hard.
 
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