NEED ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS

magicmack

New Member
hello everyone!!! first post. i recently bought a zoo med chameleon cage kit that is mesh. also came w/deep dome housing for a 5.0 uvb bulb, 6.0 heat bulb, eco carpet, sample of repti calcium with no d3, reptivite, reptisafe.other things i bought separate is a bigger size of repticalcium with no d3, reptivite, wipeout spray which is used for cleaning cage, reptisafe, zoo med reptifogger, in cage is a good size of grapevine as well as a ficus tree an several small bushes, an 6 feet of reptavines an a four inch long piece of wood log, all of these things in the cage are artificial with the exception of the grapevine. going to purchase another good size of grapvine for more climbing to get the chameleon closer to the heat bulb. it is very dense in cage. will this setup be acceptable when i introduce my baby veiled chameleon into the cage? i am also purchasing a book to tell me all about these fascinating lil creatures. any help would be very much appreciated:)
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
hello everyone!!! first post. i recently bought a zoo med chameleon cage kit that is mesh. also came w/deep dome housing for a 5.0 uvb bulb, 6.0 heat bulb, eco carpet, sample of repti calcium with no d3, reptivite, reptisafe.other things i bought separate is a bigger size of repticalcium with no d3, reptivite, wipeout spray which is used for cleaning cage, reptisafe, zoo med reptifogger, in cage is a good size of grapevine as well as a ficus tree an several small bushes, an 6 feet of reptavines an a four inch long piece of wood log, all of these things in the cage are artificial with the exception of the grapevine. going to purchase another good size of grapvine for more climbing to get the chameleon closer to the heat bulb. it is very dense in cage. will this setup be acceptable when i introduce my baby veiled chameleon into the cage? i am also purchasing a book to tell me all about these fascinating lil creatures. any help would be very much appreciated:)
Hi and welcome. :) It is great to have you here and asking questions before getting an animal. Now, with that being said...Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’d suggest returning the chameleon kit. Very little of it is usable and then very quickly your baby chameleon will outgrow it and need a much larger enclosure. I could go then and list all the correct things that you’ll need, but it’s best for you to check out all of the modules here. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-basics/ Truly explore all that the site has to offer. It’s a great source of accurate and up to date information.
Another great and accurate source of information is Neptune the chameleon on YouTube.
Besides chameleons rapidly outgrowing the chameleon kit, the uvb light is only able to provide adequate uvb levels 2-3” away and in a very narrow area. Sadly, the kit has perhaps been one of the major causative factors of chameleons getting metabolic bone disease. :( Basically the only truly usable parts of the kit are the vine, supplements and the dual dome fixture can be used for basking bulb and a plant bulb.
Have you decided what type of chameleon you’ll be getting? That can have some impact on all you’ll need to set up. Veiled and panther are perhaps the best to start with and usually a male. Females will lay eggs regardless of being mated and it adds a little to the care requirements.
Hope I’ve been of some help. Feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like. We love helping others learn and sharing the joys of chameleons. :)
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Have you decided what type of chameleon you’ll be getting?
Umm...
will this setup be acceptable when i introduce my baby veiled chameleon into the cage? i am also purchasing a book to tell me all about these fascinating lil creatures.
No biggie. :) I miss stuff all the time. :oops:

I'm wondering what book the OP plans to purchase(?)

magicmack, sooner or later someone will ask you to fill out this questionnaire (copy/paste with filled-in answers) and post it to this thread, including pics of the enclosure from lighting to substrate—even without a cham. This will help folks go over things item by item, and help you by having it organized & all together.
 

Shanar808

Avid Member
It is awesome that you are here asking all the right questions ahead of time! The people here, especially the ones who’ve already posted on here, are really great for helping new chameleon owners. Here’s a great site that can help you set up the cage, figure out your feeding and supplement schedule, watch for health issues, and find products. https://caskabove.com/
Here’s a set up checklist from the site that can help you get the right stuff for your little one. Good luck and welcome to the fam! ☺️
https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/71...osure Shopping List pdf.pdf?ver=1612954829746
 

DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the group! The resources above will be really helpful to you as you prepare for your new veiled chameleon

It’s awesome that you’re here asking questions before you buy your chameleon. As already stated, the chameleon kit is unfortunately not appropriate for them long term and if not set up in a specific way can lead to lots of health issues. That being said, you’ve added some things already that will make what you have more comfortable for your new Cham, which is a good start 😊

We can go over what you have and what you’ll need to do to stabilize the kit, what you can probably get rid of, and what you’ll need to upgrade fairly soon to ensure long term health of your Cham

the main things you’re trying to create are gradients of heat, UVB, humidity, and exposure in your enclosure, and providing good nutrition to your chameleon to maintain their long term health

I’ll break up the post into a few so you’re not scrolling through the response forever 😉
 

DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
Let’s start with the enclosure.
The kit comes with a 30x16x16 inch screen cage. This is too small for an adult veiled chameleon to be comfortable in long term. In general, a 48x24x24 inch cage is recommended. This is a minimum that allows you to create the gradients necessary for your chameleons environment.
This should be considered a minimum. A 48x24x48 will allow your chameleon more room to move about the cage and find the exposure, temperature, UVB, and humidity that it requires at any point during the day.

The screen enclosure may work well for creating humidity and heat gradients you need if you are in a Geographical area that has similar conditions to what your cham needs. If you’re in an area that is relatively dry you may need to consider covering 3 sides of the screen to help retain humidity. This imitates what’s known as a hybrid cage. There’s lots of ways you can find to do this. Duck window kits are fairly simple solution for your current cage. If you need a hybrid cage to assist in maintaining your environment, you can purchase your bigger cage with 3 solid sides. If you run heat all winter or AC all summer most likely you’ll benefit from a hybrid cage
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While we’re on the enclosure, let’s consider exposure gradients.
the goal is to create open areas and hidden areas using branches, vines, and plants to allow your cham to adjust its conditions as it needs.
you need open areas with branches/vines near the top So cham has access to UVB and heat and just as importantly you need areas they can retreat to, to be totally hidden.
You’ve added lots of plastic plants to help create this security which is great, unfortunately, veiled chameleons are notorious for sampling (or sometimes devouring) their plants. Obviously, eating plastic plants is very dangerous to their health. Switching to all live plants is highly recommended for all Chams because they create security, maintain humidity, release oxygen and CO2 helping to regulate your Chams normal diurnal patterns, and look beautiful, but it’s crucial for veiled because they can become sick or die from eating plastic plants. You can put the plastic on the outside of the enclosure to further increase security for your chameleon
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Places to look at new cages.
dragonstrand.com. I have one and I love it, there are options for screen and hybrid enclosures, they come with drainage trays which will make dealing with all the water in the cage much easier
zenhabitats.com. Another hybrid enclosure source they look very nice too
diycages.com. Less expensive screen enclosures from a hobbyist owned company
zoomed also makes 48x24x24 screen cage
 
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DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
The compact fluorescent UVB bulb included is not a good tool to provide UVB for D3 synthesis in a large arboreal reptile like a Veiled chameleon. It creates a spot light of UVB that is only effective for about 2 inches into the cage starting about two inches down from the bulb and the spread will only cover an animal less than 3 inches long. To accomplish this you can bend your vine so that the back of the chameleon will be about 2 inches below the CFL UVB bulb
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It can be used in the short term to provide UVB, but you’ll need to change to a T5 high output 6%/5.0 or 12%/10.0 bulb. However, the T5HO bulbs are powerful tools that create high levels of UVB and are able project much further into the cage. They are able to produce levels that are higher than any level ever recorded or earth near to the bulb, so care must be taken to ensure you don’t expose your Chams to too high of UVB levels within the cage. This is easily accomplished by raising the bulb off the cage. 12% and 10.0 T5HO bulbs should never be placed directly on the cage
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DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
The other socket of the double dome can be used to provide heat gradients in your enclosure.
you can use your included temperature probe, zip tie it to your basking branch below the heat lamp, and adjust the height so it reads in the low 80’s. It’s a good idea to test the heat output at the basking branch and below the screen by holding your hand in the area. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your chameleon. Burns especially to the tall cask of veiled chameleons is unfortunately a common problem with too hot basking areas
This kit has a 60W “daylight Blue reptile bulb”. The blue coloration of the light is probably not ideal long term for your chameleon and should be replaced at some point. An incandescent or halogen bulb work great for this, wattage will depend on ambient temps in your home. I use a dimming thermostat on all of my heat sources to avoid overheating an area as ambient temps fluctuate during the day and throughout the year

This is a good time to note nighttime temp drops are important to chameleon health. No heat is necessary at night unless your temps in your home are dropping below 40 at night
 

DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
For humidity gradients, you’ll notice the care sheets recommend relatively low daytime humidity and very high nighttime humidity. This mimics the natural cycle of the natural habitat of most chameleons. They experience higher daytime temps and lower daytime humidity and this relationship reversed at night with high humidity and lower temps.
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you can use your fogger you’ve purchased, set on a timer, to increase nighttime humidity. You can also cover sides and back of the cage if your ambient humidity doesn’t match your cham’s needs

A hand mister can be used to mist the enclosure, but in the long term an automatic misting system is a worthwhile purchase

to accomplish this people use misting, fogging, they cover sides of their Screen enclosure to hold in humidity, and they fill their enclosure with live plants.

I like to follow the naturalistic hydration methods from the chameleon academy and others. In general, it involves an early morning and late evening misting and fogging overnight to maintain high humidity
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this image describes the entire process of hydration using misting, fogging at night, and a dripper in the afternoon to provide water during the day if the chameleon wants it

the nighttime temperature drops are an important part of the humidity cycle as well. We measure relative humidity (RH) in our enclosure. Warmer air can hold more water vapor than colder air. Thus, by dropping temperatures, RH will always increase.
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DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
Lastly, supplements and nutrition.
It sounds like you have the zoomed reptical Without D3 and Reptivite With D3. For these products, you’ll use the reptivite twice per month, on the 1st and 15th for example, and use the calcium w/o D3 at all other feedings.

for feeders, get as many different feeders as you can comfortably take care of, and feed/gutload them with a variety of quality greens, vegetables, and fruits.
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DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
I hope this is helpful. None of this is new or my information it is all from the great keepers here on this site and much is from Bill Strand and the Chameleon Academy
The Zoomed chameleon kit is commonly purchased, but it does not provide what these animals need. This is so prevalent that Bill Strand has begun trying to train people how to help others stabilize the kit and transition keepers to appropriate enclosures and conditions that our Chams need
Here’s a couple of podcasts he’s put out specifically on this subject
https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/132-making-the-chameleon-kit-work/
https://chameleonacademy.com/ep-171-transitioning-from-the-chameleon-kit/

Like I said there’s a bunch of talented and experienced keepers here that are happy to help ensure your cham is healthy and you have an excellent experience caring for them
 

DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
Stuff I forgot

you don’t need the carpet. Having it in there just gives surface area and hiding spots for bacteria to grow

I spoke about humidity. You’ll need a hygrometer to measure relative humidity. There’s several digital temp/humidity monitors on the market

All the water you’re adding into the cage for humidity and drinking will require some sort of drainage solution. If you search here, you’ll find lots of options. Clothes washer pans, utility sinks, dragon Strand makes a drain pan for 24x24 and 48x24 cages. The best thing I’ve used is the dragon strand product, but it’s specifically designed for drainage Figure out what works for you
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is a good time to note nighttime temp drops are important to chameleon health.
With intermittent night mistings, some temperature drop (a couple/few degrees) will occur naturally at night via evaporative cooling and chimney effect. I've seen my enclosure a few degrees cooler at night than ambient house temp. Adding an ultra-quiet muffin fan should increase this drop, but I haven't experimented to verify.
 
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