Need help deciding

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I vote dragonstrand. With the zen one you'll have to make your own ledges. That's my only reasoning.
DragonStrand also has better ventilation, but Zen Habitats comes with a small bioactive area (just no chimney effect if you bioactive. @Evanstouffer1 whichever one you go with, I’d build a bioactive substrate bin with drainage to go underneath whichever enclosure you buy. That way you can go bioactive with DragonStrand or have enough ventilation with Zen Habitats
 

AmandaS

Moderator
Staff member
DragonStrand also has better ventilation, but Zen Habitats comes with a small bioactive area (just no chimney effect if you bioactive. @Evanstouffer1 whichever one you go with, I’d build a bioactive substrate bin with drainage to go underneath whichever enclosure you buy. That way you can go bioactive with DragonStrand or have enough ventilation with Zen Habitats
I read on one of these posts that the zen habitat offers either a plexiglass or screen bottom portion.
I havent ordered on of these, so I wouldnt personally know.

Edit* I see what you're saying now, if you have a large bioactive layer then it will cut out the chimney effect because the bottom portion is short.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I read on one of these posts that the zen habitat offers either a plexiglass or screen bottom portion.
I havent ordered on of these, so I wouldnt personally know.

Edit* I see what you're saying now, if you have a large bioactive layer then it will cut out the chimney effect.
Yes, the bioactive plastic bin thing cuts off the ventilation panel, thus leaving not enough ventilation
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
In addition to what was said above about ventilation, the purchase of a dragonstrand cage supports the business of the legendary Bill Strand who created the Chameleon Academy Podcast and chameleonacademy.com which are by far the most in-depth and valuable resources to chameleon keepers new and old. If you can afford it, go with the dragonstand cage. And IMO, I think it looks better than the zen habitat enclosure.
 
I read on one of these posts that the zen habitat offers either a plexiglass or screen bottom portion.
I havent ordered on of these, so I wouldnt personally know.

Edit* I see what you're saying now, if you have a large bioactive layer then it will cut out the chimney effect because the bottom portion is short.
You could always leave the bottom out and set it on top of some kind of stand that has your substrate in it.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
No disrespect to Bill Strand; his knowledge & experience regarding cham care is exemplary, but IMO, the DS enclosures have some serious design & construction issues; the Zen Habitats is far better designed and constructed.

The chimney effect does not require a large surface area of screen; wood stoves operate via chimney effect with the smallest of intake vents. If there were an issue (which I can't imagine) a small fan at the bottom should remedy it.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I can’t speak about Dragon Strand as I don’t have one. If cost weren’t a factor, I’d definitely have them.
I do have a Zen for my beardie though and it is very well made. I’m especially grateful for the strength of the top of it. Bad kitten sneaks up there every now and then when I’m not looking. I have had issues with getting suction cups to stay stuck to the side walls. If I had one for a chameleon, it would be a creative challenge in trying to figure out how to attach plants and branches. I’d either have to buy dragon ledges or make my own version of them. Not sure how the sides would do holding the weight.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
If I had one for a chameleon, it would be a creative challenge in trying to figure out how to attach plants and branches. I’d either have to buy dragon ledges or make my own version of them. Not sure how the sides would do holding the weight.
Better than the DS. The DS ledges that come with their hybrid cages are not anchored to the frame at all—they're supported only by the 1/8" PVC. Enough weight will rip those little screw heads right through the wall.

DS PVC walls are 1/8" thk; Zen are 1/4" thk. Either way, the DIY version of ledges is less expensive and relatively easy. You can get aluminum bar stock/strapping at any home improvement store (bar, angle, or channel, whichever you prefer), cut to size for the inside of the enclosure—frame to frame (not web to web), drill a hole at each end and attach with stainless steel sheet metal screws.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/little-positive-things.180671/#post-1638715

The frame of the Zen—being 1" square aluminum tubing—will hold a lot more weight than the window screen frame of the DS.
 
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absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
I can't speak to the Zen cages, as all I have are Dragonstrands, and I do not have a bioactive cage (unless you count plant gnats!) :ROFLMAO: However, I took a pic of my Large Dragonstrand Atrium next to a 2x2x4 to get a good visual of the space differences. I was in the process of switching cages, which is why they look so bare.
 

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