Need practical advice quick on acceptable feeder quality

Discussion in 'Chameleon Food' started by Franquixote, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    As I am figuring out a routine, I have less than ideal setups for my feeders. I'm learning how much to feed, how long I can leave fresh food in cricket/dubia setups (always less than 2 days but seems like I eed to change it every 12 hours!)
    I'm worried especially about the crickets because there have been some dead ones that were left in the feeder bin for up to 2 days.
    Of course ideally we want top-notch sanitation, but I also am in the middle of a learning curve here.
    Crickets were from a small pet shop- not big box store.

    At what point is it unacceptable to use feeders from a colony-for example, if you have had moldy food in for 2 days would you dump all the feeders and order a new batch?
    I am trying to clean and sterilize but falling behind. I'm using pretty strong stuff to kill bacteria, basically same soap they use for surgical scrub (hibiclens which is chlorhexadine).

    He needs to eat, I see normal feces but he is getting slim and hasn't taken anything cup fed for a week.

    Also, if I need to find a few wild feeders to break a huger strike what's my best bet?

    I know that the obvious answer is going to be to start fresh never use anything questionablenever use wild stuff, but I need some practicality for the next 48 hours at least- help me out with the lesser evil.

    The dubia colony seems about 80% of what I would consider up to my obsessive standards of cleanliness0 leaving frass for nymphs but removing any dead ones and any obvious food that's unfit.

    I am feeding the dubias and crickets Josh's roach mix along with as much variety of fresh as I can (lettuce, carrot, banana, grapes, raspberry, cucumber, etc. etc.)

    I have not had any mass die offs-in fact in a month only 1 adult dubia has died. But a lot of the crickets seemed to die IN the paper plate of food. Also using Repashy super gut load

    Misting for water droplets (very little, just 1 spay a day of mist) but also trying the Repashy gel water replacement.
    Just made a fresh batch of water replacement Repashy using coconut water instead of well water.

    I'm afraid to feed him the crickets because the cricket enclosure got what I would consider unacceptable for a couple days. But he isn't really going crazy for dubias now and I am afraid there will be a tipping point.

    Feeders are in 40 quart large size Sterilite. I should mention there was a deay in shipping and he came dehydrated and although initially was eating a lot has slowed down quite a bit, I'm concerned there may have been organ damage because the PO lost him for a day.

    Should I take the chance and use the crickets or go get a few wild minimally risky feeders or both or neither?
  2. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    Change cricket food every 24 hours and I honestly only put enough dry food in for a few hours and leave crickets with enough moisture for generally 12-18 hours. Otherwise they have nothing. Sounds like you need a good cleaner crew.

    Are you keeping crickets and dubias together?
  3. Kaden

    Kaden Member

    Definitely don't feed wild prey. It's way too risky. You never know whether an insect has ingested pesticides.
  4. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    Wild prey is a good way to feed as long as you feed correct species, know where the insects you are sourcing are coming from and how the land is generally taken care of, and get regular fecals.

    The thing most people don't get is pesticides will kill insects generally in 48 hours if not sooner. So feed the insect you plan to feed off some fresh gutload that they would eat, and keep them for a 48 hour period all the while increasing their nutritional profile with even healthier foods. Wild insects come with naturally boosted profiles from growing in the wild. It's why 48 hour gutloading honestly doesn't help much in captivity if you are feeding your insect crap food in the long run.I have been trying to convince other keepers of other reptiles on different forums, it's amazing how far behind some keeping communities are. Tarantula keepers don't even gutload their insects usually, it's done sometimes, but is never really recommended, but they don't supplement. So I sit there like... what do they think captive insects carry with them as a nutritional profile? Tarantulas may not be as affected by chams as things like dog kibble and such, but honestly a cricket with like no healthy food in the gut is just protein and fat and that's it. They don't naturally have vitamins and minerals unless you feed them it, or raise them on it.
  5. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    Thanks for the quick replies.

    No , I have a very small number of crickets (no more than 24 at a time) in a 40 quart Sterlilite. I started with that "cricket keeper" tiny plastic thing with 2 tubes but it's a disaster in terms of sanitation even for 2 dozen crickets. The Dubias are in a separate 40 quart Sterilite with egg crate type cardboard - I'm actually using the 4-cup coffee holder things from convenience stores b/c I can't get egg crate and they are the same thing I think but free.
    They are both getting Josh's Frogs Roach food with as much fresh stuff as I can put in- learning that a tiny amount is all that is needed.

    Also Repsahy Superload. 1-2 times a week I have been giving insects dusted with Vit. A Reptomin, every other feeding been dusting Repashy plain calcium.

    Experimenting with the water replacement gelatin stuff (Repashy). Made a batch today with coconut water instead of well water because it has good stuff (magnesium and good electrolyte profile).

    He just took 2 big crickets with some Vit. A.

    So much to work out in terms of enclosure still, dialing in heat/humidity, the 2 Monsoon nozzles + all the great lighting seem to have my Madagascar Jasmine growing like wildfire- it's growing an inch a day and wrapping around all the fake vines already.
  6. Kaden

    Kaden Member

    I may be wrong about this but I've heard some insects especially roaches, are pretty resilient to pesticides and can retain them in there gut, and won't die from it unless they ingest it on many occasions. Also, I totally agree with you about the tarantula community. I was told several times before I got my tarantulas that gut loading with fresh produce was highly unnecessary. In my opinion it's almost as necessary to feed gutloaded insects to Ts as it is to chams as you can't dust the insects for tarantulas as excess calcium causes wet molts
    jamest0o0 likes this.
  7. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Let me ease your mind a bit. These are reptiles that eat disgusting bugs that eat all sorts of crap and mold in the wild. As long as your Cham has no health problems, he's fine... my insects finish any Fresh foods I put in before they get moldy, I don't bother removing anything else. Just remove stuff that has mold. You can add cleaner crews that take care of the mold In roach bins too. Personally I think WC bugs(the right kinds) will be fine, but I'm skeptical of it and would rather not personally. There are tons of amazing foods to gutload with, WC bugs are overrated IMO. Plus you don't want your chameleon hunger striking for an insect you don't have on hand.

    Buy banded crickets, problem solved. They don't smell and don't die easy. Orange head roaches are the best roaches, chams hate Dubia(most of them), and then a variety of nutritious worms.
  8. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Youre making this harder than it needs to be, leave the dubias alone, leave the dead/poop/etc, I only remove it if there's tons of mold. Crickets toss it all when they're gone, clean with vinegar, and repeat. That's about all I do
    Katacara and Franquixote like this.
  9. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    TY James.

    I would only use wild stuff from way back in the woods.
    I am cutting down on amount if fresh food.
    jamest0o0 likes this.
  10. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Have you considered making a frozen gutload blend? Then freeze it in cubes and i personally vaccuum seal enoubh of it to last me a few months. Then I thaw out cubes as I go and just throw them in. What I do for gutloading is dump some dry gutload in, throw a thawed cube in, and I if i have fresh veggies or fruit I'll add that too. My fresh stuff I use is just out of convenience, if I buy some sweet potatoes I'll save one for the bugs, same goes with greens, and whatever else.

    Just trying to help out, I can tell you're a little stressed out by the process. I felt the same when I started this hobby and honestly I feel people overcomplicate things. The people here are awesome and a great help, but we sometimes forget how overwhelming it can be for someone new and that many things we worry about aren't major concerns. Especially where most of us start with CB healthy chameleons.
    Katacara, Franquixote and Chamaniac like this.
  11. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    James you have been a great source of advice, much appreciated.
    What goes into your frozen gutload?
    Also, what's you (or anyone's) take on using the water replacement gelatin? I have the Repashy one and if it's a good idea, do you go for a more firm or liquid consistency?
    I thought I was being clever using coconut water instead of regular well water, we'll see how that goes.
  12. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    No one I would know would feed wild roaches, and I never recommend feeding wild flies, species that live through pesticides like that are considered filth species. They are amazing because they take care of rotting things in our world and clean it, but they are something you EVER feed off. Wild insects you feed off, grasshoppers, butterflies, moths, some species of larvae etc. Always identify before feeding.

    James you think the health of wild caught insects is overrated but it's not in my opinion, for most people sadly even raising 6 feeder insects is pushing it and being able to order 6 insects regularly is hard. It's because unless they are the average everyday feeders we hear about they are expensive. It's why people rely on wild caughts. But wild caughts also have higher amounts of micro nutrients that captive raised insects will never ever have and it's not possible for chameleons to get overdosed on it like it is for them if it's a supplement powder. Parasites shouldn't be an issue for a healthy and unstressed chameleon.
    Ceycham likes this.
  13. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    I've listened to scientists who researched in the field, they claim our gutloaded insects are superior. I spent years doing weightlifting, martial arts, and other sports and have a good understanding of nutrition. We as humans grow food to be full in nutrients, having 30+ fruits/veggies from whole foods will offer vast more nutrition than a wild caught bug feeding on random whatever... wild caught bugs have their place as variety from the usual, but don't even come close in micro nutrients and vitamin content.
  14. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Especially nowadays with the health food craze, if there was some sort of plant growing in our woods that was superior to kale, dandelion greens, romaine, papaya, etc... Whole foods would be selling it. I'm not saying don't feed WC, but it's definitely not necessary, it does have it's uses though. There's a reason chams in the wild live for a year or two while in captivity it's not unheard of to reach 5-7 years old.
  15. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    I would normally respond immediately James, but I got defensive and grumpy in the response I was typing and there was no reason to since we are just having a healthy debate. And you aren't trying to upset me and I am not trying to upset you, we are just showing differing views and how the world works with different opinions. But my moods have been a bit all over the place lately. So it may take a day or two for me to respond correctly to you. Forgive me >.<'
  16. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    @Andee I apologize I see how my post was a little thrown in your face. I didn't mean it like that. I just feel pretty strongly that our gutloaded foods(as far as nutrients go) are pretty sufficient. I'm not talking about the person that feeds crickets only that are given a carrot or Apple, but those who have 10-20 different feeders on a huge range of organic foods, powders, etc. From spirulina to bee pollen to dandelion greens and everything in between. I absolutely agree wild caught, safe, bugs are excellent for variety. I just don't think they are absolutely necessary and it would make sense that in the wild that many animals die from eating insects that carry parasites or other pathogens. One thing wild chams have access to is a huge variety of insects, that eat all sorts of stuff. I'm sure there's thousands of insects that cross a chameleons path a day. We may get a handful of different WC feeders at best. I like the WC just for a change of variety in what nutrients they're made up of, rather than for what they've eaten. One thing i think our chams miss out on a lot is the insects that feed on eggs, or small lizards, rodents, etc. That's the stuff that we know is loaded with vitamins, but can also easily be overdone, so we tend to avoid it.

    I'm still relatively new to this I won't act like an expert, but based off my research so far that's where I've come to on all this.

    Btw I tend to get snappy and have irritable moods tio so Im sorry for making things harder for you. Just know it's friendly and I enjoy your presence on the forum. You've taught me so much here and I respect that and am very thankful.
  17. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Hey so I completely missed this... I haven't used repashy personally, but heard good things. I use insectfuel, bug buffet, and a seed/bee pollen mix for dry foods. For my wet, I use a blend of kale, dandelion greens, romaine, escarole, endive, papaya, sweet red pepper, orange, spirulina, kelp, uhhh there's a lot more but I'll have to check for you.
  18. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    I like the coconut water idea btw!
  19. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    I don't personally use gel replacement but can understand the draw of it, just be careful with it. And make sure to replace it regularly too, it is one of the most biggest culprits I have found for molding.
    And no I understand what you meant, I think the important thing is like you and I we provide huge amount of captive bred feeders and provide really healthy gutloads, which people are slowly starting to understand is more important and so feeding wild caught is getting less important. Still it's hard to get just large amounts of just feeder insects to feed off instead of raise at a good price. Which I am hoping to help out in with but it will definitely take a while to get to where I want to be xD. Currently I am struggling to afford any colony building because I need to settle out with the actually enclosure building of it, so I need to walk some dogs to afford the colony building for it, which I am doing slowly ^^

    And my emotional state doesn't have anything to do with what you said, you are not at fault, it's just me having a swing and getting inappropriate I am aware of this and why I decided to step back.
  20. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    @Andee well I just know I can provoke people sometimes so I can't blame you... And I can relate probably more than you'd think with the emotions, especially this time of the year where the season's change. But it's all good, I have no issues with anyone on here. Sometimes we disagree, but no hard feelings. We all have a common interest :). You live in Cali? I'd imagine cost of living is high there, in Pittsburgh making 50k a year is like being rich lol.

    Sorry @Franquixote always going off on tangents on your threads! Feel free to ask anything, we'll help with whatever!
    Katacara and Andee like this.

Share This Page