Nervous/Excited New Member with Bioactive Setup!

Hello everyone. I hope I get this right, I've been reading the rules and this is one of my first posts on the internet regarding anything reptile, I'm hoping it'll be the first of many as my husband and I enter the Chameleon / Bioactive world for the first time. I've also joined RABS on Facebook.

We live in England and are getting a Panther Chameleon in the next few weeks and have spent the last couple of months bedding in our Bioactive Vivarium (set up by the man we're getting the Chameleon from). We've added plants and some vines and custodians (springtails and tropical grey woodlice).

I basically just wanted to say hello and make sure we're getting things right before he arrives. It's our first Chameleon and we've jumped in at the deep end for a new hobby and interest, but we have had reptiles before a while ago.

Everywhere I go I'm listening to the Chameleon Breeder Podcasts and that's how I heard about this forum so I've been reading you all for a couple of months now. I've finally plucked up courage to join in!

One thing I do know for sure - I need to fill the questionnaire in ;). Here goes:

◦ Your Chameleon - Yet to arrive, but it'll be an Ambilobe Panther Chameleon, Male, approx. 3 months
◦ Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
◦ Feeding - Still researching this but crickets, mealworms, dubia roaches and locusts seem to be the only ones that are easy to get hold of in the few stockists around us. Will definitely gutload with everything I can get that they're supposed to have.
◦ Supplements - Need to sort this out, looking to see if the Repashy products are easily available here, reading lots about the vitamins, calcium, D3 etc.
◦ Watering - We have an automatic Super Rain II Misting System installed that's running well, currently mists 4 times a day, twice for 1 minute and twice for 15 seconds. This seems to be the maximum our tank can take but we'll factor in shower sessions for the chameleon in the bath for longer sessions.
◦ Fecal Description - Looking forward to having an answer to this! :)

Cage Info:
◦ Cage Type - Exo Terra Large X tall, glass, W90cm x H90cm x D45cm
◦ Lighting -
Arcadia Jungle Dawn LED 9W Compact LED (E27) - plants
Arcadia Solar Basking Spotlight UVA 100W (E27) (with Exo Terra Light Dome)
Arcadia D3 UV Flood D3+ 24W Compact Lamp 12% UVB (UV 12 months)
8am-8pm lights on, on a timer.
◦ Temperature - Need to sort this out a bit but currently basking spot is 85-88 ish.
Using a Microclimate Dimmer B1.
◦ Humidity - We have an Exo Terra hygrometer, using the glass and plants to maintain this at the moment. Humidity is around 70-80.
◦ Plants - Yes we have Devils Ivy, Golden Ivy, Bromeliad, Ficus - all put in by the chameleon breeder and we've added another Bromeliad and a Peperomia and a Ficus. They're in Arcadia Earthmix substrate over a mesh and then Hydroballs (done by the breeder). We have recently added Springtails and Tropical grey woodlice.
◦ Placement - Enclosure is in a quiet lounge (no pets or kids), no fans or drafts. Top of enclosure is around 5.5 feet from the floor, it's on a cabinet that's around 100cm tall.
◦ Location - Gloucestershire, England, UK

Current Problem - I'm finding it hard to find information sometimes on how to do this Chameleon Bioactive set up, especially for England, so much of what I'm reading and listening to is from people based in the US with mesh enclosures, so I'm hoping there are folk here that can help me find the info I need and in return I can help others when we're up and going.

I've attached some photos of our set up.
Thanks for reading, I look forward to becoming part of this community.
Very excited I just filled out my first questionnaire!!

Edit: I forgot to say that I know it needs a lot more leaf cover etc before he arrives, I'm trying to grow that in with an umbrella plant at the back and some other plants that I'm encouraging upwards!
 

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SharpShooter

Avid Member
Firstly, welcome to the forum.

I'm also in the UK and have 2 almost identical bioactive setups as you. I am however pretty novice myself.

Can I just check your UVB, as I don't see a tube in the pics. I can see your heat and the Jungle Dawn.

Have you sorted out a way to remove excess water from the bottom? You will need some way of removing it as it builds up.

I think a few more thinner vines/sticks would be a good idea and if needed, use some fake plants to help provide shade whilst your plants fill out.

Get a pothos from B&Q and it will quickly grow and fill out. I also use the leaves for a dripper system to run down which is collected at the bottom and runs out via a tube.

If there's anything specifically you need to know, just shout up and be prepared to be worried about everything!
 

KamaKamaChameleon!

Avid Member
Do not get mealworms will cause impactions.try getting bsfl and wax worms for treats only. try giving honeydew etc for gutload.
get zoomeds reptive and calcium with d3 and without d3
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I recommend screen over the glass!
Get pothos umbrella plants just anything safe.
more vines plants
overall you are good but that glass is bugging me tbh @AChameleonObserved
MORE PLANTS
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
meal worms will cause impaction, wax worms and superworms are treats. try mantids roaches, BSFL BSF or BBF. you can buy all of these on ebay

12% uvb is too much for a panther, they should have 6% or 5.0 and make sure it is linear not compact

you need calcium without d3 every feeding calcium with d3 everyother feeding and multivitamin everyother feeding

no bathes for chameleons bwt idk what u meant but bathes stress them out

to give a chameleon a shower simply put him on a branch in the shower and bounce the shower stream off the wall to give him a light mist with warm water

I would say get a dracaena or pothos to fill in more space

more vines!!!
 
Hi guys. Thanks for your responses, I'll take all this on board and go through it.

Re lighting I was going off what John Courteney-Smith said for lights:
https://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/habitat/1092391-arcadia-d3-uv-flood-55w.html#/topics/1092391

As far as glass goes it seems to be a better option in the UK, but sounds like some pros use it in the US too, according to Bill Strand and Chris Anderson:
https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/po...n-in-glass-terrariums-with-dr-chris-anderson/

I have heard similar things about meal worms, good to know ebay provides a bigger variety. I'll check that out.

Thanks for the vit & calcium recommendations.

Sorry I didn't mean a 'bath', I meant we'd use the shower like you described, but it's over the bath. :)

I'll pop to B&Q too. Thank you.

I'll attach a picture of the light boxes. Sorry if it's a little dark, it's bed time here.

Thanks again all.
 

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PS Thank you @SharpShooter - good to meet you!
Yes, we have now, that was another learning curve! We've got a plastic tube going down through substrate and hydroballs to remove excess water with a turkey baster. Something I read that other people do, it's working really well.
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
PS Thank you @SharpShooter - good to meet you!
Yes, we have now, that was another learning curve! We've got a plastic tube going down through substrate and hydroballs to remove excess water with a turkey baster. Something I read that other people do, it's working really well.
Try to syphon rather than a baster. Too much work lol.

Your UV should ideally be T5 or T8 tube rather than compact. Swell Reptiles online have the Arcadia T5 Pro units at a really good price and they are excellent.

When people have mentioned BSFL (black soldier fly lavae), they are often called Calci Worms over here and your local shop will probably get them in for you.

@KamaKamaChameleon! The Exo Terras are screen topped and also have ventilation below the doors, allowing good circulation.
 

Cheeky

Member
Hi,

Another UK Bioactive Panther here :)

I use a mesh cage but both can work.

Definitely agree with other posters, you should look to get a uvb strip light instead of a compact. Compacts aren't as bad as they used to be but they still aren't as a good as a strip.

I think you could do with a decent sized plant in there, while yours will grow its going to take them a little while to get settled in and probably a good 6-8 months before it really fills out.

Your light / basking spot make me a bit nervous. Your cham will find a way of getting on to your roof, if he hangs out under the lamp he is going to burn his belly pretty bad. Really you want the lamp to be a bit higher to prevent him getting burns if he is on the roof.

Looks like you are doing all the right things, just some minor tweaks :)
 
Hi,

Another UK Bioactive Panther here :)

I use a mesh cage but both can work.

Definitely agree with other posters, you should look to get a uvb strip light instead of a compact. Compacts aren't as bad as they used to be but they still aren't as a good as a strip.

I think you could do with a decent sized plant in there, while yours will grow its going to take them a little while to get settled in and probably a good 6-8 months before it really fills out.

Your light / basking spot make me a bit nervous. Your cham will find a way of getting on to your roof, if he hangs out under the lamp he is going to burn his belly pretty bad. Really you want the lamp to be a bit higher to prevent him getting burns if he is on the roof.

Looks like you are doing all the right things, just some minor tweaks :)

Yay!! Lovely to meet all you UK Panther Peeps.
I know what you mean about the basking spot I do actually have a chain to raise it so I'll look into that. Think you're right about the plants, I'll seek out a bigger one. I'm in chats with people about the UVB light too.

Thanks again everyone! Sooo glad I'm not doing all this after putting a cham in there!
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
There have been reports of eye health problems and even deaths related to compact uvb bulbs in a number of reptile species.

http://www.uvguide.co.uk/phototherapyphosphor.htm

The newest ones may well be perfectly fine BUT I'm not taking the chance.

There is also the question of a compact providing uvb to a relatively small spot in the enclosure, which if your cham isn't within that area, means they receive little to no uvb. Admittedly your unit is not going to have this problem like 'compact' bulbs would.

Of course we need to provide shaded areas in the enclosure but taking into account the width of the XL XT Exo Terra, the vast majority of the enclosure would get little or no uvb at all using a compact.

The screen top itself removes up to 40% of the available uvb straight away and concentrating that last 60% in one place doesn't make sense in my humble opinion.

Naturally in the trees and bushes, the cham would naturally receive a dappled light and indeed would be able to to bask fully on upper/outer branches at will.

I try to replicate that using the only bit of fake plants in my enclosures, some fairly sparse 'leafy' foliage below the screen and the uv over about 1/3 the width which does give a dappled effect. The rest of the shaded areas are provided by the real plants.

My male prefers to spend most of his time high and closest to the uvb but not under his basking light, whilst my female tends to prefer shade but in the 'heat zone'. (Although, to be fair, Bob would rather spend all of his time sat on my head or shoulders. He's a bit of a nutter!)

Anyway, that's my reasoning for strip over compact.
 
I don't think mine's a compact 'bulb', it's a compact unit but a flood uvb. As you can see from the links its a strip light. So still not sure what the problem is. I do understand compact 'bulbs' aren't ideal, but that's not what I have.
 
Is a compact bulb, the dome shaped types, like normal light bulbs but bigger?.

I think the compact bulbs that people aren't keen on look like the energy saving ones or are coiled.
I'm discovering that some are called 'compact' because of the unit size but it's still a strip light. It's a very confusing area!
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
The “compact” bulbs are indeed the coil type fluorescent bulbs that screw into regular bulb fixtures. These are terrible and I cannot recommend them. I prefer UVB be available throughout the enclosure. I use the same enclosure you do, and have been using the 36” quad t5 fixture from lightyourreptiles.com. This ensures a healthy spread of UVB throughout the enclosure. Mine is heavily planted and provides a ton of different zoned areas for basking, cooling off, etc.
 
Quick question for some UK Panther owners, possibly @SharpShooter & @Cheeky - do you use tap water for misting?
And do you ever use your shower for longer misting sessions? I'm just wondering if the water will be ok. Currently I'm just using cooled boiled water in the mister in the viv, which the breeder said is fine. Our water is fairly soft and we all drink it from the tap no problem.
Would appreciate any help from England people and what they do water-wise if in a soft water area?
Thanks.
 
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