New Chameleon Planning!

Ok so first I want to just say hello. My name is Jimmy. I have been keeping reptiles for roughly 6 years now. I have owned a number of different reptiles but currently own a blotched kingsnake. Which I have owned now for about over 2 and a half years.One of the reptiles I had owned was a veiled chameleon I named Vincent. I had him for about 4 months. I had done a lot of research and thought I was ready to take care of him. Everything was fine until he started wheezing every once in awhile. I had taken him to the vet and everyone said that all my care was perfect so they wanted me to try to get the wheezing on video. (Which was realistically impossible because it was completely random) He did pass away and I could not for the life of me figure out what was happening. I knew it had to be a respiratory infection but my hygrometer read 50-60%. Well long story short I found out the hygrometer was broken. And it was actually like 30% in the cage So its almost 2 years later and I have had more experience, and have made mistakes and learned a lot. And am really dedicated to getting another chameleon and making sure everything is perfect. Vincent was honestly one of the best reptiles i have owned. He was so cool to watch, to feed, and even to hold once in awhile (even tho he was a bit “rude” XD) and genuinely enjoyed every second of owning Vincent. Now obviously I felt this with other reptiles as well. Like my crested gecko and kingsnake. But i have had other reptiles and I loved them but sometimes it seemed to much of a “chore” then being able to enjoy them. I have pretty much discovered that I am a snake and chameleon guy. (I know kinda specific). And in the future i would like to own those other reptiles again but rn chameleons are what I REALLY want and honestly always have. This is where I am now. I have been doing TONS of research, price calculations, planning. I want to make sure everything is perfect for this little guy when I get him in the future (and Nyla’s but I already have my plan to upgrade her cage and all this stuff) and thought that the chameleon forums would be perfect as this website has helped me out so much. So what this post is gonna be is my plan of my set up and everything. Any comments, suggestions, or criticism is greatly appreciated. The only thing I ask of you is to please be nice about it. Being rude or hurtful won't help anything. I am by no means an expert and I make mistakes too. Thank you very much.(SPECIFIC QUESTIONS WILL BE IN RED)
The Chameleon
So I will start off with the species, where im getting it, etc. I was going back and forth between a panther and a veiled chameleon. I honestly love both of them and i was leaning to the panther but I think I am gonna go with a veiled. I loved them just as much, and they are a cheaper. But i'm happy with either. I would be getting my veiled from either flchams.com (prefered) or lllreptile.com (second option). They only issue i'm having is whether to go with a small baby. Or one that's a bit older. Now going with one that's a bit older would be a bit cheaper as i wouldn't need to upgrade the cage later (I will get into that soon) but I also LOVE the idea with starting with a baby and upgrading later. No matter what I would be buying EVERYTHING I can for the chameleons before I even get it. That includes the plan for the upgraded cage itself (There is a reason i cant buy the cage itself before hand. Again it will be explained below) so would you suggest I get the baby, or the slightly older veiled? And are there breeders i want to buy from good?
Handling
I would let the chameleon decide how much he is likes to be out. I am planning on taming methods such as food training and making a berch outside his cage to sit while I am in the room. But if he isn't having it then so be it. I understand that these are not usually social creatures and will fully respect the was the animal is feeling and react accordingly.
Feeding
So obviously this would change depending on the age of the chameleon but for the amount of crickets I would use the recommended feedings for the veiled in the care sheets on this website. As they seem perfect from other things I have read. As for WHAT i'm feeding that will 99% be crickets plus a lot of variety. I was originally going to start a dubia colony so food wouldn't be as much as an issue but I think i'm actually going with crickets and maybe later down the line start up a colony. But my plan is to start getting crickets from lllreptiles.com. As there crickets are cheap. (500 for $30 which i was paying that same amount for like 100 or so at petco. Maybe less) I generally know how to take care of crickets (even tho its the biggest pain in the a#@ in the universe not gonna lie) but with chameleons specifically gut loading is something i didn't pay as much attention to as i wish I did. So I have heard of sandrachamelon on this website is really good with gut loading. I will be looking a lot more of her after writing this but what do you guys think is a good stable gut loading recipe? Obviously I would give them a variety but what is a good stable? (And I will also be cup feeding)
Supplements
My schedule that I have found to be a good way is to dust with calcium WITHOUT D3 every day. Then once a month dust with a calcium WITH D3 and 1-2 times a month dust a multivitamin. The brands for the calcium would both be zoomed.The only question I can’t find is should the multivitamin should have D3 or not?
Caging
So this is where things get a bit confusing and where the question came up on whether I should get a baby or a slightly older one. As getting a baby would be more expensive. I will go over the chameleon cage for the baby first then go into the setup as an adult.
Baby Caging
The baby would be roughly 2-3 months old. Or 2-3 inches (on lllreptile). The baby would be living in an 18x18x24 (inches) exo terra. Now I know that people are very scared of class cages for chameleons as they are afraid of respiratory infection. But from everything I have read and everything i have heard the exo terras are not bad for chameleons. They do have good enough air flow just themselves. If you don't know exo terras have vents just under the doors. These vents allow “fresh” air to move in as warm air moves to the top and out. But just as a safety precaution I will be adding a tiny desk fan the top of the cage facing away from the inside of the cage. So the air will get sucked out by the fan and help the vents circulate.And I also have a ceiling fan that runs 24/7 and an A/C in my room. I would suggest everyone to listen to the chameleon breeders podcast of this as its very interesting and gives a lot of good info. I am also getting most of the equipment from thebiodude.com as the cages will be bioactive. I decided to make the cages bioactive because it honestly makes the most sense to me. It seems way too hard to keep plants alive without going bioactive and everyone seems to need to replace the plants every so often which seems like a waste to me. And going bioactive is also good for the reptile anyway so why not. I would be getting a bag of Hydro balls and a mesh layer for drainage. The soil will be a bag of Terra Firma 36 qt’s. With sphagnum moss and leaf litter. I am also getting a small braided ficus tree with pothos plants. Additional vines and fake plants will also be provided. (with will also be mentioned when going over the adult cage) I will be purchasing a starter mistking as a main source of misting with additional hand misting. So there is only one issue I am having with the baby’s exo terra design. The lighting. As most know a reptisun 5.0 is usually recommended for chameleons in screen cages. But for the exo terras there could be some issues with it being to much. Now my main question is what would be the best lighting for this type of set up
Adult Cage
So this one is a bit easier as I am actually purchasing a kit from biodue.com. It comes with an 24x24x48 inch screen cage with the equipment for the bioactive set up (The kit-https://www.thebiodude.com/products/veiled-chameleon-bioactive-kit) I would also be getting Coroplast plastic sheets at home depot for the sides of the cage. This will allow me to keep humidity in the cage a lot easier. And will still allow good ventilation through the front and top. And like I said earlier I have a ceiling fan running 24/7 so that helps with ventilation. The kit does include a large tree plant and 3 other plants. This is good as I also will have fake plants as a supplement for hiding and water. The cage will have an automatic mister with a misting pattern in my head of every 3 hours for about 30-40 seconds. This issue is included with the baby cage as well but idk a good place to buy isopods for the bio setup. I don't really want to go with springtails as they are a lot smaller and in a mesh cages that might not go well. So does anyone know of any good places to purchase isopode colonies. The lighting is simple with a basking bulb (will not be decided on the brand or wattages until the cage is setup) and a reptisun 5.0 linier. I know that kit comes with an LED light. I don't really know anything about it so if anyone has any input about the light it would be great.
Temps and Humidity
The temperature will be read from an infrared temp gun and I am making sure to get a good DIGITAL hygrometer to make sure humidity is perfect. (Btw I also live in PA)
I know this was really long but I just want to make sure that everything is perfect. Again any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated and ask my any questions because there's a chance i missed something. Thank you! :D
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
On your first Cham that died, high humidity causes RIs, not low.

If your looking for a pet that isn’t a chore then you aren’t looking for a Cham. They are expensive and difficult to care for. They are not pets, they are a hobby. May be why your first didn’t fair so well.

Get the baby but be warned they are more fragile than the juviniles. Go straight to the 24x24x48 with a 24” T5HO fixture with a 6% Arcadia bulb.

Both breeders you mentioned are fine but I’d prefer FLChams.

Armstrongcrickets.com 500 crickets are $13.
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I recommend cricket crack as a gutload, get it on amazon $25 a pound.

Give D3 twice a month not once.

Better to have 2-3 misting sessions a day each lasting 5min or more. Frequent short mistings do not allow the viv to completely dry out between mistings. This leads to excessive humidity and elevated risks of an RI.

Isopod colony’s on EBay, other feeders too.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I realize your excited and are just trying to give a detailed explanation of your plans but you will get way more feedback if you cut a lot of that filler stuff out of your post. I literally had to take notes while reading it!

Welcome to the forums!
 
I realize your excited and are just trying to give a detailed explanation of your plans but you will get way more feedback if you cut a lot of that filler stuff out of your post. I literally had to take notes while reading it!

Welcome to the forums!

Thank you so much! Ya i guess I guess this is a but long I will cut out a lot XD. And just so I make it clear what i meant when i said the other reptiles were like a "chore" is I mean that it seemed like more of a hassle to take care of them. I understand that there is a LOT that goes into chameleons. Its just I was able to enjoy taking better care of them then other reptiles I owned. Its not really the care itself. But thank you so much! That cricket website is gold thank you! And if the other one didnt pass aw do you RI then do you have an idea of what it could have been? Thank you so much for the response
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
There are other ways to get RIs other than excessive humidity, but without the facts I have no clue what could have caused it.

Forgot to say it earlier, good job on getting your plans reviewed BEFORE buying the Cham!

If you want to get a thorough review of your plans before getting your Cham you can fill out this form. It is a standardized way of us checking each others husbandry.

Please fill out the “how to ask for help” form and post your answers back here. Quality pictures will help us help you.

Chameleon Info:
◦ Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
◦ Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
◦ Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
◦ Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
◦ Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
◦ Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
◦ History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
◦ Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
◦ Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
◦ Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
◦ Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
◦ Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
◦ Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
◦ Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
1 The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
2 Photos can be very helpful.
 
There are other ways to get RIs other than excessive humidity, but without the facts I have no clue what could have caused it.

Forgot to say it earlier, good job on getting your plans reviewed BEFORE buying the Cham!

If you want to get a thorough review of your plans before getting your Cham you can fill out this form. It is a standardized way of us checking each others husbandry.

Please fill out the “how to ask for help” form and post your answers back here. Quality pictures will help us help you.

Chameleon Info:
◦ Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
◦ Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
◦ Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
◦ Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
◦ Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
◦ Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
◦ History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
◦ Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
◦ Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
◦ Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
◦ Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
◦ Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
◦ Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
◦ Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
1 The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
2 Photos can be very helpful.

That is actually the layout I used for making this. Its just certain categories got mixed together (i.e. plants and caging) and since i dont own the cham yet obviously things like history and fecal description wouldnt have anything. And I always do my research before getting the animal and make sure the cage is set up before hand and stuff. I will probably be posting another one of these after more planning and other things so it might be awhile before that. I will make sure to make it shorter
 
Instead of crickets, I would recommend to feed roaches. I am trying to stay away from crickets, they are a nice, easy feeder, but they can have a lot of cons.

Trust me I hear you. Thats actually whyI was originally going to go with dubias because there easy to breed and easy to care for. But it would take awhile for the colony to get set up and running. I am planning to start up a colony one day. I was on lllreptile and saw that they sell 200 dubias for the same price as 500 crickets and im thinking that is a smarter go. As going with 500 crickets at once they will grow up a lot quicker meaning that for a younger cham that cant eat adult crickets they will not be able to be fed, a lot of them will die which has a lot of issues of its own right there, and they are ANNOYING to care for. If I go with the 200 dubias they wont grow as fast meaning that they will most likey be able to stay the same size for the 1-2 weeks i will have them before needing to get another shipment. They stay alive a lot easier. (Not to mention that dubias are a lot better feeders in general) What do you think of this idea
 

CJ's Exotics

Chameleon Enthusiast
Trust me I hear you. Thats actually whyI was originally going to go with dubias because there easy to breed and easy to care for. But it would take awhile for the colony to get set up and running. I am planning to start up a colony one day. I was on lllreptile and saw that they sell 200 dubias for the same price as 500 crickets and im thinking that is a smarter go. As going with 500 crickets at once they will grow up a lot quicker meaning that for a younger cham that cant eat adult crickets they will not be able to be fed, a lot of them will die which has a lot of issues of its own right there, and they are ANNOYING to care for. If I go with the 200 dubias they wont grow as fast meaning that they will most likey be able to stay the same size for the 1-2 weeks i will have them before needing to get another shipment. They stay alive a lot easier. (Not to mention that dubias are a lot better feeders in general) What do you think of this idea
I like that idea, but there is also Orange Head roaches that work well.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not even just easy to breed.

Crickets are terrible nutritiously, I honestly can't fathom why people still use them. They have only cons IMO.

I guess if you live somewhere roaches are unavailable, and for babies. That's the only postives I see for them haha.

As for roaches,

Dubia,
Orange Head,
Halloween Hissers,
Green Banana,
Lobster,
Discoids,
The list goes on all good :).
 

NickTide

Avid Member
Not even just easy to breed.

Crickets are terrible nutritiously, I honestly can't fathom why people still use them. They have only cons IMO.

I guess if you live somewhere roaches are unavailable, and for babies. That's the only postives I see for them haha.

As for roaches,

Dubia,
Orange Head,
Halloween Hissers,
Green Banana,
Lobster,
Discoids,
The list goes on all good :).

I mostly feed dubias but making the switch to orange heads. My chams have gotten tired of them from time to time but I just feed them something else for a week or so.

+1 on the orange heads. But be mindful, they seem to take a little longer to get the colony going. I think they take a bit longer to get to maturity so make sure a starter colony has some different aged nymphs (along with the adults) because when you are waiting for new born nymphs to reach maturity after your adults die, you will be waiting a long time before any new nymphs are born. The onlyreal down side is they get bigger. My female panthers will eat all but the biggest dubia nymphs... with O.H., it would be the mediums on up that are too large. The up side to the size would be neborn nymphs are a little more substantial than the tiny dubia nymphs

Green bananas are a bit of a pain. They need a substrate, don't think they eat anything besides apples and bananas, They also need to be be kept moist. I have them to add variety and break hunger streaks.

Lobsters are said to be able to infest houses. I never had this happen but I lost my lobster colony to a house fire, then the house sat empty for 14 months through a pretty rough winter so any infesters would have been killed, possibly before they took over.

My other favorite staple is black soldier flies... the adults. I have a $60 wine fridge and have larvae that are nearly 6 months old. I buy them by the thousand at like $16 shipped with virtually 0 dead and no work to keep them alive. No need to dust with calcium. Apparently can cause constipation if you feed them exclusively for about a week.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
I mostly feed dubias but making the switch to orange heads. My chams have gotten tired of them from time to time but I just feed them something else for a week or so.

+1 on the orange heads. But be mindful, they seem to take a little longer to get the colony going. I think they take a bit longer to get to maturity so make sure a starter colony has some different aged nymphs (along with the adults) because when you are waiting for new born nymphs to reach maturity after your adults die, you will be waiting a long time before any new nymphs are born. The onlyreal down side is they get bigger. My female panthers will eat all but the biggest dubia nymphs... with O.H., it would be the mediums on up that are too large. The up side to the size would be neborn nymphs are a little more substantial than the tiny dubia nymphs

Green bananas are a bit of a pain. They need a substrate, don't think they eat anything besides apples and bananas, They also need to be be kept moist. I have them to add variety and break hunger streaks.

Lobsters are said to be able to infest houses. I never had this happen but I lost my lobster colony to a house fire, then the house sat empty for 14 months through a pretty rough winter so any infesters would have been killed, possibly before they took over.

My other favorite staple is black soldier flies... the adults. I have a $60 wine fridge and have larvae that are nearly 6 months old. I buy them by the thousand at like $16 shipped with virtually 0 dead and no work to keep them alive. No need to dust with calcium. Apparently can cause constipation if you feed them exclusively for about a week.

Agreed, but the substrate doesn't bother me at all.

I personally use substrate for all my roaches, and mist them everyday.

Orange heads will eat each other's wings for moisture. If you have substrate that won't happen.

Substrate is the best, throw in some Isopods, and some leaf litter, and they love it. My OHs are constantly in the soil, they have Cork flats the males use them sometimes but the majority of the females are always burrowed.

My Hissers don't burrow, but they are still suggested to keep humid. And it's actually kind of cute when I mist there cage they will sometimes come up and drink droplets off the glass sides.

I have noticed they will all eat oak leaf litter if it is provided. Idk if it's filling vitamin gaps from the veggies, or what, but they eat it. The way the hisser tank is setup, they stay in the Cork caves, but I can see in some of those, and I watch them sometimes and they eat the oak, it's pretty neat.

I didn't keep dubias in substrate though, however this time coming back to the hobby I haven't even bothered with dubias, as I don't have Panthers and the OHs and Hissers are better for the Parsons I will be keeping.
 
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Not even just easy to breed.

Crickets are terrible nutritiously, I honestly can't fathom why people still use them. They have only cons IMO.

I guess if you live somewhere roaches are unavailable, and for babies. That's the only postives I see for them haha.

As for roaches,

Dubia,
Orange Head,
Halloween Hissers,
Green Banana,
Lobster,
Discoids,
The list goes on all good :).
Oh wow i didnt know the diversity! I will gladly check all of them out and now have ideas for even more varaity!
 
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