New Keeper

TheLetterAfterP(Q)

Avid Member
Over the past year or so I have been researching everything there is to know about owning and caring for a chameleon (mainly a veiled.) ANNND I THINK IM READY!! The chameleon my girlfriend and I will be getting will be a baby veild chameleon (possibly a translucent.) All that's left for us to do is purchase and set up his enclosure. However I would like to consult with the "experts" before making any final purchases/ decisions.
For his enclosure we have two options:
Option A, a tall cabinent that would be convert into a cage. (16"L 16"W 40"H) It already has a bottom drawer as well to make drainage ez pz. All I would need to do is set up the drainage, waterproof it, cut out the top and side holes and add screen to them all. It seems extreamly easy and inexpensive, not to mention all the pros that come along with keeping a baby chameleon in a smaller cage. I would also like to change out the back piece of wood on the cabinet as well, due to it being cheap. What would be the best material to use for this? Also any tips on waterproofing? Is this a good/better route?
Option B, the beautiful Large Keeper cage from our sponsor dragonstrand.com. I'm hesitant to get this one due to quite a few articles I've read that keeping a baby chameleon in a larger enclosure is not only harder, but could possibly be dangerous and/or stressful to him. With that being said, my girlfriend had the brilliant idea to use some type material to make a false bottom and simply set it on top of the dragon ledges to make a "smaller" cage inside. Has anyone every tried this? If so what did you use and how did it work out? At the end of the day, whether I buy it in the beginning or the end I'll most likely end up buying this one anyways largely due to the fact that an adult male needs the space and in all honesty you cant find a better cage. Do to this being our first time keeping a chameleon, I want it to be as straight forward as possible. This way we can provide our little guy with the best life.
We intend on buying all (if not most) of our miscellaneous supplies from LLLReptiles.com. No matter which cage I end up going with, the lighting and decor will basically be the same. A t5HO uvb bulb and fixture as well as a deep dome fixture equipped with the proper wattage incandescent light bulb. The only question I have about lighting is which timer should I use? Although I could manually turn them on/off it would be better not to have to worry about it. As for foliage, I have a huge list of safe plants and as soon as I get the cage sorted out I will be checking all around for the best ones. For temp/humidity controll: the Zilla Digital Thermometer/hygro as well as a good infrared temp gun. For misting and water needs I will be using a handheld pressure spray bottle as well as a diy dripper. Supplements include Calcium with and without D3 as well as Herptivite.
Any and all comments, criticisms, suggestions, and questions accepted. Thank you all in advance! I'm so excited to become a cham fourm member!
(Picture of option A)
 

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Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
Welcome to the Forums, Q :)...

So you have a lot there, so I'll try to break it down...

Issue with option A is that it is not wide enough. Overall it would be too small for an adult veiled (unless this was a temporary set up, but that is a lot of work for a temporary enclosure). Option B is the way to go, and yes a false bottom can easily be used to make the enclosure seem smaller. As for lighting, yes, definitely T5 HO is the way to go. I prefer to go with Arcadia 6% for a young veiled. I would consider using a fixture that has a spot for at least 2 bulbs so you can also use a 6500k plant bulb. That will give a better color of light in the enclosure than just the UVB does, and if using live plants (I recommend) they will benefit from it. Yes, a dome and incandescent bulb for a basking site! As for the timers, any timer that is programmable is fine for lights. Generally they are just going on once a day until they shut off so you don't need anything that gives the ability to program multiple times. You will need a timer like that if you are using an automated misting system. A minute/second timer with the ability to have many sessions is ideal. I would suggest you look at MistKing for an automated misting system. As for the plants, you will find many use Golden Pothos, Dracaena, Mass Cane, and I have started using Areca Palms. Supplements listed are good for a veiled, and remember to gutload the feeders prior to feeding off. Speaking of feeders, what are you planning to feed your chameleon?
 

TheLetterAfterP(Q)

Avid Member
Thank you for the feedback, and sorry for the long post lol. All those plants are all on my safe plant list! I understand that option A would not be suitable for his whole life. However, one main reason I was interested in making the cage is that I have a strong suspicion that by the time my little guy grows up I will already be addicted to chameleons and wanting another baby. Although, buying everything 2x doesnt sound the best, not including once the second one grows up! Option B it is!
Im defidently going to be buying the mistking, likely once he is a juvenile.
For feeding I will start off simple with 1/8 crickets as well as some roaches on occasion (either Dubai or orange head.) Nothing larger than the width of his head. However, once he is a bit older I plan on changing this up quite a bit. I want to offer him a wide variety including; crickets, grasshopper, silkworms, phoenixworms, hornworms, butterworms, zoophoba worms, super worms, prey mantis, moths, red runner, orange head, green banana roaches and dubia roaches, as well as the occasional collard greens/dandelion grass (if hes one of those chams.) I know the basics on gutloading and supplement schedule.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
If I may, there is nothing wrong with long posts at all.

I type them all the time haha.

However if if in the future, you could try to break them up better, like I am doing here, that would be very helpful for readability, I myself have issues reading text how you have it. I lose my position, in what seems a sea of text. I know alot of people have issues reading text like that.

Just something to be aware of :). Of course, I am reading this and typing this on a phone, so that may not help.

Note: I can see where you broke paragraphs, however at least on the phone, there is no space, it still runs on, like you hit enter once instead of twice.

Beyond that I second everything Deca said.
 

TheLetterAfterP(Q)

Avid Member
Of course, thank you!

I understand how hard it can be. I am also on my phone and I wasnt to sure how it was going to end up showing lol. I will defidently make sure to do that in future posts.
 

TheLetterAfterP(Q)

Avid Member
Thank you cyberlocc.

Does anyone know a good material that could be used for the false bottom? Something strong enough to hold plants and such, while also providing holes for water to get out. (I dont need a little lake)
 

TheLetterAfterP(Q)

Avid Member
Egg crate it is!

Ive seen the terracotta balls before, however I must not know their use. I thought they were a drainage layer used when making a bioactive setup? Could you simply put them on the bottom of the enclosure to soak up water?
 
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