New Panther Enclosure

skoram

Established Member
A few years ago I built a DIY wooden enclosure for my male panther (see build thread here) but the wood at the bottom has started to rot and the acrylic panels in the front have become slightly detached from their frames. Not wanting to go through the arduous process of buying materials and constructing a new enclosure only to risk the same problems recurring (or new problems), I decided to go the safe and comfortable (albeit expensive) route and purchase a large glass terrarium.

It's a 36 x 18 x 38 inch (90 x 45 90 cm) terrarium made by a Chinese (I think) company called WACOOL. The only other terrarium brand available here in Korea is Exo Terra. While Exo Terra is well known and I've had good experiences with them in the past, I decided to give WACOOL a try for 2 reasons: 1) they come with a drainage hole pre-drilled in the back right corner (along with plumbing) and 2) the covers are made from very strong and thick "mesh" that eliminate the need for framed partitions, even in the largest terrariums. One thing I don't like: the doors can only be opened by pressing and holding down a spring supported latch making it almost impossible to open the doors with a single hand. No need to hold the latch down or "lock" the latch when closing so that part is much simpler, but I prefer the ability to open with one hand as with Exo Terras. In most other respects the terrariums are very similar, and build quality seems quite good.


pre-drilled drainage hole and outlet pipe (a long piece of plastic tubing was also included)
20191118_131156032.jpg


screen "mesh" (not sure it can be called that) used in the cover. mesh is one piece without any partitions and very sturdy. the sturdiness comes at a cost - it seems to filter out much more light and UVB than standard mesh. I use a 10.0 T5HO bulb over this enclosure so UVB levels are still more than sufficient.
20191118_131157928.jpg


Siliconed the background (included with terrarium) and black foam boards to the sides and positioned the branches using hot glue. The thicker branches were given to me by a friend in the Philippines.
20191118_131132724.jpg


After attaching some plastic pots and PU Foam to a few areas and carving.
20191118_131145431.jpg


I'm thinking about adding a few pieces of cork bark and more foam to other areas to improve the "hardscape." My plant list so far includes scindapsus pictus, umbrella plants, ficus pumila, syngoniums, maybe some ferns and begonias.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
The drainage pipe is a nice feature. What was the price difference between this and the Exo Terra?
 

skoram

Established Member
The drainage pipe is a nice feature. What was the price difference between this and the Exo Terra?
At most stores here the prices are actually identical. Around 430,000 KRW or $360 dollars. With that said I think Exo Terra is still the most popular brand - Koreans inherently trust Western products more.
 

skoram

Established Member
Here is the semi-finished product. My 5 month old Mitsio panther is hiding beneath a Xanadu Philodendron leaf in the center. It gets the job done but from an aesthetic standpoint I'm not completely satisfied - the sides and background are still a bit bare for my tastes. I'm open to recommendations (plants, etc.) on how to spruce things up a bit.

20191204_200821688.jpg
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here is the semi-finished product. My 5 month old Mitsio panther is hiding beneath a Xanadu Philodendron leaf in the center. It gets the job done but from an aesthetic standpoint I'm not completely satisfied - the sides and background are still a bit bare for my tastes. I'm open to recommendations (plants, etc.) on how to spruce things up a bit.

View attachment 252740
I think that looks really lovely. As the plants grow more it will be fuller. Maybe some small colorful plants on the bottom towards the front sides if you wanted.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looking good! :D I have some stick envy - that big twisty one in particular is lovely! Ah, the have a big enough build to incorporate philodendrons!

A lot of the top will fill out as the plants grow in, but you could definitely mount some epiphytes for color pops on the back wall/side walls, and maybe some ground covering plants for interest. I'm very fond of wandering Jews for ground/side coverage - they grow like weeds! Creeping fig is also a nice covering plant, though it grows much more slowly. Fittonia nerve plants come in a few different colors and do well in terrariums, polkadot plants, waffle plants... pending your lighting, crotons could work. Lots of options - the hard part is narrowing it down haha!

For epiphytes, I love neoregalia bromeliads, vriesea bromeliads, and a variety of airplants. They all like high light, and are perfect for mounting to branches and backgrounds. Epiphytic orchids (like the common moth orchid) also do well when mounted!

My 36x18x36, featuring a number of mounted plants.

252756
 

skoram

Established Member
Looking good! :D I have some stick envy - that big twisty one in particular is lovely! Ah, the have a big enough build to incorporate philodendrons!

A lot of the top will fill out as the plants grow in, but you could definitely mount some epiphytes for color pops on the back wall/side walls, and maybe some ground covering plants for interest. I'm very fond of wandering Jews for ground/side coverage - they grow like weeds! Creeping fig is also a nice covering plant, though it grows much more slowly. Fittonia nerve plants come in a few different colors and do well in terrariums, polkadot plants, waffle plants... pending your lighting, crotons could work. Lots of options - the hard part is narrowing it down haha!

For epiphytes, I love neoregalia bromeliads, vriesea bromeliads, and a variety of airplants. They all like high light, and are perfect for mounting to branches and backgrounds. Epiphytic orchids (like the common moth orchid) also do well when mounted!

My 36x18x36, featuring a number of mounted plants.

View attachment 252756
Ironically I saw you post this photo in another thread (about bio-active enclosures, I think), downloaded it to my computer, and used it as brainstorming help/inspiration for this build lol. In particular I love the way you "textured" the background and sides and incorporated cork and moss to give the enclosure a really natural and organic look.

I've attempted similar things plant-wise with past vivariums but the foliage at upper levels in this build makes it difficult for a lot of light to reach the bottom. The foliage even blocks mist from reaching the background which caused my Monstera dubia to dry out a bit. The problem will likely worsen over time as the Philodendrons and Scindapsis grow out. I lost a lot of plants (even moss and ferns) along the bottom of my previous panther enclosure for these reasons.

Despite these shortcomings, this was an intentional "design" decision on my part to provide my cham with more options for cover throughout the enclosure (instead of just at the sides). Yet you somehow managed to create an enclosure that, while not incorporating any really tall, heavy-foliage plants, still seems to provide ample shade areas and hiding spots for a chameleon ...
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ironically I saw you post this photo in another thread (about bio-active enclosures, I think), downloaded it to my computer, and used it as brainstorming help/inspiration for this build lol. In particular I love the way you "textured" the background and sides and incorporated cork and moss to give the enclosure a really natural and organic look.

I've attempted similar things plant-wise with past vivariums but the foliage at upper levels in this build makes it difficult for a lot of light to reach the bottom. The foliage even blocks mist from reaching the background which caused my Monstera dubia to dry out a bit. The problem will likely worsen over time as the Philodendrons and Scindapsis grow out. I lost a lot of plants (even moss and ferns) along the bottom of my previous panther enclosure for these reasons.

Despite these shortcomings, this was an intentional "design" decision on my part to provide my cham with more options for cover throughout the enclosure (instead of just at the sides). Yet you somehow managed to create an enclosure that, while not incorporating any really tall, heavy-foliage plants, still seems to provide ample shade areas and hiding spots for a chameleon ...
I'm flattered - thank you!! :D My viv has gone through several iterations as I figured out what did well where and why. I found out almost immediately after installing my MistKing that even if I did run 4 nozzles (more nozzles is definitely on my shopping list, regardless), not all of my plants (particularly the high water plants on the sides/moss) wouldn't get what they need. I hand mist one a day to get the plants that otherwise wouldn't survive, and water all of my "planters" once or twice a week when I siphon out the drainage layer (I feed them some of the "nutrient soup"). It's a high maintenance build and if I did it again I'd definitely tweak it a bit, but for the most part I'm very proud of how it turned out!

I see where you're coming from with the mounted plants higher in your build - yes, it could definitely cause lighting issues, especially if you don't have beefy plant lights! Hmm, well, the canopy will grow in over time anyway so it's certainly not needed!

Ground cover wise, if you stick shade/part shade species you should be good to go! Wandering jew still has my vote, as it does just fine in lower light conditions and loves to climb (so you can get some wall coverage out of it too!). Creeping fig will also likely do alright if you place it in dappled light toward the front, and while it's a slow grower I'm very fond of it! Perhaps some lower water plants, like peperomia species? They dont mind some drying between sessions, and come in all sorts of varieties! I just got some "little fantasy" peperomia for my second, smaller build and am testing some varigated purple waffle plant for shade tolerance. You might be able to get away with some of the spike/club moss species, as long as the soil is moist and the humidity is high enough. Peacock "rainbow" moss is fun, and a good ground cover! Hmmm... :unsure: I'd have to give it a think, find some plants that would complement your lovely philodendrons!
 

skoram

Established Member
I'm flattered - thank you!! :D My viv has gone through several iterations as I figured out what did well where and why. I found out almost immediately after installing my MistKing that even if I did run 4 nozzles (more nozzles is definitely on my shopping list, regardless), not all of my plants (particularly the high water plants on the sides/moss) wouldn't get what they need. I hand mist one a day to get the plants that otherwise wouldn't survive, and water all of my "planters" once or twice a week when I siphon out the drainage layer (I feed them some of the "nutrient soup"). It's a high maintenance build and if I did it again I'd definitely tweak it a bit, but for the most part I'm very proud of how it turned out!

I see where you're coming from with the mounted plants higher in your build - yes, it could definitely cause lighting issues, especially if you don't have beefy plant lights! Hmm, well, the canopy will grow in over time anyway so it's certainly not needed!

Ground cover wise, if you stick shade/part shade species you should be good to go! Wandering jew still has my vote, as it does just fine in lower light conditions and loves to climb (so you can get some wall coverage out of it too!). Creeping fig will also likely do alright if you place it in dappled light toward the front, and while it's a slow grower I'm very fond of it! Perhaps some lower water plants, like peperomia species? They dont mind some drying between sessions, and come in all sorts of varieties! I just got some "little fantasy" peperomia for my second, smaller build and am testing some varigated purple waffle plant for shade tolerance. You might be able to get away with some of the spike/club moss species, as long as the soil is moist and the humidity is high enough. Peacock "rainbow" moss is fun, and a good ground cover! Hmmm... :unsure: I'd have to give it a think, find some plants that would complement your lovely philodendrons!
haha I discovered the exact same thing with the nozzle count. Unfortunately I am way too busy and my schedule too unpredictable to rely on regular hand mistings to keep plants alive. I found that increasing misting times (not frequency) to at least 2 minutes helped a bit. I used to mist mist 4 times a day at durations no longer than 1 minute each but switched to 2 mistings at 2.5 minutes each. I have a lot of leftover plants in a spare Exo Terra including some you mentioned - wandering jew, ficus pumila, various ferns, bromeliads and some bulbophyllum orchids. I don't really want to risk the bromeliads or orchids but I will take your advice and add wandering jew and ficus pumila to some of the brighter spots. Pepperomia is also a good suggestion.

I'm also thinking about adding more non-living elements like driftwood, cork, stones, roots, etc. I wish there was a way I could add more dimension to the sides/background - PU foam is out of the question at this point. Some companies here sell a clay putty-like substance for vivariums (I think Zoomed also sells something like this) but I have doubts about its long term stability.
 
Last edited:

skoram

Established Member
Added the following new plants to the enclosure:

Bulbophyllum orchid
Tiger Neoregilia Bromeliad
Ficus pumila
Golden pothos
Boston fern
Wandering jew (haven't decided on the placement yet - will probably split up and place around the sides in the bottom)

20191212_214410674.jpg
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Added the following new plants to the enclosure:

Bulbophyllum orchid
Tiger Neoregilia Bromeliad
Ficus pumila
Golden pothos
Boston fern
Wandering jew (haven't decided on the placement yet - will probably split up and place around the sides in the bottom)

View attachment 253384
Loving the new plants! :) Fills it out nicely. Jealous of that bulbophyllum orchid - I have such a hard time finding smaller orchid species around here, and if I had it my way I'd have them everywhere!
 
Last edited:

skoram

Established Member
Loving the new plants! :) Fills it out nicely. Jealous of that bulbophyllum orchid - I have such a hard time finding smaller orchid species around here, and if I had it my way I'd have them everywhere!
That's kind of interesting. I was felt jealous towards people living in the US for the variety of, well just about everything, available to them there, and at much cheaper prices. A single adult panther chameleon here sells for no less than $800.

Unfortunately, the bulbophyllum is no longer in the enclosure. There was a nice spot for it in the deep groove of the twisty branch you admired but it kept getting knocked over/trampled by my cham, which I suspected might happen. I thought about attaching it to some cork on one of the sides but it didn't look nearly as nice.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
That's unfortunate! Sometimes what looks good just doesn't work out. I've definitely had to play with things as Kismet grows - she's just big enough now to start knocking around airplants if they're not sufficiently tied down haha! Bulbophyllum are lovely orchids. Can always mount it and hang it somewhere in your home. :)

I live in Canada, so availability for things here can be a little wacky. It can be difficult to get lot of nice "terrarium" plants, many insects, and anything other than veiled or panther chameleons... :cry:
 

skoram

Established Member
I live in Canada, so availability for things here can be a little wacky. It can be difficult to get lot of nice "terrarium" plants, many insects, and anything other than veiled or panther chameleons... :cry:
Koreans really seem to love plants so there is a good variety here ... the trouble comes when trying to search for a plant I want or ID a plant from its Korean name o_O

The same was true of chameleon variety but a chameleon fanatic opened up a shop here recently that sells nothing but chameleons. I visited a couple weeks ago and he had at least 15 different species for sale :love: Felt like a kid in a candy shop - couldn't decide what I wanted to buy next. Partial list of what he had:

Calumma parsonii
Calumma nasutum
Calumma gastrotaenia
Calumma malthe
Calumma brevicorne
Furcifer bifidus
Furcifer campani
Furcifer antimena
Trioceros jacksonii
Trioceros xantholophus
Brookesia stumpfii
Brookesia brygooi
Kingyongia boehmei
Kinyongia fischeri
Bradypodion thamnobates

And of course the ubiquitous Veiled and Panther chameleons.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Koreans really seem to love plants so there is a good variety here ... the trouble comes when trying to search for a plant I want or ID a plant from its Korean name o_O

The same was true of chameleon variety but a chameleon fanatic opened up a shop here recently that sells nothing but chameleons. I visited a couple weeks ago and he had at least 15 different species for sale :love: Felt like a kid in a candy shop - couldn't decide what I wanted to buy next. Partial list of what he had:

Calumma parsonii
Calumma nasutum
Calumma gastrotaenia
Calumma malthe
Calumma brevicorne
Furcifer bifidus
Furcifer campani
Furcifer antimena
Trioceros jacksonii
Trioceros xantholophus
Brookesia stumpfii
Brookesia brygooi
Kingyongia boehmei
Kinyongia fischeri
Bradypodion thamnobates

And of course the ubiquitous Veiled and Panther chameleons.
Oh jeez - yeah, I could see IDing or searching for specific plants being a challenge for sure!

A chameleon focused store?? How awesome is that! I'd never be able to step foot in such a place without making way too many unnecessary purchases - consider me officially envious of your selection!

My next (planned) venture into a new species will be with a Meller's chameleon, but that won't be for some time yet. Not until I have the time and resources (and space) for the kind of insane enclosure I have in my head! Until then, I'm planning to work on a bioactive cabinet conversion, and perhaps find me a nice veiled boy for my Kismet. Ought to keep me busy for the foreseeable future haha!
 

skoram

Established Member
A chameleon focused store?? How awesome is that! I'd never be able to step foot in such a place without making way too many unnecessary purchases - consider me officially envious of your selection!
The selection is great but some of the prices are, unfortunately, very Korean :LOL: I believe they have to pay a great deal more than the US in import fees though. Was very tempted to purchase more Bradypodion thamnobates but $1,500 a pair was too hard to justify (and my wife would kill me).

My next (planned) venture into a new species will be with a Meller's chameleon, but that won't be for some time yet. Not until I have the time and resources (and space) for the kind of insane enclosure I have in my head! Until then, I'm planning to work on a bioactive cabinet conversion, and perhaps find me a nice veiled boy for my Kismet. Ought to keep me busy for the foreseeable future haha!
Very jealous. I looove Meller's chameleons. I have seen them for sale here occasionally and always wonder who would buy them given the tiny size of homes in Seoul. I'll just have to enjoy the Meller's vicariously through you once you purchase.
 

skoram

Established Member
Recent photos of my male Mitsio's enclosure (I named him Lightning after Lightning McQueen from CARS - my son's favorite movie right now :ROFLMAO:)

20200212_134535652_05.jpg

Had to replace a few plants as they were not doing well in the enclosure. I replaced the big Philodendron xanadu with a monstera, which I will probably also replace with some large ferns and/or Alocasia amazonica as monstera will quickly outgrow this enclosure. The xanadu was strange - it was putting up a lot of new stalks and growing a bit out of control but leaves were constantly turning yellow and brown. Had similar problems with a plant (whose name I can't remember) on the right side which I replaced with a golden pothos. I moved the plant to the bottom and it has been doing well ever since. I know that some plants do not do well with constant moisture on their leaves and I suspect this has been an issue for many plants that struggled in my vivariums.

The zebrina (I always feel awkward using the name "wandering jew") has been thriving, of course (thanks for the suggestion GoodKarma!). I am waiting for it to start climbing up the sides a bit to cover the walls.

I also set up a new enclosure for my female Mitsio, Sally:
20200212_134535652_07.jpg20200212_134535652_08.jpg


This is also still a bit bare for my taste so I plan to add some ferns and other small plants to the mid-foreground and maybe attach some air plants and moss to the sides soon.
 
Top Bottom