New to Chameleons, and heres my enclosusre build

Taro

New Member
New to Chameleons, and heres my enclosure build

Just looking for some words of wisdom. When i first started building this enclosure it was going to be for dart frogs, but since then have decided to use it for a chameleon. I have been doing lots of research and have not yet decided what type i want. I am leaning towards panthers.

The cage is 4'x2'x4' it still has lots of work to be done. I figure a screen top and front are best for chameleons. I would like a glass front but.... The tank will have 3 small fans in the top part pushing air into the cage and also humidified air will be pumped in through the bottom to plastic tubes positioned coming up through the bottom. This was originally going to be used to keep condensation of the front glass pane and keep it clear, but with a screen front i guess it will just provide more ventalation. An automatic misting system as well as ultra sonic fogger will be used as well. Also the water fall which i know most people dont like will be filtered properly in a tank below the cage.

Any comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated





 
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Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I think you will have to be careful of your humidity levels (too much of a good thing) with solid walls, a humidifier, afogger, a waterfall and an automatic misting system you're kind of going overboard. You're gonna have one wet chameleon! They need extended periods of dry out time, part of the reason open air enclosures are preferred. I am no fan of waterfalls...even with filtered water and I notice yours is really "built in" which in my estimation will make it impossible to keep clean. The fans are also something that are not needed and with all that moisture will just make your chameleon cold.
You are a serious over-achiever with this project. My advice would be less is more. proper gradience of temp and humidity 55 - 80 occasional mistings uvb and basking lights, and a drip system are all you need.

-Brad
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
You've certainly got a knack for construction, but I think this time your efforts have been a bit misplaced. The elaborate additions you've made to this cage are completely unnecessary for a chameleon.

Chameleons enjoy climbing and basking - that's about all they do (apart from occassionally flicking a tongue to catch a snack). All you need for a good chameleon cage is height and things to climb on (like a tree), and good lighting. Ventilation varies depending on the species, but most enjoy well ventilated enclosures (like screen mesh all around) - the same sort of ventilation they'd get in the treetops in the wild.

Your cage would probably be more suitable for a lizard of some sort (like a water dragon), or the frogs you originally intended it for.
 

Mucky_Waters

New Member
Taro
I applaud your efforts. As I applaud those of Brad and Tygerr, who may not totally agree with your set up, have not gone to the point of insulting you as some in this forum seem to be incline to do. Rather they have taken the time and effort to explain what short comings they see in your enclosure and why.
That being said however, I like what you are doing and believe if done properly and fulfilling all the requirements that your chameleon needs could be quite an interesting and viable habitat. But don't expect too much support from the people in this forum who tend to lean towards the "bird cage" type enclosures. They are of course the proven simplest, safest method of keeping most chameleons, especially for breeders, but also what many here in this forum have the most familiarity with and therefore the most qualified to speak about.
The only problem is some tend to get dogmatic about it and think that it is the only way to keep chameleons, which it is not.
To get an idea of what I mean by how dogmatic some can get in this forum check out this thread I started a while ago My Chameleon Enclosure.
 
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Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I agree with Mucky_waters in regard to there being more than one way to successfully house a chameleon. However, don't mislabel the results of research and trial and error practices that have brought us to where we are today in our limited knowledge of how to care for these animals, as dogmatic.
We are constantly experimenting and trying to improve our husbandry practices, and increase our level of knowledge and understanding.
My gosh, the veiled chameleon has only been kept in the states since the spring of 1990. We have a lot to learn, but a lot has been learned, and some problems can now be avoided because of what we know. I think everyone here wishes success for everyone else, and that is the intention behind the advice. That being said, I am for invention and experimentation in the cham habitat, just be cautious straying too far from what we know works well.

-Brad
 

Taro

New Member
Thank you all for the comments. Where i Live there is no humidity so i figure the sold walls will help with that. The top and front are going to be screen and i dont have to use the fans. Everything else is controlable so humidity will stay at a constant. The fogger is just for looks as it will not get used to often. The waterfal is somthing i really wanted. I i know it wont harm the chameleon since i know how to filter and change water. It will not be dirty water.
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
There is no humidity here either and I think solid walls can be a great help as long as there are at least a couple of screened walls, which you will have.
Be aware that Chameleons drink EXTREMELY clean water Very little bacteria load if any at all.
They drink dew and rain on leaves.
If you have running water the cham will drink it, and with the waterfall there is no chance that water will be as clean as it needs to be for a chameleon.
We take this knowledge of their care directly from their natural habitat. They do not drink out of ponds or streams where bacteria and micro organisms are present.

-Brad
 

Heika

New Member
Another thing to consider about a waterfall is that most chameleons will aim their poo at them and feeders will drown in them.

I am not real sure if a chameleon will drink from a standing body of water in the wild. I know that they prefer rain water and dew.. but will they drink from a pool of water when needed? Anyone know?

Heika
 

Mucky_Waters

New Member
Well said Brad, but please don't think that I was referring to anything thing you said as being dogmatic, in fact the main reason I jumped it to this thread was to praise your (and Tygrre's) response. Notice I had to point to another thread for an example of the kind of dogmatism I was referring to. Despite the rude way I treated in that thread I've still been hanging round because there are people and ideas in here that I feel I can learn from, and, god forbid, somebody might even learn something from me.
If what you say is true , and I have no reason to believe otherwise, that veiled Chameleon have been only kept in the USA (or North America) since 1990, then I likely many of you (us) still have a lot we could learn.

I have kept reptiles , amphibians and other critters in terrarium type enclosures since 1976 (and aquariums for longer than that), and learned to raised live insects (mealworms, crickets, fruit flies) about the same time, long before they were readily available in pet stores. I still have, and read, the English version of a book that was originally published in German in 1965 "LIVE FOODS for the aquarium and terrarium" by Franckh'sches Verlaghandlung. I state these thing not to brag, but rather to point out that even though I have only one year of experience raising a chameleon, I have years of experience with other similar creatures kept in captive environments. The health and sanitary issues you deal with chameleons are not particularly unique just to chameleons. Issues such as MBD, parasites, and bacterial infections are all things I had to learn about back in 1976 and others have been dealing with for many years before that. The big difference is that there is a lot more information and equipment (like UV lights) readily available today.
Anyway, this short self biography is just to help reassure anyone reading this that I'm not some Johnny come lately and I know something for which I speak.
Just to pick up on one of the specific points you addressed, I will deal with the issue of poop in the waterfall.
If you keep the area flushed and have a proper filtration system and practice frequent water changes the waste (poop) will be broken down and assimilated by the natural biological activity within the system, in the exact same way fish, frog or turtle (to name a few) waste is handled in any other aquarium, terrarium or plaudarium. Again this is not simply a unique chameleon issue, if you don't keep the area clean, or have proper filtration it won't mater what sort of creature you have in there (fish, frog, turtle or water dragon), you are going to have health problems. As for occasional feeders drowning in the water, again a proper filtration system would handle that the same way it handles waste. Also one can do what I have done in my set ups for years, and that is to keep some fish in the water area that would feed on the insect that end up in the water. Of course those stray feeders would eventually get converted into waste and be handled in the same way.
That's just one of the issues with that sort of set up and I may be over simplifying it, but I can tell you that it does work, I have done it, and so have thousands of others, and it looks like Taro is going to give it a try. So rather than brush him off with negatives(or call his set up idiotic :mad: ), why not help him/or her, with the specific issues maybe we can all benefit. :)
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I have yet to call someone's set-up idiotic. I think most people here are either quite well informed or are venturing to become well informed keepers.
Again, I am not absolute about what an appropriate enclosure should be, we are all getting new ideas about this all the time, and certain geographic areas warrant certain adjustments. Think of my comments as "something to think about" for that is how they are intended to be recieved. I believe through this forum we can save people a lot of heartache and difficult/expensive "learning experiences".
In the end everyone does it the way they want to anyway. Hopefully, most people utilize the advice of people here who are keeping, studying, observing these animals and fine tuning their hobby.
Taking what makes sense from here, assessing that information along with that from additional research and applying it to your particular situation should allow you to create unique situations for your animals while providing them with everything they need.
By the way I do have knowledge of water filtration systems, the breakdown of nitrates and other bio - processes involved in the keeping of aquariums etc. and I think that water is ideal for fish, frogs turtles etc. I would let my dogs drink it, confident in the knowledge that it would be safe for them. I would not offer it to my chameleon, however. Perhaps it would be fine....I wouldn't risk it.
By the way... yes spring of 1990 Veileds introduced in U.S. at the San Diego Zoo...bred in the fall of that same year.

-Brad
 
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Heika

New Member
I have yet to call someone's set-up idiotic.
Brad, he is referring to a post made by me where, yes, I called his setup idiotic because it is. And, he is still whining about it and trying very hard to drag this thread off topic.

Back to the topic at hand.. Taro's cage. What do you plan to do with the floor of the cage, Taro? Are you going to plant it? Also, out of curiousity, what is the goobery looking stuff you used to build the background with? Considering the size of your cabinet, I imagine there will be plenty of airflow if the front and top is going to be screened. Have you considered housing a species of chameleon that prefers very high humidity? Also, did you build a drain on the cage? Where will the water from the automatic mister go, or do you plan to mist in short bursts?

Heika
 

Taro

New Member
Brad, he is referring to a post made by me where, yes, I called his setup idiotic because it is. And, he is still whining about it and trying very hard to drag this thread off topic.

Back to the topic at hand.. Taro's cage. What do you plan to do with the floor of the cage, Taro? Are you going to plant it? Also, out of curiousity, what is the goobery looking stuff you used to build the background with? Considering the size of your cabinet, I imagine there will be plenty of airflow if the front and top is going to be screened. Have you considered housing a species of chameleon that prefers very high humidity? Also, did you build a drain on the cage? Where will the water from the automatic mister go, or do you plan to mist in short bursts?

Heika
The floor as well as the rest of the tank will be planted with live plants. The goopy stuff? If you are refering to the yellowish stuff it is called great stuff polyurathane foam. Which is compleatly harmless when cured, or you may be refering to the fiber glass. The bottom has a drain that leads down into a tank below the enclousure where the pump and filters sit.
 

Heika

New Member
The floor as well as the rest of the tank will be planted with live plants. The goopy stuff? If you are refering to the yellowish stuff it is called great stuff polyurathane foam. Which is compleatly harmless when cured, or you may be refering to the fiber glass. The bottom has a drain that leads down into a tank below the enclousure where the pump and filters sit.
I have used Great Stuff before and know what it looks like, but have never used fiberglass. Is that what is coating the Great Stuff? Glad to hear you are going to plant the cage and that it has a drain.

Heika
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Taro,

You mentioned preferring glass on the front of your enclosure. I have been responding to this thread and your request for ideas/advice based on you saying (i believe) that you were considering a panther.
Have you explored or considered the Pygmies?
You could keep your waterfall, install glass and have several animals in the enclosure.
I believe you also said your original plan was to have frogs. Now I may take some flack for this, but, I think you could have them in there as well with the little forest chams. I have included a link from chameleons...ine E-Zine that references this posibility.
Just food for thought.

http://www.chameleonnews.com/year2002/sept2002/brookesia/brookesia.html

-Brad
p.s. the frogs are referenced in the captive management paragraph.
 
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Taro

New Member
I have considered Pygmy Cameleons but I cant find a reliable source for them. They are always wild caught and never live that long from what i have seen. If i could find a reliable source for them I would deffinitly consider them.
 
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Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Where are you located?
I believe Heika breeds them and may be able to give you a reference or at least some great advice/ideas.
 
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Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Perhaps someone in Canada that breeds them will respond...or you could start a new thread asking...it can't hurt.
I know that cb's fare much better than wild caught and several people on here have great success breeding them.
I am not trying to decide what you should get...again it occurred to me and is just a suggestion.
If you really want a panther, you should get a panther!

-Brad
 

Heika

New Member
I believe both Brandy and Will on this forum have brevs (and maybe some other leaf species) and both are located in Canada. You may want to contact them for a reliable source... one of them might even have some available. I agree that your enclosure would house them well. The waterfall would worry me.. not sure if a brev would drown in one or not. I don't use them, the bacteria build up makes me nervous. I am not sure how well brevs would do with darts because of the differences in requirements. Frogs like it really, really wet, and brevs like it only kinda wet. I think the temperature requirements are somewhat different as well.

Heika
 

Taro

New Member
I have started a thread to inquire about dwarfs in canada, if i can find a reliable source i will most likly go that route. But if not I may just stick with obtaining a nice CB panther or Veiled which should be easyier to come by.
Also in response to Heika dart frogs would require almost the same habitat as a brev. Darts are not like typical frogs, they like high humidity but not wet.
 
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