New to Site -- Need advice on setting up Habitat.

CC's Baby

Avid Member
Hello everyone -- I am new to this site. I do not own a cham yet, but plan on raising a panther cham (male) soon. I am making sure I am completely prepared for him and want to setup the ideal habitat and make sure the humidity is right and ready first and that is functions as it should. With that said, I have been doing my research and have a couple of questions and would like some input........ I found a habitat that I like that fits the space I am looking to put it in. So my question is --- Is the Exo-Terra LARGE Screen Terrarium 36x18x36 about the same as having a 24x24x48 Zoo Med XL Habitat? (keep in mind, these will be placed off the ground and the bottom will start at 30" high and go up 36 to 48" and I am a short person as well) I am leaning toward the 36x18x36 for both height a width. With that being the one I go with, I would like some advice on how much lighting I need across the width. I know he needs a light for heat source and a UVB for him as well but what I am confused about is - is it necessary to have both day and night lights or is it better to turn light off at night for a panther cham? Please let me know what you recommend.
 

Rontti

Established Member
Chameleons need a temperature gradient so that's way its important to have a very tall cage. I would recommend going with the ReptiBreeze XL
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
Super. Thank you so much for that input. I have the place for this one as well, was thinking that I would add a cover on the back so that the humidity doesn't effect the wall behind it. What material would you suggest that would not promote bacteria?
 

Rontti

Established Member
Super. Thank you so much for that input. I have the place for this one as well, was thinking that I would add a cover on the back so that the humidity doesn't effect the wall behind it. What material would you suggest that would not promote bacteria?
I have wrapped three sides of my setup with vinyl table cloth. It works super well!
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
That is a great idea. I like the idea of wrapping more than one side -- I would also think that helps to keep the humiditiy in better as well. So with the vinyl tablecloth, I would assume that you spray and clean this only when you are doing a full cleaning on it weekly? I am learning. Want to know exactly what I am doing before I bring my baby home.
 

Rontti

Established Member
That is a great idea. I like the idea of wrapping more than one side -- I would also think that helps to keep the humiditiy in better as well. So with the vinyl tablecloth, I would assume that you spray and clean this only when you are doing a full cleaning on it weekly? I am learning. Want to know exactly what I am doing before I bring my baby home.
I have only had it for couple of weeks. I think I'm only going to clean it when it gets dirty and when I do a full cleanup
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
Update -- Leaning toward Dragon Strand Large Clearside Cage and am excited about the upcoming months ahead. After reading more and more posts about eventually changing everything, it seems I am going to skip all the cheap stuff that falls apart and go right to the good quality cages that everyone seems to be gravitating towards. Once I get all of this, I will find a breeder that I am excited about. As for breeders, I am wanting a male panther cham and leaning toward a Nosy B or an Ambilobe, have not quiet decided but it will be worth wait. Okay -- here is my next question ------ How many of you use ONLY silk plants as opposed to LIVE plants, and or a combination. What are the pros and cons and your experiences with the plants. I am leaning toward a mixture, but concerned about keeping the live ones healthy.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am using only silk plants now but plan on buying a ficus and pothos for my chameleon soon. as ive experienced in the past with plants, they can be hard to keep alive but water them once or twice a day and u should be okay to go. now it is hard to keep them if your cham eats them, mine loves plants and especially spinach!!! I'm kind of worried about getting my plants for that reason
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
I am using only silk plants now but plan on buying a ficus and pothos for my chameleon soon. as ive experienced in the past with plants, they can be hard to keep alive but water them once or twice a day and u should be okay to go. now it is hard to keep them if your cham eats them, mine loves plants and especially spinach!!! I'm kind of worried about getting my plants for that reason
Okay --- well that leads me to a new question? -- do you feed your cham veggies and raw leaf spinach?
 

Graves923

Chameleon Enthusiast
Dragon strand cages are great. Add the dragon strand ledges for extra support if you hang plants and add lots of climbing vines.

I personally only use live plants. They hold and help maintain humidity in between misting. The live leaves also hold water droplets for a lot longer than silk or plastic plants which helps the chameleon hydrate easier.

I have a 3.5ft tall Mass Cane plant (Dracaena massangeana), Umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola), and Golden Pothos. The Mass cane fills out the top portion of the cage. Umbrella fills the lower portion and gives lots of sturdy branches to climb. For the Pothos I hung the plant around the middle and let the vines do their own thing over the last 2 years. My chameleon only ever eats the Pothos leaves in between his normal feedings.

I do recommend figuring out a drainage system with the cage now before it is all set up. Without one, you risk getting water leaking out of the cage and with how much misting these animals require it will happen. I have my cage onto of a 3ft tall stainless steel wire rack with a shelf about 7 inches under the cage. Drilled some holes in the center of the cage floor and placed a plastic storage tote, which is the same width and length of the cage, on the shelf under the cage to catch the water. Water goes from the mister to the plants, then the cage floor, through the holes and the wire rack and into the drain bin. Empty the drain bin once per week and have no mess on your carpet or floors.

An empty cage is a blank canvas so get creative with it!
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
Dragon strand cages are great. Add the dragon strand ledges for extra support if you hang plants and add lots of climbing vines.

I personally only use live plants. They hold and help maintain humidity in between misting. The live leaves also hold water droplets for a lot longer than silk or plastic plants which helps the chameleon hydrate easier.

I have a 3.5ft tall Mass Cane plant (Dracaena massangeana), Umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola), and Golden Pothos. The Mass cane fills out the top portion of the cage. Umbrella fills the lower portion and gives lots of sturdy branches to climb. For the Pothos I hung the plant around the middle and let the vines do their own thing over the last 2 years. My chameleon only ever eats the Pothos leaves in between his normal feedings.

I do recommend figuring out a drainage system with the cage now before it is all set up. Without one, you risk getting water leaking out of the cage and with how much misting these animals require it will happen. I have my cage onto of a 3ft tall stainless steel wire rack with a shelf about 7 inches under the cage. Drilled some holes in the center of the cage floor and placed a plastic storage tote, which is the same width and length of the cage, on the shelf under the cage to catch the water. Water goes from the mister to the plants, then the cage floor, through the holes and the wire rack and into the drain bin. Empty the drain bin once per week and have no mess on your carpet or floors.

An empty cage is a blank canvas so get creative with it!
Awww. Thanks for all of that! Yes, I was looking at the easy drainage trays dragonstran offers as well to help with that. I was still wondering if I need addtional water catchers under that as well. I am excited about it and yes, I can see the benefit of the live plants. I can tell you that I have always killed cane plants. Not sure why, but they do not like me and everything else does. I love the umbrella and pothos plants. I would really like to find some very decorative cool notty branches and backgrounds to play with. I am an artist anyway, so would love to "art it up" if you know what I mean. :)
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
I got on facebook marketplace and see a ton of cages for sell and they are selling fast as well. I may look at getting a used habitat that is in great condition to get going. It has to be the perfect one. Would love to get a great used 2x2x4.
 
Super. Thank you so much for that input. I have the place for this one as well, was thinking that I would add a cover on the back so that the humidity doesn't effect the wall behind it. What material would you suggest that would not promote bacteria?
I used a shower curtain with a jungle scene. It really adds to the look.
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
I used a shower curtain with a jungle scene. It really adds to the look.
That is a super idea. It is crazy how fast those used cages go on marketplace. Most everyone though only has the 30" tall and I want the 48" tall. Petsmart and Petco are both sold out of the 2x2x4 at this time as well. So it looks like I am on a wait list till they restock. I like the idea of the scened curtain .
 
That is a super idea. It is crazy how fast those used cages go on marketplace. Most everyone though only has the 30" tall and I want the 48" tall. Petsmart and Petco are both sold out of the 2x2x4 at this time as well. So it looks like I am on a wait list till they restock. I like the idea of the scened curtain .
I think it's because every one starts with a small cage then upgrades. I have a small cage but I plan to keep it in case I get another baby.
 

Toothless the cham

Established Member
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CC's Baby

Avid Member
Is the MIST KING 4.0 mist system LARGE enough for a 24x24x48??? Also -- What is the best Thermometer and Humidity Gage to purchase? I see one that says it is a zoo med rep thermo & a humidity gage on sale but not sure if these are cheap and don't work well ? Ordering my habitat as we speak and trying to throw in a couple of other items on sale.
 
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