New to this and want to make sure I’m getting it right

Sarah021828

New Member
Hello all. I’m Sarah and my 6 month old panther chameleon is named Cletus. I’ve never had a reptile before and I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to give him the best possible life. I’ve answered all the questions below and am open to any advice at all. I do have some particular questions I am seeking answers to.

Is the one bulb enough? I have the 80w ExoTerra Solar Glo. I am getting confused when reading about what is best on this topic.

How often should I mist his cage? If he drinks just fine whenever he feels like it, should I not be misting all the time to keep humidity up? I’ve read to do it twice a day but I’m worried it won’t be humid enough in that case.

Can I feed him too much? Should I really only feed him in the morning? What if anytime I put food in there he goes straight for it?

Are there better brand supplements I should be using?

It’s been 70-80 degrees F here lately so I’ve been taking him outside on his plant and in his cage for the entire day about once a week. As much as possible is good, right? I’m planning to build him a larger cage for outside. He won’t mind leaving his cage for that one, will he? Should I leave him mostly outside in the summer? How hot is too hot? Is there any reason to not build him a larger cage indoors now as well or should I wait until he is bigger?

Is putting his plant in the shower and letting him sit there with the light spatter hitting him good? 84 degrees for the water? Half an hour?


* Your Chameleon - Ambilobe Panther Chameleon, male, 6 months old, I’ve had him one month.
* Handling - I handle him a couple times a week for a few minutes, he doesn’t hiss or gape at me or anything. Doesn’t seem to mind as far as I can tell. Crawls on me and climbs my hair. Falls asleep on my hand.
* Feeding - I put about 12 crickets in his cage each morning. At some point throughout the day I give him a hornworm. The crickets are fed whatever fruits and veggies I have available. Planning to start getting the suggested foods I’ve found on this site and start breeding my own.
* Supplement - Exoterra calcium without d-3 every feeding, Rep-Cal calcium with d3 every two weeks, Rep Cal Herptivite with beta carotene multivitamin every 2 weeks.
* Watering - I’ve been keeping it pretty wet in there to keep humidity up. I have an automatic mister set to mist for 12 seconds every hour and I’ll go by several times a day and mist with my pressure mister. I see him drinking quite frequently. I’ve read that I should mist less frequently and for longer so I am trying to figure out what is best.
* Fecal Description - it’s brown and moist. Usually one large piece, sometimes 2 or three smaller ones. Urine is pure white, sometimes with a bit of yellow at the tip. He has never been tested for parasites.
* History - Nothing of note.

Cage Info:
* Cage Type - All screen, 18 by 18 by 36
* Lighting - I have only the Exo Terra Solar Glo 80 w and I keep it on about 12 hours per day.
* Temperature - his basking spot is 80 degrees F. Otherwise it’s about 72 throughout the cage day and night. I have a small thermometer inside the cage right beside his basking spot.
* Humidity - I have a humidity gauge inside his cage near the middle and it stays at about 60. I have a schefflera plant that he lives on and frequently mist his cage with the automatic mister and well as the pressure mister.
* Plants - the schefflera. Also had a Pothos and a cabbage but I killed those pretty quickly. Planning to try the Pothos again.
* Placement - The cage is in my living room and is directly on the floor so there is about 6 more feet from the top of his cage to the ceiling. It is not high traffic. There is an air vent nearby on the floor.
* Location - Atlanta
 

iMi

Established Member
Solar glow is a mercury vapor bulb. It’s sufficient on its own but you must be able to measure UVB output. Or replace every 6 months. Alternatively, you might want to consider a standard T5 lamp and a basking bulb. Everything else in your husbandry sounds good.
 

Sarah021828

New Member
Solar glow is a mercury vapor bulb. It’s sufficient on its own but you must be able to measure UVB output. Or replace every 6 months. Alternatively, you might want to consider a standard T5 lamp and a basking bulb. Everything else in your husbandry sounds good.

Thank you very much for your reply. Glad to hear it sounds like I’m doing okay so far!
 
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Ruthless

Avid Member
Having only one bulb is not good you need to get UVB light source. A 80 watt bulb could be too high of a wattage. How far is his basking area from the light and are you using a digital thermometer? Your cage should dry out between misting otherwise you will grown bacteria in a wet cage. Check out my post for a cheap easy way for helping with humidityhttps://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/alternate-clearside-diy.168320/ . Would definitely look into getting him into a 2x2x4 cage and off of the floor to reduce possible stress from being looked at as prey because you are hovering over him. Hornworms should be treating as a treat not a staple food. All your temperature and humidity gauges should be digital not analog. Hopes this helps you get going in the right direction I’m others will be here soon to help. Last but not least take some time to listen to Bill Strands chameleon breeder podcast there is a lot you can learn there.
 

Sarah021828

New Member
Having only one bulb is not good you need to get UVB light source. A 80 watt bulb could be too high of a wattage. How far is his basking area from the light and are you using a digital thermometer? Your cage should dry out between misting otherwise you will grown bacteria in a wet cage. Check out my post for a cheap easy way for helping with humidityhttps://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/alternate-clearside-diy.168320/ . Would definitely look into getting him into a 2x2x4 cage and off of the floor to reduce possible stress from being looked at as prey because you are hovering over him. Hornworms should be treating as a treat not a staple food. All your temperature and humidity gauges should be digital not analog. Hopes this helps you get going in the right direction I’m others will be here soon to help. Last but not least take some time to listen to Bill Strands chameleon breeder podcast there is a lot you can learn there.
Having only one bulb is not good you need to get UVB light source. A 80 watt bulb could be too high of a wattage. How far is his basking area from the light and are you using a digital thermometer? Your cage should dry out between misting otherwise you will grown bacteria in a wet cage. Check out my post for a cheap easy way for helping with humidityhttps://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/alternate-clearside-diy.168320/ . Would definitely look into getting him into a 2x2x4 cage and off of the floor to reduce possible stress from being looked at as prey because you are hovering over him. Hornworms should be treating as a treat not a staple food. All your temperature and humidity gauges should be digital not analog. Hopes this helps you get going in the right direction I’m others will be here soon to help. Last but not least take some time to listen to Bill Strands chameleon breeder podcast there is a lot you can learn there.

Thank you very much for taking the time to help me. His basking spot is about 10 inches from the bulb. Does anyone have a recommendation for which kind of UVB bulb to get and then do I use both 12 hours a day? I’ll spend whatever I need to to give him the best. The gauges are analog, so I will get digital instead. Thanks for the advice on the misting also. I switched the automatic mister to 2 minutes every 12 hours.
 

Sarah021828

New Member
Thank you very much for your reply. Glad to hear it sounds like I’m doing okay so far!
Solar glow is a mercury vapor bulb. It’s sufficient on its own but you must be able to measure UVB output. Or replace every 6 months. Alternatively, you might want to consider a standard T5 lamp and a basking bulb. Everything else in your husbandry sounds good.

So I don’t know much about lightbulbs. Are there any specifications I need to know about the t5 and basking bulb?
 

Ruthless

Avid Member
Ok lighting can be tricky but seeing you have a smaller cage right now you can go with zoomed T5 HO uvb 5.0 or Arcadia 6%. The T5 bulbs require a specific fixture you can go with one from Zoomed https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petco...ng/zoo-med-reptisun-t5-ho-terrarium-hood-24-l or Arcadia from http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/22-t-5-ho-fixture-high-output-with-arcadia-d3-6-ho-bulb/ your misting time could be at least 2 times a day something like a few hours after the lights come on and a few hours before the turn off. Once again check out Bill Strands podcast you can start here https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep9-chameleons-and-water/ there is more information on his podcast that you can learn from and don’t forget to hit the like button if any of this information helps it encourage the members and shows you appreciate our help (y)
 

iMi

Established Member
Thank you very much for taking the time to help me. His basking spot is about 10 inches from the bulb. Does anyone have a recommendation for which kind of UVB bulb to get and then do I use both 12 hours a day? I’ll spend whatever I need to to give him the best. The gauges are analog, so I will get digital instead. Thanks for the advice on the misting also. I switched the automatic mister to 2 minutes every 12 hours.
@Ruthless may be confused. What you have is sufficient, as I stated before, because a mercury vapor bulbs produce both UVA and UVB rays. They are similar in function to metal halide, but they have a tendency to sometime degrade faster and can have excessive output initially. That's why a meter would be very handy. They will also create more of a floodlight effect, which again is not a big deal in the type of environment you need to create which needs to be taller rather than wider...

The T5 or T8 lamp will produce UVB only. You'll still need a source of heat or a basking lamp or bulb. This is the most common approach. Tried and true. Again, it's very important you replace the UVB lamp every 6-12 months. The basking one you can keep until it gives up a ghost. Any halogen or incandescent bulb will do. Just adjust the wattage to achieve the proper temps. Use an infrared thermometer to measure.

Edit to add a sketch. I think it will be helpful to illustrate what we're talking about...

IMG_0138.png
 
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Ruthless

Avid Member
@iMi Not confused but with a T5 HO you get more coverage through out the cage as you know I’m sure. Yes you do need a basking bulb too. Zoomed has a 12 month guarantee but I change mine out every 10 months.
 

iMi

Established Member
@iMi Not confused but with a T5 HO you get more coverage through out the cage as you know I’m sure. Yes you do need a basking bulb too. Zoomed has a 12 month guarantee but I change mine out every 10 months.
Depends on what you consider "coverage." T5 will be more shallow but wider. Mercury Vapor will be more focused, but significantly deeper in terms of usable output.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
IME with MVB, it'd be ridiculous to use one without a meter, but if you have one, and room to adjust it(up to a couple feet) then they can make nice bulbs. I used one on my free range and my cham did seem to like it, but it had to sit 3 feet away... so no heat was making it that far. It did splash the uvb nicely though. I had the bulb diagonally facing the free range and the readings I got were spread out nicely. I was very happy using it in that situation.
 
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