Open Air enclosure build thread

SeanCJ

Established Member
Hello All,
I thought I would share some of the progress with my new 'open air' enclosure for the chameleons I'll be ordering in a few weeks. Its a work in progress and I'll post as I go along.
Here is the base or 'pedestal' of the enclosure. It measures 61" wide by 49" deep by 20" tall. I still need to add some decorative wood inlays and attach the doors (door openings are on the other side and not pictured). The tree is about 8 feet tall to give you an idea of scale.
I'll post more pics when I have this sitting in place with the glass installed.


Here is my plan again for any that missed it :D
 

gonzalez6115

New Member
i wish i could do that with my cham, but my cats would somehow get into my room and torture him even more than they already do. i cant wait till i have my own place and im gonna get a ton of pets.
 

Heika

New Member
Hi Sean,

What type of trees are those?

If the pedestal is any indication, you are going to have a living piece of art when you are done.

Heika
 

SeanCJ

Established Member
Hi Sean,
What type of trees are those?
If the pedestal is any indication, you are going to have a living piece of art when you are done.
Heika
Hello Heika. The tree is a 'pleomele' tropical. Its a fairly old and mature tree that I paid a pretty penny for at the local greehnouse, but it is a great center piece and a perfect chameleon tree and was the closest tropical tree I could find that truly looks like a rainforest tree. I didn't want to go with a typical 'ficus' but I may add a small ficus to each side of this larger tree.
Thank you for the compliment.

so you have three metal halide bulbs in sync that imatate the sun going down?
Yes, the halides will come on in 2 hour succession, starting left to right. Each bulb will only be on 2 hours for a total of 6 'brighter' and 'hotter' basking hours. I'm doing all I can to simulate their natural environment as much as possible. I did this with my parsonii many years ago and it seemed to work as they bred and laid many eggs for me.
 

Jordan

New Member
That is looking good Sean. I was very intriqued when I saw your first design pictures. Now like Roo I can not wait to see the rest of this.
 

SeanCJ

Established Member
Sorry for the delay in getting up new pics of my open air enclosure. Progress was delayed during my vacation but I finally have the base pedastel in place with the drain system installed. The floating canopy with all lighting (4 48" flourescents and 2 70 watt spot halides), timers, and the 4 nozzle misting system has been hung from the ceiling. I'm still waiting on the glass for the short perimeter wall for the pedastel and then I can add some more tropicals and order the chameleons!
Oh, I'll be removing the pool cue rack also so there won't be anything for the chams to climb out on.:)
I'll be building the doors for the front this week.







 

SeanCJ

Established Member
May I live with you?
:D Sure! We have a spare bedroom downstairs very close to the aquarium and chameleon enclosure.
I'll take some more pics tomorrow when the halides are on. The light coming from the halide pushes through the larger tree branches creating what looks to be very much like natural sun beams. I can't wait to see the chams under this lighting.
Still have to make a decision though: Do I wait and save up for some parsonii (buy what I really want) or do I just get the harem of quads now (settle for second choice) and be happy? ;)
 
How is the misting plumed in? Photos please?

Unless you'll have the money for your pair plus, of C.parsonii before you finish counstruction, go with quadruple quads.
 

dimpleti

New Member
Big?

Hi Sean,

The plan looks gorgeous. How many chams are you ordering? Wat are they?
I am just wondering if the enclosure is too big for the chams? Coz I hav read it somewhere here (there are too many threads) that if the enclosure is too big then it is difficult for the chams to get their prey. Isnt it? I am just a beginner. If it is not, then I will go for a bigger cage too then.

tx

Kristi
 

Heika

New Member
That cage is turning out beautiful. What type of lighting did you end up going with? Do the halides and the flourescents produce UVB?
 

SeanCJ

Established Member
Will- Here are some more pics of the misting system manifold. I'm going to re plumb the pump at its end because I am adding a larger water resevoir so I'll take some pics of that connection when re-fabricated.
The misting manifold is a fairly simple 4 nozzle design made from 1/2" PVC, attached to the floating canopy. The manifold is attached to 1/2" flex tubing that I was able to hide almost completely by running through wall and ceiling back to the pump which is located in my furnace/storage room. Putting the pump there allows me a much larger water resevoir and puts the pump next to a drain in case of any leaks at that end.
Here are some pics for you:
Tubing and power cord feeding the canopy:

Shot of nozzle placement:

Manifold as it sits inside the canopy:

Another shot of the nozzle placement:


Hi Sean,
The plan looks gorgeous. How many chams are you ordering? Wat are they?
I am just wondering if the enclosure is too big for the chams? Coz I hav read it somewhere here (there are too many threads) that if the enclosure is too big then it is difficult for the chams to get their prey. Isnt it? I am just a beginner. If it is not, then I will go for a bigger cage too then.
tx
Kristi
Hello Kristi.
Thank you for the compliment. I am still up in the air in terms of my choice of chameleons. My passion is for parsonii but their current price causes me to think hard about that investment. I'm very partial to the montane species in general and my second favorite is the quadricornis. Unless $4500 drops in my lap this week, I'll most likely be getting a harem of quads from another hobbyist I found on a different forum. It will be 4 young adult females (all captive born) and one young wild caught male.
I am a firm believer that chameleons deserve the largest, most naturalistic, enclosure you can provide for them, as long as that enclosure can still meet all of their husbandry needs in terms of proper temps, humidity, access to food and water, and of course foliage for cover. The exception of course being for babies. They do need to be in smaller enclosures so you can keep a better 'eye' on them as they need daily monitoring.
I believe that you can properly feed any juvenile to adult chameleon in a large cage if you take the time to do it right. I plan on feeding my chameleons from a feeding station, that I will change the location of each feeding. I did this with all my many chameleons back in the 90's and it worked well. Keeping the food source in the feeding station (ie a low plastic bucket) keeps them from getting loose, away from fecal matter, and you can record/monitor how many food items your chams are eating, ect.. The chameleons quickly realize what that feeding station represents and they will come to it to feed. This is made easier and more reliable by placing the feeding station below the cham's eye level so they see the food inside from up above. By moving it around the enclosure, you assure that the chams have to move to eat. Of course I'll have fun hand feeding as well at times.
Wow, sorry for the long winded reply!:eek: My opinion is get the largest enclosure you can but make sure all of it fits the cham's needs.

That cage is turning out beautiful. What type of lighting did you end up going with? Do the halides and the flourescents produce UVB?
Hello Heika.
Thank you! I can't wait until I get the glass and can finally put all the plants in place. As far as lighting, I went with the planned dual 48" flourescent fixtures with a repti sun 5.0 and a 10.0 bulb each. I cut back from the planned 3 halides to only 2 due to space restrictions in the canopy as well as the fact that 2 cover the entire area well enough. The metal halides are 70 watt 6K bulbs on electronic ballasts on track systems, so I can move them and tilt them any way I prefer. This is a nice plus and helps me create just the right light angle and placement.
Here are some pics I just took showing one of the halides on along with the lighting coming in from the North windows. I think this will be perfect lighting for the montanes. The halides will only be on for 2 hours each, one from 2 to 4 and the other 4 to 6.
The bottom will be covered with tropicals so you won't be able to see any of the white board.


 

SeanCJ

Established Member
The reef tank looks great, too! Wish I had a room to display all MY 'living art'...very cool!
Thank you! Reef aquaria has been my passion for the past several years but has given way to my resurgance with the chams! :)
I debated on getting rid of the reef tank, one to provide funds for the parsonii and another so I could focus on the chams, but I was talked out of it by my local fish club :) They all told me I would be crazy to get rid of it. I hope the chams enjoy it too! ;)
 

craig

New Member
won't the chameleons escape? That is a beautiful setup but would be affraid to walk in the room and step on them:(
 

SeanCJ

Established Member
won't the chameleons escape? That is a beautiful setup but would be affraid to walk in the room and step on them:(
I believe that the 18" tall glass wall around the base, as in the diagrams on page one of this thread, will prevent any escapes. Chams can't climb glass and all branches will be well within the wall and away from reaching arms :)
I will cut back the trees so that even if a chameleon falls, they will always land within the perimeter wall.
If I'm wrong, and I do find the chams escaping, I will simply enclose this set up with glass from top to bottom (proper ventilation installed of course) ;)
 
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