Overwhelmed by information.... Looking for advice on cage upgrade!

Hi, I have a chameleon cage I built about 2 years ago when I first got the little bugger. The current setup is 2'x2'x5' wood cage I built myself and I really like the size, but it has some problems. This is my first chameleon, and so it has been a real learning process, and I'm ready at this point to upgrade and solve those problems!

my needs:
  • budget is around $200-$400 USD
  • manage drainage!
  • possibly live plants
  • size for an adult male veiled.

Current Issues:
  1. the door doesn't have a perfect seal, so crickets often escape
  2. the mesh is fiberglass (instead of aluminum) and crickets have eaten small holes into it (another means of escape)
  3. I hadn't taken water drainage into consideration, so it leaks when I mist (I've bootlegged some drip catchers/plastic bags to help alleviate this)
  4. the highest branches are a bit far from the ceiling, and the crickets run there so my cham is often unable to get to them when he wants to (this isn't a super big deal though)

I've considered trying my hand with aluminum screen framing (see image), but I don't have any experience using it so I'm not sure where to start on that, but It would allow me to keep the current height of 5'.

I am also not against buying a cage like the Zoo Med 2'x2'x4' either, but it seems more expensive and less rewarding.

I found this for branch/vine support on the side which seems nice https://dragonstrand.com/dragon-ledges/

I guess I haven't really asked any questions, so here are some specific questions
  • If I end up building an aluminum cage from scratch, does anybody have specific reccomendations/directions for assembly? specifically:
    • What is an effective way to attach the panels to each other?
    • How do I attach hinges for a 2 door setup (if that's even worth it)
    • What do I do about the bottom panel (do i also use aluminum mesh screen? is there a way to make it glass? should I make it glass?
  • how do I feed a misting nozzle through a mesh screen?
  • What is an effective method for catching water drainage?
  • I've looked into some of the information on this forum about bioactive setups too, but it seems a bit too overwhelming for me to manage. That said, is it possible to do a hybrid bioactive plant setup with a large square planter at the bottom of the cage that my veiled can just poop onto? Or is it an all/nothing sort of thing?
Sorry if this is too many words/questions and if i'm asking in the wrong spot or something!


Chameleon Enthusiast
A 2x2x5 is actually more than recommended. Most people here use 2x2x4s or smaller. Unfortunately I have no expirience building enclosures but a 2x2x5sounds awesome!


Chameleon Enthusiast
I will start with drainage. A washing machine drainage tray is a great size for a base. 29x33 I believe. It comes with the bulk head for drain. @ $35

If you go with screen, the commercial ones are just put together with screws. Look up assembly instructions for them to see what they use.
I wouldn't worry about the bottom, the screen can just sit on the drainage tray, glue if you need the stability.

Look in market place, the give away free old window screens all the time. A little elbow grease and some aluminum screen and you can save some cash.

As for crickets I would cup/container feed it is easier to manage how much and vitamins.


Chameleon Enthusiast
If you buy a commercial enclosure, I highly recommend the dragon ledges. Regardless of whatever enclosure you have, a shooting gallery feeder is great for helping to contain crickets and other feeders. You can buy one here. https://tkchameleons.com/
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