Paludarium..is this do-able?

Balien

Member
So I've had my heart set on a paludarium with fish/reptiles for some time, and have also had my eyes set on a veiled chameleon. However, I don't really have the space for two more enclosures. I've been researching, and haven't seen much on chameleons in paludariums. I know humidity is an issue, so here were my thoughts:

  • 40+ gallon aquarium as the base
  • Top would be 48 inches tall and all screen, minus a hood built over the top to conceal the lights
  • Good clean up crew in the tank for the waste that will inevitably fall in, plus a good filter (someone suggested one made for turtles)
  • Easy way out of the water if the chameleon did happen to fall in
I would love to hear some thoughts and suggestions on this build, I am very eager to make it work, but if it is ultimately unsafe for the chameleon I will pick either one or the other
 

Clayton0520

Avid Member
I have no idea but it sounds pretty bad @ss, iv looked at them myself but haven’t pulled the trigger yet because I don’t need any more pets lol. I do think it would be hard to keep your feeders out of the water, if they fell in your Cham might not be able to get to them and you may not want him to be able to. I have that problem with my standard cage. Crickets fall to the bottom and my guy doesn’t have access to the bottom. In the end I think you should go for it and keep us updated on how it turns out lol
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
It’s doable, but incredibly expensive to do safely. I’m building a small paludarium for dart frogs. This will still cost me well over $1000. Proper filtration, UV sterilization, plus bioactivity and all the proper lighting, fogger, mister, plus fan systems add up. Then you’ll need very accurate temp probes, both for the dry and wet part of the system. Heating can be an issue for the aquarium as it would lead to URI’s potentially, and could lead to difficult water chemistry problems. Honestly, a chameleon is probably a poor choice of above ground reptile as they prefer slightly drier humidity during the daytime hours. If you were to build it out, I would let it cycle without any reptiles for at least 6 months. I would add the extra time (I usually recommend 3 months), to let any small issues surface before you are risking an expensive pet. Again, I don’t want to say it isn’t possible, just want you to realize it takes a ton of careful planning, and money to do correctly.
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
A bio active paludarium will cost some serious moola but will be awesome in the long run. As for doing it with a cham... thats tough. Cams dont naturally regonize standing water, theyll fall into it thinking its a place to go. Ive seen a paludarium with a cham in it that had the water blocked by a screen and then aquatic filter plants on top of the screen, so if the cham did fall in it was only half inch of water. Basically it allowed the roots to go into the aquarium portion but for the most part they were sperated.
 

Balien

Member
A bio active paludarium will cost some serious moola but will be awesome in the long run. As for doing it with a cham... thats tough. Cams dont naturally regonize standing water, theyll fall into it thinking its a place to go. Ive seen a paludarium with a cham in it that had the water blocked by a screen and then aquatic filter plants on top of the screen, so if the cham did fall in it was only half inch of water. Basically it allowed the roots to go into the aquarium portion but for the most part they were sperated.
That sounds really neat! I will need at least a portion of the water to be open on top to feed the fish etc., but I think that would be relatively easy to accomplish
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Goose is 100% right, his post will probably be ignored because that's the hard truth.
Absolutley. I didnt know enough about chams at that time to know if the cham was doing well or not. Most Chams are arboreal, water is not something that they come across regularly, and if they do, its usually fatal. Paludariums are awesome, but youre bot recreating a chameleons natural habbitat throwing water in the mix. So the enclosure is for your benefit not the chams whoch is a step in the wrong direction.
 

Balien

Member
It’s doable, but incredibly expensive to do safely. I’m building a small paludarium for dart frogs. This will still cost me well over $1000. Proper filtration, UV sterilization, plus bioactivity and all the proper lighting, fogger, mister, plus fan systems add up. Then you’ll need very accurate temp probes, both for the dry and wet part of the system. Heating can be an issue for the aquarium as it would lead to URI’s potentially, and could lead to difficult water chemistry problems. Honestly, a chameleon is probably a poor choice of above ground reptile as they prefer slightly drier humidity during the daytime hours. If you were to build it out, I would let it cycle without any reptiles for at least 6 months. I would add the extra time (I usually recommend 3 months), to let any small issues surface before you are risking an expensive pet. Again, I don’t want to say it isn’t possible, just want you to realize it takes a ton of careful planning, and money to do correctly.
I have dart frogs in a vivarium right now, they are the greatest!

Do you think a fan combined with the screen would mitigate more of the humidity coming from the water? I do understand that this project will take time, and is not something I want to rush- I want to make sure I get it right the first time
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have dart frogs in a vivarium right now, they are the greatest!

Do you think a fan combined with the screen would mitigate more of the humidity coming from the water? I do understand that this project will take time, and is not something I want to rush- I want to make sure I get it right the first time
The problem isnt just that youll need a fan for airflow, its the ambient humidity, mixed with the fact that the chameleon will still need water on the plants at the top of the enclosure where youll be misting. This in combination with the water will be very hard to mitigate even with fans.
 
I’m interested in maybe transforming my glass vivarium into a paludarium, right now I have a baby veiled Cham in there. He’s probably only 2 to 2 and 1/2 months old. Is this a good idea?
 

Ares05

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m interested in maybe transforming my glass vivarium into a paludarium, right now I have a baby veiled Cham in there. He’s probably only 2 to 2 and 1/2 months old. Is this a good idea?
Hey, you should start your own thread if you have a question. This thread hasn't been posted on since June.

But, that sounds like a bad idea. The chameleon is too young to be thinking of adding something that isn't suitable (most of the time) into their environment.

Maybe you should start a thread and fill out the help sheet so that other members can take a look at your care. If you have a chameleon that young i'm assuming you just got him.
 

JackRipper

Avid Member
Look up Basilisks. The one lizard that is as cool if not cooler than a veiled chameleon. They thrive in paludariums. Water dragons are less attractive (still very beautiful) but better personality and more character simular to that of a bearded dragon and they also thrive in semi aquatic environments. A few chameleon species have been documented swimming in the wild however a veiled was not one of them and altho it can probably swim I would advise against it.
 

JackRipper

Avid Member
I've also seen them take to water to avoid a predator. Compare that video of the cham in water to that of the Basilisk. No comparison. One is ment for the trees and the other the water.
 
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