Planted vivarium - plant food help please

EMBO2021

Member
Hi all, I’m new to the forum.
I have a roughly 5 month old veiled chameleon, Wally, think she’s a she......
I have a fully planted vivarium with some plastic vines for support. All going well, but the ficus has lost a lot of its body, leaves dropping etc so I need to give the plants some food. Can anyone recommend a chameleon safe product? Someone suggested Phostrogen but I can’t seem to find anything online about the safety of it.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
thank you.
 

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Mendez

Avid Member
I couldn't tell you what food or nutrients you should get for your plant. What lighting are you using? Proper lighting leads to proper plants. I have never had a plant issue with good lighting. I use two 36-watt sansi bulbs on my cage. Though other members like @Madmango use a sansi bulb with less wattage which is more affordable. You can also look into arcadia jungle dawns but they are expensive when sansi bulbs can do the job just as well or even better.
 

Shanar808

Avid Member
The chameleon academy podcast has a plant episode I listened to today and he specifically mentions that a ficus will drop all its leaves but grow new ones that are better suited for its new lighting conditions. Also depends on your soil and watering (and yes the lighting is key). New soil should have more nutrients but if it’s not you may need a boost. CaskAbove.com has a plant care page and some fertilizer and soil items that might help you a lot. Good luck! ☺️
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi all, I’m new to the forum.
I have a roughly 5 month old veiled chameleon, Wally, think she’s a she......
I have a fully planted vivarium with some plastic vines for support. All going well, but the ficus has lost a lot of its body, leaves dropping etc so I need to give the plants some food. Can anyone recommend a chameleon safe product? Someone suggested Phostrogen but I can’t seem to find anything online about the safety of it.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
thank you.
Hi there, and welcome to the forums! My questions are a little off-track, sorry! Is that a mercury vapor bulb you’re using? Could you post pics of your chameleon and your full enclosure (and add its size as well), please? It’s just that from the angle you posted makes it look like only the bottom parts of the enclosure are being used. Also, if you post a clear pic of the back of your chameleon’s back feet, it’ll help us sex him/her.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
You could use earthworm castings, but I agree that a good plant light will work wonders. Also, some plants will lose their leaves when replanted, but they will regrow. I believe weeping fig is one of those that does that.
 

EMBO2021

Member
Hi there, and welcome to the forums! My questions are a little off-track, sorry! Is that a mercury vapor bulb you’re using? Could you post pics of your chameleon and your full enclosure (and add its size as well), please? It’s just that from the angle you posted makes it look like only the bottom parts of the enclosure are being used. Also, if you post a clear pic of the back of your chameleon’s back feet, it’ll help us sex him/her.
Hi there. Please bear with me whilst I look up what lamp I am using. I’ll get back to you.
here are 2 photos.
Because I am new to this whole reptile keeping, when we put a trellis up the back of the viv right to the top, it scared the life out of me that Wally went onto the basking lamp cage, so I removed it. S/he can now reach up to the lamp cage AND more importantly get back down safely! Before I was terrified he’d fry himself!!!!
I plan on doing a substrate change at the weekend (if he’ll be good and come out for half an hour!) and if you think it’s worth it I can put more height in with trellis or plants.
 

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EMBO2021

Member
Hi there, and welcome to the forums! My questions are a little off-track, sorry! Is that a mercury vapor bulb you’re using? Could you post pics of your chameleon and your full enclosure (and add its size as well), please? It’s just that from the angle you posted makes it look like only the bottom parts of the enclosure are being used. Also, if you post a clear pic of the back of your chameleon’s back feet, it’ll help us sex him/her.
It’s a pro rep basking spot 100w ES.
I don’t know if that’s a Mercury vapour one or not.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there. Please bear with me whilst I look up what lamp I am using. I’ll get back to you.
here are 2 photos.
Because I am new to this whole reptile keeping, when we put a trellis up the back of the viv right to the top, it scared the life out of me that Wally went onto the basking lamp cage, so I removed it. S/he can now reach up to the lamp cage AND more importantly get back down safely! Before I was terrified he’d fry himself!!!!
I plan on doing a substrate change at the weekend (if he’ll be good and come out for half an hour!) and if you think it’s worth it I can put more height in with trellis or plants.

Thank you! That bulb is a heat only one (which is perfect)! Cut the top off of your enclosure if possible and put aluminum screen there instead for better airflow, less risk of thermal burns, and safer UVI levels. Then put the linear UVB on top of the screen, along with the heat bulb. Get a reflector for the UVB (needed for better UVB) and a dome fixture for the heat bulb (optional but will make sure nothing near the bulb on top of the screen will get burned) if you can. What strength UVB fixture do you have (T8 or T5 High Output)? What brand, age, and strength of UVB bulb do you have? How far away is it from her basking branch? Could you add any more ventilation holes at/near the bottom of her enclosure to make sure there is plenty of airflow (via the chimney effect)? Don’t use any substrate unless you‘re bioactive (which I don’t believe you are), so take that out ASAP, along with covering the soil in all of the plant pots with rocks too big for her to eat. She is indeed a female (such a cute name, too!), so she needs a proper and permanent lay bin in her enclosure ASAP. Definitely add more height with the trellis and plants! She needs tons of chameleon-safe live plants (properly cleaned off and with rocks covering the soil- you’re doing a great job with the amount!), dead/live real vines and fake ones without leaves on them, and multiple species and diameters of branches (none from toxic or sap-producing trees) filling every inch of her enclosure! Here are some great links and images (read through every module and listen to as many podcasts as possible from The Chameleon Academy, as they have the most up-to-date and accurate info!):

https://www.chameleons.info/en/
http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/2007/12/keeping-female-veiled.html
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/external-resources/
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://chameleonacademy.com/veiled-chameleon-care/
https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/
https://chameleonacademy.com/setting-up-a-chameleon-cage/
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html

If you want any more of your husbandry reviewed, just copy and paste the ask for help form and fill it out with as much detail as possible! You’ve done great so far (only a few tweaks are needed)! Sorry if I overloaded you with info or came off as anything other than helpful!
 

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EMBO2021

Member
HER!!!!! Basking spot is just there (needs the calcidust brushing off from teatime!) which is more or less exactly 8 inches below the lamp (I’m rather neurotic lol) the UVB is a 15w 10% UVB T8, and it’s diagonal across the top of the Viv. She tends to sit a lot not directly under the basking light but a little to the left of that picture behind the umbrella plant.
Since just before her last shed (last weekend) she’s been reluctant to come out.
I know they’re not massive into being handled but I am keen for her to come out at least every few days so I can get in and fettle, prune, clean etc.
 

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EMBO2021

Member
Hi there. Please bear with me whilst I look up what lamp I am using. I’ll get back to you.
here are 2 photos.
Because I am new to this whole reptile keeping, when we put a trellis up the back of the viv right to the top, it scared the life out of me that Wally went onto the basking lamp cage, so I removed it. S/he can now reach up to the lamp cage AND more importantly get back down safely! Before I was terrified he’d fry himself!!!!
I plan on doing a substrate change at the weekend (if he’ll be good and come out for half an hour!) and if you think it’s worth it I can put more height in with trellis or plants.

Thank you! That bulb is a heat only one (which is perfect)! Cut the top off of your enclosure if possible and put aluminum screen there instead for better airflow, less risk of thermal burns, and safer UVI levels. Then put the linear UVB on top of the screen, along with the heat bulb. Get a reflector for the UVB (needed for better UVB) and a dome fixture for the heat bulb (optional but will make sure nothing near the bulb on top of the screen will get burned) if you can. What strength UVB fixture do you have (T8 or T5 High Output)? What brand, age, and strength of UVB bulb do you have? How far away is it from her basking branch? Could you add any more ventilation holes at/near the bottom of her enclosure to make sure there is plenty of airflow (via the chimney effect)? Don’t use any substrate unless you‘re bioactive (which I don’t believe you are), so take that out ASAP, along with covering the soil in all of the plant pots with rocks too big for her to eat. She is indeed a female (such a cute name, too!), so she needs a proper and permanent lay bin in her enclosure ASAP. Definitely add more height with the trellis and plants! She needs tons of chameleon-safe live plants (properly cleaned off and with rocks covering the soil- you’re doing a great job with the amount!), dead/live real vines and fake ones without leaves on them, and multiple species and diameters of branches (none from toxic or sap-producing trees) filling every inch of her enclosure! Here are some great links and images (read through every module and listen to as many podcasts as possible from The Chameleon Academy, as they have the most up-to-date and accurate info!):

https://www.chameleons.info/en/
http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/2007/12/keeping-female-veiled.html
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/external-resources/
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://chameleonacademy.com/veiled-chameleon-care/
https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/
https://chameleonacademy.com/setting-up-a-chameleon-cage/
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html

If you want any more of your husbandry reviewed, just copy and paste the ask for help form and fill it out with as much detail as possible! You’ve done great so far (only a few tweaks are needed)! Sorry if I overloaded you with info or came off as anything other than helpful!
Ooooooooh. We’ve stopped with crickets now. Horrible things. Lol. So hoppers only and mealworms as a treat (which I just saw is not recommended! She certainly likes them though!)
Re gutloading we do this with carrot peeling, blueberries and kiwi, rotate critter tanks so can be kept clean and mould free. Offered blueberries to Wally but not interested. Thanks for all the help so far 😁
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ooooooooh. We’ve stopped with crickets now. Horrible things. Lol. So hoppers only and mealworms as a treat (which I just saw is not recommended! She certainly likes them though!)
Re gutloading we do this with carrot peeling, blueberries and kiwi, rotate critter tanks so can be kept clean and mould free. Offered blueberries to Wally but not interested. Thanks for all the help so far 😁
Try some more variety in feeders, she’ll love it! Yes, mealworms as only treats (just rare or not at all, though). Try more varied and healthier gutload ingredients, it’s better for Wally! Variety is key for both, if you couldn’t tell🤣! Make sure to either pick out and gutload all feeders you’ll feed off separarely with a good gutload over night to a few hours before feeding off or constantly feeding all bug colonies 24/7 with a good gutload.
 

EMBO2021

Member
ERKleRose thanks for all your help.
I’ve made the following decision - don’t want to change too much all at once.
At the weekend I intend to remove the bark and clean and disinfect the sump.
I have ordered some worm castings and organic potting soil as MissSkittles suggested (Thankyou) and when I sort the Viv I will fertilise the existing plants with that.
Going to sort a laying tub for her, hubby is going to get some play sand tomorrow.
going to switch from meal worms to silkworms, and keep on with the hoppers.
as she gets bigger and more used to being out of the Viv, we will then look at installing an external rather than internal heat lamp as suggested. For now we will add another tall ficus Benjami and next time I deep clean will put the trellis back. I don’t want to change too much at once because if she starts to display odd signs there’ll be too much of a quandary as to what she doesn’t like. (That’s the scientist in me lol)
Hope that sounds reasonable!
thanks again for everyone’s help 👍
 

EMBO2021

Member
Try some more variety in feeders, she’ll love it! Yes, mealworms as only treats (just rare or not at all, though). Try more varied and healthier gutload ingredients, it’s better for Wally! Variety is key for both, if you couldn’t tell🤣! Make sure to either pick out and gutload all feeders you’ll feed off separarely with a good gutload over night to a few hours before feeding off or constantly feeding all bug colonies 24/7 with a good gutload.
Constantly fed in a cricket pen atm.
 
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