Question for Chamis who want to be out of their enclosures for long periods of time

chamimom

Member
Hi, I'm not sure if this is the place to ask or not, but when people free range their chameleons, how do their chamis get enough UVB and heat? Genesis keeps wanting to come out and climb all over her ficus tree, but she wants to be there all day, and I have no UVB bulb for her there. I am not free ranging her, but since she seems to be happiest when she is able to be out, I want her to be able to be out for good amounts of time.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there. Most will provide a UVB and heat source. But that is if she is out all day. If it is only a few hours and the rest of the time she is in the cage with UVB then you really do not have to worry.

She may not be happy in the enclosure... If the set up is not quite right for her. Maybe post a few pics of the enclosure lights down so we can see what your working with.
 

chamimom

Member
Hey, there @Beman! Thanks for responding! Actually, though I did my research and have the enclosure set up properly for a chameleon (as far as branches, greenery, lighting go--unfortunately, I did what I knew not to do and went with the pet worker's suggestions at the beginning), it's too small. I did not realize how quickly she would grow and got the silly 16x16x30 or something like that. So I definitely think it's just too small, and she definitely wants to go higher while inside. I have been waiting for my Dragon Strand atrium for around 3 weeks, and it FINALLY arrived today!!! I am unpacking this gem now and am going to try to get it together tonight. After I get it completely set up, I will get some pics and send just in case you have any suggestions, which I am absolutely open to :).

Today an amazing thing happened, though. She LOVES her ficus tree, and even though she has always been eager to get to it after she comes out, this time once she got onto my my finger, she turned her relaxed light green color and did not want to go onto it. She even ate out of the cup from off my finger! I actually had to coax her to get onto the tree because I had to get back to some urgent work I was doing. Usually when I see people on You Tube or other places thinking their chameleon actually wants to choose them over the tree, it's because they themselves are higher than the tree and the chameleon wants to go higher. However, I have the small ficus higher up than my head, and she still wanted to stay with me and was headed towards her favorite perching spot: my head. She has NEVER turned her relaxed green while on me. She would always turn that color AFTER getting on her tree, so I cannot tell you how happy that made me today! She's just so awesome!

I do have a UVB that I can attach to the ceiling on the way and am working on plans for a well-structured free-ranging environment for her. It's going to be awesome. But...I will need to ask everyone on here about how far away from the UVB she should be, because since it will be hung from the ceiling, I got a stronger one that is used in green houses. I know about how their retinas can get burnt from it being too strong when they are too close, so I may need some help with that. The light and fixture arrive on Wednesday.

Okay, back to the fun of working on putting together this Dragon Strand atrium! Hopefully she will be happy with it! I will get back to you as soon as I can with pictures! :D
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey, there @Beman! Thanks for responding! Actually, though I did my research and have the enclosure set up properly for a chameleon (as far as branches, greenery, lighting go--unfortunately, I did what I knew not to do and went with the pet worker's suggestions at the beginning), it's too small. I did not realize how quickly she would grow and got the silly 16x16x30 or something like that. So I definitely think it's just too small, and she definitely wants to go higher while inside. I have been waiting for my Dragon Strand atrium for around 3 weeks, and it FINALLY arrived today!!! I am unpacking this gem now and am going to try to get it together tonight. After I get it completely set up, I will get some pics and send just in case you have any suggestions, which I am absolutely open to :).

Today an amazing thing happened, though. She LOVES her ficus tree, and even though she has always been eager to get to it after she comes out, this time once she got onto my my finger, she turned her relaxed light green color and did not want to go onto it. She even ate out of the cup from off my finger! I actually had to coax her to get onto the tree because I had to get back to some urgent work I was doing. Usually when I see people on You Tube or other places thinking their chameleon actually wants to choose them over the tree, it's because they themselves are higher than the tree and the chameleon wants to go higher. However, I have the small ficus higher up than my head, and she still wanted to stay with me and was headed towards her favorite perching spot: my head. She has NEVER turned her relaxed green while on me. She would always turn that color AFTER getting on her tree, so I cannot tell you how happy that made me today! She's just so awesome!

I do have a UVB that I can attach to the ceiling on the way and am working on plans for a well-structured free-ranging environment for her. It's going to be awesome. But...I will need to ask everyone on here about how far away from the UVB she should be, because since it will be hung from the ceiling, I got a stronger one that is used in green houses. I know about how their retinas can get burnt from it being too strong when they are too close, so I may need some help with that. The light and fixture arrive on Wednesday.

Okay, back to the fun of working on putting together this Dragon Strand atrium! Hopefully she will be happy with it! I will get back to you as soon as I can with pictures! :D

Congrats on the atrium they are wonderful. Here is my build thread if you want to get ideas https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/new-dragon-strand-hybrid-large-atrium-for-my-beman-3.176158/

You will want to buy a solarmeter 6.5 if you plan on having uvb over the free range. The uvi levels without screen are much stronger so you need to know exact distances for placement to get the right UVI level of 3.
 

chamimom

Member
Congrats on the atrium they are wonderful. Here is my build thread if you want to get ideas https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/new-dragon-strand-hybrid-large-atrium-for-my-beman-3.176158/

You will want to buy a solarmeter 6.5 if you plan on having uvb over the free range. The uvi levels without screen are much stronger so you need to know exact distances for placement to get the right UVI level of 3.

Thanks so much! Okay, so I'm going to try her in her atrium without free ranging to see if that makes a difference, but I will store the info on the lighting you gave me. Also, I still would like to hang the lighting above the atrium, whose top is about 5-6" from the ceiling. What do you think of the Sun Blaze T5 High Output for that job? This one:

https://www.amazon.com/Sun-Blaze-Fl...jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

Would this work? The light I currently have is a T8 15 watt
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks so much! Okay, so I'm going to try her in her atrium without free ranging to see if that makes a difference, but I will store the info on the lighting you gave me. Also, I still would like to hang the lighting above the atrium, whose top is about 5-6" from the ceiling. What do you think of the Sun Blaze T5 High Output for that job? This one:

https://www.amazon.com/Sun-Blaze-Fl...jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

Would this work? The light I currently have is a T8 15 watt
So are you have the DS atrium that is 4 foot wide and tall right? If so your going to need far more light then that. I run 3 single t5 fixtures 1 for UVB and 2 daylight bulbs and could easily run a forth. Getting a sunblaze quad may be better even if your planning on hanging it or putting it up on a rack.

Whatever you do your distances have to be correct for UVB... So your looking for a total of 9 inches to basking with a 6% bulb and 12 inches to basking with a 12% uvb bulb.

So if basking is 5-6 inches below the ceiling then you have to subtract that from the total distance for the bulb being used and only raise it off the top that much.

Does that make sense?
 

chamimom

Member
So are you have the DS atrium that is 4 foot wide and tall right? If so your going to need far more light then that. I run 3 single t5 fixtures 1 for UVB and 2 daylight bulbs and could easily run a forth. Getting a sunblaze quad may be better even if your planning on hanging it or putting it up on a rack.

Whatever you do your distances have to be correct for UVB... So your looking for a total of 9 inches to basking with a 6% bulb and 12 inches to basking with a 12% uvb bulb.

So if basking is 5-6 inches below the ceiling then you have to subtract that from the total distance for the bulb being used and only raise it off the top that much.

Does that make sense?


Oh, sorry--I totally forgot to tell the size! It's 4 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. That is the largest option that I saw available at the time. And yes, the distance stuff you said makes sense. However, what do you mean a 6% or 12% bulb--I mean I am assuming that is the output of UVB, but I want to make sure. And how do I know the percentage of the bulb that I am getting? I don't know that I've seen a percentage like that when looking around.

Thank you SOOO much for the help and support! I appreciate it, and Genesis will, too, haha. I could research things pretty well on the net, but all the different lighting info was overwhelming and confusing.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh, sorry--I totally forgot to tell the size! It's 4 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. That is the largest option that I saw available at the time. And yes, the distance stuff you said makes sense. However, what do you mean a 6% or 12% bulb--I mean I am assuming that is the output of UVB, but I want to make sure. And how do I know the percentage of the bulb that I am getting? I don't know that I've seen a percentage like that when looking around.

Thank you SOOO much for the help and support! I appreciate it, and Genesis will, too, haha. I could research things pretty well on the net, but all the different lighting info was overwhelming and confusing.
ok you don't have the atrium then you have the Tall. So your still going to need more lighting then the UVB lighting.

A rack system may be easier for you. The cage sits on it and then the top shelf of the unit is used to place your lighting on top of. This would be good as well because you have more control of temps for her.

Take a look at this... https://chameleonacademy.com/case-study-2-x-2-x-4-cage/

There are links to how Bill does it with a rack. Look at the sunblaze dual fixtures... then one would be your daylight bulb for plants and the other would be your uvb.

And like I said the percentage of the bulb depends on your total distance to basking, fixture type, and reflector... Let me know what fixture you like and I can recommend your bulb strength based on the fixture type and reflector.
 

chamimom

Member
ok you don't have the atrium then you have the Tall. So your still going to need more lighting then the UVB lighting.

A rack system may be easier for you. The cage sits on it and then the top shelf of the unit is used to place your lighting on top of. This would be good as well because you have more control of temps for her.

Take a look at this... https://chameleonacademy.com/case-study-2-x-2-x-4-cage/

There are links to how Bill does it with a rack. Look at the sunblaze dual fixtures... then one would be your daylight bulb for plants and the other would be your uvb.

And like I said the percentage of the bulb depends on your total distance to basking, fixture type, and reflector... Let me know what fixture you like and I can recommend your bulb strength based on the fixture type and reflector.

Oh, okay, I understood the inches but didn't catch that the percentage had to do with distance. Thank you for explaining. I will definitely look at the sunblaze dual fixtures and the rack. I do have live plants.

Okay, so let me look around online, and I'll get back to you about the fixture. Thanks SOOO much again!!!! I couldn't be more grateful!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh, okay, I understood the inches but didn't catch that the percentage had to do with distance. Thank you for explaining. I will definitely look at the sunblaze dual fixtures and the rack. I do have live plants.

Okay, so let me look around online, and I'll get back to you about the fixture. Thanks SOOO much again!!!! I couldn't be more grateful!
Your welcome hun. In that link I gave you Bill has a link to the rack he recommends.
 

chamimom

Member
Your welcome hun. In that link I gave you Bill has a link to the rack he recommends.

Hey, so I liked the rack idea, but with how we have things sort of set up, I'm not sure it would work. I'm thinking hanging from the ceiling will work. What do you think about this fixture?

https://www.amazon.com/Oppolite-Flu...aa15&pd_rd_wg=ohHjh&ref_=pd_gw_ci_mcx_mr_hp_d

Sorry it took me so long to get back. I have three little ones to chase around and home school outside of working on this project, so that kept me busy most of the time today :).
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey, so I liked the rack idea, but with how we have things sort of set up, I'm not sure it would work. I'm thinking hanging from the ceiling will work. What do you think about this fixture?

https://www.amazon.com/Oppolite-Flu...aa15&pd_rd_wg=ohHjh&ref_=pd_gw_ci_mcx_mr_hp_d

Sorry it took me so long to get back. I have three little ones to chase around and home school outside of working on this project, so that kept me busy most of the time today :).
Yes it would... And this one has the reflectors coming up between the bulb so you will only ever use a 6% or a 5.0 bulb at a total distance of 9 inches away from the basking level. If you use a stronger bulb like a 12% or a 10.0 then that would require a total distance of 12 inches away from the basking branch.

So figure out where you will hang it and base bulb strength on distance to basking. Your UVB bulb should be housed in one of the inside positions of the fixture rather then the outside edge. Temps are going to be warmer with a quad like this... So you may not need a basking fixture at all.
 

chamimom

Member
Hey! So the lighting equipment finally came in a couple days ago, and I worked hours yesterday getting everything set up. Here are the results! :D Thank SO much for your help!
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey! So the lighting equipment finally came in a couple days ago, and I worked hours yesterday getting everything set up. Here are the results! :D Thank SO much for your help!
Good job just double check your temps... Because you have the quad you may not need the basking fixture. females are kept 78-80 max at basking to control clutch size.
 

chamimom

Member
Good job just double check your temps... Because you have the quad you may not need the basking fixture. females are kept 78-80 max at basking to control clutch size.

Thank you! I didn't know females were kept at only 78-80. Anyhow, with the lighting fixture, the temps were only reaching like 74. I added a heating lamp because I thought basking had to be between 90-95, but I can put a weaker bulb in.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you! I didn't know females were kept at only 78-80. Anyhow, with the lighting fixture, the temps were only reaching like 74. I added a heating lamp because I thought basking had to be between 90-95, but I can put a weaker bulb in.
Oh yes, females require lower temps and reduced feeding. This controls clutch size and makes it easier on them when they have to lay. Most keep their girls at 78.
Males would be kept no warmer then 80-85
 
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