Questions about setting up Pyg enclosure

Lingling

New Member
I'm setting up a new viv next week that will include some pygmies. I've set up terrariums before, but I want to do this one "right". I have a couple questions/ideas, hoping someone can give me a little insight.

First, substrate and draining. I'm using hydroton for water storage and a carbon (charcoal) layer above it for filtration. I was going to use coconut fiber (the sheets of it, used to line pots for hanging plants and such) to separate the hydtoton/carbon/soil. It seems like it would prevent the soil from packing down into the other layers, perhaps a bit better than mesh. Has anyone ever used this before?

What kind of soil does everyone use? Since the viv is just as much about the plants as it is the pygmies, I want something that will grow well and be good for the little guys. Organic soil or coconut bedding perhaps?

I'm picking up plants next week when I get back home from "vacation". How important is it to use cham safe plants with pygmies? Do pygs ever munch on plants? I'm not planning on using anything that I know is unsafe, but there are plenty of plants I would like that I simply don't know about. Is it a risk with pygmies?

Thanks for any advice.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
I use half eco-earth (coconut husk dirt) and half sand because it gives you better drainage. You want the soft substrate at least 3 inches deep so the females can lay eggs easily. My pygs don't munch on plants, and don't think that they really do that much in general. The coconut fiber sheets sound like a good idea! Let me know how that works. :)
 

Lingling

New Member
I use half eco-earth (coconut husk dirt) and half sand because it gives you better drainage. You want the soft substrate at least 3 inches deep so the females can lay eggs easily.
Alright, I'll try that out.

That's another thing... eggs. I know with most larger chams (I've only kept veiled and a panther) you have to remove and incubate the eggs. Is that different with pygs? I'd imagine it's difficult to find and dig them out of a heavily planted viv...

My goal is not to breed them, but I've heard they breed easily on their own once they're settled in. I suppose I should just be prepared.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
They do well just leaving them in the viv. I had to redo my tank shortly after eggs were laid so I was super careful and tried to just sift away dirt with a small spoon to avoid disturbing them (took forever btw) and still managed to scoop up two eggs without even noticing! Too hard to find them, and incubation conditions are the same as the adult viv conditions so you can just leave them in there. I'm incubating mine separately since I found them...due to hatch any day now!
 

Lingling

New Member
What happens when they hatch in the viv with the adults? I would think something so small wouldn't have much of a change with something so much bigger. Do the adults leave them alone?
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Best to remove them so you can make sure they get enough food and don't get intimidated by the adults. From what I've heard and read anyway...
 

Maurer3D

New Member
I'd still use a screen between the rocks and the coco-fiber sheet The chameleons might dig right thru the coco fiber while trying to bury eggs. The screen would prevent them getting into the drainage and possibly drowning.
 

Tandra Lee

New Member
i have been told and have read to remove the eggs as soon as you see them or find them,because if they hatch and you do not see the babies right away and you have some crix in the home they can actually eat on the babies and in some cases the parents have been noted to do the same..i would rather be safe than sorry.as for plants i have a veregated sheffelera(rubber tree) in my pygmy home,you can have asparagus ferns and boston ferns,pothos and a few others...my pygmy never munches his plants...good luck and cant wait to see the post saying"eggs!":D
 

BocaJan

New Member
I use the balls on the bottom, screen, charcoal, screen, then 3" of eco earth mixture ( eco earth mixed with coconut husk) a few pebbles and of course sticks and leaf pieces and terrarium plants. Be sure to thoroughly wash the roots of the plants before planting them. I had to totally redo my terrarium because of an infestation of little gnats or something because of infected plant soil. I love my pyggies and look every day for babies. I have found 3 and have a little terrarium and set up and ready to go for babies so they don't have to compete with the adults.
 

daveo

Established Member
Don't mean to hijack the thread but since we are on the subject of setting up pygmy enclosures, can you explain how the drainage works? Are there holes in the bottom of the tank that allows the water to flow out or does the water sit in the bottom of the tank and stagnate? I love the way your setups look but I just don't understand.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
The water filters down through the soil, charcoal (if present) and to the hydroballs at the bottom. The layers help it dissipate and not sit and stagnate and the hydroballs at the bottom absorb the water until it can evaporate so it's not just a pool sitting there. It only works with moderate water drainage, you can still flood the system because there is not an exit point from the bottom with glass tanks. I had a period of bad overwatering and the soil layer molded in the middle because the mud just collected water instead of letting it pass and the hydroballs were already soaked. That's why I use half sand, half soil because the water wont make mud, it goes down the layers like it's supposed to.
 

cian

New Member
I'm building a habitat for Pygmy's also and was wondering if a waterfall is ok in it. I know you shouldn't have use them with other cham species but what about these little ones.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Daveo - they like high humidity, but the cage should still dry out completely at least daily to prevent mold and bacteria growth. I don't use a dripper with mine, I just have a squirt bottle and squirt enough water that the leaves drip a little and they go and drink little bits off the sticks and leaves. They're so small that they don't need as much water at a time as the big species so it works well for them!

Cian - the waterfall isn't recommended in any cage really because bacteria just builds up in it unless you clean like every day. There isn't any kind of filtration system so it just continues to circulate whatever is in the water, and reptiles tend to like pooping in water. It looks pretty but is not very good for the animals it's marketed for.
 

cian

New Member
Ok, thanks no waterfall it'll be. I'm really excited to get it all finished up and get the little guys here.
 
Top Bottom