Rainmakers/ultimate drip system


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Could you replace the regular routine of hand misting and using a localized dripper by creating a "rainmaker?" By rainmaker I mean a rubbermaid container or a 5 gallon bucket, a submersible fountain/aquarium pump, and some pvc pipe. If you drilled some holes in the pvc and ran it over the top of the enclosure water would drip out creating somewhat of a shower. You would have to keep the pressure in the pipe down so the water drips out and not shoots out, this could easily be done by recirculating the undripped pressure causing water back into the resevoir(sp?). Seems feasible and more natural than misting systems, misting bottles and localized drippers. Pretty cheap too, the most expensive thing would be the pump. Maybe I'm wrong, and it's obviously not efficient for larger scale growers, but for small scale keepers with a good drainage systems would a couple 15-30 minute rain showers a day rival a misting system?
I feel the misting is just as important as water dripping for them to drink. I feel it is essential to keeping a healthy chameleon.
I think you may be onto something. There are little fitting that go on pipe that creates mist. They are for like out door patios. If you could come up with a pump that could give it the pressure you needed you could make your own mister. I am not sure if a waterfall pump will do it. They are designed for flow not pressure. I dont know if it would be cost effective compaired to the systems availble. But there is an opportunity for it if you take your time and do your research.
While this would theoretically work, the main reason you don't see setups like this is the duration of watering and the amount of water needed. With a fine mist pump and nozzle type setup, I can run 6 nozzles for a total of 5 hours and only pump 5 gallons of water. For the setup that you're describing to adequately cover the cage area and flow for the required amount of time, you are talking about moving closer to a hundred gallons of water every week. That's absolutely crazy, so unless you can directly tap into your homes plumbing and drainage, it isn't worth it. It would be more costly than a misting system, would be less efficient and I doubt your cham would appreciate it anymore than conventional hydration means.
In reality the dripping water from numerous drip heads is a great idea and one I employ for outdoor setups. The chams seem to enjoy it more than the misting. I run mine off a hydrant timer made by Nelson and use common drip irrigation hardware found at any super center or home improvement store. It is a bit cheaper to set up and delivers an incredible amount more water than a misting system. However this is also it’s down fall as lowend mentioned. It is impractical to think you could drain off one drip per second from say 20-25 drip heads per 2x2x4 enclosure for 30 minutes several times daily. I guess if you built an enclosure around a utility sink and plumbed it into your house you could do it, but if you got a clog you would be in trouble. Great for outdoor setups, impractical for indoor.

-Zerah J Morris
Thanks for your input everybody. I know from my description this contraption may be hard to envision, it would look somewhat similar to a humidifier w/pvc setup, except the piping would flow back into the resevoir, and instead of a humidifier imagine a 5 gallon bucket. Simply drilling holes in the pvc may cause more than just a drip or two a second, which is what I envision. You may need to set it up so it has valves similar to what you see in small chameleon drippers.

Good drainage would be a must, but no more so than those of you with misting systems. Currently I use a 32oz dripper, thats 1/4 of a gallon for my jacksons chameleon, at one drop per a second it runs for at least 180 minutes. Now let's cut the duration of that down to 30 minutes it would only put out about 5oz of water. Now if I had 20 dripper sites running at one drop per second for 30 minutes I would only put out about 100oz of water, about 3/4 of a gallon. Do that twice a day, hey why not go three times a day and you only get about 300 oz of water, or a little over two gallons. Maybe my 32oz dripper puts out less than a drop per a second and that's throwing my math off, but not by too much. At three times per a day for 30 minutes per session your drainage problems can still be solved by a $2 5 gallon bucket or similar sized rubbermaid placed under your cages drain.

Lowendfrequency your system is much more efficient and I'm not trying to bad mouth misting systems especially not when you're talking about a larger number of cages. You said you run your system for five hours a day, you must have some nozzles that create a very fine mist with a very low gph rate. Are you using a Promist system? Regardless of the brand of your system you said you're running it for five hours a day, I'm assuming the 6 nozzles are for 6 different cages meaning each cage is getting 5/6 a gallon of water, which is more efficient than my ~2 1/4 gallons, but not enough so to make this idea impractical. You're system probably keeps a much more steady humidity level as well.

My main interest in this is for chameleons who don't like me shooting them with mist and don't seem to want to have to seek out a dripper. I've never seen my jacksons seek out his dripper and drink from it, but he loves showers,drinks like crazy in the shower. So to reduce the stress of handling this already shy chameleon and taking him to the shower 3-5 times a week, why not bring the shower to him? Maybe a misting system is the way to go especially since I plan on expanding my collection, but I would like to see some more thought put into this before people start saying its impractical.
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They still need to have water hit their bodies...it washes their eyes and hydrates their skin. What is the temp of the water you are misting them with?
No one wants to be hit with cold water. I use a hose from a faucet with pure hot water and a fogger knozzle which is a lot of mist. By the time the water hits them it's just shower warm. Most of my chameleons have come to enjoy it and will move closer to the spray. The others just sit there but they don't move away.
Your description is not hard to envision. I am not dismissing it as impractical without testing and research. I have had WC animals that hated, not just mildly disliked misting. After doing some research and planning I have developed two mass drip strategies that work, but have been relegated to outdoor use for a variety of reasons the primary being drainage. The first system is a take from hydroponic drip irrigation systems and involves drilling 3/4" pvc to fit tight enough to prevent leaks around a medusa of 1/4 irrigation lines. At the end of each I use calibrated, adjustable gph drip valves made for drip irrigation. The other is a take off on the drip plates/trays often used in wet dry filtration setups for marine aquaria. I built an all acrylic tray 2'x2'x4" in dimmensions and drilled it on my drill press several hundred times with a very small diameter drill bit. A pond pump fills the tray and it "rains", literally. This later is a much better alternative to putting your cham in a shower as it can be placed on top of a 2x2x4 enclosure and a rain chamber is created that will hydrate up the most reluctant of drinkers. i never liked the dangers in the shower and my chameleons never seemed comfortable in it often jumping from their perches or climbing to heaven for the entire duration of the shower. The issue is that in order to adequately soak the enclosure, and the chameleon, the number of drip points must be extreme. I am currently working on a net made of 1/4" laser drilled drip line. The net is a composed of 2"x2" grid made with 1/4" drip line fittings and when finished will be 6'x4' to fit the top of a very large outdoor enclosure for C. p. parsonii. All of these systems are great and my chameleons react much more naturally in the enclosures that use them. I assure you however I am flowing more than your calculated volume of water through them in order for the chams to exhibit natural grooming and drinking behaviors. In the end I went with the ProMist PM-70 set up for my indoor enclosures. If you are hand misting you will be pleasantly surprised with how much better your chams will react to an automated misting system from above their perches, than they do when sprayed horizontally by hand misting. I do still hand mist, but more for observation and photography than for hydration, it is good quality time with the collection.
That post was exactly what I was looking for. I feared my water usage caclulations may have been off, although I still think it could be done practically, I'm not sure I'm willing to undertake the task of testing it. I will probablly go with the PM-70 in the future, but was looking for a quick one cage solution. My jacksons really hates hand misting no matter what the water temperature or what angle it's coming from, but loves the shower. Mass dripping seemed like a much more practical and natural way to go. With my one lonesome chameleon the PM-70 doesn't seem practical, once my collection expands and I have more than one cage to put upto 50 nozzles on I think I'll go for it, until then hand misting for humidity and maybe another petstore dripper or two and regular showers for hydration..
what type of hand mister are you using? Is it driven by trigger pull or is it a pump type? I have had much better response from the large pump up sprayers sold in most garden sections of nurseries and home improvement stores. On a smaller scale one of these can be hooked to an inline electric solenoid on a timer and pumped once a day for pressure. Look into the Aeromist line of mist nozzles sold at Home Depot for patio cooling, they are rated at ~ .5 gallon per hour at 75psi. You will not be able to maintain this type of pressure continuously in a hand pumped reservoir but you should be able to provide several 7-10 minute misting sessions over the course of the day regardless. This will provide similar results for a single enclosure as a pressure pump driven misting system, minus the daily maintance. An alternative would be to use laser drilled 1/4" drip line to build a net the size of the cage and then hook it to a large gravity fed reservoir (gallon milk jug or the like). This would provide a K.I.S.S. mass drip system for a single enclosure that would last until the reservoir ran dry. In this way you could regulate the volume of flow between emptying your catch basin. I would still provide some hand misting however. Hope this helps.
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I have both style of misters, the large pump style seems to stress him more. I think it's just because I'm holding something even bigger and shooting it at him. I have seen the conversions from pump style to automatic mister and I've heard it costs nearly $70 to do which isn't a big deal, but I would rather go all out and spend the extra hundred for the PM-70 and having the ability to deal with a larger collection. I've been itching to get a mate for my jacksons and get back into veileds, so it may not be such a bad idea. I have heard great things about the PM-70, but I like to try and be innovative and find alternatives to the norm. I think if I do try mass dripping I will use a gravity fed system, the more I think about it the more the pump simply complicates the system.
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