Screen cage or glass cage?

abbyjs

New Member
Hello! I am new to this community but I've been wanted to get a veiled chameleon for a very long time. I'm trying to do as much research as possible before I get one. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews on screen cages vs glass cages. I have a couple of worries when it comes to both:

Screen cages:
- Worried about minimizing smell, I'm not completed informed on the most sanitary and healthiest ways to minimize the smell but I've owned other pets like birds, guinea pigs, Hermit Crabs, and geckos and minimizing the smell was always an issue and I'm worried that the screen cage would maximize the smell.
- I will likely be keeping the cage high up on my wooden dresser and I'm worried about the misting and dripping systems seeping through the sides and bottom.
- I'm especially worried about being able to keep the cage at the needed humidity and heat for my chameleon. I live in Missouri so our weather often fluctuates but the winters here are very dry and cold so I'm worried that my chameleon will get too cold. I'm not sure if putting a humidifier and heater in my room could help with this situation but I do have both that I use every once in a while.

Glass Cages:
- My biggest worry is when it comes to the health of the chameleon. From what I've read they don't have good ventilation which can cause infections.
- I'm worried about the drainage situation since the bottom is solid and its harder to filter out any water that may collect on the bottom.

Please give me your opinions! Obviously the health of my chameleon is ideal so I want to choose the best option for that.
 

Lennoncham

Chameleon Enthusiast
So there is no smell. Unless you completely flood the plant soil there should be no smell.

for a screen cage you would need to make some type of drainage system for the extra water. Lots of people use washing machine drip pans or something similar.

to keep the water in and help maintain humidity most people put some type of plastic around the outside of the cage. This to me completely negates the point of having a screen cage.

for glass tanks you will setup and drainage layer, soil layer, leaf layer, and have a piece of pipe sticking up from the drainage layer so you can symphony off the excess water.

for ventilation in a glass tank you need a tank with the vent strip on the bottom like an Exo Terra . To increase airflow you can add a small computer fan ontop pulling the air up and out.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello! I am new to this community but I've been wanted to get a veiled chameleon for a very long time. I'm trying to do as much research as possible before I get one. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews on screen cages vs glass cages. I have a couple of worries when it comes to both:

Screen cages:
- Worried about minimizing smell, I'm not completed informed on the most sanitary and healthiest ways to minimize the smell but I've owned other pets like birds, guinea pigs, Hermit Crabs, and geckos and minimizing the smell was always an issue and I'm worried that the screen cage would maximize the smell.
- I will likely be keeping the cage high up on my wooden dresser and I'm worried about the misting and dripping systems seeping through the sides and bottom.
- I'm especially worried about being able to keep the cage at the needed humidity and heat for my chameleon. I live in Missouri so our weather often fluctuates but the winters here are very dry and cold so I'm worried that my chameleon will get too cold. I'm not sure if putting a humidifier and heater in my room could help with this situation but I do have both that I use every once in a while.

Glass Cages:
- My biggest worry is when it comes to the health of the chameleon. From what I've read they don't have good ventilation which can cause infections.
- I'm worried about the drainage situation since the bottom is solid and its harder to filter out any water that may collect on the bottom.

Please give me your opinions! Obviously the health of my chameleon is ideal so I want to choose the best option for that.
Hi and welcome! :) To help ease at least one of your concerns, there shouldn’t be any bad smells from a chameleon unless of course it’s enclosure isn’t cleaned regularly.
While everyone may have a different preference and give you a different answer of screen vs glass, my personal preference, especially for a new keeper is screen. I believe it offers more control over humidity and ventilation. Ideal humidity for veiled chameleons is between 30-50% during the day, which is much drier than one would think. To help retain some humidity and over-spray from misting, many wrap a shower curtain or similar around at least the back and some/all of the sides. Live plants instead of fake are not only going to help maintain proper humidity, but provide so much more enrichment and safety. Managing drainage in screen enclosures is also so much easier. Keepers have come up with various ways to address this...from special drainage trays, to drilling small holes in the plastic bottom and a bucket below and whatever else can be thought up.
Attaching branches, vines and plants is a challenge in either enclosure, but with screen, you can (and I suggest you do) add https://dragonstrand.com/dragon-ledges/.
If you have a decent budget for an enclosure, there are hybrids of pvc and screen, such as Dragon Strand.
With screen, you are also able to achieve a much larger enclosure of the minimum 2x2x4’ which is recommended for adult veiled and panther chameleons.
Night time temps for veileds can drop as low as the 50’s & 60’s and humidity can/should increase to 80-100%, so while you wouldn’t need a heater at night, the humidifier would be useful at night.
I hope my feedback has been of some help. Please ask as many more questions as you need. Very glad to have you here and properly preparing for your chameleon. :)
 

abbyjs

New Member
@MissSkittles Thank you SO much! This was very helpful. I do have a couple more questions if you are wanting to answer:
- What kind of heat lamp do you recommend? Are two separate domes recommended for the heat and UVB light?
- What kind of thermometer/hygrometer do you recommend? I'm having trouble finding one that is very accurate and suitable for a screen cage.
- How often should the cage be cleaned? and what exactly do I do to clean it properly?
- I know that it is very important to give your chameleon mutlivitams, calcium, and d3. Are there any specific brands you recommend for the vitamins?
- How can I keep the humidity up at night? Am I suppose to mist the cage before night time or is there some type of other system to use to keep humidity at night high?
- Lastly, what dripping system do you recommend? I keep seeing so many mixed reviews on the ones I am finding.

I have so many questions but hopefully you can answer a few of these! Thank you!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
@MissSkittles Thank you SO much! This was very helpful. I do have a couple more questions if you are wanting to answer:
- What kind of heat lamp do you recommend? Are two separate domes recommended for the heat and UVB light?
- What kind of thermometer/hygrometer do you recommend? I'm having trouble finding one that is very accurate and suitable for a screen cage.
- How often should the cage be cleaned? and what exactly do I do to clean it properly?
- I know that it is very important to give your chameleon mutlivitams, calcium, and d3. Are there any specific brands you recommend for the vitamins?
- How can I keep the humidity up at night? Am I suppose to mist the cage before night time or is there some type of other system to use to keep humidity at night high?
- Lastly, what dripping system do you recommend? I keep seeing so many mixed reviews on the ones I am finding.

I have so many questions but hopefully you can answer a few of these! Thank you!
I’m more than happy to answer and help. 😊
Any dome light will be good for basking light. I have used incandescent light bulbs and as those are getting harder to find, had to break down and buy some Fluker’s heat bulbs. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006L2UBK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You’ll want to avoid LED as those put off little to no heat. Halogen can be used.
For uvb, you’ll need to get a linear T5HO fixture and either a ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb. I prefer Arcadia as the price is almost the same but they last a year, vs only 6 months for ReptiSun. This is a great set. https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/arcadia-prot5-uvb-kit.html
The screw in uvb bulbs aren’t able to provide the range of usable UVB that are needed.
I can’t recall the brands of thermometer I use, but I rely mostly upon my heat gun. The heat gun only measure surface temps and not air temps though. Digital is more reliable. For hygrometer I use these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R3YC1BC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 You just have to place it in an area that it won’t get wet.
You’ll want to clean up poop and any debris at least weekly. It is much easier to spot clean...clean it when you see it. I use a dilute mixture of formula 409 with water for cleaning as a vet suggested. I try not to spray it inside of the enclosure if my cham is in there still. Unless they’ve pooped on their branches, I don’t clean those.
Supplements are extremely important. Everyone has their own regimen and I’ve tried several. The 3 supplements that your chameleon will need are calcium, vitamin D3 and a multivitamin. A phosphorus free calcium without D3 needs to be given at every feeding, except those you’ll be giving the other supplements. Repti Calcium or Rep Cal are both good calciums. To make things much easier, you can get Reptivite with D3 which would be used one feeding every other week. It combines the multivitamin and D3.
Feeding your feeder bugs is just as important. A healthy well fed bug will offer much more nutrition than one that is barely kept alive. Avoid the cubes! I feed my bugs an assortment of squashes, sweet potato, bell pepper, various greens (dandelion, mustard, collards, arugula, watercress) and some fruits such as blueberry, raspberry, apple. Best feeders are roaches, crickets, silkworms and bsfl for staples. Superworms, hornworms and waxworms are for treats only. Avoid mealworms.
Misting should be done 2-3 times daily for at least 2 minutes each time. Early when lights are coming on and right before lights off and you could either add a mid day misting or use a dripper mid day for about 15-20 minutes. At night you can use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Just remember high heat + high humidity = high risk for respiratory infection.
I and many others swear by Mist King misting systems. They are a bit expensive but worth it. Avoid the cheaper systems like ReptiRain and Monsoon as you’d be much better to save that money and put it toward a Mist King. No waterfalls, water dishes, etc. For drippers, I’ve tried the Little Dripper and it was ok. Very hard for me to adjust the drip rate. Some just use a plastic party cup with a small pushpin hole in the bottom...works just as well. I don’t use a dripper...have a mid day misting instead. I also don’t use a humidifier at night...instead add a couple of 15 second misting to boost humidity.
There’s very many ways to do things and everyone has their own ways. As long as the chameleon’s needs are met, there is no ’right’ way.
Now I’m going to send you to https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ where you can learn everything you want and need to know and then some! The podcasts are excellent and offer more insight as to the whys of proper husbandry. Another terrific resource is Neptune the chameleon on YouTube and I can’t leave out https://caskabove.com/
All creators of these resources are forum members and provide accurate and up to date info.
Of course, keep asking questions here. :)
 

CJ's Exotics

Chameleon Enthusiast
You should also understand that there are few glass enclosures out there large enough to house a Veiled. Also, they weigh a TON. Just something to keep in mind.
 
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