Serious problem with enclosure causing death?

jackschamnewbie

New Member
The misters that were available at the hardware are pumping roughly 5 gallons in a 72 hour period @ 4x 15min cycles throughout the day. A cool mist humidifier is converting roughly 1 gallon of water into mist every 24hours which most of which condensates onto the screen top. Then drips onto the leaves maintaining a humidity gradient within the enclosure between 30% to 80%+

These amounts are estimated by the time between refilling the relative reservoir.

Two baby T. j. Xantholophus were being housed in a single 16x16x30 all of which is entirely made of aluminum brackets and aluminum screen. The bottom is also screen)

There are currently two Schefflera Arboricola one of which is aggregated and previously, two braided hibiscus Rosa S. were cycled every other week.
There are washed and heat treated grape wood vines for perching and basking. A cool mist humidifier running for 12 hours/day which is keeping a small portion of the enclosure dripping wet at all times.

I have observed problems with the plants such as fungal infections, iron deficiency, nitrogen deficiency, and a loss of leaves/wilt disease in the rosa and a loss of leaves from the scheffleras possibly caused by lighting changes and over watering.

My educated guess is that the water condensing on top of the enclosure from the humidifier is dripping down over the plants and soaking the stems all the way to the root ball on one half of the pot. A quarter if not half of the root ball is dry when inspected.


With the amount of water that has been moving I have not noticed any signs of a mold or bacteria on the pots, leaves, stems, rocks or pots of the plants nor the screen of the enclosure. However the two braided hibiscus were removed after discovering black spots in the leaves that were visually identified as a fungal infection after researching common problems of the species.

I have maintained one side of the cage dry and warm at all times with plenty of branches and grapewood vines to move between the two sides and various levles to bask near the lamp.

The max Temperature the basking spot reaches temperatures of 70-90ºF and the cool wet zone is typically between 58-72ºF dending on the time of night or day.

The cool bottom of the dry side has an abundance of fruit flys loitering on the screen and small crickets are often found at the dark area above the basking lamp on the top of the warmer dry side.
My concern is that when the crickets and flies explore the cage, they get caught in either the drops from the humidifier or the rain from the misters and drown.
Summary of Problem
*******************
The zone I described as being constantly wet and drowning the feeders is concerning me. I am afraid that I may be creating a cesspool of bacteria and infection at the bottom that all the insects may be able to feed on. I feel as though I may have been responsible for the parasites that killed the male jackson previously sharing the enclosure.

The two are both from the same clutch of T. j. xantholophus and roughly 5 months of age. The male passed away yesterday which ignited this burst of inspection and modifications.
In order to correct the noticeable issues I have reduced the size of the ducting the humidifier was pumped in to from 4.5" to 1.5", and have observed a decrease in the surface the water drops spread. The plants have been removed and cleaned and rinsed extremely well. and the timer on the mister has been set for only 2x 15m cycles/day. I have picked up a tub of mini superworms for added supplementation in the event that this is all a problem with their diet and ensured that the enclosure is undisturbed for a majority of the day. I lured the female out with food and placed her onto a small ficus tree near the cage to prevent major stressing.

I have been checking the bottom of the enclosure, the pots, the ducting, and all reservoirs and disinfect them all weekly. The water in 5 gallon bucket that the mister draws its water is being filtered by an aquarium organic/carbon filter rated for a 10gallon tank. It is also aerated with an air stone. All of the water is pumped into the enclosure and drained into a separate bucket every 4 days.

I do not understand what I have done wrong that has caused the death of another jackson... :(

When I lost my first chameleon I threw away every plant and piece of the existing enclosure and rebuilt an entirely new one based off the lay outs I observed in the picture thread of enclosures.
Everything I have done this time correlated to the care sheet and recommendations I have found for Jacksons. Everything except the amount of water moving through the cage.

I am hoping that this is the only problem but an even bigger problem is that in order to fix this issue and still adequately mist 1/2 of the set up a few times each day. I would have to buy a new pump strong enough to make the misters mist instead of rain. I currently do not have the money for a more powerful fountain pump or a timer capable of doing less than 15 min.

What exactly is enough and too much water?

There should be a few pictures attached to this post for a visual description of what is going on. If anything I am doing stands out as a major problem please let me know. I am tired of losing my babies...

The male showed visible behavioral signs of a parasitic infection before his death. The female appears to be in good health, staying active for a majority of the 12 hours that her light is on Appetite is normal and consistent and shows visible enthusiasm when insects are dropped onto the canopy. Her skin tone is in the appropriate color range and texture for her age. Her movement between the zones is frequent enough to suggest that she has good bone health and the ability to thermoregulate efficiently. There are no apparent signs of malnutrition or dehydration. Her fecal material is normal in visual consistency showing signs of proper digestion.
I am just worried that she may too have parasites. The kind that will not cause her any problems that I can see until it is too late to help.

I am working on buying a microscope to do monthly fecal exams on my own. I cannot afford to take her to the vet. However I have found a microscope on Craigslist capable of 600x magnification and google has plenty of information about identifying parasitic infections and other health problems that can be seen only under a microscope. I realize that this is not an alternative to veterinary care but it is the best I can do until professional help is even feasible.
 

Chameleopatrick

New Member
WWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Too much water.

If its wet constantly especially in the hours of darkness you are going to have problems resulting in dead chameleons.

What are you using for airflow to counteract five gallons of water in 72 hours?

12 hours of fogging? Whoa!

Where did you get this advice to flood your chameleons?

The whole environment sounds like its suffering.

Please read this thread it will help you.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/way...r-habitats-youre-doing-wrong-over-wate-79468/
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
I agree, way too much wetness. I'm a fan of long misting sessions, but even with 20-30 minutes of water daily eveything still dries out completely between sessions at my house. You want chameleons to be well hydrated and have access to water to soak in, wash their eyes, etc., but not so much of it that the cage is always damp (if not soaked, like it sounds like!) I think the humidifier is over-kill, honestly.
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
I agree, way too much wetness. I'm a fan of long misting sessions, but even with 20-30 minutes of water daily eveything still dries out completely between sessions at my house. You want chameleons to be well hydrated and have access to water to soak in, wash their eyes, etc., but not so much of it that the cage is always damp (if not soaked, like it sounds like!) I think the humidifier is over-kill, honestly.
I am using an AC vent aimed at the bottom left hand side of the cage that both cools and ventilates the enclosure. I am also using two computer fans set up at the right hand side of the opening near the drain ramp/ waste water bucket...

Nearly the entire cage is able to dry and stay dry for at least 2 hours before the next rain cycle and remains dry all night. The only spot that stays wet is directly underneath the humidifier that is approx 5" diameter at the bottom of the cage and the leaves directly underneath the drips.
I live in CO and it is extremely dry this summer. If maintaining 30%+ humidity was not needed for jacksons I would not have a humidifier to begin with. The picture posted above shows what the enclosure looks like 30m after the last misting
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
Can you post pics of the enclosure drainage?

Misting for 15 minutes x 4 times a day. Im guessing you have the cages over an drainage table. An enclosure with a screen bottom should still dry out between mistings. I am trying to figure out where you had cess pools? The only thing i can possibly think of is that this enclosure is in a room maybe already high in humidity, poor circulation and very small. Id imagine this room would have mold. It could also be from your fogger but i cant say for sure.

There is a lot to remember from your post but ill try to help/
1. Id suggest potting around your plants main "root dirt" with sand/rocks and make sure they are draining properly.
2. Reducing your misting schedule. One 15 minute in the morning and 2 or even 3 more at 5 minutes. Set the last misting to go off around an hour before lights off.
3. I would also reduce your fogger schedule. Something around 2-4 hours a day is sufficient. YOU MUST CLEAN THE SUPPLY TUBING WEEKLY.
4. Keep the cage floor as clean as you can. You dont want your feeders feeding on there feces or your chameleon shooting for prey and picking some up along with it.
5. I know our personal lifes make this part hard but if you can it is a good practice. When feeding your neonates, feed them multiple times a day. Try to place as many feeders as they will eat in a feeding in the cage. If you notice feeders still roaming after 30 minutes you know you have placed in too many. With neonates, dust all feeders with plain phos free calcium. **For crickets...If your chams will feed from a container that makes life much easier
6. Smaller enclosure. Something like this is great for babies. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blo...nates-pygmies-any-small-chameleon-part-1.html
 
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mrfixit01

Established Member
Sounds like way too much watering! My misting system uses about 5-6 gallons a week. It cycles about every 3 hours for 2-3 minutes from 8am with one extra short cycle in the summer around 3pm (8, 11, 2, 3, 6). That's it. Rambo is two years old now and none of the plants have died. It stays around 80-85% humidity during the day and around 45-50%. The plants drip for about 30-45 minutes after each cycle and it seems to be enough for everyone.
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
What would you recommend? I have cut the cycles down in half which has brought the humidity to 30% in the wettest cold zone and changed the basking zone to 20%-
 

Chameleopatrick

New Member
After seeing the pics, and seeing how small that guy is, I would recommend using an eye dropper placing drops of water on the leaves nearest the chameleon. An animal that size realistically probably only consumes 4- 5 drops a day. A 1/2 gallon would be ridiculous, more than that would be negligent.

Also, what UVB bulb are you using? The distance between your Cham and bulb as shown renders your bulb useless. The Cham needs to be with in 3" if that's a cfl 10.0.

I highly recommend a complete redo after you do some reading in the enclosure forum.

Good luck.
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
Can you post pics of the enclosure drainage?

Misting for 15 minutes x 4 times a day. Im guessing you have the cages over an drainage table. An enclosure with a screen bottom should still dry out between mistings. I am trying to figure out where you had cess pools? The only thing i can possibly think of is that this enclosure is in a room maybe already high in humidity, poor circulation and very small. Id imagine this room would have mold. It could also be from your fogger but i cant say for sure.

There is a lot to remember from your post but ill try to help/
1. Id suggest potting around your plants main "root dirt" with sand/rocks and make sure they are draining properly.
2. Reducing your misting schedule. One 15 minute in the morning and 2 or even 3 more at 5 minutes. Set the last misting to go off around an hour before lights off.
3. I would also reduce your fogger schedule. Something around 2-4 hours a day is sufficient. YOU MUST CLEAN THE SUPPLY TUBING WEEKLY.
4. Keep the cage floor as clean as you can. You dont want your feeders feeding on there feces or your chameleon shooting for prey and picking some up along with it.
5. I know our personal lifes make this part hard but if you can it is a good practice. When feeding your neonates, feed them multiple times a day. Try to place as many feeders as they will eat in a feeding in the cage. If you notice feeders still roaming after 30 minutes you know you have placed in too many. With neonates, dust all feeders with plain phos free calcium. **For crickets...If your chams will feed from a container that makes life much easier
All of the plants are root bound with organic soil trapped in there somewhere,h 2 inches of rocks at the bottom and 2 inches at the top. They all drain very well and dry out completely after a few days of not watering when outside the enclosure near the window.

I have reduced the schedule to 2 cycles of 15/day and each 5gallon now lasts 5 days. The cage dries up completely accept for the area that the humidifier condensates and drips.

I have not reduced the time on the humidifier because it is terribly dry where I live. I attempted leaving it on for only a few hours with an hour between and it got too dry and hot.

I have started feeding her a known number of crickets in a dark colored tupperware and hand feeding the fruit flies and worms. I am using a flukers premium gut load for the pinheads and dusting everything with exoterra non phos calcium, and 1x/month exoterra multi-vitamin+d3. I have 2 26w cfl uvb lights about 8"from her favorite basking spot. I had to place an excess of insects into the enclosure to ensure she would have an easy time finding food throughout the day but always watched to make sure she was eating when I have the time.

There were not exactly cesspools though, there was about 10 dead crickets sitting in a corner that is not well ventilated. They were damp for a period of maybe a day or two and starting to stink.

I have not ever seen her feeding anywhere near the bottom though. She will usually only eat crickets and flies off of the leaves in the basking zone. I have never seen her closer than a foot to the bottom and that is while she sleeps. Which is oddly where the leaves are the wettest from the humidifier dripping.

The supply tubing is checked every day and cleaned every week with antibacterial dish soap and the basin of the humi is drained and cleaned nightly.
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
After seeing the pics, and seeing how small that guy is, I would recommend using an eye dropper placing drops of water on the leaves nearest the chameleon. An animal that size realistically probably only consumes 4- 5 drops a day. A 1/2 gallon would be ridiculous, more than that would be negligent.

Also, what UVB bulb are you using? The distance between your Cham and bulb as shown renders your bulb useless. The Cham needs to be with in 3" if that's a cfl 10.0.

I highly recommend a complete redo after you do some reading in the enclosure forum.

Good luck.
Water consumption and attempting to replicate the weather, temperature and humidity of the misty mountain forests of kenya are not the same in any way.
The bulbs are a 26 watt exoterra cfl 5.0 uvb(tropical spectrum) and a zoo med mini linear cfl 5.0uvb (tropical spectrum) that are both effective up to 12" The basking lamp is a 40w incandescent placed 6" from the closest basking spot.
I have done my homework, please quit flaming this post.
 

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Chameleopatrick

New Member
Water consumption and attempting to replicate the weather, temperature and humidity of the misty mountain forests of kenya are not the same in any way.
The bulbs are a 26 watt exoterra cfl and a zoo med mini linear cfl that are both effective up to 12" The basking lamp is a 40w incandescent placed 6" from the closest basking spot.
I have done my homework, please quit flaming this post.
No one is flaming at all. What the packaging says and what it is, is usually two different things. Sorry I couldn't help you.

I guess you've done your homework alright. Check your title. Sorry kid.
 

Saldarya

Established Member
I would also agree that just because the packaging says that the UV bulb is good up to 12" means nothing. That is not my opinion, but rather what my UV meter tells me.

I would strongly suggest you re look at this.
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
AC vent and Lighting

You said you are using an airconditioning vent. On the cage...please explain.

There is one AC vent in my room pointed to where the chameleon enclosure is. The vent lid routes the air in opposite directions and at a slight angle. I put the enclosure just far enough away that the majority of the air flow is hitting the bottom left side of the cage and evaporating some of the water from the fogger condensation. Which is what I refer to as the "cold zone" because it sits at 58º-70ºF and (80%+humidity) at all times

My room gets hot and dry as hell in the summer because it is attached to the attic. Without AC my room sits at 95º, while stress testing I reached 125º with the added heat from the lights. The screen was nearly buring my own skin when I felt it. With the ac, dripper, misting cycles and computor fans the climate has been perfectly in the ranges suggested for jacksons. The ammount of water I am moving is relative to the climate I am in and the oasis I am attempting to provide in a terrible spot.


I would also agree that just because the packaging says that the UV bulb is good up to 12" means nothing. That is not my opinion, but rather what my UV meter tells me.

I would strongly suggest you re look at this.
As for lighting, I am aware that the bulbs are talked up to be better than they actually perform.
At the same time people believe there is a 3-6in linear circle around these types of bulbs that consistently shows readings of enough uvb to be plenty beneficial for calcium production and absorption. This controversy is the reason why I struggled but still made basking spots at 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12" from the uvb bulbs.

I really wish I could afford a 6+lamp t8 linear fluorescent fixture with all the fancy bulbs and low heat transfer that I could dream of. I wish I could move to a nice cool and humid climate with an air conditioned and insulated home and sit on my sofa next to the giant pile of money that I am using to buy all of these things... but in reality,
i cant afford that.
Your the lucky ones if you can.

I did not come here to discuss ways to improve the enclosure but more to just ask a complicated question about a complicated situation. Maybe whats going on and the answer are both simple but one of you may have the ability to save her life.

There are obviously conflicting opinions and emotions about lighting and how much water to use but are either of those the reason that I just lost a cham?

I need help...

If there is there anything that stands out that would explain what is going on? Maybe something you learned or heard or maybe read that provides any amount of evidence of how pumping that much water would kill a cham?

I explained his symptoms, details and ugly truths about the enclosure and everything else I could possibly think of. Yet a couple of you have claimed that I am an ignorant and negligent person that needs to go and re read and re do my enclosure again???

Perhaps I should have posted this in the health clinic and I might have been taken seriously...
 

Chameleopatrick

New Member
You have been given excellent advice from numerous quality keepers and yet you try and explain it away.

I love the no cesspool except the dead crickets in the wet corner with no airflow that stinks comment.

You contradicted yourself to the point of being almost incoherent. (Numerous times)

Clearly you want to do right for your chameleons. But you need FOCUS! Quit justifying your poor set up and fix it for the sake of your chameleon.

Please!

:eek:
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
You have been given excellent advice from numerous quality keepers and yet you try and explain it away.

I love the no cesspool except the dead crickets in the wet corner with no airflow that stinks comment.

You contradicted yourself to the point of being almost incoherent. (Numerous times)

Clearly you want to do right for your chameleons. But you need FOCUS! Quit justifying your poor set up and fix it for the sake of your chameleon.

Please!

:eek:
Yes, the cesspool corner that was noticed and cleaned within 12 hours killed an otherwise healthy cham. What about the cesspool would have killed one cham and not the other? If you have such excellent advice being the quality keeper that you are then tell me what your advice was exactly? To read an argument forum that you took time to comment on and express how and why you believe your way is the best? what kind of advice is that?

Olimpia suggested that the humidifier is overkill, so I reduced the volume of cool mist by 75%. This helped the cage dry up completely an hour after watering but the humidity went down to 20%.

Ataraxia was the most helpful in explaining the need for drainage with the plants by using sand or rocks which was already done. I reduced the misting schedule to the suggested shorter intervals and 2 to 3, 5 minute intervals when i am home in the evening. I explained that I could not lower the ammount of time the fogger is turned on due to my dry climate and let them know that I keep everything clean. And took his suggestion of multiple feedings and watching closely how many of the feeders are being left behind. I even checked out his link and compared it to the quality and versatility of the enclosure that they are in currently.

Mrfixit01 suggested I change the misting schedule to shorter cycles which I have done my best to do. I found a way with his advice to get the enclosure to dry completely as it gets dark yet stay humid during the evening and night. This was not easy. I have spent all day taking suggestions and the Title was a question for a reason.

So how exactly do you suggest I simply "fix it?"

Making accusations of my incoherence, negligence and my making of contradictory statements is unwarranted and simply rude.

You must really have a very depressing life if you need to get on here and harass kids to make up for your own lack of self esteem.

I will do everything I can to learn better ways to provide a good environment and life for my chameleons. Apparently forgetting that no one is or ever will be perfect at being a "keeper" is easy for you. It says a lot about your character when you make bold statements that you do.
 

jackschamnewbie

New Member
For the record ...

Instead of drainage for excess water (more work and more cost), another thought, perhaps a better thought, is using a fan. A fan has multiple benefits including stimulating your captive indoor Cham to act like an outdoor wild Cham and it also gets those hiding lazy bugs moving. Air circulation in a glass habitat or screened enclosure has proven almost as essential to health as good hydration, quality UVB, and food.

Rainstorms daily just isn't necessary for most if not all chams. And if a rain storm IS in order, which mine do get every now and then, try following up with lots of air movement and a spot to warm up. This will increase the realitive humidity and often times stimulate mating behavior in pairs.

Make them want the water, just a little.

If you use a fan after watering heavily, use it pointed at the bottom of the cage not the chameleon.

What similarities can you find between how my system operates and your suggestions you made on another forum?


Your personal attacks are misguided and unfortunate, your assumptions great, your facts weak.

kinda what I expect here...

If you think a daily deleuge of water is what it takes to keep your chameleon happy obviously I can't change that. Good luck.
Evidence that I am not the first person you flamed. Ataraxia is knowledgable and you discounted him for calling you a money pincher. What is your reason for flaming me?
 
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