Use a Glass-Terrarium? Here's a tip!

Okay guys just wanted to quickly share a helpful tip I stumbled across in the Poison Dart Frog trade that I then incorporated into my chameleon keeping and has proven effective with zero negatives. This goes out to everyone using glass terrariums to keep their chameleons in.
Yes, keeping your chameleon in an Exo Terra is fine. Chris Anderson (chameleon keeper legend) has proven that to us. But what I noticed when going through photos of glass-terrarium chameleon keepers is that there was always a fan turned on somewhere close by. Now this fan I assume was to help push air through the vent strips below the door, up and out of the top mesh. This prevents the air from going stagnant, which benefits your chameleon AND believe it or not, your plants. Stagnant air can kill your plants faster than you can say mississippi.
I have over a year of experience keeping chameleons in Exo Terra's (I use mesh now for my adults and still Exo Terra's for my younger boy). So what I did was I converted a computer fan ($5 from Best Buy) into a USB plug-in fan, all you need is an old USB cable you don't use anymore. Then you will need a USB-outlet plug (the square ones you use for your iPhones and iPods). It requires ZERO electrical skills, anyone can do this.
Once you have completed the conversion, go ahead and plug it in and place it on top of your mesh enclosure, somewhere off to the side (as not to disrupt the basking temperature). The air flow does not stress out your chameleon because it is so subtle, yet it allows pristine ventilation and prevents any stagnant air from sitting still. If you have it directly on top of a plant it will dry out the leaves faster, so monitor your humidity drop after installing the fan and adjust accordingly.
I want to quickly say that I do not think that not using a fan is wrong, for my chameleons are quite healthy today and they didn't have personal fans throughout their first few months with me. But I do think these USB fans will be that much more beneficial for your chameleons respiratory system AND plant life. I REALLY don't want to start any bashing of any kind. The glass terrarium vs. mesh terrarium controversy was settled long ago, so there is no need for anyone to be upset with people still using Exo Terra's. Yes mesh enclosures tend to be larger, which is preferred, but I also know of a few breeders who use 18x18x36 screen enclosures to free up space, and yet their chameleons are doing quite well (and obviously beautiful because we all buy from their offspring =P).
Remember, this is a helpful TIP, not a reprimanding.

This video is not my own, but what I used to guide me through the steps of making one of these USB fans.

Also if anyone has any suggestions or discouragement towards using a low-powered USB fan, let me know! Give your reasoning and I will certainly put a cease to this topic :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKMoQ1vDiAI
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
the "chimney effect" will ensure air is exchanged and not stagnant. A fan is not necessary if the terrarium has lower vents and a heat lamp on top towards one corner at the back.

nevertheless, Im sure people will find this post useful :)
 

Chameleopatrick

New Member
Computer fans work great with exoterra's. The chimney effect maybe true but thickly panted enclosures will negate the airflow considerably, so, small computer fans greatly help with healthy enclosures. I blow air in for the optimized effect, no the other way around.
 

Garf

Member
Didn't find much of this "chimney effect" on my wooden viv. Feels a whole lot fresher since I put fans on it.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Other things about your particular setup can affect air exchange too such as air movement in the room (a small closed up bedroom maybe not, but a room with open doors or window and more activity...central air or heat, even other appliances running). Ultrasonic humidifiers (those with fans) and auto misters on the cage create a "push" of water and air which creates some exchange. As long as the air can get in and out of your solid sided cage that's really what matters.
 

ApocalypseUK

New Member
I'm currently using an Exo Terra cage for my 3 month old, then when he grows up I'll be upgrading to a screen cage.

But at the min for more air flow I have a humidifier/fogger that I assume when going off will create more airflow and also he's in the same room as me so I just sometimes leave the doors open. Seems to work for me, what you reckon ??

but I may try this fan thing out though sounds pretty cool :)

Thanks for the tip!
 

Spangoss

Member
How bizarre... I have the exact same YouTube video favourited as reference when I start to build my next enclosure. :p
 

PandoraChams

New Member
Wow..thanks for the tip..Becaused I did not think of this a few months ago, I purchased off of ebay a AC adapted computer fan for $19. I've been using one in my closet where I was incubating eggs in addition to a heating pad hung in the closet and an outside temp gauge to keep an eye on the temps.
I see these computer fans at the thift stores all the time..duh, don't know why I didnt think of a simple AC plug with USB adaptor..so easy..great idea. I use them for my cell phones all the time.
 

Spangoss

Member
Wired mine up today and works fine, although it is very subtle due to the fact it's only a 5V charger with a 12V fan.

I guess that is desirable?

On the plus side, it's totally silent. :)
 
Wired mine up today and works fine, although it is very subtle due to the fact it's only a 5V charger with a 12V fan.

I guess that is desirable?

On the plus side, it's totally silent. :)
Yeah you're going to lose voltage no matter what. It is a good thing though. An aggressive current would cause a significant temperature and humidity drop. The subtle breeze the 5V gives is probably better in this case. And yes, they're very silent!
 

biffle

Avid Member
just curious..

What made you think that more air flow than what the exoterra's design can handle is needed? are you seeing mold?

Jason
 

leedragon

Avid Member
you need a temperature difference between the terrarium and outside of the terrarium for it to work, and the air outside the terrarium be fresh otherwise you will only be circulating funky air over and over
 
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