Waterfalls... How bad do we want them?

Lunatuck

Established Member
When I started planning for Cosmic's cage, I envisioned a waterfall in there. Well, these forums fixed me. I understood pretty soon the difficulties of using a waterfall and keeping it sanitary. At this point, I barely want one anymore, but I have put some thought into how to successfully use one in a chameleon enclosure.

At first, I thought it was just a matter of maintaining the bio-load. I will almost always look at the bio-load in relation to the volume of water. The assumption being that I just need a large enough volume of water and filter to keep the levels down. The extra water is held in the system and filtered actively. Unfortunately, it became clear that the bio-load was going to require a massive amount of water to dilute the waste to make bio-filtration possible. We're talking over 50-100g for a small waterfall. Since I had a 5g bottle in the back of my head, this was unworkable. But it led me to my next idea...

Idea 2 is basically a waterfall with a volume of roughly 1/2 a gallon. It is plumbed with an overflow. When the water reaches a certain level, it overflows and runs into a "waste water" tank. There is also a "fresh water" tank. Once a day, a pump turns on and pumps about 1g into the system. This causes the waste water to go through the overflow, hopefully taking waste and bacteria with it.

If properly plumbed, it's just a matter of having a pump turned on once a day. Then you need two tanks, a fresh water tank and a waste. Or you could use a single waste tank, and pump in fresh water, if you trust your tap. In this scenario, you could run 3g through for the "cleaning".

I think this should all work, but I'm not wanting a waterfall so much anymore. Lol.
 

JIFFYPOP

Avid Member
When I started planning for Cosmic's cage, I envisioned a waterfall in there. Well, these forums fixed me. I understood pretty soon the difficulties of using a waterfall and keeping it sanitary. At this point, I barely want one anymore, but I have put some thought into how to successfully use one in a chameleon enclosure.

At first, I thought it was just a matter of maintaining the bio-load. I will almost always look at the bio-load in relation to the volume of water. The assumption being that I just need a large enough volume of water and filter to keep the levels down. The extra water is held in the system and filtered actively. Unfortunately, it became clear that the bio-load was going to require a massive amount of water to dilute the waste to make bio-filtration possible. We're talking over 50-100g for a small waterfall. Since I had a 5g bottle in the back of my head, this was unworkable. But it led me to my next idea...

Idea 2 is basically a waterfall with a volume of roughly 1/2 a gallon. It is plumbed with an overflow. When the water reaches a certain level, it overflows and runs into a "waste water" tank. There is also a "fresh water" tank. Once a day, a pump turns on and pumps about 1g into the system. This causes the waste water to go through the overflow, hopefully taking waste and bacteria with it.

If properly plumbed, it's just a matter of having a pump turned on once a day. Then you need two tanks, a fresh water tank and a waste. Or you could use a single waste tank, and pump in fresh water, if you trust your tap. In this scenario, you could run 3g through for the "cleaning".

I think this should all work, but I'm not wanting a waterfall so much anymore. Lol.
Im having the same thoughts, have a really nice looking 18" tall Zoo Med, looks like a tree kinda. Pet store told me would be great for him, increase humidity and he could drink from it. Then I do some research and sounds like they can cause more harm than good. People on here will know, cant wait to find out
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
The “clean” water will still be running through the same pumps and filters as the contaminated water, unless you can install a in line high powered continuous sterilizer it’s just not going to work.

If you want a waterfall that bad, build one into the back or side wall and section it of with high visibility screen so no chams or feeders can physically touch it.
 

JIFFYPOP

Avid Member
The “clean” water will still be running through the same pumps and filters as the contaminated water, unless you can install a in line high powered continuous sterilizer it’s just not going to work.

If you want a waterfall that bad, build one into the back or side wall and section it of with high visibility screen so no chams or feeders can physically touch it.
Dont wanna steal anyones post, but thanks for the help
 

Lunatuck

Established Member
The “clean” water will still be running through the same pumps and filters as the contaminated water, unless you can install a in line high powered continuous sterilizer it’s just not going to work.

If you want a waterfall that bad, build one into the back or side wall and section it of with high visibility screen so no chams or feeders can physically touch it.

Lol. I have a UV sterilizer lying around. But those only sterilize the water passing through. It doesn't sterilize the pumps. It also doesn't take care of any particulate.

Do you think that sterilizing the pumps is required? You could do that by using an additive immediately before the flush, but I like the idea of automation.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Lol. I have a UV sterilizer lying around. But those only sterilize the water passing through. It doesn't sterilize the pumps. It also doesn't take care of any particulate.

Do you think that sterilizing the pumps is required? You could do that by using an additive immediately before the flush, but I like the idea of automation.
I do but I’m no expert. Any single component not sterilized will just recontaminate your fresh water.

Maybe consider a fog waterfall that is only ran in the late evening.
 

Lunatuck

Established Member
I do but I’m no expert. Any single component not sterilized will just recontaminate your fresh water.

Maybe consider a fog waterfall that is only ran in the late evening.


Well, it definitely increases the chance of the unknown. That's a big risk. We don't have specific tests for each pathogen, so it's hard to know which are too dangerous or in high enough qty to be dangerous. That said, those same pathogens exist in our enclosures anyways. The issue is that waterfalls provide the perfect breeding ground for them and may cause them to multiply out of control.

I'm also acknowledging another potential issue. A waterfall will be less healthy drinking source then what we typically provide. My chameleon only drinks lab grade RO water.
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Waterfalls are dangerous and a hassle. We should not be asking what we, the owners, want. When it comes to the health of our chameleons, our opinions and preferences are not important. Waterfalls are beautiful, but have no place in a chameleon's enclosure.
 

Lunatuck

Established Member
Waterfalls are dangerous and a hassle. We should not be asking what we, the owners, want. When it comes to the health of our chameleons, our opinions and preferences are not important. Waterfalls are beautiful, but have no place in a chameleon's enclosure.

I don’t disagree that we need to think of the chameleons needs over ours, but waterfalls certainly would provide a lot of the specific needs that we are looking for. Moving water, humidity, etc. I look at the word hassle and effort as being interchangeable. Something may be a hastle, but also worth the effort.

Dangerous... thats different. In fact, the dangers of pathogens are the primary thing we need to overcome. Funny, a UV light seems pretty simple. But, I dont think that solves 100% of the problem. What I’m looking to do is figure out what the problem is and what it takes to solve it.

A little $20 arduino and some scripting can solve some million dollar issues.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I was just reading into the potential problems of drinking aquarium water(for chameleona). It's really an up in the air subject. Parsons for example, according to people that have been to Madagascar, are often found near freshwater sources. I heard that coccidia, nematodes, problem bacteria, etc can be found in aquariums which could be an issue for mammals and maybe reptiles, but with no harm to fish. I would definitely keep nitrates down at much as possible and keep debris out of the water with mechanical/biological filtration. I plan to do a sump-connected water feature one day with all the works, but it'll be like taking care of a fish tank plus a little extra. I'm all for it given somebody truly researches, puts in the work, and keeps up with maintenance, but the vast majority won't be able to or willing so it makes sense not to recommend it to the general public.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
When I'm not mostly asleep, I'll outline the plan that I'm in the midst of formulating for a possible waterfall in my bioactive build, and see what y'all think.

I'm of the belief that if done right a waterfall could prove beneficial. There's just a lot of work and planning to get to that point, and it would likely take a lot of ongoing care and maintenance. It's just easy to do wrong, and certainly not suitable for every situation!
 

Lunatuck

Established Member
I was just reading into the potential problems of drinking aquarium water(for chameleona). It's really an up in the air subject. Parsons for example, according to people that have been to Madagascar, are often found near freshwater sources. I heard that coccidia, nematodes, problem bacteria, etc can be found in aquariums which could be an issue for mammals and maybe reptiles, but with no harm to fish. I would definitely keep nitrates down at much as possible and keep debris out of the water with mechanical/biological filtration. I plan to do a sump-connected water feature one day with all the works, but it'll be like taking care of a fish tank plus a little extra. I'm all for it given somebody truly researches, puts in the work, and keeps up with maintenance, but the vast majority won't be able to or willing so it makes sense not to recommend it to the general public.

Yes. At first, I was comparing it to something like a reef tank, but the bioload is huge. That said, I’ve seen some pretty intense turtle tanks. It just comes down to how much maintanance the owner is willing to put in.

Truth be told, the maintanance is why I gave up reefkeeping. And thats after I figured out how to do it efficiently.

Reefkeeping itself has changed a lot in 25 years, but its mostly the same gear. Its just people know how to use it optimally.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I was saying to @GoodKarma19 , for anyone that is serious about going all out on a water feature, we should all share our thoughts, experiences, and set up ideas, maybe in a group message. It's one of those things there's not much info on for reptiles(amphibians maybe). It could be a cool project, maybe to effectively add water features into systems for the more advanced/dedicated keepers.
 

Lunatuck

Established Member
I was saying to @GoodKarma19 , for anyone that is serious about going all out on a water feature, we should all share our thoughts, experiences, and set up ideas, maybe in a group message. It's one of those things there's not much info on for reptiles(amphibians maybe). It could be a cool project, maybe to effectively add water features into systems for the more advanced/dedicated keepers.

Agree. Even if its just a thread to point out our failures.
 

Lunatuck

Established Member
Yup I did a nanoreef, love it, but for someone that hasn't bought a permanent house yet, too much work, money, and uncertainty atm. Bio enclosures remind me a lot of reefkeeping though

I had an insane 7g minibow SPS and zoanthid nano reef. At the time, it was world class. I needed 4 pc fans to keep the temp down. Had to give it up when I went to college. Had a few tanks since, but nothing like that. Wish I had pics. Nanoreef.com purged them.

Had a calc reactor and dosed kalkwasser. 24/7 in a 7g aquarium. That said, the system had 50g. That was my trick. Stability!
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ahhh man would have loved to see that. That was about the time I gave up reefkeeping as well(27 now, did it from like 14 with my dads help, to about 19-20). Mine was nice, but nothing world class. A lot of it was trial and error. My goal was to keep cuttlefish, but ended up selling my stuff before i could.
 
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