What type of enclosure would you recommend for me?

ItsMike64

Member
Hey everyone!

So I am going to be getting a chameleon within the next couple of weeks and am currently in the middle of planning and researching to make sure I do everything right for when I get one of these amazing animals. I live in New York state, where, as I'm sure many of you know gets pretty cold for like 6 months of the year. I also live in a semi basement apartment unit that probably stays at a steady 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and slightly warmer in the summer. Because of my specific situation, I am a little unsure on if a screen enclosure is best for me. While I much prefer them looks and hygiene wise over glass enclosures, I am worried that it will not hold heat and humidity very well. This is where I come to more experienced people with my question - Do you think a screen/mesh enclosure would be fine, granted I provide the adequate heating sources and closely monitor it? Should I put a heat mat underneath the bottom of it as well as the lamps at the top? Maybe that will keep the cooler parts of it warmer? Or would a glass enclosure be better, granted I make sure it is properly ventilated for their delicate little lungs? Any advise and ideas would be greatly appreciated!

This is not meant to be a debate on glass vs screen, it's just what would be better suited for me and my future chameleon!

Please go easy on me, I'm new to this and am trying my best to get it all right :)

Thank you!
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
Most people keep the chams too warm. 55 and a good heat lamp is still perfect.

Id still just bite the bullet and get a reptibreeze xl and a t5 ho 6%/5.0 22"

If you still want heat or higher humidity, buy a shower curtain you like the pattern of, and cover 3 sides of the cage in the winter.

Its doesnt have to be perfect Madagascar spring simulator 365 days a year. They can survive just fine with 20-30% humidity for 90 days over the winter for example. During your summer its going to be very humid during the day, yet optimal is less than 50% during the day.
 

aduesler93

Member
I’m in upstate New York and have a screen cage. For winter months as a temporary solution that can be removed in the summer we use the window plastic on the cage to hold in humidity
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am partial to screen enclosures as they are more adaptable. You can always use shower curtains or window insulation film to seal in the back and sides as needed to retain heat/humidity. With glass, your options are limited. You’ll probably have to experiment with different bulb wattages to get a good basking temp. A heat mat will do little and you need to have temp gradients for your chameleon to choose to cool off or heat up. Having only live plants and lots of them will provide nice pockets of humidity, which again will provide your chameleon with options. I’d suggest getting everything all set up and running so that you can ensure temps and humidity are in range before getting your cham.
 

ItsMike64

Member
Thanks everyone for the responses, I didn't even think about just getting a screen enclosure and just using a shower curtain or something to cover the sides if need be. That's a great suggestion! Another question that popped up in my head while doing additional research - Will a fogger be enough to take care of humidity? Along with me misting it once or twice a day? I heard somewhere that you should only fog at night. Is this correct? What are your thoughts on this?
 

DonKeesh

Avid Member
Hey! I'm looking at flap neck, Senegal, or Rudis. I prefer the look of the chameleons with a small to no casque (I think thats the right term) and like their size too.
Those species, if available, will most likely be wild caught. I would definitely recommend a captive bred chameleon for your first. If you know of any of those species you listed available as captive bred please let us know haha!
 

Carloscruz

Avid Member
Thanks everyone for the responses, I didn't even think about just getting a screen enclosure and just using a shower curtain or something to cover the sides if need be. That's a great suggestion! Another question that popped up in my head while doing additional research - Will a fogger be enough to take care of humidity? Along with me misting it once or twice a day? I heard somewhere that you should only fog at night. Is this correct? What are your thoughts on this?
Yes only use foggers at night
 

ItsMike64

Member
Those species, if available, will most likely be wild caught. I would definitely recommend a captive bred chameleon for your first. If you know of any of those species you listed available as captive bred please let us know haha!
That's what my research has also concluded, which is kind of a bummer because flap necks are super cool to me! Do you have any recommendations for similar species that I can find captive bred?
 

DonKeesh

Avid Member
That's what my research has also concluded, which is kind of a bummer because flap necks are super cool to me! Do you have any recommendations for similar species that I can find captive bred?
I would recommend a panther chameleon from a reputable breeder this will let you choose the color you most desire and have a great support system. Kammerflage kreations, frams chams, ipardalis are all great options.
 

DocZ

Chameleon Enthusiast
I guess I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I definitely prefer glass/hybrid over screen. I think it’s difficult, regardless of where you live, to maintain day/night humidity and temperature cycles in screen enclosures. Humidity of 85-100% at night just isn’t happening unless your outdoor conditions mimic this at times of the year and you can open the windows.
Heaters in the winter and AC in the summer will make hitting that high humidity difficult in a screen cage

I personally think it’s extremely important to keep the humidity up at night to avoid the hydration deficit that will occur with low nighttime humidity

I’m also a proponent of nighttime fogging. I think by doing this you are actively hydrating vs just avoiding losses with high humidity. It’s important to keep the piping and fogger clean. I use pvc piping and have duplicate sets of pipe and a duplicate fogger so I can exchange the entire fogging system. The other pipes/fogger are cleaned and allowed to dry completely. I rotate them once or twice a week

For smaller captive bred chameleons, look at carpet chameleons (furcifer lateralis), Trioceros ellioti, and Trioceros hoehnelii
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey everyone!

So I am going to be getting a chameleon within the next couple of weeks and am currently in the middle of planning and researching to make sure I do everything right for when I get one of these amazing animals. I live in New York state, where, as I'm sure many of you know gets pretty cold for like 6 months of the year. I also live in a semi basement apartment unit that probably stays at a steady 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and slightly warmer in the summer. Because of my specific situation, I am a little unsure on if a screen enclosure is best for me. While I much prefer them looks and hygiene wise over glass enclosures, I am worried that it will not hold heat and humidity very well. This is where I come to more experienced people with my question - Do you think a screen/mesh enclosure would be fine, granted I provide the adequate heating sources and closely monitor it? Should I put a heat mat underneath the bottom of it as well as the lamps at the top? Maybe that will keep the cooler parts of it warmer? Or would a glass enclosure be better, granted I make sure it is properly ventilated for their delicate little lungs? Any advise and ideas would be greatly appreciated!

This is not meant to be a debate on glass vs screen, it's just what would be better suited for me and my future chameleon!

Please go easy on me, I'm new to this and am trying my best to get it all right :)

Thank you!

I guess I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I definitely prefer glass/hybrid over screen. I think it’s difficult, regardless of where you live, to maintain day/night humidity and temperature cycles in screen enclosures. Humidity of 85-100% at night just isn’t happening unless your outdoor conditions mimic this at times of the year and you can open the windows.
Heaters in the winter and AC in the summer will make hitting that high humidity difficult in a screen cage
+1. For this part of the country, I strongly suggest a hybrid enclosure. Hybrid doesn't need to be glass, and there are pros & cons about that. I like these:
https://www.zenhabitats.com/collect...osures/products/2x2x4-pvc-reptile-enclosure-1
https://www.zenhabitats.com/collect...losures/products/4x2x4-pvc-reptile-enclosures
DIY is another good option. You may or may not save anything, but you can get exactly what you want.

A couple weeks may be rushing things. Sage advice recommends having the enclosure up & running for a month before introducing a new chameleon. This allows time to get temperatures, humidities, plants, soil, lighting, and other details balanced & debugged, so as to cause the least amount of stress to the new tenant.

No heat mats. Chameleon enclosures need temperature gradients anyway—warmer near the top/cooler near the bottom.

If no-one has mentioned it yet, the Husbandry Program on Chameleon Academy will explain much.
 

ItsMike64

Member
+1. For this part of the country, I strongly suggest a hybrid enclosure. Hybrid doesn't need to be glass, and there are pros & cons about that. I like these:
https://www.zenhabitats.com/collect...osures/products/2x2x4-pvc-reptile-enclosure-1
https://www.zenhabitats.com/collect...losures/products/4x2x4-pvc-reptile-enclosures
DIY is another good option. You may or may not save anything, but you can get exactly what you want.

A couple weeks may be rushing things. Sage advice recommends having the enclosure up & running for a month before introducing a new chameleon. This allows time to get temperatures, humidities, plants, soil, lighting, and other details balanced & debugged, so as to cause the least amount of stress to the new tenant.

No heat mats. Chameleon enclosures need temperature gradients anyway—warmer near the top/cooler near the bottom.

If no-one has mentioned it yet, the Husbandry Program on Chameleon Academy will explain much.
This is great advise, thank you! I have purchased a reptibreeze and plan to either use a shower curtain or run to home depot and get corrugated plastic to cut and fit to the sides of the enclosure that need to be blocked off. That way I can remove/add when I need to. Luckily the species I have decided to purchase requires more drastic nighttime drops so I may not even need to block the sides off.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is great advise, thank you! I have purchased a reptibreeze and plan to either use a shower curtain or run to home depot and get corrugated plastic to cut and fit to the sides of the enclosure that need to be blocked off. That way I can remove/add when I need to. Luckily the species I have decided to purchase requires more drastic nighttime drops so I may not even need to block the sides off.
Consider window insulation in lieu of shower curtain to work out the bugs; it's cheaper and usually comes with enough material to cover a few "mistakes" (trials & error). Either way (curtain or insulation) edges will need to be sealed tight against the frame. It's also a good "trial run" to see if you can control the environment before installing the more expensive Coroplast.

Montaine species—Jackson's? Insulation works both ways. It can keep warm temps/RH in, OR it can keep the inside cooler at night.
 

ItsMike64

Member
Consider window insulation in lieu of shower curtain to work out the bugs; it's cheaper and usually comes with enough material to cover a few "mistakes" (trials & error). Either way (curtain or insulation) edges will need to be sealed tight against the frame. It's also a good "trial run" to see if you can control the environment before installing the more expensive Coroplast.

Montaine species—Jackson's? Insulation works both ways. It can keep warm temps/RH in, OR it can keep the inside cooler at night.

That's a really good idea! And you guessed it, montaine - Trioceros hoehnelii! Can't wait!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
That's a really good idea! And you guessed it, montaine - Trioceros hoehnelii! Can't wait!
Jackson's was my first choice, but to provide the necessary nighttime temp drop, I'd have to lug the enclosure up & down the basement stairs twice a day. Being retired & disabled, that wasn't going to happen, so I went with a panther, and haven't looked back. (y) :)
 

ItsMike64

Member
Hi again everyone! I had a question related to my setup and rather than post a whole new thread I figured I’d just add to this one. I am chugging along with my enclosure and it’s finally coming together, humidity and temps are situated, plants looking great, and branches/climbing opportunities are coming along too. I have noticed some talk about led grow lights for plants in an enclosure and also that red lights aren’t good for their eyes (not sure if that’s referring ONLY to heat lamps or red lights in general) and it’s caused me to question the led grow light I purchased. I’ll link it below. Can someone let me know if this is safe? I bring red light up just because it does have little red bulbs on it (doesn’t illuminate the enclosure red) just meant to provide the plants with full spectrum “sunlight”. If this is not a good option, maybe some alternatives can be suggested?

Also do not worry, I am not using any red heat lights or sources, I just used it as an example!

Thanks in advance :)

GE Lighting LED Grow Light Bulb

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NNR9DLX?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi again everyone! I had a question related to my setup and rather than post a whole new thread I figured I’d just add to this one.
That's often preferred, rather than trying to keep several threads straight. (y)

I am chugging along with my enclosure and it’s finally coming together, humidity and temps are situated, plants looking great, and branches/climbing opportunities are coming along too.
(y)

I have noticed some talk about led grow lights for plants in an enclosure and also that red lights aren’t good for their eyes (not sure if that’s referring ONLY to heat lamps or red lights in general) and it’s caused me to question the led grow light I purchased. I’ll link it below. Can someone let me know if this is safe? I bring red light up just because it does have little red bulbs on it (doesn’t illuminate the enclosure red) just meant to provide the plants with full spectrum “sunlight”. If this is not a good option, maybe some alternatives can be suggested?
Red, blue, yellow... Colored lights are not recommended. No lights at all at night.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/search/1602701/?q=colored+lights&c[title_only]=1&o=relevance
https://www.chameleonforums.com/search/1602702/?q=red+lights&c[title_only]=1&o=relevance
https://www.chameleonforums.com/search/1602704/?q=blue+lights&c[title_only]=1&o=relevance

LEDs are a good choice for plant lights because they're more efficient, more economical, greener (don't contain lead like fluorescent bulbs), last longer.

I'm not familiar with that particular light, but the wattage & lifespan seem low. I like/use this one:
https://www.sansiled.com/products/70w-led-grow-light
The LEDs are all white (full spectrum). One of these works well on a 24x24x48 enclosure; I have two on my 48x24x48. This light is rated for 50K hrs/5 yr warranty vs. 25K hrs/3 yr warranty on the GE light. Coupons are also available. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=sansi+coupons
 

DonKeesh

Avid Member
You want 6500k lights for plants and that also provides visual white light... I personally prefer the look of T5 6500ks over LEDS.

It looks like the GE light you posted emits "white" light and should be fine.
 
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