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Old 25-02-2013, 01:39 PM
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Default Panther Chameleon build project

Okay this is basically where I'm going to be keeping a step by step progress 'diary' on my first chameleon setup build. It's going to take a few months to finish due to the possibility of moving house sometime soon, so to save the chameleon any stress I won't be purchasing him until the move is done and the build is complete and tested (humidity, temps, airflow and drainage).

I'd like this thread to be helpful to others who are thinking about building their own setups for a chameleon & I hope to gain and share some useful information along the way.

So to kick things off, this is what I'll be using as my starting block. It's an old viv (homemade) which used to house Cougar, our High Yellow Jungle Carpet Python until he got too big and had to be upgraded.



The full dimensions are 23.5" x 24" x 35.5" (w,d,h). I'll be live planting this so the bottom 5 inches will be Exo-terra bio-substrate with a carpet of live moss on top. Drainage will be supplied underneath the substrate to stop any plant roots rotting. To help with cleaning the moss & substrate, I'll be using some springtails, tropical woodlice and possibly some worms to eat the waste produced by the cham.
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Old 25-02-2013, 02:01 PM
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Looks good, how are you planning to seal it?

Dave
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Old 25-02-2013, 02:13 PM
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Looks good, how are you planning to seal it?

Dave
It's already been sealed as the previous resident required a humid home too, so the sealing has been taken care of. Although, if it needs a new coat of anything, I'll be sure to mention what gets used or what has been used in the past. I didn't build this viv originally, but I'll make sure to ask what was used in the process of building it asap
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Old 25-02-2013, 03:06 PM
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It's already been sealed as the previous resident required a humid home too, so the sealing has been taken care of. Although, if it needs a new coat of anything, I'll be sure to mention what gets used or what has been used in the past. I didn't build this viv originally, but I'll make sure to ask what was used in the process of building it asap
Ah right, I was just wondering as with a planted viv you'll be having a layer of sitting water at the bottom, rather than just damp substrate like in a humid set up. I'd always recommend a glass tray at the least with a planted set up, sealing the wood never lasts very long in my opinion.

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Old 25-02-2013, 03:12 PM
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Ah right, I was just wondering as with a planted viv you'll be having a layer of sitting water at the bottom, rather than just damp substrate like in a humid set up. I'd always recommend a glass tray at the least with a planted set up, sealing the wood never lasts very long in my opinion.

Dave
Don't worry, I've got the drainage sorted. I'll leave about an inch between the bottom of the substrate and the floor. I'll use mesh to hold the substrate above the base which is going to be lined with plastic. I may even create a system which funnels the water into a concentrated area so any drained water can collect in a tub to be easily filtered and re-used.
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Old 25-02-2013, 03:15 PM
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Don't worry, I've got the drainage sorted. I'll leave about an inch between the bottom of the substrate and the floor. I'll use mesh to hold the substrate above the base which is going to be lined with plastic. I may even create a system which funnels the water into a concentrated area so any drained water can collect in a tub to be easily filtered and re-used.
Sounds like you're good to go I spent a bomb on my cham viv, lined the whole thing out with glass so there would definitely never be a leak, and it was a pain at the time but now.........I'd never change back to any other method, zero hassle, zero swelling, automatic drainage straight through the wall, automatic watering with the mistking, never looked back!

Dave
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Old 25-02-2013, 03:21 PM
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Sounds like you're good to go I spent a bomb on my cham viv, lined the whole thing out with glass so there would definitely never be a leak, and it was a pain at the time but now.........I'd never change back to any other method, zero hassle, zero swelling, automatic drainage straight through the wall, automatic watering with the mistking, never looked back!

Dave
Sounds good! I want mine to be as automated as possible, but since this won't be his final viv I'm not going to spend a fortune on it. Manual misting & a cheap drip system on the go. I'll take my time on it though & only when it's fully tested & are no problems, then I'll buy the cham So excited to get this build done so I can prepare & save up for the big, 3ftx2ftx4ft viv when he's an adult
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Old 25-02-2013, 03:30 PM
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Sounds good! I want mine to be as automated as possible, but since this won't be his final viv I'm not going to spend a fortune on it. Manual misting & a cheap drip system on the go. I'll take my time on it though & only when it's fully tested & are no problems, then I'll buy the cham So excited to get this build done so I can prepare & save up for the big, 3ftx2ftx4ft viv when he's an adult
I feel the more I automate, the less things there are to become a chore. When things do become a chore it's too easy to become sloppy and put things off that really need doing, and it impacts the animals. My mistking serves 4 vivs right now, thats going up to 5 when I've drilled drainage on my FBT's and those 4/5 vivs all have drainage built in too, I think if I went back to having to siphon out water from the drainage layer I'd end up with soggy compost quite often
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:23 PM
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Today's been quite busy as it was Mothers Day, but still had a bit of time to mark out & cut holes for two of the vents. I'll do the other side tomorrow & possibly even the top front vents too.

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Old 11-03-2013, 05:17 PM
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All vent holes are now cut out & the edges have been sanded down to remove all loose & sharp bits left behind from the jigsaw.



The next step is to stick on the leather vinyl & cut out holes for the vents with scissors. After that, the pine edging gets stuck on starting to take shape now!
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