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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I've been wanting a chameleon for ages and have been researching til my eyes bleed lol i've been looking at various care sheets, the book "Essential Care of Chameleons" and have done loads of reading on this very helpful forum, i'm well aware of what's involved and hope to get my cham in a couple of months but I still have some questions.

First of all I wanted to double check my setup list is correct, I was going to go for an all in one starter pack from these breeders in the states Chameleon Cages and Starter Kits,chameleon enclosures, screened chameleon cages but it dawned on me that cause of the shipping I can probably get all on that list, and more, for round about the same price. Here's a list with prices I found on ebay:

viv (flexarium or well ventilated viv with no glass doors) £60

U.V tube £14

light unit £10

Heat bulb £2 for 4

clamp lamp £15

vines/branches £15

plants £30

food/keeper £20

suplyments (calcium & vitamin) £10

spray bottle

a good book/good care sheets

It's actually a list knighty made on another thread but I included the prices, have I missed anything?

For my enclosure I don't want to go too mad on furnishings, i'm thinking of just some vines, an umbrella tree and some pothos.

I want to set everything on a timer, including misting, as I understand you have to mist in the morning and i'm rubbish in the mornings lol. I was thinking of the mister from maplins Maplin > mister I assume this can be set on a timer? my main questions about misting is when and for how long? I was thinking 2, 3 minute mistings a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon along with a dripper.

With feeding I was planning on feeding in the early evening when I get home from work, is this ok? this would be about an hour or 2 before lights out as I will be running them for 12 hours from either 7 or 8 am. Is it ok to turn all lights off at night? my room is quite warm even in winter because I have cavity wall insulation.

Finally, is there a way I can prevent water spilling out the sides of the mesh from the spraying? and just how much water will collect at the bottom of the cage from the spraying? I imagine a dish of some sort to collect it all in will ok.

Well I think that's everything!
 

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If your having a UV tube you might want a reflector to push the tube's light downwards into the viv. You may also want substrate, i've never had any problems using it but some keepers prefere either newspaper, tissue paper or nothing at all. I find substrate helps soak up the water you will be spraying into the viv. I use a layer of Eco Earth on the bottom and sometimes place a fine layer of bark substrate over the earth.

You may also want a Thermometer and Hygrometer to know the temperature and humidity levels.

I prefer misting my enclosures with a spray bottle, it helps me to know how much water is going into the viv, i get to look at the animals when i'm doing it too. I use plastic sheeting (like fish tank background) around my vivs to help stop the spray going over the walls etc.

I would feed in the mornings. It allows the chameleon all day to hunt, eat and use the warmth of the day to digest. Feeding 2 hours before lights out means the chameleon doesnt have as much time to eat, usually they are a little more sluggish as night approaches and therefore might not eat as much...which will lead to food items being in the viv during the evening, and potentially annoying you and the chameleon! Also the cham will be trying to digest food at its coldest.

If It its a Yemen you're after then daytime temps should be a mixture between 75-80F around the viv, up to 85-90F under the basking spot. AT night it can drop down safely to 65-70F.

Lights need to be on 10-12 hours a day, mine come on at 7am, I spray at 7.30, feed at 7.45. I then spray again at 6pm when i get in and lights go off at 8pm. Humidity should increase to around 70-80% after spraying and fall down to 50-60% during the day.

Hope that helps
 

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hello and welcome to RFUK!

i think chameleon keeper cleared most of it up, i however feed at around 5pm as like you i aint too good in the morning. i also spray by hand and do it morning and around 5pm, usualy just before feeding. i also set the dripper going at the same times as i find it is less disruption for the cham.

seems like you have everything that you will need, except as said above the thermometer and hydrometer. i like to plant my vivs out heavily as it gives them more places to hide, and they seem to feel safer. i have an exo terra water dish to catch the drips from the dripper, and my substrate seems to cope with the rest. a flexi tray is a good thing to have to as it stops any loose water from flooding out the viv. i have a plastic sheet on the wall behind my viv and my sides are covered with plastic plants so i dont have that much escape when i spray.

any more questions just put the up and between us we will do our best to give you an answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks alot that's really helpful

If your having a UV tube you might want a reflector to push the tube's light downwards into the viv.
By reflector do you mean the hood for it to go in? was just reading uv guide and it seams I can use a piece of foil to reflect. How exactly do you mount both the basking lamp and uv tube in a mesh enclosure? do they go inside the viv or on top? also, is it ok to use standard spot lamp bulbs from a supermarket rather than zoo med ones? surely a bulb is a bulb!

You may also want a Thermometer and Hygrometer to know the temperature and humidity levels.
Oh yeah I forgot to add them in the list!

I prefer misting my enclosures with a spray bottle, it helps me to know how much water is going into the viv, i get to look at the animals when i'm doing it too. I use plastic sheeting (like fish tank background) around my vivs to help stop the spray going over the walls etc.
How long do you mist for and how much?

I would feed in the mornings. It allows the chameleon all day to hunt, eat and use the warmth of the day to digest. Feeding 2 hours before lights out means the chameleon doesnt have as much time to eat, usually they are a little more sluggish as night approaches and therefore might not eat as much...which will lead to food items being in the viv during the evening, and potentially annoying you and the chameleon! Also the cham will be trying to digest food at its coldest.
That makes sense but is it ok to give him a couple of meal worms in the evening? i've read that by hand feeding a cham it will allow him to get used to you and crawl onto your hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How long do you spray for knighty? and do you set the dripper going on both sprayings or just the evening one? and how long is it til you turn the lights off after feeding?
 

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Yeah, by reflector i mean the silver stip that fastens onto the tube to reflect the light downwards, they are fairly inexpensive but i guess foil might do the trick too.

I only mist twice a day as i work 8am-->6pm so can only really spray in the morning and evening. I usually spray till the viv is soaking wet and all the plants have droplets hanging off them...i dont have an exact time limit, just do it until i feel happy and till the spray bottle runs dry!

It's fine to give him mealworms in the evening, i just dont like the idea of tons of crickets going in there an hour or so before the lights go off.
 

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How long do you spray for knighty? and do you set the dripper going on both sprayings or just the evening one? and how long is it til you turn the lights off after feeding?
as chameleon keeper said i dont have a time limit, just until everything is nice and wet. yeah i set the dripper going both times, at about 2 drops per second.

i dont feed crickets, i use hoppers as the main source of food, the lights go of at 8.30 pm so he has plenty of time to catch them, i do find though that my cham gets in his sleeping position around an hour before lights out.

i have an arcadia reflector over my u.v, its the ones that they make for aquariums, i use cable ties to hold it in place.
 

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I may have missed it, but I think you missed one main thing off your list

you'll need a dimmerstat to control the temps about £55-60

I have automated some parts of my vivs.....but I mist/spray by hand morning and evening

my heat lamps are on timer as are my UV's, lights on 7.30am, lights off 8.45pm, i feed in the evenings about 6pm ish....as I should have left for work by the time they are up:lol2:
 

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I may have missed it, but I think you missed one main thing off your list

you'll need a dimmerstat to control the temps about £55-60

I have automated some parts of my vivs.....but I mist/spray by hand morning and evening

my heat lamps are on timer as are my UV's, lights on 7.30am, lights off 8.45pm, i feed in the evenings about 6pm ish....as I should have left for work by the time they are up:lol2:
You can get dimmers a lot cheaper than that in the classified section! It's MUCH cheaper than buying off ebay! But, it may take you a while to find one, and be the first to put in an offer!
 

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spraying

I usually spray till the viv is soaking wet and all the plants have droplets hanging off them...i dont have an exact time limit, just do it until i feel happy and till the spray bottle runs dry!
when you guys spray, do you just use water straight from the tap or do you use warm water/boiled and cooled water?
 

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It's best to boil it and let it cool to a 'warm' temperature, as most of the rain they'd encounter in the wild would be quite hot compared to tap water here!
 

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when you guys spray, do you just use water straight from the tap or do you use warm water/boiled and cooled water?
i use bottled water which i keep at room temprature, does help that my room is very warm.

i dont have a dimmer stat on mine, and my temps do ok, i put it a bit down to luck and down to lots of adjusting and farting about before i got my cham. i am currently setting up a new viv though and due to larger lights and not so much room to play with i will be putting one in this time.
 

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What do you need a dimmerstat for? Surely it isn't hooked up to the basking light? Or is it on an infa-red?

I've seen people sold bearded dragon setups with a basking light and dimmerstat, the basking light repeatedly comes on and off to keep the temps right, even during the night (when it's supposed to be dark!) the basking light is coming on and off....no cham would appreciate that!
 

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well the only reson that i was going to add one is because i though a larger bulb may get too hot? are they not needed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What watt bulb do you guys use? I was thinking a standard 60 watt spot light from wilkinsons would do the trick wouldn't it? oh and how do you affix your clamp lamps to mesh? i'm still not visualising in my head how lights are put in place in a flexarium!
 

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well the only reson that i was going to add one is because i though a larger bulb may get too hot? are they not needed?
If the cham has somewhere to go that's cooler then it should be fine! If you have variances in temperatrue it's going to simulate more natural conditions, so it'll be doing the cham a favour!

What watt bulb do you guys use? I was thinking a standard 60 watt spot light from wilkinsons would do the trick wouldn't it? oh and how do you affix your clamp lamps to mesh? i'm still not visualising in my head how lights are put in place in a flexarium!
How big a flexi are you going for? I'm using a 75W exo terra tight beam bulb. Works a treat in my 175 flexi! :D My basking light uses an exo terra glow light and it easily clamps onto one of the bars that makes up the top of the frame (I clamp it after I've put the mesh over, as that way it stops the arm from tilting over) Some people just rest the clamp lamp with the bulb in it on top of the flexi. Because there are lots of gaps in the mesh, it doesn't get very hot so people using 100W and a large glow light can easily just rest them on top! I prefer to leave a little space just in case!
 

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If the cham has somewhere to go that's cooler then it should be fine! If you have variances in temperatrue it's going to simulate more natural conditions, so it'll be doing the cham a favour!

of course i have a temprature gradiant, that is part of the ideal husbandary! i was just concerned about the basking area getting too hot.....

is that not why you was after one?
 

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What do you need a dimmerstat for? Surely it isn't hooked up to the basking light? Or is it on an infa-red?

I've seen people sold bearded dragon setups with a basking light and dimmerstat, the basking light repeatedly comes on and off to keep the temps right, even during the night (when it's supposed to be dark!) the basking light is coming on and off....no cham would appreciate that!
I have a dimmerstat set at a temp to give a basking temp of about 90-95F
this works out that the cool end will be about 75F, and the basking lamp (100W spot) dims to nothing when temps are reached, and brightens up to possibly fully on, if temps fall
My dimmerstat is on a timer so it only comes on between 7.30am and 8.45pm, in the winter months I have a basking plate and 60W red bulb that stay on to keep temps at about 68F in the night-times, no dimmer required.

With my set-up, if i didn't have a dimmerstat on hot days I would end up broiling my chams, and that would not be good!!...they are too lovely for that!! and in winter, the spot rarely dims as the room is very draughty, and so colder than inside the viv

hope that answers your question
 

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of course i have a temprature gradiant, that is part of the ideal husbandary! i was just concerned about the basking area getting too hot.....

is that not why you was after one?
It was, but I tested it with an electric heater on in for most of the day, and the temp didn't get much passed 105F. So I'm not too fussed! :D I might still need to get one though to keep the temps up in winter! Obviously haven't been able to test for that! :( Will need a heat bulb too for that to work though!

Of course it is, I was just thinking this is a good way to create seasonal variance without really having to try! As long as you're sure it can't get to something ridiculous, then it should be fine!
 

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well the only reson that i was going to add one is because i though a larger bulb may get too hot? are they not needed?
i would have said that in a flexi a dimmer wouldn't be AS necessary because heat could escape and disperse around the room, thus you could set up your lamp so that the basking spot temperature remained constant with a temp gradient through the flex. but in a wooden viv the temp would gradually build up as some of it gets trapped and so a dimmer is needed to dim the bulb = less heat going in and so prevents the temperature just continually rising to extremely hot temps! and so that way you regulate the temp at the basking spot.

i don't know if what i've just written makes sense, but maybe....
 
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