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New cage ideas

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Posted by charm_paradise on April 25, 2003 at 16:01:29:

In Reply to: New cage ideas posted by iwana on April 25, 2003 at 07:22:40:


Well lets start off with the reason why height is so important in the cage design for keeping chameleons. Chameleons need a place to warm up (bask) and a place cool and humid for the day hours, this is why a gradient temp in the cage is important. Hot at the top of the cage and cooler temps towards the bottom of the cage. So to provide this you need height. The humidity also comes in to play with the height of the cage. The higher up in the cage the lower the humidity is because of the high temp from the basking bulbs, and the lower in the cage the higher the humidity is because it is more shaded and not so hot. This allows you to provide a stable humidity, and is why LIVE plants are so important. Also chameleons are arboreal creatures so they require height more then length in there cage. All screen cages allow for proper ventilation, which is very important. If the height is short like your tank 2' then all it does is heat up the whole thing and make it hotter on one side and hot on the other, and allows for no humidity until the air is supper saturated and the moisture has no where to go, then you get your humidity, but it is stagnant humid air. You can have cages that are 2' high for small/baby chameleons, but they need to be screen after the age of 1-3 months depending on the type of chameleon. Yours is an adult, needs the 4' height and all screen cage to do well.

Well he may have looked fine, but keeping a chameleon in those conditions for such a long period of time will have long term effects, and it looks like they are starting to show now! The stress of you changing things could have been the trigger for all this. Also he must have the will to survive, and is giving it everything he's got. You doing this big cage change should help him out, and reverse any long term effects.

I use the Zoomed PowerSun on 3 of my cages and they are a much better source of UVB then any fluorescent. The 160w powersun should be plenty, and may even be more then need as far as heat, it his basking spot is above 100F just move the lamp off the cage more until you get the correct temp. You can not give too much UVB, but you can give too much heat. The Rainmaker's are great, and you should start off with 3 misting a day for 1 min the first time 2min the second time and 1min the third time. You can adjust the # of times you mist and the amount of min. to get the correct humidity with the conditions of the ambient air temp in your home!

48"Hx48"Lx18"W will be better then what he is in now, so I say go for it if that is what will fit in place of what is there now! You will have to play with the heat and lights until you get something that works for you. I would not use more then one powersun due to the heat, but if it is needed and doesn't over heat the whole cage and you can provide the correct humidity then go for it! You should not waste anymore $ on fake plastic plants and use it on Live plants. Also get some Bio Vines your chameleon will love them for basking on, all my panthers do! Let us know how things go, post pics when your done, and ask questions if needed. I hope I explained everything you asked about. Hope this helps!


:Hi everyone,

:Thanks again for all your ideas and suggestions, they are greatly appreciated!

:I discussed this with my husband and we decided that given how much work would be involved to convert the present terrarium into an arboreal cage, that we may as well just build another cage and we could sell the old one to someone who has a terrestrial lizard.

:We already have the lumber to build the frame, clip lamps and two PowerSuns that we could use. We're also going to keep all his branches and plants and will eventually add some real ones. All we would need to buy is the screen, which I think we can handle. :-)

:I'm still having a hard time understanding how a tall screen cage will better hold humidity than an enclosed cage. Again, this completely goes against all my logic (and my husband's), but after reading so many caresheets online and realizing that not one of them recommends anything but all-screen cages, then there must be a reason for it. I wonder how that breeder's veiled managed to live so long. I think he actually kept it in a very large aquarium, with sand as a substrate!

:Also, there is still the fact that Frasier was happy before and isn't now just because of some cosmetic changes. Logically, putting everything back the way it was before would solve the problem, but since this is a cage that my husband very quickly slapped together in one week-end and readily admits that he did a p*ss-poor job with his carpentry (LOL), the cage is an eyesore and we've been meaning to eventually build a nicer cage anyway.

:We also realized that his current set-up uses up over 200 watts of energy, between fluorescent fixtures, ceramic element and basking light. We figure we could just use one of the 160W PowerSuns in the new cage, and we can easily fit it with the current misting system.

:Since we will be using the same base (but shorten it a bit), we thought of making this cage 48" high, 48" wide and 18" deep. Do you think one PowerSun would be sufficient, or should we use two for such a large set-up? Or mebbe one PowerSun and one fluorescent?

:Thanks again for all your help! Frasier will surely thank you. :-)


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