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350 Gallon Vivarium

Discussion in 'Chameleons' started by jcrema, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. jcrema

    jcrema New Member

    Hello, my environmental science class has decided to make a self sustaining Panther chameleon vivarium. I have a lot of question to ask. First this is the area that we have to work with it is 350 gallons and it will be emptied of its current plant inhabitants.
    Question 1: how will we have a constant source of food (preferable crickets) that is in the tank. I was thinking having a breeder colony in a smaller tank (like 10 gal) inside the tank with a small path that leads out of it. so how will we be able to do this without having to many crickets after they breed and will we need another animal to help control the population.

    Question 2: what is the best way to deal with the chameleons waste and keep the tank cleaned without out intervention.

    Question 3: what is the best soil to use for the live plants that we intend to use (Ficus Benjamina)

    question 4: what substrait if any

    Question 5: we were thinking of having a running water source inside the tank to contribute to the humidity and wellbeing of the plants, how is this best done.

    Question 6: going back to question 1 what is the best way for it to be self sustaining

    Question 7: what are your suggestions/ideas/qualms?

    Also i will try to update you guys as this project continues

    Jonah Crema
  2. Buggy0123

    Buggy0123 Established Member

    I don't know much about them but if I were you I'd look into bioactive set ups. These include whole bug colony's (isopods) that clean everything up for you. Crickets are hard to breed but once you get going they're difficult to stop. I currently breed crickets and I get about 40-50 a batch with 50 breeders. So maybe if you plan on breeding them start with two male crickets and four or five females. The femalesa a long stick-like egg dispenser out of the back of them. They also need several layers of substrate to lay their eggs in, another problem though is that the larger crickets will eat the babies when they hatch so be warned.
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Well, I'm going to take a stab at this, but I know I can't answer everything.

    1. Can't see any way to do this in a closed environment without either having the crickets starve or getting more than the cham will eat. Hopefully someone else can think of something.
    2,3 and 4. These will go together, and I would recommend a bioactive substrate made of regular topsoil. You can even dig up your own from somewhere so long as no pesticides has been used on it. If you search around I believe there is some info about bioactive setups on this site.
    5. Can't help with this one, I've never attempted anything like this before.
    6 and 7. To be honest, I don't think this can work with a chameleon like you described, mostly due to the issues with breeding suitable feeders in a closed setup. At the very least you will end up doing maintenance for the feeders, as they need to eat and in not sure you could provide a self renewing food source for them. Something that might be more doable would be a setup with some sort of small frogs which generally feed on fruitflies. I think it would be doable to set up a culture that would keep the frogs out and still allow the fruitflies into the rest of the environment. With a larger carnivore like a panther chameleon, you'd be better off just leaving the feeding of it as the only part of the setup that's not self contained.

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