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Looking for some help fixing my set-up...

Discussion in 'Anoles' started by AnoleNewbie18, Feb 15, 2015.

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  1. AnoleNewbie18

    AnoleNewbie18 New Member

    Lizard's Info:
    The Lizards - I currently have one male and two females. The male I have owned for about 8 months; he was purchased from a Renn Faire along with a female when they were both very young. We knew nothing about them but the people at the Renn Faire were oh so helpful (NOT!) in giving us the correct information. We still have the male; he appears to be thriving, but the original female died after about five months. We then purchased another female which also died. I spoke with the people at the local aquarium store (who I do trust) and they gave me some advice on things to change. However, I want to make sure that I am doing everything possible for them.
    Handling - I do not handle them other than to clean the cage. Occasionally my sister will take out the male who has no problem drinking from either of our palms.
    Feeding - We generally buy 25-30 crickets once a week and coat them in ReptoCal powder before putting them in the cage. We put a potato in the cage for them to eat so they don't touch the lizards. So far we haven't had an issue with that.
    Supplements - The ReptoCal on the crickets. We also have Cricket Drink (gel) that we put in the tank for the crickets.
    Watering - We mist the cage multiple times per day but it is winter here right now and I can't seem to keep it humid in there.
    Fecal Description - The fecal matter appears similar to bird droppings. They have never been checked for parasites.
    History - There isn't much other than the above...

    Cage Info:
    Cage Type - My current cage is a 10 gallon tank that is glass on four sides, but screen on the top.
    Lighting - I have a 15 watt UVB light and a 50 watt regular house lightbulb above the tank. I know that this setup will likely need to be changed. The lights are turned on at about 6 a.m. when we wake up and turned off at about 11:00 p.m. when we go to bed.
    Temperature - I do not currently have a thermometer in the cage.
    Humidity - I do not currently have a humidity gauge in there.
    Plants - I do not have any live plants but I do want to add one. I currently have a bromeliad style fake, multiple pieces of tree bark for them to climb, several twigs and sticks for them to climb, and a heated rock.
    Placement - The cage is approximately three feet off the ground (on top of an end-table).
    Location - I am in the Philadelphia area. It is extremely cold here right now. Obviously my house is not extremely cold, but I know it is probably cold for them. I am afraid of them dying like the other two.

    My main questions for you are:
    1. What kind of thermometer/humidity gauge do you recommend?
    2. What kind of plants do you recommend (I'd like to plant live)?
    3. What kind of lighting do you recommend?
    4. Is the size of my cage okay for three anoles?
    5. Is there anything else that you would recommend based on my set-up?

    I have read several care sheets (including the one on this forum) and I greatly appreciate the information, I'm just not sure how to modify what I already have. Thanks in advance!
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Let me guess....Dragon Nursery? I had some words with our local faire about these people!
    OK first thing. Get that hot rock out of there! Those are one of the worst products in the hobby. Frequently malfunctioning and burning the animal. You have to have a thermometer and hygrometer. Reptiles are "heat powered" and without the prober conditions they will not survive. Go to the hardware store or even Walmart and get you a good digital with a remote probe. Cost you about 12-15 dollars. It will not only read temperatures at the probe and the base unit, it will also read humidity. I use Acu-rite brand
    A 10 gallon is really a bit small for 3 anoles. I would go at least a 20.
    Your best bet on the top is to cover it with plywood except for holes that fit the lights. As it is you are attempting to heat and humidify the entire room.
    Pothos are commonly available plants that are pretty easy to keep alive.
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Just guessing here, but with such a small tank I'm betting you ha e one of the coil type UV bulbs. If so, you should know they are generally worthless. Linear florescent tubes do a much better job. And another issue with such a small tank is that it's almost impossible to get a good temperature gradient in there. So yes, a 20 long or maybe even a 29 would be better. And you would have plenty of room for live plants in there, which can help a ton with humidity.
  4. AnoleNewbie18

    AnoleNewbie18 New Member

    Hi guys, thank you so much for your quick replies. I really feel badly that we didn't research these guys more before buying. I know better than to impulse purchase but the people who were selling them were so convincing that they literally needed nothing. I'm considering saying something when we visit our Renn Faire this summer. They really are neat little lizards and they don't deserve to die due to ignorance like mine. Anyway, moving on from that, I'm determined to become an educated anole owner.

    Okay, addressing the concerns raised.

    I'm glad that you brought this up, because one of my females was sleeping on it this morning which tells me that a) the cage is obviously too cold and b) I'm putting them at risk. That sucker will be the first thing to go.

    Is this what you were talking about?
    It's an AcuRite Digital Thermometer with 10 ft. Temperature Sensor Probe & Humidity / Clock. I will try to find it tonight as soon as I'm done school.

    I am aware that I probably need a bigger tank. I've been doing some research on buying vs. building. Obviously I want the best environment for them, but I'm trying not to spend several hundred dollars. In the end, what is best for them is what wins because it is not their fault that this idiot bought them without researching them first.

    As far as cages go, do you recommend a fishtank or something like this:
    It's all glass on the sides and it's tall, which I have been reading that they like better.

    Or, would something like this be better?


    Yes, unfortunately I am. You're basically suggesting a light bar? What about if I had a cage like the above? Still the same? What wattage would you recommend for a 20-30 gallon tank? How about heat lamps? What wattage on those? I also want to purchase a night heat lamp, is the blue or red light better?

    Thank you in advance for all of your help. I am doing all of the reading that I can, but you just can't beat good old fashioned experience.
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Yes that is the right thermometer. And if you want to go larger without spending a ton of money you could always just build your own. You would basically be building a wooden box with a glass front.
  6. AnoleNewbie18

    AnoleNewbie18 New Member

    I don't have a picture of my "before" tank (I didn't think to take one) but here is what I added:

    - 75 Watt red heat lamp that is rated for day and night
    - Two hanging plants that are suction cupped to the wall
    - Coconut substrate
    - Dual thermometer/hygrometer

    I put them back in and so far they seem to love it... They were originally on the rock but now all three are up in the leaves. I pulled all of the crickets out of the cage and have them in a little critter-keeper with some potato.

    I actually found a 20 gallon (tall) aquarium at my local fish store that is selling for $35. Do you think that 20 gallons is enough for them? It'd double their space.

    The box says that the red light can be kept on all night without disturbing them - does this sound right?

    Until I can get them in a bigger tank does this look right to you? The light on the right is a 13 watt 5.0 UVB light (I was wrong, it is not spiral, I've attached a picture below) and the red one is the 75 watt I described above. I wasn't sure if 75 watts was too much but it was probably about 62 degrees in my house this morning and I know they were probably half frozen so I figured it would be better to go with more heat rather than less.

    I did not go with any live plants because the store did not have any, but when we get them a bigger tank I will introduce some.



  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The stick on thermometer tapes are useless.

    And the reason their behavior changed is they are arboreal, not terrestrial. You can get a lot more useable space if you bring in more branches and vines. I have never been a big fan of the red lights. Regardless of the spiel, I believe that the lights can disturb them. I prefer CHE's for heating since they put out no visible light.
    Darkbird likes this.
  8. AnoleNewbie18

    AnoleNewbie18 New Member

    Haha ignore that stick on thermometer; this was an old fish tank and it just so happened to be on the tank when we got it.

    When we first got them, I didn't realize how arboreal they were, I'm really glad that they're happier now. The funny thing is that even though they have the vines now, they've been basking on the rock more than ever before.

    What wattage CHE would you recommend?
  9. BrownFoundling

    BrownFoundling Established Member

    Given the size of the enclosure I would go with the lowest wattage CHE that you can find. They are pretty powerful. You will also need a dimmer for it. Either a fixture with a dimmer already wired in or wire one into your current one. That way you can dial it back to only what you need.
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Also spending more time on that hot rock is indicative that the temps are too low in the enclosure.
  11. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    To be honest, if your really commited to this it would be a good idea to seriously consider building your own cage. You'll end up with a much better cage for the money than anything you can buy off the shelf. As far as the current setup, your probably going to want to set up an elevated basking area with a regular halogen outdoor flood bulb for them. Put it at one end of the cage, shining down on some branches or something. Also consider insulating the cage with 1" foam or even a couple layers of cardboard. Back, both ends, and even the bottom if possible and the top, leaving a gap around the fixtures to avoid a fire hazard. A CHE on a thermostat will help if needed, although the t-stat will be more expensive than wiring up a dimmer.
  12. bianca barbosa

    bianca barbosa New Member

    I was led to believe the same thing at the Renaissance Faire, I’m also scurrying to find a proper home for him. How did you ultimately set up his new home?
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You are responding to a thread from 2 years ago. The poster has not been back.
    Darkbird likes this.
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