Product Review: Managing Water and Humidity for Your Reptiles
Today I’m straying away from reviewing a single product and focusing on a group of products relating to water and humidity. In the past few years many new products have hit the market that are meant to keep humidity in your reptile terrariums at appropriate levels, and/or keep your reptiles well hydrated and in good health, but figuring out what is worth purchasing, or which product to choose can be a real pain. In this article I will show the pros and cons of each method and which products have the best value, or highest quality.
Foggers pour fog into your terrarium, creating a very nice visual effect as well as increasing humidity, and creating small dew drops on some surfaces of your terrarium. There are a few pros and cons with this product.
- Creates a very nice visual effect
- Can help simulate morning dew for desert reptiles
- Disk foggers very often break and replacement pieces can add up in price to equal the cost of an expensive misting system within a year or two.
- Don’t come with built in timing, so you need to purchase a timer, or terrarium control system, to provide a varied humidity throughout the day, as is required to keep many reptiles in good health.
- Damages and wets floor if terrarium is made of screen or has circulation holes on the lower area of the cage (a feature of most of the front door terrariums by Exo Terra, Zilla, and Zoomed). The fog seeps through the holes and settles on the floor; the amount of water isn’t much, but if the floor is wooden, it can do some damage.
There are 2 main types of foggers, disk foggers and cool mist humidifiers. The most popular brand of disk fogger is made by Exo Terra. Disk foggers are placed into a bowl of water, or a waterfall. They break very easily, and replacement parts are expensive. They sell for about $40 but many suppliers have removed them from their stock due to the many problems.
Cool Mist Humidifiers have been widely used in households, but Zoomed has recently created a version of their own meant for reptiles. If you are going to purchase a fogger, I would recommend the Zoomed product.
Automatic misters and misting systems have become increasingly popular recently, especially with very high maintenance reptiles such as chameleons. They spray a fine mist out of nozzles using a pump and a timer to mist at timed intervals of your choice. There are a few pros and cons with these products.
- Allows you to be away from your reptiles for a while, as you do not need to mist them yourself daily
- Reptiles that require misting multiple times per day (chameleons) are easier to maintain with an automatic system if you are away from home during working hours (adult chameleons require misting up to 5 times per day for lengthy periods of time.)
- Many systems give a very fine mist and certain products can produce a rain-like effect along with mist (Aquazamp’s Rain dome)
- Many pumps can handle up to 80 nozzles, so they are great for breeders
- Some systems can be more costly than other methods which provide humidity and misting
- Nozzles often break if you don’t use Reverse Osmosis (R/O) or other filtered forms of water
There are many misting systems out there, but I will be going over the most popular four, The Habba Mister, (Zoomed’s ReptiRain is basically the same thing) Exo Terra’s Monsoon Misting System, and The Mistking and Aquazamp.
I’m going to start with the Habba Mist. It’s a fairly compact system that comes with 1 nozzle and has assorted times it will mist per day. On Chameleon Forums, we commonly refer to this as ‘The Habba Spitter’ and rightfully so: of all the misting systems it has the least fine mist. In fact it’s more like a squirt. With many reptiles this wouldn’t be harmful, but with the chameleons, if it squirts them in the face, they could suffocate, and I believe it has happened. It costs about $65.
Exo Terra’s Monsoon Misting System: The best way to describe this system is as a cross between the Habba Mist and the Aquazamp and Mistking, both in quality and in price, but realistically, if you have the budget to afford this product, just purchase the most basic Mistking system, which is almost the same price. The nozzles on this have a mist, but not a very fine one, along with a horrible quality, I didn’t have one last longer than 4 months, using R/O water. I can’t imagine how short it would last with tap water, but I don’t think it would be very long. You get what you pay for. These cost $4.50 for two, about 10% the price of Mistking nozzles.
The Mistking and Aquazamp misting systems are two similar high quality misting systems. They both feature fine mist nozzles and high quality systems. Many zoos have even used these, like the Singapore Zoo, which uses Mistking systems in many of their tropical setups. Due to the similarity of these, below we will do a comparison. As a reptile breeder I highly recommend purchasing one of these for your reptiles. Save up if you have to, it is well worth it. Here at Crazy Cresties we have even created crested gecko racks featuring built-in Mistking systems. The cheapest Mistking setup with all you need included is $99 and the cheapest all included setup for Aquazamp is $120.
AquaZamp vs. Mistking Automated Misting Systems
Aquazamp has a few more ‘combos’ available, but with almost all of them, for the same items, the Mistking is less expensive, and you get a little bit more bang for your buck.
Mistking takes this one by storm. They are much more reliable and easy to contact, and are very open and helpful, even to negative feedback.
Again Mistking takes this one as they have a lot of different products; I could probably spend over an hour at a time comparing the products and deciding what fits my needs best.
For the Basic systems the quality is probably about the same, but one very nice thing about the Mistking is they also have a large selection of premium nozzles which are more slim than the regular nozzles and higher quality in both design and materials. When I built my racks, this was a deciding factor, because I needed slim nozzles that I wouldn’t have to replace often.
Both Mistking and Aquazamp have really interesting extra features, which makes it hard to choose a “winner”, but for this I have to give it to Aquazamp. Mistking has two main extra features that set it apart from Aquazamp: the zip drip, a device that sucks the hose dry to prevent dripping out of the nozzles after the cycle is over, and their series of manifolds, which are simple, but extremely helpful in large breeding setup situations, where the water has to be spread throughout the nozzles accurately, and with good timing. The Aquazamp has the Raindome, which Mistking later copied, and with their options of nozzle flow, I really like how you can choose between regular and torrential which makes them the winner in this section.
Aquazamp is an American company and the products are made in the US. Mistking is a Canadian company but unfortunately their products are made in China, so the winner is Aquazamp.
Overall I would choose Mistking, unless you really need a torrential nozzle.
Now last but not least, probably the most used method, hand-held misters, cheap, simple to use, and portable. There are three main types:
I’m sure every breeder has had one of these before, pesky hand-held misters from the dollar store with adjustable mist thickness. They break a lot, but with desert geckos and other reptiles that don’t require much misting, or lengthy misting times, these work well.
These misters have become increasingly popular: you pump the top and the pressure allows for continuous misting for up to 2 minutes. They work great for crested geckos and many other tropical species. Exo Terra and Zoomed have come out with their own versions of it, but in my opinion don’t waste your money on their versions, just go to a garden shop, Lowes, or Home Depot, for example, and buy one. It will be cheaper, higher quality, and probably have a higher capacity of water.
Don’t buy these. When I see these all I do is think how pathetically lazy it is. They don’t even give a fine mist, just put in some effort and use a pump mister. The motorized misters break easily, and are over-priced.
I hope this review helped you. If you have any additional questions, please comment below, or contact me at Admin@CrazyCresties.ca
By Daniel Ruberto
Daniel Ruberto is a 16 year old Student in Toronto, Canada. He had a love for animals from a young age and got his first reptile, a bearded dragon who is alive to this day, at the age of 8. Before the age of 14 he had owned 9 different species of reptiles, and bred 4 of the species. At the age of 15 one of his father's colleagues expressed an interest in the reptiles and invested in a new project, crested geckos. Daniel Ruberto and Clayton Book now run 'Crazy Cresties' (formerly "The Golden Gecko")