1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Can't get humidity down and temperatures up

Discussion in 'Vivariums and Terrariums' started by LindsayAlexx, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. LindsayAlexx

    LindsayAlexx Arachnopeon

    Hi all,

    I recently got an orchid mantis nymph (L3) and I can't seem to get the temperature up or the humidity down in its enclosure. I originally had it in a smaller, taller plastic cylindrical enclosure but the humidity was crazy high (95-98%, I blame too damp substrate) and the enclosure itself wasn't big enough for the heating pad to be effective for temperature control, so I've put them in a larger enclosure (20x17x17cm critter keeper-esque type setup) with a thick layer of substrate to make the actual space vertically 'smaller' so they can still find their food (I'm monitoring their feeding as well). I've got a 14W heating pad with the thermostat at 30°c as I want the temperature to be around 28-30°c but it's currently around 23-24°c and has refused to climb any higher in the past two days since set up. Due to the size of the enclosure and the larger size of the heating pad I've had to put the enclosure on top of it, rather than attach it to the side (this was obviously my mistake). As for humidity, I've made sure the substrate is pretty dry (eco earth coconut husk) and I haven't misted the enclosure in around day and a half as there's lots of condensation inside. The humidity is still in the high 80s but I want the enclosure to be between 60-80% (the room itself is around 50-60%). I've left only the mesh on the enclosure for ventilation but it doesn't seem to be doing much, and also doesn't help the temp problem. I'm getting frustrated and a bit worried about my little friend. Any suggestions on how I can raise the temp and lower the humidity? Preferably things I can do with what equipment I already have, but I'm willing to spend a bit extra to make sure my mantis is happy and healthy. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions!
  2. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    Never chase humidity numbers. Hygrometers, especially used in confined spaces, are notoriously inaccurate.

    @darkness975 is very good with mantids, maybe he can chime n at some point and offer assistance.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    As @cold blood already said, hygrometers are very unreliable, especially in exterme ranges (high and low), so what you measure may not be the accurate humidity at all.

    If you have a heating pad under the enclosure and then a lot of substrate in the enclosure you will never reach the temps you are aiming for since the substrate will actually insulate the heating pad...
    • Like Like x 1
  4. darkness975

    darkness975 the sun grows ever darker Arachnosupporter

    20180712_192841.jpg 20180712_192854.jpg
    You need to mist regularly enough for them to be able to drink, so be careful how long you go in between misting (especially for nymphs).

    Mantids dont need deep substrate since they aren't burrowing, so a thin layer for aesthetic purposes is fine.

    When young I dont use substate at all. Makes it easier to clean. How much substate is currently in there?

    You also want to be careful of stagnant air.

    What kind of hydrometer are you using ? As my friends @cold blood and @boina pointed out most of them are inaccurate and end up causing issues. The accurate ones tend to cost a pretty penny.

    With all my mantids , I never bother worrying over humidity. As long as they are drinking and molting okay then they're alright. Nature is full of temp and humidity swings.

    Do you have it set up for proper molting? They need to hang downwards; usually they do this from the lid. I make sure there is twice their body length of distance from the lid to the objects below. They can stretch surprisingly far, but Im if there are obstacles in the way they will inadvertently hit them when they stretch.

    Here are two Sphodromantis lineolas from my collection. Disregard the water stains on the front, I have to clean that up.
    • Helpful Helpful x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Sarkhan42

    Sarkhan42 Arachnolord Active Member

    H. coronatus will do absolutely fine without the additional heating you mentioned. I also recommend using layered paper towel rather than traditional substrate for mantids. Much easier to clean, can still hold moisture for those that need it, I use it for all the species I keep and have kept.

    I recommend 3x height of the mantis from top to bottom for molting purposes, as they do need to hang considerably during a molt. However, this is assuming the roof of your enclosure can be hung on to(ie cloth, mesh, etc, NOT plastic or glass). Otherwise I would ensure there is sufficient space between a perch and the ground. I have lost mantids in the past to falling off slick molting surfaces, and some select species lack the necessary foot pads to hang successfully off smooth surfaces. Generally I remedy slick surfaces by lining the lid with paper towels in some fashion.

    As for moisture, as others have said chasing humidity numbers is unnecessary. Light misting to drink from and moist towels beneath are plenty for the species that need them.(outside say choeradodis)

    You didn’t mention it in your post but I figured it’s important info to share- don’t feed your mantids feeders that have consumed carrots, and avoid feeding crickets if possible. Carrot fed feeders cause sickness and death, and crickets can carry bacterial infections that are transmitted to mantids upon consumption.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  6. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    IMHO everyone who keeps or uses feeders should have a poster on the wall of all common plants that contain Solanine or Falcarinol.
  7. darkness975

    darkness975 the sun grows ever darker Arachnosupporter

    Can you elaborate on this ? Should we not be feeding feeders that are carrot fed to any of our inverts? People I know feed their crickets / meal worms/ etc carrots all the time , mostly to allot for food and moisture simultaneously.
  8. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    yeah, carrot is my main feeder feeder....never had an issue with my mantis...never heard this before either.
  9. Sarkhan42

    Sarkhan42 Arachnolord Active Member

    I’ve only experienced issues with my mantids, other inverts have been fine. However every time I’ve fed mantids carrot fed feeders they’ve become sick, vomiting profusely, and died within the week. I’ve also heard this from a variety of other mantis keepers and breeders.

    Obviously given the testimony of you and CB though this isn’t a 100% of the time instance. I wish I knew more about what causes these issues and why, but unfortunately my testimony only comes from experience and word of mouth.
  10. Sarkhan42

    Sarkhan42 Arachnolord Active Member


    Mainly talks about crickets here, but makes mention of carrots causing vomiting. @Greasylake has mentioned this before if I remember correctly
  11. Greasylake

    Greasylake Arachnoprince Active Member

    Yeah I had a thread about this before and a few people came out and said they had mysterious deaths after they started feeding their crickets carrots. I've stayed away from the carrots because I didn't want to take any chances so I've never seen them being poisoned, but if you do some real digging you should be able to find some posts on other forums. I remember reading one a while ago that I think was posted on a reptile forum and that's what started getting me suspicious. As was said before mantis appear to be the only inverts that are poisoned by the carrots, so if you have other inverts it's fine to use them as feeders for them, just not the mantis.
    Also @The Snark I see Falcarinol is a natural pesticide in carrots, but I'm not entire sure why it wouldn't affect crickets or any other inverts, but only the mantis that fed on the crickets. Any ideas on this?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. darkness975

    darkness975 the sun grows ever darker Arachnosupporter

    Could have something to do with their genetic makeup.

    I used to feed my supers and mealies carrots but I think I will play it safe and stop. Not worth my collection's lives.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    A couple of things come to mind with natural toxins and critters eating them. Some animals are naturally resistant. Hornworm caterpillars* are a perfect example subsisting on tobacco, Oleander, and tomato greens. Then there is cumulative and residual toxic effects that end up hitting the predators the hardest. With unpredictability lurking around every feeding, erring on the side of caution seems to be in order.

    * Hornworms. Serious WTF. Happily munching nicotines, Solanine, and a lethal cocktail of poisons in the Oleander. Just how did they evolve all this? Lepidoptera can be so weird it's spooky. (Why does my spell checker flag lepidoptera then suggest lepidopterist? Spooky.)
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
    • Beer Beer x 1