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Deciding on a millipede

Discussion in 'Myriapods' started by Lamia, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Lamia

    Lamia Arachnopeon

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    I am sure this has been asked before.. and I am sure there are many different answers.

    Looking to purchase a millipede, I should say several. Why stop at just one... Looking for a good beginner species.

    Also, some ideas on housing. Although the typical clear storage container works, its not that fun looking looking. anyone willing to share some pictures of what the inside of their habitats look like? Even if they do use the storage containers?

    Thanks a bunch!
     
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  2. ErinM31

    ErinM31 Arachnoprince

    I use storage company matinees as they are economical and work well — but I’m sure you could find more attractive alternatives! :) I would just recommend against the typical terrarium with lots of air space and ventilation as it can be tricky to keep the moisture level right.

    Chicobolus spinigerus (commonly called Ivories) are wonderful millipedes and often out and about on the surface of the substrate. These could easily be kept with other large millipedes of similar needs such as Narceus americanus which tend to not be on the surface quite as much.

    Euryurids are small but colorful and as easy to breed as to keep so long as their requirement for abundant damp decayed wood is met.

    I have not kept many millipedes not native to the U.S. so can’t really comment on them!

    Welcome to the hobby! :)
     
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  3. arachnoxious

    arachnoxious arachnovelist Arachnosupporter

    If you are within the US, Bugs from cyberspace offers a medley of 3 different types of millipedes that can all live together. I would consider it a relatively intermediate set of millipedes to start with, the Narceus Americanus, Bumblebee, and a Florida Ivory. Checkout out his website and it’ll be really helpful in getting started. Bugsincyberspace.com even has information on appropriate substrate and care.
     
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  4. arachnoxious

    arachnoxious arachnovelist Arachnosupporter

    Here’s the set up I have. Lots of leaves, oak substrate, about a 1/4 mixed with coconut core to absorb some liquid and keep humidity in. I sprinkle loose decomposed oak and crushed to a powder cuttlebone and sprinkle it in.
     

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  5. Wesley Smith

    Wesley Smith Arachnosquire

    I do advise that you buy from someone here on the boards or locally because most places sell for a lot more than the people on the boards do. If you want bumblebee or rusty red millipedes i know can hook you up with a guy I know who sells them pretty cheap. Both of those breed very easily by the way.
     
  6. MarcoVincelli

    MarcoVincelli Arachnosquire

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    My first millipede species was the Chicobolus Spinigerus or the Ivory millipede. Without a doubt, in my opinion, these are a great starter. A little bit of hardwood (preferably oak) around the tank, some calcium, and supplements of cucumbers every two days or as needed is perfect. The tank will become self sustaining if you add some kind of living moss. I've found out that they love to eat & sleep in living frog moss. House temps are fine so no heat pad is needed, so they are ultimately one of the best. My opinion is a little bias as well, considering I love their pattern so much. Let us know what you decide :)
     
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  7. Lamia

    Lamia Arachnopeon

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    Thank you everyone for the responses! We were thinking about starting off with some ivories. Although I really like the Bumblebees.

    How many is a reasonable amount to start off with? 4??
     
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  8. Lamia

    Lamia Arachnopeon

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    Thanks for the link.. I think we will be ordering at least our substrate from them.. We live in the middle of farmlands and fields, which also means pesticides to the max. :/

    Any idea about using live plants?
     
  9. ErinM31

    ErinM31 Arachnoprince

    I would recommend against live plants! It could be difficult to balance their moisture needs with the millipedes’ and the plants will need sunlight which could overheat the millipedes (in a closed container). The only live plants I’ve had with my millipedes for any time were potato slices that had taken root! :hilarious:
     
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  10. MarcoVincelli

    MarcoVincelli Arachnosquire

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    I went with seven initially. My reasoning was that I wanted six, so I bought seven in case one got sick or died. I have an enclosure that is 12" x 12" and at their size (about an inch and a half so far) do very well. My suggestion to you would be the following;

    - 6 Ivory millipedes
    - Live frog moss (because I agree with Erin, live "plants" are too difficult but moss fits perfectly)
    - 5 to 10-gallon tank (2.5 to 3 inches of substrate to start)
    - Organic cucumbers
    - Decomposed oak wood
    - Calcium
    - Enough money to buy 25 other species of millipedes once you fall in love with the first ones

    Good luck! I'm excited for you!
    BugsinCyberspace is a very good option for everything. For these millipedes, I would buy two bags of the mixed $17 bags of substrate there. It will cost you $34 and will be just enough to fill up the tank to where you need it to be. The oak wood comes with it so it's definitely worth it.
     
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  11. Lamia

    Lamia Arachnopeon

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    OMG! I almost spit my coffee out reading your reply. That is way to funny!
     
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  12. Lamia

    Lamia Arachnopeon

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    I am in luck as the tank we are going to use I pretty much stole.. not really.. I found a 30 gallon reptile breeder tank brand new (still had all its original packaging on it) for about $20.00. It is 30 inches long, 12" deep, 12" high. Which is probably way to big...

    Cheesecloth between the lid and the top of the cage to help keep moisture in?

    I was not going to pass that up. Was originally going to be for our daughter's darkling beetles, but they are staying in their 10 gallon tank.

    I was thinking about just starting off with the BugsinCyberspace basic habitat kit (the not very pretty one), just till we get more experience with them. :shame:
     
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  13. ErinM31

    ErinM31 Arachnoprince

    Sounds good to me! A few things:

    1) What is “frog moss” and where does one get it? :woot:

    2) What do you use for calcium? I have not observed nor heard others observe millipedes eat calcium supplements such as shells, etc. I used to sprinkle on some calcium powder (sold as an herp supplement) but became concerned that this could adversely alter the pH of the substrate. Now, besides produce, I offer the millipedes who will eat it various fish food pellets that contain calcium.

    3) I would recommend rotating among a variety of organic produce as you have it available. In my experience, millipedes become tired of the same type repeatedly offered and surely variety should make sure they have the nutrients they need. :) Some of the produce items my millipedes will regularly eat include sweet potato and apple (if not offered too frequently).
     
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  14. Wesley Smith

    Wesley Smith Arachnosquire

    I've seen my millipedes and my isopods in and around the cuttlebone I use. Though I have never wittnessed them actually eating it, I do find holes and scrape marks (like those of millipedes eating) in them.
     
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  15. MarcoVincelli

    MarcoVincelli Arachnosquire

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    1. Frog moss is a kind of moss with long, kind of firm strands (or whatever you call them). It’s quite literally used for frog enclosures, so they call it frog moss. My Ivory millipedes will eat and sleep in it. It grows well but does require to be watered, so my suggestion is to keep it close to the door or an area where you can spray it frequently. If you do add frog moss, you can literally water it and leave the rest of the tank, because it humidifies the rest of the enclosure and usually the area is moist where you sprayed it.
    https://www.petguys.com/zoo-med-fro...MIh6eb1bDB2wIVDlqGCh2DgAd5EAQYAyABEgKE7_D_BwE

    If you don’t want to deal with the living aspect of the moss, you can use this sphagnum moss:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0153LHB4...t=&hvlocphy=1018363&hvtargid=pla-349899013883


    2. Calcium is often debated as to whether or not it helps. Many of the experts that I’ve spoken to are very familiar with using it and stand by it. Some are not. Calcium has been an effective supplement in my tank and I have noticed the difference. To get the most out of your calcium, I prefer powder of some kind. It has to be fairly fine. That way, the millipedes will collect it while they are eating food and it just happens naturally. As far as I can tell, it does support their molting. As you’re composing the substrate, suppose you have 3 inches, sprinkle a little bit in every inch. Just enough to see some of it in the dirt, don’t saturate it. Then, mix it all together when you’re done and that’s usually perfect. I never add calcium once I’ve done it the first time.
    https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-repti...MInbvZ5a_B2wIVBESGCh3FfgVDEAQYASABEgKGUfD_BwE

    This will last you forever.

    3. A wide ranging diet can be beneficial, but I do have an argument for otherwise. While I wish to offer them anything possible, some species of millipedes have been reported to die from consuming one food or another. For example, an expert from a lab that was raising Archispirostreptus Gigas had told me that AGBs can die from eating tomato. I don’t know if this is something that is sure to happen or only a select few, but nothing has ever been reported with cucumber. Cucumber is a VERY neutral supplement, not being starchy or acidic. It’s mostly water and accounts for most of their hydration. It’s also important to keep in mind that these foods act as supplements, not their diets. They should be eating decomposed oak wood. If you buy bags of leaves or cure them yourself (if you do it yourself make sure you bake them in a covered sheet), they will decompose in the dirt overtime from spraying and waste. The millipedes will also eat the decomposing leaves when you do not have supplements available in the tank. That’s why I put cucumber out, it just feels safer to me. I did a study a few months ago with Brown Marmorated stink bugs and they were actually effected by an all apple diet because of its acidic nature. Cucumber hasn’t had any problems.

    Sorry for the long response, but I wanted to give my full take on it and give you all as much information as I could. The diet studies haven’t been completely confirmed, but it feels better for me personally to give them something made of mostly water.
     
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  16. arachnoxious

    arachnoxious arachnovelist Arachnosupporter

    I would be concerned about moisture when using live plants. Usually, when putting live plants in my enclosures I use a layer of hydroballs, which absorb any excess liquid that sinks to the bottom of the enclosure. However, I only do that for my T enclosures and I do not believe it would work with a millipede enclosure due to the varying levels of humidity and moisture.
     
  17. ErinM31

    ErinM31 Arachnoprince

    1) Awesome! I will look into getting this moss for several of my enclosures — thank you, @MarcoVincelli ! :)

    2) That sounds like a lot of calcium in the substrate, but I canot argue with success! I have not observed any moltInfo problems with my millipedes, but then in addition to the fish food supplements, I think the BiC millipede substrate does contain some calcium.

    I had been deterred from adding additional calcium powder to the substrate when someone pointed out that decaying leaves may create a more acidic environment which the millipedes may be adapted to. I don’t know whether or not this is true, to be honest. I should look into this for various species...

    3) I think @mickiem has a list of all the supplemental food she’s given her millipedes and what they’ve eaten, to have a reference of what should be safe to use. :) You certainly make a good point, @MarcoVincelli, that these foods should only be supplemental to the millipedes’ main diet of decayed hardwood and leaves! I would think that over use of an one supplemental food could be potentially detrimental (although in my experience the millipedes lose interest). I don’t know why my millipedes have generally not shown much interest in cucumber. Foods that my Spirobolid millipedes eat on occasion are sweet potato, apple (occasional), carrot, corn, peas, avocado, broccoli (they seem to like the leaves best), and kale (minimal interest).
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  18. MarcoVincelli

    MarcoVincelli Arachnosquire

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    Very true! One of the mysteries of millipedes is their personalities and ability over choice. I don’t think people realize how they are able to actually take interest in things, which is certainly why your millipedes eat selectively. Mine were impressed young to eat cucumber, so they don’t know much of anything else. I would like to note that when it comes to the calcium, it’s only supposed to be a few grains spread around on each level that I described. Like I said, in no way should it be saturated. You really shouldn’t be able to even see the calcium unless you’re looking for it. I like to spread it out through the layers so that they can benefit even when they’re molting, depending on the species. I am not sure what kind of millipedes you have, but for my exotic species that require heat pads the moss works excellently. I have a screen lid with a layer of plastic wrap on the outside, taped on with black electrical tape. When you soak the moss and put it in the tank, the plastic wrap keeps the moisture in and if you cycle the heat pad (on in the morning off at night) it kind of rains like it would in nature. I try to keep everything natural, so having a cycle of moisture without having to mist yourself is definitely beneficial, especially where it isn’t saturating the tank. Also, when you soak the moss, do NOT wring out the water. Just hold it in the bowl upside down until all of the water comes out or else it’ll lose shape and quality. Hope I helped someone here :)
     
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  19. Lamia

    Lamia Arachnopeon

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    I can not speak for others, but you have helped me out a TON!
     
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  20. MarcoVincelli

    MarcoVincelli Arachnosquire

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    Awesome, so glad to hear! Please update us on what you decide to do overall and how it comes out :)