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Species of Springtails/Isopods

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by pannaking22, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    Does anyone have specific species of springtails or isopods they recommend as cleaners? I've seen them advertised on a couple different sites, but it's pretty easy to just go outside in the woods and pick up some of each by flipping logs and pulling bark. Is that a good idea, or could there be some sort of parasite or contaminant that could harm my tarantulas?
  2. cmcghee358

    cmcghee358 Arachnoknight

    Most people that collect wild isopods allow 2nd or 3rd generations to form before allowing them into their enclosures.

    By the way, I'm jealous!
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  3. edgeofthefreak

    edgeofthefreak Arachno-titled!

    My springtails came with a dwarf sansevieria plant that I adore, but I also get tiny red centipedes with that same plant. Something about it's roots... I think the two creatures fight it out, so I always see more 'pedes than 'tails.

    For isos, I grab em off my window sill. I will say this method does have hazards, namely I'm on the 3rd floor of an old apartment building and have no idea what pesticides/cleaners the people below use.
    (Mostly, this building is rotting away, so I figure my isos are native to my walls, and I don't chemically kill insects, nor clean heh)

    I'm fairly certain the isopods push back against the centipedes... when I had all 3 (pedes-pods-n-tails) I'd see plenty of all... this winter, mostly cute lil red centipedes!
  4. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    Awesome, I'll collect some over the weekend then and allow them to breed. I don't have to worry too much about mold at this point, but I'm going to be getting some tarantulas that need a higher humidity soon so it's just in case ;) Thanks for the thoughts guys!
  5. Jeff23

    Jeff23 Arachnolord Arachnosupporter

    I want to add some springtails or Isopods to my moist species tarantula enclosures. I want help in removing leftover prey and boluses along with prevention of mold. I have been nailed with a need to remove substrate from a few enclosures due to my failure to remove old prey recently (mold or fungus of some sort).

    I don't want to need to keep buying cleaners. I am now thinking about the idea of getting a container where I can raise them and then slowly pulling a few for tarantula container additions when needed.

    1) Is it easy to keep a container of springtails or Isopods going without having problems with population explosion (or issues that I may not be thinking about)? Can I take pre-kill crickets (or other prey) removed from T containers (uneaten) to use as food for them?

    2) Does anyone have problems where the tarantula will kill the springtails or Isopods? If so, is this related to size of the tarantula or specific species of tarantula or cleaner?

    3) Will use of springtails or Isopods in a very small sling enclosure stress out a very small 1/4" tarantula? What about risks to a molting tarantula?

    4) What is the best species (or multiple species) to obtain? I mean this with primary regard to effectiveness and hardiness of them? I see some that are colorful and interesting which may make it easier to keep up with their livelihood (example: orange sow bugs might stand out in substrate). But appearance is much less important.

    My situation: Right now I have ten tarantula containers with moisture requirements along with numerous small size slings that require added moisture. My moist species targets would be Megaphobema robustum and Neoholothele incei, but I am also thinking about getting a female Ephebopus cyanognathus. I am also considering Nhandu chromatus and Nhandu tripepii which may require partial moisture at a minimum. I also have a large number of very small Aphonopelma slings (1/4" size) that are growing really slow. The ability to have a cleaner that makes my work easier for them would be nice since I break the cricket into pieces for these enclosures.

    A few of the ones I see on BugsInCyberspace (not all are available right now) are as follows.

    Sow Bugs - Orange morph Porcellio
    Dwarf White Isopods - Trichorhina tomentosa
    Pill Bugs - Armadillidium vulgare and Armadillidium nasatum
    Pill Bugs - Porcellio scaber
    Charcoal Water Springtails - don't know scientific name
    Dwarf Purple Isopods - don't know scientific name
    Forest Springtails - don't know scientific name
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  6. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoengineer Arachnosupporter

    I've only been doing this for a few months, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    Firstly, yeah, you'll want to create a master culture that you'll seed from. There are a few ways you can get the springtails out, but I just take a 1/4 cup of dirt and plop it into the offending enclosure, maybe spread it around a bit. They'll go from there.

    1) Populations explode, like, within a couple weeks. I went from not being able to find a single springtail to a carpet of the buggers in a handful of weeks. I feed mine cut up mushrooms and a few pieces of dried leaves from houseplants. The isopods eat the plants and mushrooms, but the isopods seem to only eat mushrooms. Good thing they're cheap. I threw in a bolus just out of curiosity, and the springtails seemed to love it. Isopods ignored it.

    2) No, they're much too small to be eaten by larger tarantulas. I do feed my isopods (P. scaber, by the way) to slings, and you better believe that the slings love them. But I doubt you need a cleanup crew in your sling's enclosure.

    3) No risks to a molting tarantula as they only eat decaying matter, but I wouldn't do it. I don't see the need to, just spot clean.

    4) No comment on the best species. I use P. scaber (orange) and an unidentified springtail species. I love that I can actually see the isopods, but really, I'd prefer to be able to see the springtails easier. I don't have plants in my enclosures, so the isopods always die off in short order when introduced to a tarantula enclosure. Springtails thrive and eat all the mold, then shortly after die off due to lack of food. A small population never really goes away, but the masses do die.

    I got mine specifically to solve the ungodly mold issue I had going on. It sounds like you want yours to clean up after you... which they will, to be clear, but you still have to maintain that master culture. That's definitely more work than just plucking out the occasional mold spot or bolus.
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  7. Jeff23

    Jeff23 Arachnolord Arachnosupporter

    Spot cleaning is not working well as I would like on my small slings. On them I don't even worry about bolus (beyond what I get for ones thrown in the water dish since I do change out the whole water dish when it looks soiled). The huge majority of my slings are constantly burrowing or constantly hidden in their hide which means I can't trust dropping in live prey. I also like to break up the cricket into pieces since most of the crickets I buy are too large for the 1/4" slings. This in turn creates a clean up nightmare since it can take a long time to locate all of those cricket pieces that are not eaten. The legs and head are easier to find. The rest not so much so. If I fail to clean it up initially and then spot it later, I notice that a whole clump of substrate comes up with the decaying cricket. I am not sure how this impacts my small sling but my use of over-sized 5.5 ounce deli cups probably helps a little.
  8. EricSJCA

    EricSJCA Arachnopeon

    I have springtails with my slings. They seem to be living off the mold they now have under control. They also eat molted exoskeletons and leftovers food. Meanwhile the isopods disappeared from the terrestrial cages, but they thrive with the arboreals.
    More info here: http://arachnoboards.com/threads/wh...as-cleaner-crews-with-your-tarantulas.292622/
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  9. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnobaron Active Member

    I'd imagine so (I just randomly ended up finding springtails in some of my more humid enclosures so I waited for some to cluster in the water dish then transferred them to other enclosures, free CUC), just never let them dry out and provide an adequate amount of food (boli, moults/die-offs from whatever you keep your livefood in, you can sprinkle fish food on the sub and they'll eat the mould that forms from that).

    Springtails are tiny so I can't really see them being eaten by anything, isopods may get eaten by smaller Ts, larger ones will ignore them.

    No, they only eat decaying matter but I personally wouldn't use them with slings as they don't create enough mess to warrant the use of a CUC.

    No comment, I see dwarf whites mentioned quite a lot but I've never personally bought a CUC, I just randomly ended up with springtails.
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