AGB Substrate Guidance

millipaige

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Messages
8
Hello all,

So I am planning on ordering myself a pair of AGBs. I have had them in the past (however, without great success), but I loved them and would like to try again. Before pulling the trigger on ordering (I have to wait til Monday anyway), I was brushing up on my care knowledge, and have come across a couple aspects I would like some guidance on. (I apologize if all of this has been covered before, I've just read a lot of different responses and am not sure what to think.)

The main thing I'm concerned about is the substrate. For previous milli's, I had solely used the coco fiber. I'm realizing now that likely could have been part of the issue. I'm learning now that I need the leaves and hardwood. I live in the suburbs, I'm hesitant to go grab some decaying leaves and such off the ground as I have no idea what pesticides/molds/other bugs could be on there. Can/should I wash them somehow? Or I read some people bake them? Also, does it matter what kind of leaves? I keep reading oak leaves, I'm not sure if I have any oak trees nearby, can I use other leaves? I'd like some clarification on what exactly is meant by putting hardwood in there too. Branches? A chunk of wood? Sorry if these are stupid questions.

I just want my new pedes to be happy and healthy, and don't want to make the same mistakes I have made in the past. Any guidance would be much appreciated, thank you!
 

mickiem

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jul 23, 2016
Messages
1,549
Hi Millpaige! Welcome to the AB. I think coco fiber is great as a "texture" substrate. When damp, it holds together nicely so they can make tunnels through it. I think it should be as deep as the millies are long. I usually put the bottom half in coco fiber (coir) and for the top half, I mix coir 50/50 with rotted wood and leaves (that's 50% coir, 25% wood and 25% leaves). The wood should be soft enough to scrape with your fingernail but not all the way black and rotten. There seems to be a lot of debate about sterilizing the wood and leaves from outside. Personally, I soak the leaves for a day and then let it dry. Then I wrap it in foil and bake it for about 1 1/2 hours at 200 degrees. The wood I wrap with foil and bake for the same temp and time. I use foil as a safety precaution; to keep dry things from catching fire in the oven. I cover the top with a few inches of leaves. I use beech, oak, maple, apple, viburnum and rose; all from organic sources. The leaves should be dead - never fresh.

Do you have a cemetery or large park nearby? Most likely they wouldn't be sprayed and would be a safe source. I kept AGBs years ago and have just started back up last spring. Something interesting to me - I put the wood in because everyone says you should. I never see them eat substrate, though. They mostly eat the leaves and fresh fruits and veggies. (I see other millies eating substrate, jut not the AGBs.) They love apples, mushrooms, avocado and melon. Finding the right humidity level is really tricky. And the advice I have gotten ranges from sloppy wet to fairly dry - all from successful keepers. I have recently started to let mine dry a little. It helps with the underworld population (mites, springtails, etc.) I think it is best to exclude earthworms and other undesirables and that is why I bake it. Within a few weeks, fungus gnats and fruit flies are happily infesting it. :/

I have baby AGBs right now! I wish I had started with easier ones. I am worried about lots of details until I am better versed at all of this. I also have Ivorys (my faves), bumble bees, Cherry foot, Gordos - all with babies. I am learning as I go! Best to you! Keep on reading.

Good luck - listen to everyone's advice and figure out what works for you.
 

millipaige

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Messages
8
Thank you for your input! Ordered my millipedes yesterday, they are shipping out tomorrow and will arrive on Thursday, I can't wait!
 
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