Isopods

Arachnethegreek

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 2, 2010
Messages
41
Ok, I'm considering getting isopods for my t's. As a preventative measure cause I have had t's for about 6 months and not a trace of mites (hooray me!) but I'm considering starting a colony just to use as a preventative measure and would like some advice. 1. Sample population size, how many should I harvest from under a log or some such place? 2. How long should i wait for generations to filter out any bad juju from WC bugs? 3. What type of habitat should I provide for them, like a mulch bedding with bark and wood products as hides, or something different, etc. And 4. What should I provide for food as to my knowledge they are omnivorous, I just don't know what omnivorous food to give them. Thank for any help here:)
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
I've cultured them over the past year but as of late due to some crappy weather and now cold setting in I don't have a culture going.

Here's what I've done..

Take a small container like a Critter Keeper or I've done the snap-lock Sterolight containers from Wal-mart and either provided some ventilation holes in the enclosure or even hot glued a wire mesh (window screening) much like what you would see for a T enclosure. Container doesn't have to be large but they do tend to brood well and if done right you'll actually have many more than you'll need in most cases; they almost become secondary pets, lol.

I'll fill that with some clean soil (no fertilizers, etc) such as peat or even have done coco coir and atop place a piece or pieces of cork bark which helps resist some molding/algae cause these guys tend to like it warm and humid and do better under those conditions, IMHO.

I'll sometimes place "leaf litter" from the back yard but again now your risking pesticides, macro and micro fauna (mites, other spiders, etc) into the mix so just beware.

I keep them near the T cabinet so it's warm and humid in most cases and when feeding they will take much the same as roaches/crickets would with a small cap of water crystals for hydration or a spritz of water here and there each week and added lettuce, veggies, brown rice, etc as a diet. Be warned though if kept more humid and warm any food can and will spoil easily so drop a few bits and pieces in for a few hours overnight and I'll try to remove much of the remains and then feed again a day or two later.

They brood or clutch many babies at a time and while I don't know their specific gestation cycle it seems to be fairly quick, maybe a few weeks, wherein you'll have lots of babies growing and molting while the adults will die off. You can at this point once the nymphs are large enough to properly catch start another small colony with those and do the same. I've done up to 2-3 colonies in those small snap-lock containers and then add the 2nd to 3rd generations into my enclosures with success and without losses to T's or other invertebrate's I've owned/own now.

Here is a pretty good YT video (not mine) that pretty much sums it up but just search Google for Isopod colony and find what best works for you.

[YOUTUBE]F-Q2FK9rlf4[/YOUTUBE]

If you don't want to wait to breed out anything from the WC starters you can purchase some online and do the same to build up a working colony that you can keep going however if done right you'll also have new generations within the enclosures themselves start to breed and begin the process anew inside the enclosure. Again, with 2-3 colonies going as well in the enclosure breeders your going to have a ton of iso's within a relatively short amount of time :)

I'm going to be buying some here shortly since I had many die most likely to some chemicals on some "salad mix" I gave them and don't have enough to recover.
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
Oh one other thing I have done while starting up a colony is take the remaining T roach bolus' out of the enclosures (since I had no iso's there to begin with) and drop them in as a supplemental feeder for the iso's. Since primarly once in the enclosure they will be cleaning up those as well mold/fungus/mite eggs/T scat I thought maybe it best to see their reaction using the actual thing's they would be consuming in the enclosures.

Just remember they are more warm and humid (not hot and soaking) so any enclosure that is more arid such as say many Brachy's they won't do good unless maybe you provide a damp area they can survive under like moss under the water bowl that you keep a bit more damp. I've tried it and while it works for awhile they tend to die and desiccate in those types of enclosures instead of thriving.
 

Midknight xrs

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
132
Here's what i did, i caught two different species of iso's from the front yard. Just remember that isopods breathe through gills, so a very humid environment is important. After i collected the isopods, i put them in a container that previously housed a avicularia and just threw them in there. i made the coco-fiber nice and moist, almost soggy and just let them be. their diet consists of dollar store fish flakes and spritzing of water every three days. i will occasionally throw in a dead roach or half eaten roach to mix it up. they will eat almost anything, what i have noticed with my first set of baby isopods is that the amount of flakes i put in is almost too much, it will mold, but after it molds is when they really get down and grow. I wouldn't worry about anything spoiling since they really do prefer their foods almost decomposed.

With the containers, you want it warm and humid enough that the sides are always wet. i used the old coco-fiber and they dig themselves into that. you shouldn't have to worry too much about ventilation since they do not breathe through the air, so you can limit the ventilation and increase the humidity.

outside of that, the first birthed gen i had i placed in my Avic's tanks and i haven't had any issues with their interactions. I did notice one or two would become a snack, but no ill affects that i have seen, so all seems well.

To add, i started with about 20 or so, and i think there were one or two batches for somewhere around 100. they'll do anywhere from 50-100 per brood.
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
How many do you put in an enclosure with your Ts?
Depending on the size maybe 10-15 to give them a good start.. Smaller enclosures less but again you have to understand the "contact" ability of the isopods and your T's.

For most arboreal T's that spend very little time on the ground the interaction and contact they have is little and they do quite well however one could/would say that a ground dwelling terrestrial might encounter them on a near daily if not hourly basis if you have too many and if the environment is right you'll have many an isopod running around all over.

While this may cause stress in your T they also have been known to be eaten by smaller T's and more spiderling and juvie spiders so again that "contact" ability on a smaller juvie terrestrial T may end up either stressing your T out of it's burrow or the isopods could end up being eaten.

I've had really great luck with arboreal and mix results with terrestrials and obligate burrowers such as H. lividium and other moist, humid ground loving spiders.
 

Midknight xrs

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
132
like Ictinike said, i put about 10 in the aboreal enclosures and have only lost a few. but that was with the Avic. Veriscolor. I haven't put any in my terrestrial enclosures since most of them are small and dry. When my LP gets bigger and when i change the C. Fasciatum's tank, i might put them in, but until that time, just the aboreal's enclosures.
 

CAK

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
298
Sorry for reviving an old dead thread, but it sure beats starting a new one.


I have been tossing and turning over the idea of isopods... The part i'm trying to figure out... Will isopods benefit my upright pokie 5.5gal cages? I have a couple of really good poo shooters and wondering if isopods will help me take care of some of the poo on the glass and make cleanup pretty minimal overall?

Joe
 

Midknight xrs

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
132
None of my isopods have climbed the glass/plastic. they are strictly ground dwellers. IME
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
None of my isopods have climbed the glass/plastic. they are strictly ground dwellers. IME
Agreed, they don't climb well on glass/plastic unless it has some overall scratches, etc.

For a pokie enclosure it may not help too much with poo on the walls and ceiling (yes mine shoots to the top at times) but what I do is heavily spray those areas and let them drip down into the sub where I've seen numerous times the iso's churning up the substrate to get what may have dribbled/dropped down. If it's really bad I'll spray and soak over a day then use cotton balls or pads (go wifey on supplies) and spot clean the walls if I can.

They are really good at picking up and disposing of the bolus remains though so as long as there is a steady supply from the T feeding they'll do just fine. Add the washed down walls a time or two and they seem to do very well.

I've got a backup of poo and bolus' lately as I evidently had a collapse in the colonies I have had in these enclosures for quite awhile. Many have drown in water bowls, most likely due to the dryer conditions during winter and my added heating of my cabinets, so I'm low if not out of iso's now in most of my enclosures. I'll have to this spring grab a new wild caught batch and breed them again or just resort to paying for a bunch online.

Hope it helps..

~Ictinike
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,660
Sorry for reviving an old dead thread, but it sure beats starting a new one.


I have been tossing and turning over the idea of isopods... The part i'm trying to figure out... Will isopods benefit my upright pokie 5.5gal cages? I have a couple of really good poo shooters and wondering if isopods will help me take care of some of the poo on the glass and make cleanup pretty minimal overall?

Joe
The only time I have seen them climb glass is when it has been thoroughly webbed and is leading down to a burrow. However, if it is webbed, they can and will climb down it.
 
Top