Killing Slugs and Gnats in A Bioactive Vivarium

Scorpiobsession

Arachnobaron
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I have an 18x18x24 terrarium for dart frogs (which aren't in there yet; for those that remember my old thread, I'm not cohabitating). When I added plants there must have been some hitchhikers because I started seeing millipedes, spiders, gnats, and just today slugs. About a week or two ago I bug-bombed it with CO2 (vinegar + baking soda) and I didn't see any more (but my control fruit flies survived along with gnats). Is there a better way to remove them than filling it with CO2 and repeating when the eggs hatch? Redoing the enclosure isn't an option.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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Is there a better way to remove them than filling it with CO2 and repeating when the eggs hatch?
No. Even when using powerful commercial fumigants repeated applications are the norm. As for CO2 as a fumigant, it is a part of most organisms life cycles and they are very tolerant to concentrations of it. As for eggs and larva, many or most are entirely immune. Organisms as a general rule are highly tolerant of hostile environments - usually requiring a small envelope of ideal circumstances, temperature, humidity and various organic chemical presence in order to flourish. CO2 presence actually triggers growth of many organisms, most notably in compost.
I'd suggest contacting various universities where their bio departments include agriculture and alternative methods of pest control. I believe UCR has a program as does University of North Chiang Mai. Most likely there are numerous others.
 

Malum Argenteum

Arachnoknight
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Gnats: they'll run their course and go away, or the frogs will eat them when/if you put frogs in there.

Some people claim repeated CO2 bombings work to kill slugs. I've not been successful even using pressurized, metered CO2.

Some people use beer traps. Reduces numbers of slugs for a while.

Some people use Sluggo. Reduces numbers of slugs for a while, possibly/probably harmful to other inhabitants.

The only sure fire way is to bleach dip every plant that goes into a viv when building it, which should always be done when building a dart viv.

Likely you have predatory flatworms in there too, which may make microfauna numbers difficult to keep up (not a big deal for most dart species, anyway). Hopefully there are no frog pathogens that hitched a ride. I'd be more worried about this than slugs, which will simply make it impossible to keep some (many?) species of plants.

Personally, if I had all those hitchhikers I'd start over.
 

Scorpiobsession

Arachnobaron
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Not what I wanted to hear but it's helpful. The gnats have been in there for a while (I'm not surprised or too worried), I saw one millipede, one spider, one mite, and one slug (but I'm assuming when there's one there's more. I would have sterilized everything except I had nothing except the substrate layers and background and I got 20 plants and a planted wood piece at once (from a vendor at an expo). I'm not going to rebuild the tank, if I need to take it apart I'm just going to make a simple bioactive crested gecko tank and put my frogs in an 18" cube. Since I don't know what else to do I'm going to refill it with CO2 again.
 

moricollins

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When in doubt, pull the plants and substrate out , replace them and start that part again.

I have millipedes, mites, gnats in my frog tanks but don't worry about them. Slugs are a different issue though.
 

Scorpiobsession

Arachnobaron
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I could bake the substrate and bleach and CO2 (individually) the plants. I guess I need something to do over the weekend.
 

Malum Argenteum

Arachnoknight
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The plants can just be bleached. CO2 doesn't reliably kill much, and doesn't kill any pathogens at all. It is a 'oh, crud, I screwed up' after the fact attempt to fix an infested viv, but that's about it.

If you have a background, hardscape, etc, that all needs to be bleached too, otherwise there's no point in bleaching any of it.
 

Scorpiobsession

Arachnobaron
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I'm planning to take everything out, the background is flat cork bark. Can that and wood be safely bleached without leaving harmful residue (I'll rinse and soak well afterwards either way). Once I have everything out should I clean the glass with bleach or diluted vinegar?
 

Malum Argenteum

Arachnoknight
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Yes, wood and cork can be bleached -- either air dry FULLY, or use something like Prime to dechlor (best:both). I'd bleach the glass; vinegar doesn't kill anything worth killing, though it does remove most water hardness spots.
 
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