My Millipede Substrate Mix

mickiem

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I know there are a lot of millipede substrate recipes out there and of course this one is very similar. I was keeping N. americanus millipedes for about a year with no babies. I had been told by many that dwarf white isopods were fine tankmates. I disagree as I am certain that's why I found no babies.

About a month ago, I rehoused some Acladocricus because they had grown and needed deeper substrate but also, they had turned the sub to frass! They loved their new mix and were active and still are, so I tried to duplicate that mix for these needy cherry footed friends

Coir: 50% of the mix. I know others use less but it holds moisture and texture better than anything else I have found.

Green Envy Leaf compost: 30%. It is organic. I bake it at 250° for two hours. Any bagged product may have plastic and metal pieces in it so I go through it thoroughly.

Traager Oak Pellets: 5-10%. I really don't know if these make a difference but I had them on hand last time and it was such a good mix I decided I would continue to include it. I soaked them first.

Dead Oak Leaves: 5%. I baked them also for two hours at 200° Then crumbled them into the mix. I also add the leaves on the top.

Aspen Shreds: Just a few handfuls, I think this adds a good texture to the overall mix.

Hardwood: About a handful. I put cherry oak hickory and maple in my pressure cooker at 15 pounds pressure for 45 minutes. These were branches that I thought they would crawl on but I noticed how nicely they crumbled. I'm just learning about white rotted wood and dark rotted wood and the different bacteria that causes that. I had both; I crumbled them and added them.

Cuttlefish Bone: I ground an entire cuttlefish probably about a tablespoon.

After I added some dried leaves on top and some branches I put the pedes back. Within a few minutes every male had found a mate. @Hisserdude thanks for convincing me to change the substrate; I'll name the firstborn after you!

I hope this isn't redundant, I just think my pedes are happy. My amounts aren't exact but the next time I make it I'm going to be more careful so I can write it all down. I will also boil some sheet moss and add it around the top. The pedes like to coil under it and it's easy and not invasive to simply lift it to look at them. Also holds moisture.

What would you add or not use? How is your mix different?
 
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Jerry

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My hardwood and leaves are mostly cottonwood because it's really abundant but other than that fairly similar going to tweek mine a bit to make it better
 

Hisserdude

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I know there are a lot of millipede substrate recipes out there and of course this one is very similar. I was keeping N. americanus millipedes for about a year with no babies. I had been told by many that dwarf white isopods were fine tankmates. I disagree as I am certain that's why I found no babies.

About a month ago, I rehoused some Acladocricus because they had grown and needed deeper substrate but also, they had turned the sub to frass! They loved their new mix and were active and still are, so I tried to duplicate that mix for these needy cherry footed friends

Coir: 50% of the mix. I know others use less but it holds moisture and texture better than anything else I have found.

Green Envy Leaf compost: 30%. It is organic. I bake it at 250° for two hours. Any bagged product may have plastic and metal pieces in it so I go through it thoroughly.

Traager Oak Pellets: 5-10%. I really don't know if these make a difference but I had them on hand last time and it was such a good mix I decided I would continue to include it. I soaked them first.

Dead Oak Leaves: 5%. I baked them also for two hours at 200° Then crumbled them into the mix. I also add the leaves on the top.

Aspen Shreds: Just a few handfuls, I think this adds a good texture to the overall mix.

Hardwood: About a handful. I put cherry oak hickory and maple in my pressure cooker at 15 pounds pressure for 45 minutes. These were branches that I thought they would crawl on but I noticed how nicely they crumbled. I'm just learning about white rotted wood and dark rotted wood and the different bacteria that causes that. I had both; I crumbled them and added them.

Cuttlefish Bone: I ground an entire cuttlefish probably about a tablespoon.

After I added some dried leaves on top and some branches I put the pedes back. Within a few minutes every male had found a mate. @Hisserdude thanks for convincing me to change the substrate; I'll name the firstborn after you!

I hope this isn't redundant, I just think my pedes are happy. My amounts aren't exact but the next time I make it I'm going to be more careful so I can write it all down. I will also boil some sheet moss and add it around the top. The pedes like to coil under it and it's easy and not invasive to simply lift it to look at them. Also holds moisture.

What would you add or not use? How is your mix different?
Nice setup, hope they do well for you! Thanks man, I'm flattered! :D
 

RTTB

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Looks like a lot of thought and effort went into your substrate so I hope you reap the rewards.
 

mickiem

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Looks like a lot of thought and effort went into your substrate so I hope you reap the rewards.
It's not their fault they are living in plastic boxes in a spare bedroom. I have to do my part. Well maybe it is their fault, they are irresistible. I want to do my best by them
 

mickiem

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@CDH here is my mix. Coir is coconut husk, what you are using. Hope this helps!
 

mickiem

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@Andee here is a thread about substrate. This is my basic mix, I add more of this or that according to what species I am housing.
 

Andee

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@mickiem thanks so much for this post. Does your baking at that temp for that long, do pasteurization more? or more like sterilization? Have you had any issues with mold or mites?
 

mickiem

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@mickiem thanks so much for this post. Does your baking at that temp for that long, do pasteurization more? or more like sterilization? Have you had any issues with mold or mites?
More of a pasteurization. The wood in the pressure cooker is closer to sterilization and I do get a little mold from the wood. I have been making 40 gallon batches a month or so ahead of time and stirring it a few times a week. That seems to get the balance faster. I have been separating babies from adults, so I am adding lots of enclosures. Its all a game of trial and error with the substrate. I lost about 1000 Ivory babies once and I never knew why but I suspect the substrate was depleted. So now I move babies when they are about 6 months old; sooner if there are a lot. I have only had predatory mites; never parasitic mites. I don't know where they came from but I guess they are good, so I don't worry about them.
 

mickiem

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@mickiem thanks so much for this post. Does your baking at that temp for that long, do pasteurization more? or more like sterilization? Have you had any issues with mold or mites?
I probably used more like 30% coir and more Aspen than a handful or two. My next mix is going to be 33% leaves (leaf compost, dead, crumbled leaves, etc.) and 33% wood (rotten wood, Traeger pellets, Aspen, etc.) and 33% coir. Then a calcium mixture (oyster shell, cuttlefish, bird grit)sprinkled in, etc. Variety, variety, variety!
 

mickiem

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Does aspen help? What do you notice with it?
I like the texture it lends. I rarely dig in the substrate, but if I have to do so, I feel like the texture is easier to sift through. It sort of layers or flakes away if that makes sense. I am also sure it will break down and become edible after a few months.
 

mickiem

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I will have to add some
I recently went on a 3 week holiday and my husband watched my millipedes. He doesn't usually have much to do with them but was willing. He misted the enclosures WAAY too much! There were 2 enclosures that had wringing wet substrate. I added Aspen to absorb the excess moisture and it worked like a charm. It absorbs a lot! :rolleyes:
 

Andee

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@mickiem I don't have a pressure cooker for my wood, it's not exactly rotted but it's definitely dead and a lot of it is close to crumbling, do you have any suggestions on how to get it close to where you got it with what I have available. I have several slow cookers, an oven of course, pots of various natures, and a dehydrator?
 

mickiem

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@Andee If it is crumbled, you could thinly spread it on a cookie sheet and bake it. Before I started using the pressure cooker, I baked wood in the oven. I bake 1-3" diameter branches at 250° for about 3 hours. I finally found a pressure cooker at a yard sale and use it just for this. Made me feel better to cook wood in something for which I didn't pay full price. The steam will make some of the wood not yet crumbling begin to crumble. All those gadgets and no pressure cooker?!
 

Nick H

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I had been told by many that dwarf white isopods were fine tankmates. I disagree as I am certain that's why I found no babies.
I wouldn't be surprised. I have Trichorhina tomentosa in my D. diadema enclosure and they are voracious! They'll take care of an entire cricket in a day easy. I don't see why they wouldn't devour any eggs they come across. I've heard of them spreading to other enclosures too. One more reason to use chiffon on the ventilation openings for Millipede enclosures.
 

Andee

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@Andee If it is crumbled, you could thinly spread it on a cookie sheet and bake it. Before I started using the pressure cooker, I baked wood in the oven. I bake 1-3" diameter branches at 250° for about 3 hours. I finally found a pressure cooker at a yard sale and use it just for this. Made me feel better to cook wood in something for which I didn't pay full price. The steam will make some of the wood not yet crumbling begin to crumble. All those gadgets and no pressure cooker?!
Lmao I have not had a need for one yet. It kind of crumbles, but since the thicker pieces are so big they don't do it yet. Though all of them wood is dry and dead
 

mickiem

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I wouldn't be surprised. I have Trichorhina tomentosa in my D. diadema enclosure and they are voracious! They'll take care of an entire cricket in a day easy. I don't see why they wouldn't devour any eggs they come across. I've heard of them spreading to other enclosures too. One more reason to use chiffon on the ventilation openings for Millipede enclosures.
Yes, I had them for almost a year. I was suspecting they were the reason I had no N. americanus babies. That was the only thing different from any other enclosure and all other mature pedes had pedelings. Makes me sad, but glad I didn't have them in all my enclosures! I would have been sick if they ate my AGBs. :(
 
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