Porcellio bolivari - Care

CynthiasCreatures

Arachnopeon
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Nov 24, 2020
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When I first received this species I noticed a lot of people struggling with their husbandry and care.
This made me slightly paranoid since they are not a cheap isopod to add to my collection.
Having them for a few months now, I have been very successful with having them thrive and even producing offspring. I thought I would share how I have been keeping them so that any new keeper or current keeper can compare notes.

I will share images of their enclosure as well.

I’ve been keeping 10 adults in a critter keeper style enclosure so it has plenty of ventilation.
They’re on DRY cocofiber with a corner of the enclosure having some damp sphagnum moss.
On the top I keep several pieces of large bark for them to hide under.
I give them loose leafy greens once a week and remove any molding food.

As always, there are springtails in the enclosure.
 

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schmiggle

Arachnoking
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Huh, I read somewhere else that the person kept them damper and with much less ventilation than is standard for a Spanish isopod and was very successful. Maybe ventilation was never the issue in the first place?
 

CynthiasCreatures

Arachnopeon
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Huh, I read somewhere else that the person kept them damper and with much less ventilation than is standard for a Spanish isopod and was very successful. Maybe ventilation was never the issue in the first place?
There was one YouTuber I watched that had them in the same type of environment (high humidity, and lower ventilation) and he was saying they weren't thriving. Very odd, I wonder also if it lies with where the isopods were purchased from as well.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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What are your temps like? Cave environments have extremely stable temperatures--maybe that's the secret?

I do wonder if it might have to do with gut microbes or something. I know that one thought about why the giant green pill millipedes haven't thrived in captivity is that their gut microbiome is specialized to break down lignin and it dies in transit. However, these dies just eat detritus, so I sort of doubt that's it.
 

CynthiasCreatures

Arachnopeon
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What are your temps like? Cave environments have extremely stable temperatures--maybe that's the secret?

I do wonder if it might have to do with gut microbes or something. I know that one thought about why the giant green pill millipedes haven't thrived in captivity is that their gut microbiome is specialized to break down lignin and it dies in transit. However, these dies just eat detritus, so I sort of doubt that's it.
I’m in Florida and my house temp is always 75-83 F
During cold snaps I always add a heat of that regulates around those temps too.
I know the YouTuber I watched is in Canada, and that’s very very north. It could have something to do with that as well.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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I can definitely believe that. Could also be some combination--things like fungal infections are more likely in cool, damp temperatures than in warm, damp temperatures, at least in plants. Anyway, if it's working for you, clearly at least one viable method is 75-83F, high ventilation, dry coco fiber, some damp sphagnum, leafy greens.

Two questions:
  • What greens are you feeding, and do you use a cuttlebone? I know a lot of people like cuttlebones for calcium, and also that spinach, for example, has high calcium. Wondering how important calcium is in the diet.
  • Do they hang out in the whole tank, or do they spend more time in some areas than others?
 

CynthiasCreatures

Arachnopeon
Active Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
21
I can definitely believe that. Could also be some combination--things like fungal infections are more likely in cool, damp temperatures than in warm, damp temperatures, at least in plants. Anyway, if it's working for you, clearly at least one viable method is 75-83F, high ventilation, dry coco fiber, some damp sphagnum, leafy greens.

Two questions:
  • What greens are you feeding, and do you use a cuttlebone? I know a lot of people like cuttlebones for calcium, and also that spinach, for example, has high calcium. Wondering how important calcium is in the diet.
  • Do they hang out in the whole tank, or do they spend more time in some areas than others?
I offer:
- green/red leaf
- romaine
- Apple
- carrot
- sweet potato

But I notice they’re more interested in the leafy greens than anything else
I do have a piece of cuttlebone in there as well.

They’re always underneath the bark, they’re never anywhere else.
That’s why I’ll also place the food underneath there since it seems they’re comfortable being in one place.

Hope that answers your questions!
 

Elytra and Antenna

Arachnoking
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Sep 12, 2002
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Mine have about 3.5" by 1/2" open vent and are one of the older cultures out there. Less ventilation they die, too much and it's far too easy to forget a single watering and kill them all. I only feed them meat based pellets, they seemed mostly uninterested in fruits and veggies and I grew tired of removing the dried remains.
 

CynthiasCreatures

Arachnopeon
Active Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
21
Mine have about 3.5" by 1/2" open vent and are one of the older cultures out there. Less ventilation they die, too much and it's far too easy to forget a single watering and kill them all. I only feed them meat based pellets, they seemed mostly uninterested in fruits and veggies and I grew tired of removing the dried remains.
Thank you for the advice! I’ll definitely start offering more high protein pelleted diet for them.
 
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