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Setting up terrarium (milliped)

Discussion in 'Myriapods' started by Crocodylidae, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. Crocodylidae

    Crocodylidae Arachnopeon

    So about two or three months ago I got a adult (I think, this is what the seller told me) Telodeinopus assiensis. Since I had him he had to go through way too much housing because of mites but now I'm setting up a bigger terrarium for him and this time (unless mites come back..) this will be on the long term. So I got some:

    Fiber coco (I can't get anything else), 45x45x30 terrarium, leaves and dead woods. I plan to get him live with my sun beetles (if it's okay) and their larvaes, and provide hides etc. Now I have a few questions:

    First of all the wood. I got some rotten wood but some of this wood had little white things crawling on it, is it still safe to use it? Also, on some wood I saw snails, isopods, but on some nothing but I mixed all the wood together so now I don't remember which one had isopods on it and which one had not and I 've heard that this is suspect if a piece of wood does not have any bugs (except the little white things) eating it?
    Also wondering: So the terrarium is gonna be in my room, and the pieces of wood that I got have mold on it (obviously as it's rotten and wet), could it be bad for me or it's all fine if it's in a enclosure?
    Another question is: how do we sterilize it? And do we sterilize it fully or not? Too afraid of mites and other bad things but also read that having it fully sterilized can cause problems?

    Something else I was worried about is my milliped in itself, I had him since three months like I said but since I had him I've never saw him burying himself in the ground, maybe that it's because of the 'too frequent rehousings' I made him go through and that stressed him out, but is it normal or not? Most of the time he is either moving or just sleeping in a coco hide.
    Is it also a problem if I house him with my sun beetles, and for my beetles I provide beetle jelly and the milliped have his leaves etc but still eat often the jelly?

    I also collected moss in forest: should I sterilize it or not and can this be dangerous to milliped-beetles-roaches or just insects in general? I wanted to make it grow in the terrarium on wood but don't know if this could be bad for them if they eat it or something like that?

    In a few months as well I'm probably gonna get some other species of milliped such as
    Archirostreptus gigas, Ophistreptus guineensis, Anadenobolus monilicornis, but I saw people putting different species of milliped in the same terrarium and I was wondering, if the terrarium is big enough could I put different species together or it's better not?
    the temp in my room is about 20/21°C to the lowest this winter, and I have a 5w heatpad, should I use it or not? I have mantis (Hierodula Majuscala) and they are not heated for now and as I have only one heatpad I wonder which one I have to heat the most, sorry if it's a stupid question. Also how strong a 5w heatpad is?

    I have a really hard time keeping humidity high, I spray a few times per day but this is probably too much but even like this it still doesn't want to stay wet. Does this have to be wet the whole day or just sometimes? Does the litter of leaves etc need to be wet or just the soil? When I spray, I generally avoid to spray on my milliped because it scares him, is it fine or he needs to be sprayed?
    This is an ExoTerra terrarium so lot of ventilation but I'm afraid that if I put a plastic something on top of it to keep humidity in, it will become too 'stagnant' for my animals. Generally the fiber coco stay moist only a few days after I put it in for the first time and that's pretty much it

    Then last question; the grain mite. This all started because of something rotting in the mealworms enclosure and then I had it with my milliped, they were on the leaves, the ground, eating the mold on the wood, getting on him, to the point where for a whole week I had to put my milliped in a 'quite dry' place because the mites were coming back everytime even after rough cleaning and precautions with the food. Now, I almost don't see them, only like two crawling something but this still scares me. With rotting woods, dead leaves, humidity are the mites going to make a come back?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  2. BepopCola

    BepopCola Arachnoknight Active Member

    I'll try to help with some of your questions.

    I have a few millipedes that rarely bury themselves. They just wander around the topsoil or sleep in a hide, like yours seems to be doing. I think it's normal.

    I've kept adult harlequin flower beetles with my millipedes before, they're similar to sun beetles, but I would not keep a colony of them in the same enclosure. The grubs can be put a lot stress on a millipede.

    I would recommend sticking the wood in the freezer to kill the isopods and whatnot.
    But mites will for sure appear to feast on the dead.
    I'd look into getting some springtails to out compete the mites. I'd say you can ignore the mites IF they aren't crawling on the millipede (stressing it out) or stuck to its face or body.

    I keep different species of millipedes together with no problems. As long as they are all near the same size and have the same requirements it shouldn't be a problem. I'm not familiar with Ophistreptus guineensis, and A. gigas is risky because they're so strong and massive, and they might accidentally crush smaller millipedes. It could work if there's enough space for everyone to dig around without bumping into each other.
    I wouldn't try this with flat millipedes (cyanide).

    Your room temperature seems fine as long as it doesn't go below 20°C or stay at 20°C for long periods (longer than overnight).
    Heat pads are best when put along the side of the enclosure. Anadenobolus monilicornis would probably benefit from it, they don't do well below 22°C. I'd advise using a thermometer or thermostat so you don't overheat the occupants.

    ExoTerra terrariums will have enough ventilation from the doors if you cover up the screen top. It's OK for the top of the substrate to dry a little as long as the deeper substrate stays moist.
    How dry is it getting?
    How deep are you keeping the substrate?
    • Agree Agree x 3
  3. AuroraLights

    AuroraLights Arachnopeon Active Member

    As far as the heat mat goes, I'm not sure 5w will do very much at all. I had a Lucky Reptile Thermo Strip 15w on a 60x30x30cm tank and it really struggled to raise the temperature by anything over 2°C. Maybe I just had a bad one but it didn't really work for me. When I upgraded to a bigger tank I ended up purchasing a Habistat High Power Heat Mat 60w and a Pulse Proportional Thermostat. That has worked perfectly to keep a 81x43x55cm tank at a constant 24°C +/- about 0.5 °C, even though my house can drop to about 18°C in the winter. It doesn't even get more than gently warm while running, although I wouldn't recommend using a high-power mat with a normal on/off thermostat (and I wouldn't recommend using any heat mat without a thermostat). I know that many people say millipedes don't need supplemental heating, but having seen the difference going from 20 to 24 °C made with mine I have to say I think temperatures of 20°C are too cold for most African/tropical species (which includes Telodeinopus assiensis), at least long term. Before the extra heating my A.gigas was extremely sluggish, spending most of the day curled up in her hide and only occasionally leaving it to eat a bit of the supplemental food I offered. I barely saw my S.sp8 at all, she would stay buried in the substrate for weeks at a time. Now, though, I see them both nearly every evening (sometimes even in the day time), and they have been exploring/climbing/feeding much more actively! :) The heat mat itself does not seem to bother them at all as they haven't made any attempt to avoid it: in fact I have seen them trying to climb up the glass where the heat mat is attached, which is why I recommend getting an appropriate thermostat to make sure they don't overheat. I know that purchasing both a heat mat and a thermostat is expensive but in my opinion it is well worth it. ;)

    Also, if you don't already have one I suggest making sure that you have both a thermometer and a hydrometer in the terrarium. As a new millipede keeper I have personally found it very difficult to estimate the humidity just by looking at the substrate, so it if very useful to me. You can get combometers that measure both humidity and temperature at once which usually works out cheaper. Just remember the cheapest products are often less reliable so it might be worth investing in a respectable brand, especially if you're going for a combometer as opposed to buying them both seperately.

    Definitely cover most or all of the top, that will help enormously with your humidity. Also, covering the surface of the substrate with leaves or moss can help it retain its moisture and adding a shallow water dish (with pebbles to prevent drowning) will help with the air humidity. You want to aim for at least 70% for most species but it doesn't matter if it drops below that for a bit as long as the substrate is kept slightly damp. If spraying is not enough to keep the substrate damp it might help to pour a small amount of water onto the soil occasionally, but if you're needing to do this every few days that is definitely a sign your humidity is not high enough.

    Are you absolutely sure you can't get anything other than cocofibre? I know some people use it with millipedes, or even recommend it, but it is bad for them and can even cause compaction and death in some cases. :( You would be much better off replacing it with one of the following:
    - Forest soil/humus collected from somewhere without pesticides or conifers, you could probably collect some from wherever you got your wood/moss then treat it the same way you treat your leaves/wood to remove any bugs
    - Organic potting soil or compost without fertilizer or other additives
    - Peat moss (not ideal and not very ecologically friendly but it works)

    Some adult millipedes will not burrow and prefer using hides, my A.gigas has never burrowed since I got her (at least as far as I know). If your millipede was not an adult it would be more unusual from them not to burrow and could be a sign that your substrate/conditions are not right, but in this case I think there is no need to be concerned.

    Beetle jelly is okay for millipedes: it doesn't really have anything good for them but it doesn't have anything bad either. I give it to mine sometimes as a treat and they love it, but I wouldn't recommend having it always in there in case they eat too much of the sweet jelly and not enough of the food that has actual vitamins. I also think it would be best not to keep the beetles in the same terrarium, for the reasons BepopCola has already said.

    Moss and lichen are very good natural foods for your millipedes if they will eat them- however I have never seen mine touch any that I've put in, neither the live nor the dead stuff. If you want it to grow in your terrarium you will need to provide it with a light and keep the humidity high. Ambient room light is not usually enough and moss is very sensitive to dry conditions.

    As for how much sterilization you should do, that is a heavily debated subject in millipede keeping and there are good arguments on both sides. Personally I would only sterilize it enough to kill the larger invertebrates like woodlice/earwigs/centipedes etc. The micro-fauna are usually not harmful and the fungi and bacteria are actually useful to make the organic matter more digestable for your millipedes. Grain mites are not usually a problem, I have them in my terrarium and they haven't caused issues, but I agree with adding springtails to keep the numbers down. Although honestly you will probably just have to learn to live with a few grain mites in your tank, if you are keeping millipedes they almost unavoidable. At least they don't fly around your house like fungus gnats!

    I've never heard of the sort of rotting wood that millipedes like causing problems to people, but if you're worried both springtails and grain mites will help prevent excessive mould growth so this is another good reason to add some springtails and not worry too much about mites.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Crocodylidae

    Crocodylidae Arachnopeon

    Thanks for your replies!

    So I started doing it today and this is pretty empty but I'm going to get some more leaves and wood tomorrow. Unfortunately I only read the last message about the fiber coco being bad afterwards so..I got two block of fiber coco in this terrarium. So about it: considering the fact that this millipede does not bury, is it as risky?
    Also I'm now thinking about getting rid of fiber coco in his terrarium and giving to my beetles/larvaes or any other insects instead and replace it with soil from the forest but about this I'm not sure: if I do get some from the forest, how to sterilize the substrate and get rid of the animals in it without hurting them? Also do I just take the top soil or do I have to dig deep to make sure it's clean or it's not necessary? Only problem with the soil from the forest is that I'm not 100% sure that there's no pesticides because a lot of people come here, are there any way to be sure?
    About the rest: so for the temp this varies to 20/21 to 24°C which is decent but not really hot, I try to warm the whole room as much as possible and if it gets really cold for a long-time I will take a heat mat. I was wondering, do millipeds and other need a 'winter pause' or not really?
    I bought a hydrometer and I already got a thermomether, I think both are from ExoTerra, is it reliable?

    When people talk about keeping humidity in: does it mean having the substrate damp all the time or having the whole enclosure wet like water on the glass etc? I will try something on the top of the enclosure, something like a tissue or plastic? I also have a fear of harming him with too much humidity, the hydrometer will probably help now but in the past I'm not sure if this was already like this before I adopted him but I noticed that he had 'feet rot' at some of his feets (very few) and I felt bad e.PNG . About covering the top I had another question; The terrarium are in my room, and the night I keep my lights open, could it bother my animals and confuse them about the time of the day or do they get it anyway? I feel like they understand when this is the day, when this is the night but I'm still thinking about covering them the night with a tissue or something like that. On the same subject, do they need in the day artificial light in top of the enclosure?

    For the moss..I will try, I don't have a lot of light in my room so not sure if this is gonna work out, does it grow on rock or directly on soil?

    I think that the biggest problem that I have with grains mite is that I don't think they are directly causing harm but having them literally covering my enclosures and getting everywhere was really annoying, a few grains mites doesn't bother me but I'm afraid the population explode again if I let these fews alive, I'm so afraid of getting them again that now I even stopped eating oatmeal.. On the sterilization thing, I agree with you, but I'm not sure how to sterilize it enough to eliminate woodlice but not too much..Also, BepopCola told me to put the wood in a freezer, but I saw some others 'baking' it, boiling it, the safest/least annoying solution for me would be freezer but not sure of how much this works?

    Also thank you both for the thing about millipeds burrowing, I was afraid mine had a problem so I'm reassured!
    I had a question about his livespan, if when I adopted him this was already an adult, I had him since September and it's a male (does it affect his lifespan?), how many months do he still have to live?
    Something I would love to do in the future is breeding milliped like this species or the gigas one

    I also bought a cork bark from the petstore with dead moss on it, it's safe for them right?
    Oh and sorry if I ask it too much but so does anybody knows about the mold thing in the room, if it's safe for me if I sleep in this room?

    Also for answering to BepopCola: in his last enclosures it was getting dry to the point where the fiber coco was really dry, and I had to spray the enclosure like three times per day. I'm not sure how deep is it but this was two bricks of fiber coco this time
    Oh and is there a thread where people show pictures of their millipedes enclosure? I would love to see some so I can know what to get in there besides wood and leaves!

    Sorry for this very long message,
    Thanks again!
  5. BepopCola

    BepopCola Arachnoknight Active Member

    I learned it's more important to keep the substrate damp. If the glass is fogged up a lot then it might be too humid, but this usually fixes itself after a few days. If you grab a handful of the substrate and squeeze and if water drips out then it's too damp as well.
    Keeping some millipede safe plants can help keep up the humidity.
    Here's the bottom of one of my tanks, this is is near the door so it gets more ventilation than other areas. The lighter substrate on top is dry, but the darker substrate underneath is still damp. ss (2019-12-11 at 08.05.49).png

    I like to use the freezer method because it allows for much of the microfauna to survive, and they can be beneficial, as AuroraLights mentioned.
    It also leaves bodies intact for my millipedes/springtails/harvestmen to eat.
    I haven't tried baking, I'm scared of burning stuff. Boiling made my house smell like "oak tea" for a while, but it cleaned pretty well and it made the wood softer and easier to break apart.
    Also, If you sterilize the wood too much it may grow mold when you introduce it into the terrarium until it becomes integrated.

    I'm not too sure about long term effects. If you're allergic you'll feel it when you open the enclosure (I'm allergic),
    but after the enclosure has settled mold isn't usually a problem.
    Springtails help take care of mold and fungi as well.
    Occasionally, I get some slime mold in the deep substrate, but it comes and goes without issue.

    I'm not sure. That would be cool though!
    There's a section for vivariums/terrariums, but not anything millipede specific as far as I can tell: https://arachnoboards.com/forums/vivariums-and-terrariums.81/
    • Like Like x 1
    • Helpful Helpful x 1
  6. AuroraLights

    AuroraLights Arachnopeon Active Member

    If your millipede doesn't burrow I'd have thought that would reduce the risk a lot, but I'm not sure. Cocofibre can be okay for a short-term solution but I would still change it as soon as possible, particularly if you're planning to start breeding. To be honest cocofibre isn't that great for beetle larvae either, though I haven't heard of as many problems as with millipedes. Personally I would only use it with animals that don't eat substrate, such as your mantis. :)

    Freezing can work as a sterilization technique but you would need to leave it in there for quite a while (I would say 48 hours). It would also be a good idea to spread it out, for example on a tray, so that the centre doesn't trap too much warmth inside. Really its effectiveness depends on how cold the winters get where you live. In places where it regularly freezes over many species will have adapted to cope with short periods of cold temperatures, so those of us from cold temperate areas are usually better off sterilizing with heat.
    As for the best way to do that I can't personally comment. I've yet to find a pesticide-free place near me, so I had to purchase pre-bagged humus and leaves from a invertebrate exhibition and online. However, here are some useful resources regarding pasteurization:

    With the substrate gathering you are better off taking the top layer of the soil as this will contain the most nutrients. If you take the old soil from deep down other invertebrates will have already eaten all the good stuff in it. However, it would still be more digestible than cocofibre. There is a good guide to collecting substrate here but it is in German so you will probably have to use Google translate or something similar:

    The only way to be certain about the pesticides is to find out who owns/maintains the land and ask them. It is a good idea to try and contact them anyway so that you can ask for their permission but I know a lot of people do not do this. Personally, I have already accidentally killed a millipede by feeding him non-organic vegetables, so that is why I am particularly neurotic about avoiding pesticides. :( It is up to you to decide quite how strict you want to be. Sometimes people just make an educated guess and there are several things you can consider to help decide if it is safe or not:
    - Is it near a cultivated field? The pesticides used on crops can sometimes travel a short distance into the lands around the field.
    - Is it near a main road? Pollution from cars is also not good for millipedes, though it is not as dangerous as pesticides.
    - Are there lots of invertebrates already eating/living in it? This is a good sign that there aren't too many pesticides.
    - Is there lichen growing in the area? Most types of lichen are very sensitive to air pollution so this is a good sign too.

    It seems like your temperature should be fine then, just keep an eye on it. :) Tropical species do not need a winter diapause as there isn't really a noticeable winter in their native habitat. To encourage egg laying some species will benefit from being given a wet season and a drier season, but that is not something you need to worry about as a beginner.

    I think Exo Terra is pretty reliable, my hydrostat is by them and it has worked fine so far.

    I used cling film to cover a gap in my tank but anything should work as long as it won't rot in humid conditions. You're right that too much humidity can cause fungal problems but I have also heard that too little humidity can cause them as well. I am not 100% sure this is true though.

    If you keep your lights on all night it would probably be best to cover at least a couple of sides of the terrarium before you go to sleep. However it probably won't hurt your millipede if you don't. Millipedes don't need or benefit from artificial lights in there enclosure. They are only necessary if you want to grow live plants and even then they should be kept to a minimum to avoid bothering your millipedes. Some species are more photophobic than others.

    It depends on the species of moss where it will grow best. If you can remember how it was growing when you found it then plant it that way, otherwise I would split it up and plant some on the soil and some on wood to see which does best.

    Most of the commonly kept species of millipede reach maturity at about 1-4 years old and live for about 5-10 years, with some specimens living even longer than that. I don't know if gender affects lifespan, I would guess it depends on the species. The downside of purchasing already adult millipedes is you have no idea how old they are: he could be 3 and in the prime of his life or he could be 11 and in his final weeks, there's really no way you can know. Just provide him with the best conditions you can and hopefully you will have him around for several more years. :)

    If you are planning to try breeding millipedes I would not start with A.gigas. They are hard to breed in captivity and even if you get babies they grow very slowly so it would be about 5 years before you had adults. I have heard that Ophistreptus guineensis require higher temperatures to breed (like 29°C) and I couldn't find much about Telodeinopus assiensis. Anadenobolus monilicornis, Chicobolus spinigerus, Spirostreptus species 1, Trigonilius coralinus and species from the Narceus genus are apparently quite easy to breed, but I'm sure there are many others.

    Cork bark from a good pet store is usually free from pesticides, although you could pasteurise it to make sure there aren't any bugs. Especially since moss can hide a lot of things.

    I am not an expert on fungi by any means but I also don't think there is a risk worth worrying about. If you're concerned then picking out or scraping off anything you see growing on the surface of the substrate or wood should reduce the risk even more. I do not think the fungi that live deep in substrate/wood or the ones too small to see will pose any threat to you, but like I said I'm not an expert.

    Ideally your substrate should be at least as deep as your largest millipede is long, particularly if you are trying to breed them. For very large species it can often be hard to get a 20+cm depth, but you should have at least 15cm. Since Exo Terra terrariums have front opening doors you may need to pile the substrate up towards the back to get enough depth without it all spilling out the front. It depends how large your millipede is.

    I also think a thread for sharing millipede enclosures would be a good idea. Some people do already have personal threads where they post pictures of their millipedes and enclosures, so it's worth checking out the rest of the forum. I particularly like Marika's one:

    You don't need to apologise for asking questions, we would not answer if we didn't like talking about millipedes! ;)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Polenth

    Polenth Arachnoknight Active Member

    On foot rot, sometimes they rot because the conditions are stressing them (like being too dry). It doesn't automatically mean it's too wet. If it were me, I'd put a little clotrimazole (athlete's foot cream) on the stumps, to make sure it doesn't get worse.

    You can bake wood to kill any hitchhiking animals (I do one hour per inch thickness, at a temperature you'd use to bake cupcakes). This will kill some of the other stuff, but not all of it, so it should go fungusy again in no time. You're not aiming to sterilise (remove all fungi and bacteria and such), just remove woodlice and the like.

    The spores aren't a big allergy thing unless you know you have that allergy. In that case, the other suggestions I'm going to give will cut down on that.

    For moss, you obviously can't bake it if you want to grow it. I deal with that by removing small bits, washing them and checking them carefully, then growing them in other pots. Once I have a reasonable chunk of moss, I put it in the enclosures.

    Pour water into the substrate rather than spraying. Ideally pour on one side only, to create a moisture gradient (you'll have a drier side and a damper side). You don't need everything in there to be wet. You also don't need to get the millipede wet. To avoid this evaporating too quickly, cut down on the ventilation (covering the top in cling film/plastic wrap is a quick way). Millipedes only need a little ventilation, not a whole mesh top. Also seal the front ventilation on an ExoTerra. Or keep something else in there and get a more suitable enclosure for millipedes.

    Get a ruler and measure the substrate depth. The rule of thumb is for it to be as deep as the millipede is long, but that's not usually possible for larger species. My aim is at least 5-6 inches regardless of species size. Not only because it gives room to dig, but it also helps maintain the humidity. Note the overall enclosure size does also matter, as if you have a really big enclosure, a big millipede can bury in less depth. My largest species is in a 100 litre storage tub. Much cheaper than an ExoTerra and a much more suitable size if they're large.

    Grain mites aren't a big problem, but you can control numbers by adding springtails and not leaving in food for too long (especially grainy food, like fish food and cereals). Springtails will also eat fungi.

    20-21C is fine for some species, but might be a little chilly for others. I was under the impression that Archispirostreptus gigas liked it warmer, which is why I avoided them.

    You can keep millipedes together, though it can make telling babies apart hard. Also, you need enough room for them all. A little ExoTerra isn't going to cut it for those larger species.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Crocodylidae

    Crocodylidae Arachnopeon

    Before I used to mist the entire enclosure and he would drink off it, now if I only keep the substrate moist and get him his own water dish is this fine?
    So I think I'm going to try the freezer option! For the leaves I'm baking and it's a really bad smell but it's okay but wood just seem more annoying so I think that freezing it is going to be the best. I think that I'm going to try to put the wood in a plastic bag or something and left in the freezer for a few days/hours
    Thank you! I will translate the article later, but I was wondering for the terrarium I have (45x45x30) how many bags I should take of dirt?

    So about the pesticides:
    The forest is near a road and a cultivated field, the road is not the most frequented though and the cultivated field is around the beginning of the forest, not sure how many distance it have to be to be safe or if it's safe enough?
    I also tried taking leaves who were still on the trees and the dead wood and moss where people walk past the less possible, even though I did collect some leaves on the ground time to time. And I don't remember seeing lots of lichen but I wasn't paying attention so maybe there was, I do remember that they were on the dead wood collected though.
    I will take a picture of the moss that I took, there a few different species and I don't know a lot about plants enough to define them!

    So I will use cling film to cover the enclosure and see how it works! Do I need to spray the enclosure one more time or just left is as it it? (the substrate is moist)

    Oh and about the lifespan; When I first got him I was very confused about their lifespan becauise I saw people saying months, one year, a few years, even more, and I find almost no information when I type the name of the species I own (is there a common name who have more answers?), so with all the different info I had on him I just thought that it would be like the lifespan of a mantis. Is there any way to determine age or not at all?

    Also this is a probably a stupid question but can millipeds have personnalities? My milliped don't mind being handled, and curl up very easily (like if you move something above him he gets scared), but I wonder if different individual of the same species react the same way all?
    In a few months I will maybe get them online here:

    I would like a species who is quite easy to breed/take care of and pretty big, I will look into the ones you quoted!
    Thanks, I will try to get 15cm and I will check out the thread! I'll get him a safe substrate soon (I can only go there in the forest again in a few weeks though)

    I wanted to get some live plants in the enclosure, such as fern but if I get some at the store there will probably be
    fertilizer and stuff so I don't know if this a good idea. Maybe if I wash the fern, of I take care of it for weeks, but still not sure, I think live plants look really nice but I don't want to harm my milliped.

    I actually thought at first about getting storage box as well as it probably keeps humidity even better but the large one I found only have like rollers and stuff so not really practical, however I will do it with smaller storage box if I get small millipeds!
    I will also pour water instead of spraying, if I get substrate from the forest does it keep humidity better than fiber coco does?

    Is A.gigas the biggest species or not at all? And what is the longest species?
    Thanks everyone for answering again!
  9. AuroraLights

    AuroraLights Arachnopeon Active Member

    That's fine, millipedes will drink from water dishes if they're thirsty. Just make sure it doesn't have tall sides so that he can get to it easily. I use an old jar lid for mine, it's cheap and just the right size. ;)

    If my maths is correct you'll need approximately 30.4 litres of substrate in total for a depth of 15cm. You'll want about half of that to be rotted leaves and wood, and the other half to be soil. You can add a small amount of calcium powder and/or sand to as well but those are optional and shouldn't make up more than about 5% of the substrate each.

    As far as I know, not at all.

    I don't know if they really have individual personalities but the different species definitely have different behaviours. I have noticed that both the A.gigas I've had have had a particular hide that seems to be their 'favourite', but I'm not sure that qualifies as a personality...

    Yep, A.gigas are the largest living millipedes in terms of length. They usually can reach 20-28cm, but I've heard the largest ever reached 38cm. I couldn't find a reference for that though, so it might be a myth. Ideally you'd want a tank of at least 80x40x50cm if you were planning to keep a group of them.
    That being said, lots of the skinny millipedes look proportionally longer and have a larger number of segments than A.gigas does, it's just that each segment is shorter. Illacme plenipes wins on number of legs: it can have up to 750, even though it only reaches about 3cm in length! Definitely worth looking them up if you haven't seen a photo of one before. :)
  10. Crocodylidae

    Crocodylidae Arachnopeon

    dog.PNG cat.PNG yeah.PNG
    He seems to like his bark, I have to put some more dead wood and well change his whole substrate but it looks decent for now.
    Everytime I go to the petstore I always try to look for calcium but I'm always confused between what I should take (like the one without D3, reptiles or something) and I don't know how necessary is it for a adult?

    I will check out the millipedes you mentioned, they sound cool!
    If in a few months I go to an expo, how to know if a milliped is healthy before buying one? I remember that this one, when I first took him he was all rolled (is this a word?) but the breeder kept different species in different boxes, and in the box of the species I have everything was fine but in the gigas boxes they were a LOT of mites so I avoided it, but I don't know if this really is bad?
    As a general rule, not even just millipedes but mantis etc I don't know if there is a way to check if they're fine before adopting, is there a post on it?
  11. AuroraLights

    AuroraLights Arachnopeon Active Member

    If I were you I wouldn't buy any of the calcium powder they sell in pet stores, they always charge way too much. Ideally you want pure calcium carbonate without any additives, since the things that are good for reptiles aren't usually needed for millipedes and just make it cost more. What I would do is search for 'calcium powder' online and see what the cheapest (respectable looking) deal you can find is. I managed to find an eBay seller that offers 1 kg bags for just £3.90 with free shipping (~€4.60), which is much cheaper than anything you'd find in a pet shop. The seller's name was IntraLabs, but I don't know if they sell to France. Even if they do it would probably be cheaper to find a local seller.

    Archispirostreptus gigas are one of a few types of millipede that have a mutualistic or commensal relationship with mites. The mites live on the millipedes and help keep them clean, which may reduce the risk of fungal infections or parasitic mites. If the mites you saw were only on the A. gigas that's probably what they were. Here's a picture of my A. gigas with her mites before she lost them all. (I'm still kinda sad about that :()

    It can often be hard to tell with invertebrates, so lots of people recommend quarantining new millipedes for a few weeks before introducing them to occupied tanks. There are some things you can see though, here are the things I can think of:
    - Discoloured patches or patches that look dusty. This can be a fungal infection.
    - Missing legs or legs with black tips. These are signs that they have or have had 'foot rot' which is a fungal infection often caused by poor conditions. Some millipedes will recover and live long lives, but I wouldn't buy one that already shows symptoms even if you think it's just from a past infection.
    - Large stationary mites, especially attached to their legs or antenna. Parasitic mites aren't super common on millipedes but they can happen. Mites that are moving around aren't parasitic, and mites on the millipedes' bodies are usually just commensal ones or soil mites that have temporarily climbed on, but anything attached to their joints or underside is a bad sign.
    - Any external damage. Small moulting defects are quite common but usually harmless, and juveniles will generally recover the next time they moult. However large deformities (for example where there's a gap in the exoskeleton) or damage from falls can be fatal.
  12. Crocodylidae

    Crocodylidae Arachnopeon

    Thank you, I will see! If he is adult is it still necessary, is this only for millipedes still growing?
    Oh I didn't know that, thank you! Well I should have took one then..
    And thanks for the end of the message also! I was wondering is there a lot of chance that a milliped was caught wild?
  13. AuroraLights

    AuroraLights Arachnopeon Active Member

    Calcium is mainly used when they're growing, but it's still a good idea when they're an adult. If you want a completey free calcium supplement you can grind up old eggshells and use that, but I haven't tried it myself.
    Well if you had bought an A. gigas you'd have needed a larger terrarium, since yours is only big enough for a millipede of 15cm or under, so maybe it worked out for the best in the end. ;)
    Sadly most millipedes are still imported from the wild because there aren't enough people breeding them. If you want captive born stock you usually have to buy small babies directly from the breeder; any adult found in a pet shop is definitely wild caught. Even if the seller says they have captive bred adults I would probably not believe them, unless you think that they are very trustworthy and that they actually know what they are talking about. Some sellers don't actually know where their stock came from and might just make things up to encourage you to buy from them. :shifty:
  14. Crocodylidae

    Crocodylidae Arachnopeon

    Does it matter uf the eggs are like organic or something?
    The seller I bought him from had three boxes of different species of milliped, A.gigas, mine, and another I forgot and in all of them were all adults (except for one box I think, I'm not sure), could they be wild caught if they were all adults? The seller didn't say anything about them. Or if there are a lot, this is bred? I don't like getting wild caught because I don't think it's fair for them but also I think that maybe they could be more 'fragile' than bred ones?

    The size of a terrarium for A.gigas would be which one exactly? I'm not sure if there any Exoterra terrarium bigger (who could fit into a room aha), I will have to see in the petstore
    Something I was afraid of too: so my millipede has hiding places, and its hiding places have smooth edges, but I had other objects that could be used as hiding places such as a 'fake broken vase' for reptiles but the edges seem a bit 'harsh' to me, knowing that the milliped 'slides' on things, could it hurt him?
  15. AuroraLights

    AuroraLights Arachnopeon Active Member

    I would have thought non-organic eggs would be a lot less risky than fruit or vegetables, but obviously there is still some risk. It's really up to you how much you feel comfortable with.

    It sounds to me like they were definitely wild caught. People often import large numbers at once, and like I said it's hard to find captive born millipedes even if you're looking. At least that's how it is here.

    I suppose they might find it a bit harder to adjust, and it obviously could increase the risk of purchasing a sick or injured individual. However, most species adapt pretty well from what I've heard. What tends to make the most difference to mortality is their age: generally speaking the smaller they are the higher the death rate. So if you purchased an equal amount of WC adults and CB juveniles you would expect more of the adults to survive, even though they came from the wild. That being said, adults could already be very old when you get them, so you might have the best success buying large juveniles.
    Just make sure that you never buy a giant pill millipede (of the order Sphaerotheriida). Small pill millipedes (of the order Glomerida) are fine, but for some reason Sphaerotherids don't survive in captivity. People who don't know or just don't care still import them in large numbers and sell them off quickly, then they all die within a few weeks/months. It's really sad, especially since many species come from vulnerable habitats. Every time I see it it upsets me. :(

    If the edges are safe for reptiles then I think they're probably okay for millipedes, but if you're concerned just leave it out. I'd personally be more worried about the vase being too heavy and collapsing on him if he burrows underneath it. Although adult Spirostreptids don't moult so at least it can't collapse a moulting chamber.

    It depends if you're keeping a breeding group or just one, and lots of people will tell you different minimum sizes. I think that for a single adult you could probably get away with 60x45x45cm as long as there were plenty of places to hide and climb. However, I personally wouldn't keep them in something that small long-term, particularly an Exo Terra because I don't know if you'd be able to get an appropriate substrate depth. Fish tanks or plastic boxes are usually much better for millipedes. I have a 79x39x45 cm tank and while I feel that it's big enough for the one I have (but a bit shorter than I'd ideally like even for one) I don't think I'd ever keep more than 2 or 3 adults in it (and they'd have to be the same gender so they wouldn't breed).

    For a breeding group I think you would need an absolute minimum of 80x40x50 cm, and substrate depth would be even more important so I don't think any Exo Terra would be suitable (except possibly the 90x45x90 cm Paludarium model, because that has a much taller bottom panel for holding water. But it's also ludicrously expensive!). Even 80x40x50 cm would be too small in my opinion. I've heard someone recommend 120x60x60 cm if you're seriously trying to breed them, and I think that would be much more appropriate.

    Again, that's just my opinion and I'm sure you'd be able to find people telling you differently. However, personally I've found A.gigas to be very active and mine seems to show a level of curiosity and awareness of her surroundings that I wouldn't have expected in a millipede. I suppose that could just be me anthropomorphising her, but since we actually don't know for sure how intelligent millipedes are I would prefer to be on the safe side and spoil them a bit, rather than risk keeping them in an inappropriate environment. :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
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