Unsure if Millipede is Dying or Just Acting Strange

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Yes, you want to avoid any added fertilizer, chemicals, and manure of all sorts. The best kind will be strictly decomposed food and plant waste to my understanding.

S. servatius is truly a beautiful species. Hope to see pictures sometime!

Thanks,

Arthroverts
Well, my S. servatius isn't here yet because the breeder is in the North and their weather was DIRE this week, so they'll hopefully be shipping out this coming week if the weather holds.

However, I did get my tank set back up with new substrate adapted from a blend of recipes (with various substitutes).

Still frustrated with my heating issue. I have a hard time getting it over 73 most of the time and I can't figure out why (also does anyone have any thermometer/hygrometer recs? I have a combo digital one with a separate probe for each measure, but I'm not 100% sure how accurate it is (though my old glass-and-mercury thermometer seems to agree so maybe it is)). I wonder if it's because the hood isn't glass?

I'm also having trouble wrt moisture - it's only been in there since Thursday, and I can't tell if it's still moist enough without really digging around. Like when I stick a finger in under the substrate it SEEMS damp, but then when I pull it out, it seems drier?

The tank has this kind of hood:
1583605552470.png
The vast majority of the back vents have been entirely blocked except for maybe 4 slats on each end, and those have been fitted with a pretty fine mesh (like in a sugar sifter), as has the places where there would have been equipment for filtering etc (there's mesh to keep millipedes in, and gorilla tape to keep things out).

However, the lid hardly has a vacuum seal, and there's a very small opening intended for cables (I use it for the thermometer and thermostat probes) so possibly there's some air flow that way? Likewise there might be some from the 'feeding door' at the top. Should I seal that little door up and maybe the still exposed slats? I've read (on petmillipede.weebly) that it's better to err on the side of too much ventilation than the side of too little, but I also don't want to lose too much heat and moisture. I'm sure it will improve somewhat in the spring and summer, but for now it's making me nervous (which may just be me being high strung because I'm new to this and hermit crabs made me hypervigilant).

On the upside, there are now predatory mites and at least one species of tiny springtails in my tank now too. I've taken some pictures of the new layout but I have to get them off my phone, so I'll post those later!
 

AuroraLights

Arachnosquire
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also does anyone have any thermometer/hygrometer recs?
I'm using a White Python Thermo/Hygrometer, a Swell Digital Hygrometer and a fancy thermometer I don't remember the brand of that was left over from when we had a tortoise. I've never actually tested any of them properly so I can't say how accurate they are though.
I can't tell if it's still moist enough without really digging around. Like when I stick a finger in under the substrate it SEEMS damp, but then when I pull it out, it seems drier?
I can usually see through the sides of the tank if the surface is getting to dry, because the top of the substrate becomes noticeably lighter coloured than the bottom. As long as your air humidity doesn't drop too fast and the top doesn't look dry I don't think you really need to test it with your finger at all, I never really do.
Should I seal that little door up and maybe the still exposed slats? I've read (on petmillipede.weebly) that it's better to err on the side of too much ventilation than the side of too little, but I also don't want to lose too much heat and moisture.
Having the ventilation right above your heat mat will mean you lose more humidity. If your heat mat is on the back you could try blocking the slats you've left on one side and instead covering the feeding hatch in mesh and propping it open a little bit (it only has to be a tiny gap, don't remove the whole door). I'd leave the slats on the other side so that you still have ventilation in at least two places- although, if you've covered the filter in mesh you could probably block all the slats. In the fish tank I have the ventilation was also in a bad place so I am using the filter gap and feeding door instead. Plus, it means I can easily change the amount of ventilation by moving the blue-tac I use to prop open the hatch, and the filter gap even came with a cover as well. :)
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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I'm using a White Python Thermo/Hygrometer, a Swell Digital Hygrometer and a fancy thermometer I don't remember the brand of that was left over from when we had a tortoise. I've never actually tested any of them properly so I can't say how accurate they are though.
I've got the Swell Digital Thermo/Hygro combo as well as a Komodo analogue hygrometer at the moment (also a straight up aquarium thermometer but I've taken that out because I'm worried that the newest addition will pull it down somehow :eek: I think probably they're all right since I've got multiple things all saying the same thing (or they're somehow ALL wrong) but yeah. I'm not sure D:

I can usually see through the sides of the tank if the surface is getting to dry, because the top of the substrate becomes noticeably lighter coloured than the bottom. As long as your air humidity doesn't drop too fast and the top doesn't look dry I don't think you really need to test it with your finger at all, I never really do.
Right now it all looks pretty dark (though the base substrate is pretty dark/almost black mixed with very dark brown so I'm like *squints*), and my air humidity seems to be holding pretty steady, so maybe I'm just being jumpy? They're definitely burrowing (well except A. gigas, who prefers the cork log, but the way it's built, it angles her down to the substrate anyway so she goes into the log and then has like a small crater in the substrate she's cleared out), so that seems like a good sign.

Having the ventilation right above your heat mat will mean you lose more humidity. If your heat mat is on the back you could try blocking the slats you've left on one side and instead covering the feeding hatch in mesh and propping it open a little bit (it only has to be a tiny gap, don't remove the whole door). I'd leave the slats on the other side so that you still have ventilation in at least two places- although, if you've covered the filter in mesh you could probably block all the slats. In the fish tank I have the ventilation was also in a bad place so I am using the filter gap and feeding door instead. Plus, it means I can easily change the amount of ventilation by moving the blue-tac I use to prop open the hatch, and the filter gap even came with a cover as well. :)
Oh! That makes sense - the right side vent is directly over the heat mat so that probably isn't helping things. I've covered that over now, and my project this Friday will be cutting up my last Poundland sifter to make a mesh cover for the food door - I did cover the filter area in mesh but it's at a weird angle so that it both prevents escape and lets the lid close properly, so I'll mesh the door as well - it can't hurt! I might cover the slats on the other side with a gentler tape and see how it does and if it seems to help rather than hurt, I'll use the good tape. That way I don't have to struggle to pull it off if I decide it's not working. I've read that the tank usually comes with a filter cover gap? But I think the friend who gave me the tank to repurpose lost it probably.
 

AuroraLights

Arachnosquire
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I have heard that analogue hygrometers can be a bit unreliable, but if it agrees with your digital one I wouldn't worry.

It certainly sounds like your soil is moist enough to me. :) Besides, I believe that most of the African Spirostreptids are actually quite good at tolerating drops in humidity, because they come from areas with a wet and a dry (or at least drier) season. So it's probably not going to cause them serious problems if your humidity or soil moisture occasionally drops below the recommended range. Obviously you want to do the best you can, but it isn't something you need to be losing sleep over. :) At least not with those species anyway: I have heard that some of the Asian Spirobolids are particularly sensitive to humidity drops, so I'd watch out for it more if you were keeping those.
My A. gigas girl actually escaped once without us noticing and spent three days living in the kitchen somewhere (I think under the fridge) during the middle of winter. When we found her she was covered in dust and so dehydrated that she drank from the waterbowl for a good 45 minutes or so, but the next day she was behaving like nothing had happened! :rofl: So if she can survive that then I don't think you need to be too worried about the occasional slip up.
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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I have heard that analogue hygrometers can be a bit unreliable, but if it agrees with your digital one I wouldn't worry.
Yeah I've heard that too. Right now I'm keeping it in partly because it's a massive pain to remove it, but if I upgrade it, I'll take it out later. Is the White Python one good? I've heard good things about their gear in general, so I was looking at their combo thermo/hygrometer the other day.

It certainly sounds like your soil is moist enough to me. :) Besides, I believe that most of the African Spirostreptids are actually quite good at tolerating drops in humidity, because they come from areas with a wet and a dry (or at least drier) season. So it's probably not going to cause them serious problems if your humidity or soil moisture occasionally drops below the recommended range. Obviously you want to do the best you can, but it isn't something you need to be losing sleep over. :) At least not with those species anyway: I have heard that some of the Asian Spirobolids are particularly sensitive to humidity drops, so I'd watch out for it more if you were keeping those.

My A. gigas girl actually escaped once without us noticing and spent three days living in the kitchen somewhere (I think under the fridge) during the middle of winter. When we found her she was covered in dust and so dehydrated that she drank from the waterbowl for a good 45 minutes or so, but the next day she was behaving like nothing had happened! :rofl: So if she can survive that then I don't think you need to be too worried about the occasional slip up.
Oh good! I think partly I'm dealing with newbie anxiety making me hyper vigilant.

That is true! I know a lot of them are used to a wet/dry seasonal shift, and honestly I think my humidity will improve with the temperature as we move out of winter (in part because I know my space heater, while great for maintaining my (and supplementing their) temperature, it does dry the air in the room). And everyone seems to be doing just fine - both the A. gigas and S. fischeri were out at the same time last night and I saw them nibbling at some of the leaf litter. :)

Holy cow! That's wild - I'm so glad she was okay in the end, but also wow it's amazing how tough they can be!


Also @Arthroverts - I ended up ordering a small P. ehlersae, and in their form they asked me to list any second choices in case they had somehow run out of the species, so I explained I didn't really know a WHOLE lot but would prefer another hardy, beginner-friendly Mexican species if that one wasn't available, and when it arrived today, the nursery I ordered from sent me a tiny little P. esseriana as a freebie! They're both potted now and I'm really excited to see how they do once they start to come out of dormancy!
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Side Note - I am thinking of introducing another millipede, but I haven't decided what I would like. I have a list of species I know I have potential access to, but I don't know what would be the best fit for my tank. Hm.
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Side Note - I am thinking of introducing another millipede, but I haven't decided what I would like. I have a list of species I know I have potential access to, but I don't know what would be the best fit for my tank. Hm.
Okay so I've looked around a little at what species I for sure have access to, and ruled some stuff out because either it was potentially really small and I worried about it in a tank with big guys, or it was something like flats, who I'm led to understand don't really cohabitate with other species very well, but I'd really like some ideas on what might be a good fit for me and the current gang.

I do occasionally handle my 'pedes, but not extremely often. So ideally something that does habituate a little bit would be nice, though I know it's often highly dependent on the individual. Right now, I've only been keeping African spirostreptids (will list in a moment), and while I'm interested in African or Asian spirobolids, they make me a little nervous because I know some can be very sensitive to humidity changes, and I tend to have slightly lower humidity and temperature in the winter no matter how hard I try (not SUPER dry I don't think, just not AS humid/damp).

Right now, I have:
  • Archispirostreptus gigas, adult female (WC)
  • Spiropoeus fischeri, adult female (WC)
  • Spirostreptidae sp. 8, adult female (I'm pretty sure she's an adult at least; WC)
  • Spirostreptus servatius, subadult (going to try sexing them when they arrive - they've been delayed by the weather; CB)
So it's sort of ranging from the upper end of medium to the lower end of extra large, I guess? There's lots of hiding places and climbing enrichment because Zenobia, the A. gigas prefers cork tubes and hides to burrowing fully, and Dido, the S. fischeri is deeply into climbing anything she can get her legs on.

The species I know I have access to potentially are (I'm including some pros/cons based on my own reading/knowledge but PLEASE feel free to correct me or give information if you know something I don't!):
  • Acladocricus sp. (Java Giant Yellow-Legged); Spirobolid; Asia (Indonesia)
    • Pros: Absolutely gorgeous, more than big enough to hang with the big dogs
    • Cons: As said before, Spirobolids make me a little nervous, esp. Asian ones, also ££££ (looking at around 31gbp before shipping :eek: )
  • Aphistogoniulus polleni (aka Spirostreptus sp. 6) (Madagascar gold ringed(?), Halloween); Spirobolid; Africa (Madagascar)
    • Pros: Really striking looking, not as big as my two biggest, semi-arboreal species are really interesting to me
    • Cons: Spirobolids are kind of scary, though this is an African one so maybe not as scary?
  • A. gigas (African Giant 'Train'); Spirostreptid; Africa (East Africa)
    • Pros: I know my way around them, big and tough, fun personalities, super adaptable diets
    • Cons: I already have one and they're not easy to tell apart lmao
  • Archispirostreptus syriacus (Giant Syrian Black); Spirostreptid; Asia (Middle East)
    • Pros: Very similar to A. gigas but less common and (relatively) easily distinguishable, not very common over here that I've seen
    • Cons: I don't know much about them - might like things more arid?
  • Colossobolus giganteus (Madagascar Giant); Spirobolid; Africa (Madagascar)
    • Pros: Really neat and huge! Also can be found captive-bred.
    • Cons: Maybe TOO big? Also a spirobolid and the ones I know are available are still juveniles (just shy of 2 years old).
  • Dendrostreptus macracanthus (Glossy Black Pink-Legged); Spirostreptid; Africa (East Africa)
    • Pros: Large, very cool looking and active, semi-arboreals
    • Cons: I've heard they can be a bit temperamental and tend to secrete an ocean lol
  • Mardonius sp. (probably a Spiropoeus sp.) (Big Red); Spirostreptid; African (West Africa)
    • Pros: Basically the same as S. fischeri but with a deep licorice red paint job. Might have a similar temperament?
    • Cons: I don't know a whole lot about it.
  • O. guineensis (Giant Chocolate); Spirostreptid; Africa (West Africa)
    • Pros: Confident, large, easy to handle
    • Cons: Just lost one, and I'm both nervous of them and just generally kind of still moping in a way. Maybe someday.
  • Pelmatojulus exisus (Nigerian Fire-Banded); Spirobolid; Africa (West Africa)
    • Pros: Very cool looking, a species I've considered before, known to be surface active
    • Cons: Spirobolids scare me, I've heard they're really not keen on supplementary food?
  • Pelmatojulus ligulatus (Amber-Banded); Spirobolid; Africa
    • Pros: They're bright and colourful and would stand out against everyone else.
    • Cons: Spirobolids and honestly I don't know much about them?
  • Remulopygus brevispinus; Spirostreptid; Asia (Indonesia)
    • Pros: Also extremely gorgeous, not seen often near me (that I know of)
    • Cons: Prefers a slightly lower (though still overlapping with the rest of my species) humidity range (55-75%) (though this COULD be a pro), ££ (approximately 22gbp)
  • Spiropoeus fischeri (aka Mardonius parilis acuticonus) (Cameroon Matte Black); Spirostreptid; Africa (West Africa)
    • Pros: Super friendly, easily handled, nice looking, active
    • Cons: Already have one, hard to tell apart
  • Spirostreptidae sp.4 (Delta Brown); Spirostrepid; Africa (West-North Africa)
    • Pros: Very pretty, easy to handle
    • Cons: The only one I've ever met was very light-shy compared to the S. fischeri it was housed with - very impressive burrower though!
  • Spirostreptidae sp.9 (Giant Orange-Banded); Spirostreptid; Africa (West Africa)
    • Pros: Might be a good alternative to P. exisus
    • Cons: Not quite as cool looking?
  • Spirostreptus servatius (Fire Dragon Headed); Spirostreptid; Africa
    • Pros: GORGEOUS, can be found captive-bred
    • Cons: Already have one on its way and while they're probably easier to tell apart than A. gigas or S. fischeri, there's not that much variation I'd imagine
  • Spirostreptus sp.1 (Burmese Beauty, Olive-Banded); Spirostreptid; Africa (East Africa)
    • Pros: Super aesthetically pleasing colour scheme sometimes, known to be active, easy to find captive bred
    • Cons: Might be too small? I've heard the secrete a lot as well and require a lot of humidity compared to other spirostreptids?
  • Telodeinopus aoutii (Skeleton-Legged, Giant Olive); Spirostreptid; Africa (West Africa)
    • Pros: Semi-arboreal, really gorgeous legs, easy to handle, seem easy to find captive bred
    • Cons: I've known some that were a real pain in the ass so I'm not sure xD
  • Telodeinopus assiensis (White-Legged, Calico Feather-Legged); Spirostreptid; Africa (West Africa)
    • Pros: Extremely pretty
    • Cons: Extremely subterranean, even by millipede standards
  • Thyropygus sp. (Purple-Banded); Spirostrepid; Asia (Malaysia)
    • Pros: Large, seems easy to handle
    • Cons: Maybe too long? Also an Asian species - are Asian spirostreptids as resilient as African ones?
Sorry that was long RIP
 

AuroraLights

Arachnosquire
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74
Is the White Python one good?
I think it's good, but like I said I haven't tested it's accuracy. It's battery powered and sticks to the inside of the viv which is handy because it means no cable going into the viv, but it does mean it's harder to check the readings than with an external display. One thing I particularly like about it is it has a very good suction cup, much better than the one on the probe of my other hygrometer: it's never fallen down even though my millipedes like to climb on it and do acrobatics sometimes. :)

Spirostreptidae sp.4 (Delta Brown); Spirostrepid; Africa (West-North Africa)

Pros: Very pretty, easy to handleCons: The only one I've ever met was very light-shy compared to the S. fischeri it was housed with - very impressive burrower though!
I had these, and the ones I had weren't very light-shy. Maybe a bit more than my S.sp8 but still pretty visible. Unfortunately all three of mine died for unknown reasons, but that isn't representative of the species as they're supposed to be very hardy. Not sure what could have happened to mine since it didn't affect any of the other millipedes sharing their tank. They are very pretty though, and when you see them in person they have thin reddish metallic bands between each segment that don't really show up on photographs. The one time I picked one of mine up he didn't even curl up into a defensive coil so I would say you are right about them being easy to handle.

Cons: Maybe TOO big?
I think Colossobolus giganteus are actually slightly smaller than A.gigas, same with Thyropygus sp.. I'm pretty sure A.gigas holds the record for the longest millipede species described so far, so if you can cope with an adult female of them then no millipede will be too big. :)

Aphistogoniulus polleni (aka Spirostreptus sp. 6) (Madagascar gold ringed(?), Halloween); Spirobolid; Africa (Madagascar)

Pros: Really striking looking, not as big as my two biggest, semi-arboreal species are really interesting to meCons: Spirobolids are kind of scary, though this is an African one so maybe not as scary?
As far as I know, real Aphistogoniulus polleni is not actually available in the hobby and the species sold under that name is actually mislabelled Spirostreptus sp. 6, which makes them a Spirostreptid not a Spirobolid. Madagascan species are a bit infamous for being sensitive but this one is apparently much easier than most of the others. According to Shurá Sigling's book they are 'easy to breed at temperatures around 26°C and high humidity' but apparently can cope with some variation.

Acladocricus sp. (Java Giant Yellow-Legged); Spirobolid; Asia (Indonesia)

Pros: Absolutely gorgeous, more than big enough to hang with the big dogsCons: As said before, Spirobolids make me a little nervous, esp. Asian ones, also ££££ (looking at around 31gbp before shipping )
I've actually not heard of this one before, thanks for telling me about a new species! :happy: I have heard though that Acladocricus sp. "Philippine Giant Blue" do best with a humidity of 90%+, so these might be similar? Although the one site I found on these ones said 65-85%, so I guess they like it slightly less humid than the Blues.

Remulopygus brevispinus; Spirostreptid; Asia (Indonesia)
Another one I haven't heard of before. :)
 
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