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skips

making your own water crystals?

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So, I've been feeding my Lateralis, Dubia, and hissers those yellow cricket water crystals. It dawned on me that the crystals are really just watery jello. At least that's what it looks like. If I bought some unflavored make-your-own jello packets and basically just made watery jello, would that work for feeding purposes? You know, beat the system. Any criticisms.

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Doesn't "sound" like a good plan to me, but I'm not really sure. Here's the label comparisons between a sample of each product in case anybody else can comment:

(Prepared) Jello Main Ingredients: Water, Sugar, Gelatin, Adipic Acid (for tartness)

Water Crystals: Water, Polyacrylamide Copolymer,Potassium sorbate,Calcium Chloride,

So, it looks like the jello will provide water (the whole point, I think). But, at room temperature it may begin to melt and if you want to breed many roaches you do need some heat which would further melt the jello and make a big sticky mess.

The water crystals' Potassium sorbate helps to prevent mold and the P. copolymer may prevent the melting or drying out factor. Additionally, the Calcium chloride in the brand I have claims to increase feeder insect calcium content by 25%. This is generally a good thing for predators of insects.

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You can try this I have not tried it yet however.

How to make moisture munchies.

2 Tablespoons of Agar Agar powder or Agar Agar flakes (You can purchase Agar Agar at

most health food stores)

2 1/2 Cups of water

Mix together and bring to a boil and boil approx 2 minutes, Pour liquid into a shallow

cake pan and let set in refridgerator for 10-15 minutes. After it's set you can draw a

knife through the gel and cut it into small pieces or Lg blocks. Transfer the pieces

into a plastic container, cover and store in the refridgerator. For serving to your

bugs put a pile of moisture munchies on a plastic margarine container lid.

This gel will not disintegrate into a mound of water even when kept at high

temperatures within cricket cages.

Feed the moisture munchies to anything that requires water such as crickets,

superbeetles, mealybeetles, superworms, roaches, ect. They all seem to love the stuff.

You can eat the munchies yourself too. :)

This is not my recipe (just a disclaimer)

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You can try this I have not tried it yet however.

How to make moisture munchies.

2 Tablespoons of Agar Agar powder or Agar Agar flakes (You can purchase Agar Agar at

most health food stores)

2 1/2 Cups of water

Mix together and bring to a boil and boil approx 2 minutes, Pour liquid into a shallow

cake pan and let set in refridgerator for 10-15 minutes. After it's set you can draw a

knife through the gel and cut it into small pieces or Lg blocks. Transfer the pieces

into a plastic container, cover and store in the refridgerator. For serving to your

bugs put a pile of moisture munchies on a plastic margarine container lid.

This gel will not disintegrate into a mound of water even when kept at high

temperatures within cricket cages.

Feed the moisture munchies to anything that requires water such as crickets,

superbeetles, mealybeetles, superworms, roaches, ect. They all seem to love the stuff.

You can eat the munchies yourself too. :)

This is not my recipe (just a disclaimer)

Interesting in both cases. Polyacrylamide should be very easy to order from a biological supply company. Calcium choride is road salt if i'm not mistaken, though I could supplement with cricket powder, just the CaCO3. I'm going to research this agar agar stuff. I just think it's a bit unnecessary to purchase something overpriced that you can make. thanks to you both.

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Also don't forget that agar makes an excellent bacterium growth medium. Good news for a microbiologist...bad news for a colony of 'roaches after a couple of days in a humid and warm environment.

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I dont know why you would want to make water crystals anyway. I never use them or any other water tray/dish/fountain/etc.

They are handy if I go out of town for a long time, but generally I just pour water right on the colony once in a while and leave it at that.

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I dont know why you would want to make water crystals anyway. I never use them or any other water tray/dish/fountain/etc.

They are handy if I go out of town for a long time, but generally I just pour water right on the colony once in a while and leave it at that.

Really? Haha, you're on arachnoboards correct? I'm new to roaches. So, you don't actually have a water source at all and you just pour water into your enclosure? All other things being equal, simplicity is the best route. Hmm...I'll still try it as If it works ill use it for other bugs, but that's good to know.

As for the agar, I'm not going use nutrient agar which would promote bacterial growth, just regular agar. It shouldn't grow any more bacteria than regular water crystals--if fact, I think its what they use. I can use something like methyl paraben or propionic acid as an antibacterial/antifungal too.

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Hi

(Sorry if my English is not that gorgeous, I’m used to speak Swiss dialect and write in German.)

Agar is used as solid bacteria culture medium because most bacteria can't digest it (therefore the culture media will not melt as this is the case for most other natural gelatinizing agents) and not because it might be beneficial for bacteria in any other way.

The polyactylate gel mentioned above is quite "bacteria/fungi resistant" because it contains potassium sorbate as conservative. Sorbic acid and its salts are better for nutritional use but less active than parabenes as suggested by skips. Propionic acid by the way won't work that great...

My problem with polyacrylate gels is its artificial nature and the so called "harmlessness"... theoretically non-digestible but nevertheless prohibited (at least here in Switzerland) as food ingredient. In addition it may contain un-reacted monomers being quite toxic and it might be (at least partially) degraded by the roaches intestinal flora.

If I would want to use water crystals (which I don't) I'd go for pure agar-agar without sugar or other stuff which might serve as bacterial nutrition. One could add some citric acid or phosphate salts to complex iron ions (iron is quite important for bacterial growth and a limiting factor in low nutrition media as agar plus tap water).

Remember: Agar is a natural product and therefore full of edible stuff from a microbial point of view. Even common distilled water (which usually is from reverse osmosis and not from distillation) contains enough material for bacterial growth.

The gelatin-sugar stuff will for sure promote bacterial growth.... bäh!

Grüessli (engl. greetings)

Andreas

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Why don't you just take an apple? ;)

Here around one can get pure agar at regular stores/markets and gelatinizing agent (I don't know who the heck likes its vanilla pudding with an agar-plate consistency... :o ) or at the pharmacy as dietary supplement (to reduce food intake by an altered ingested 'empty' volume or as a deterrent? :blink: ).

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Hi

(Sorry if my English is not that gorgeous, I’m used to speak Swiss dialect and write in German.)

Agar is used as solid bacteria culture medium because most bacteria can't digest it (therefore the culture media will not melt as this is the case for most other natural gelatinizing agents) and not because it might be beneficial for bacteria in any other way.

The polyactylate gel mentioned above is quite "bacteria/fungi resistant" because it contains potassium sorbate as conservative. Sorbic acid and its salts are better for nutritional use but less active than parabenes as suggested by skips. Propionic acid by the way won't work that great...

My problem with polyacrylate gels is its artificial nature and the so called "harmlessness"... theoretically non-digestible but nevertheless prohibited (at least here in Switzerland) as food ingredient. In addition it may contain un-reacted monomers being quite toxic and it might be (at least partially) degraded by the roaches intestinal flora.

If I would want to use water crystals (which I don't) I'd go for pure agar-agar without sugar or other stuff which might serve as bacterial nutrition. One could add some citric acid or phosphate salts to complex iron ions (iron is quite important for bacterial growth and a limiting factor in low nutrition media as agar plus tap water).

Remember: Agar is a natural product and therefore full of edible stuff from a microbial point of view. Even common distilled water (which usually is from reverse osmosis and not from distillation) contains enough material for bacterial growth.

The gelatin-sugar stuff will for sure promote bacterial growth.... bäh!

Grüessli (engl. greetings)

Andreas

Thanks, and your english is darn near perfect. I've already ordered and started using the polyacrylate and while I had the same issue with possibly non polymer reactant being present, I hadn't heard of any problems and havn't had any so far. I would definitely switch to agar agar if it was anywhere near as cheap and I even knew where to find a decent supply of it. I've got a bit of methyl paraben I could use as a bacterial inhibitor. I would use citric acid, but I would literally have to steel it from my lab...and i'd get fired=bad.

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Thanks for the flowers, skips!

I didn't heard of any problems too but rationality tells me* not to risk it (especially because roaches have a quite 'degrades-all-digestion' and I use mine as beardy food).

*There has to be a reason why polyacrylate is prohibited as human food additive... One could be that the used base for gelatinization was (and sometimes still is) the not-so harmless triethylamine or other amines.

In what kind of lab do you work if they can't afford to give away a few milligramms of citric acid?

Besides: Methyl paraben will be degraded by the roaches and their intestinal flora to PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) which can then be used by intestinal bacteria to synthetise folic acid. Therefore that chemical should be harmless and is frequently used with success by poison dart frog keepers to prevent the drosophila culture media from rotting/fermentation.

Maybe one could use canning sugar as water crystals?

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Thanks for the flowers, skips!

I didn't heard of any problems too but rationality tells me* not to risk it (especially because roaches have a quite 'degrades-all-digestion' and I use mine as beardy food).

*There has to be a reason why polyacrylate is prohibited as human food additive... One could be that the used base for gelatinization was (and sometimes still is) the not-so harmless triethylamine or other amines.

In what kind of lab do you work if they can't afford to give away a few milligramms of citric acid?

Besides: Methyl paraben will be degraded by the roaches and their intestinal flora to PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) which can then be used by intestinal bacteria to synthetise folic acid. Therefore that chemical should be harmless and is frequently used with success by poison dart frog keepers to prevent the drosophila culture media from rotting/fermentation.

Maybe one could use canning sugar as water crystals?

I'm fairly sure it's not used because they have found trace amounts of degraded, depolymerized, acrylate in the past. But it's been used for years by roach breaders with no reports that i've seen of ill effects.

I'm an undergraduate, and therefore, not my micro lab. I could ask for a bit i'm sure, but I just started.

Right, i also keep dart frogs. That's why I have the methyl paraben. I figured if it can be used safely in my culture media it can be used in my water crystals.

canning sugar? wouldn't that bring us back around to stimulating bacterial growth? or is canning sugar not really standard sucrose?

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canning sugar? wouldn't that bring us back around to stimulating bacterial growth? or is canning sugar not really standard sucrose?

Not really cause it's not sucrose but a polymer of galacturonic acid (so called pectin). Besides: This has the advantage to bind cations e.g. iron and calcium. Therefor citric acid can be omitted and reptile keepers could easily include a lot of calcium without flocculation.

This polyglycoside is a natural compound similar to agar, alginate, or carrageenan but origins of higher plants and not algae and in contrast to agar it can/will be degraded by bacteria. Nevertheless its better than gelatine which is a protein mixture containig much more impurities favoring (or as you say "stimulating") bacterial growth. This polyglycosides are usually quite pure (in terms of non-polyglycosides) having a low susceptibility to bacterial growth and will be degraded only if combined with other microbial nurishment.

I'm not an "organic food junkie" but I prefer natural stuff as nourishment for me and my pets. Therefore I'd use agar in the first place or alternatively preserved* canning sugar instead of polyacrylate gels.

*Sure, parabens aren't true natural compounds but will be degraded to that and as I work in a lab and a pharmacy I have nearly free access to a lot of other chemicals like sorbic acid etc.

Cave: Use 'low-ester pectins' (pectate or pectic acid) and not 'high-ester pectins' (pectinate) because the later is a less potent gelatinizing agent and will require additional sugar and some acid.

In case someone is interested in 'kitchen-chemistry-research' (my muse just kissed me...):

I suppose that one could (or better should :D ) try to make gels containing glycerol. (Why didn't that came to my mind earlier?)

This should work well with canning sugar and gelatine giving digestible energy-rich self-preserving gels at a concentration of 20-30% (expiry date > 3 month).

Vel Spass!

Andreas

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Not really cause it's not sucrose but a polymer of galacturonic acid (so called pectin). Besides: This has the advantage to bind cations e.g. iron and calcium. Therefor citric acid can be omitted and reptile keepers could easily include a lot of calcium without flocculation.

This polyglycoside is a natural compound similar to agar, alginate, or carrageenan but origins of higher plants and not algae and in contrast to agar it can/will be degraded by bacteria. Nevertheless its better than gelatine which is a protein mixture containig much more impurities favoring (or as you say "stimulating") bacterial growth. This polyglycosides are usually quite pure (in terms of non-polyglycosides) having a low susceptibility to bacterial growth and will be degraded only if combined with other microbial nurishment.

I'm not an "organic food junkie" but I prefer natural stuff as nourishment for me and my pets. Therefore I'd use agar in the first place or alternatively preserved* canning sugar instead of polyacrylate gels.

*Sure, parabens aren't true natural compounds but will be degraded to that and as I work in a lab and a pharmacy I have nearly free access to a lot of other chemicals like sorbic acid etc.

Cave: Use 'low-ester pectins' (pectate or pectic acid) and not 'high-ester pectins' (pectinate) because the later is a less potent gelatinizing agent and will require additional sugar and some acid.

In case someone is interested in 'kitchen-chemistry-research' (my muse just kissed me...):

I suppose that one could (or better should :D ) try to make gels containing glycerol. (Why didn't that came to my mind earlier?)

This should work well with canning sugar and gelatine giving digestible energy-rich self-preserving gels at a concentration of 20-30% (expiry date > 3 month).

Vel Spass!

Andreas

Now, from what I know about glycerol metabolism wouldn't it be converted to GAP and enter glycolysis? Wouldn't that then be about the same thing as adding sure to your gelatin? bacteria problems?

I was kind of interested in what your profession was as you obviously know far more than a normal person should about biochemistry.

where would you get this canning sugar and how would you gelatinize it?

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Yes, glycerol will be metabolized BUT only upon consumption by roaches. At concentrations of 20-30% it will suppress bacterial growth. This effect is often used in liquid and semisolid pharmaceutical preparations (like syrups or creams). I don't know the mechanism behind, could have to do with osmotic pressure and/or membrane interfering effects...

I am pharmacist by training (studied 5 years, may be different in the USA where you have those 'strange' drug stores... :rolleyes: ) and currently struggling with the last experiments for my PhD in phytopharmacy.

Where I'd get the canning sugar: Next super market lower left shelf in the second corridor, right between the agar and the cornstarch. Preparation according to the instruction on the back side of the pack... :D

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Yes, glycerol will be metabolized BUT only upon consumption by roaches. At concentrations of 20-30% it will suppress bacterial growth. This effect is often used in liquid and semisolid pharmaceutical preparations (like syrups or creams). I don't know the mechanism behind, could have to do with osmotic pressure and/or membrane interfering effects...

I am pharmacist by training (studied 5 years, may be different in the USA where you have those 'strange' drug stores... :rolleyes: ) and currently struggling with the last experiments for my PhD in phytopharmacy.

Where I'd get the canning sugar: Next super market lower left shelf in the second corridor, right between the agar and the cornstarch. Preparation according to the instruction on the back side of the pack... :D

Haha, by "where do YOU find canning sugar," I meant me. I'll look for it next time I go to the store. Well, now that I think of it, I would say the main use for glycerol is the transport of fatty acids, which to my knowledge bacteria would have no use for. They probably don't have the enzymes necessary to metabolize it. Just a guess. What it phytopharmacy?

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Well: you guessed wrong. It's true that in the body glycerol is mainly bound to fatty acids (or vice versa) but it can easily be metabolized (actually is) by higher organisms and bacteria.

Phytopharmacy in one sentence is the science investigating the pharmaceutical use, mode of action and active constituents of plants.

@Hibiscusmile: Well, it's not just a mOld inhibitor but a mIld one :D with a small spectrum of action mainly agains yeasts and some other fungy I think... It works better agains bacteria as free acid (by reducing the pH). But IF one really needs a preservative it's at least better (cause of other reasons) than arteficial compounds like "formaline releasers", halogenated compounds or antibiotics.

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thanks, a professor said they use it all the time for their cultures, so I though if they used it then i could to.

Hi,

Here is the way i look at it.

Water Crystals : polymer (Cross linked Polyacrylamide)

Agar : Freeze dried seaweed

Gelatin : meat by-products

They all seem to work for me in varies applications. I have found no way to make water crystals, yet.

Regards ;)

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I use water crystals/gel for the most cockroach species - it working well.

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