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Red Runners Diet

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Hey there what's the best diet for red runners? since I never kept these before I just used carrots and dog food for the time being, read online you can't feed them tomatoes and potatoes? my hissers love those so can you guys tell me which vegetables/fruits/dry food is best?

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Late to the show, but mine really enjoy peas. I use frozen and defrost under warm water for a few minutes. They also like oranges and watermelon rind a lot.

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I feed mine whatever I give the dubias (usually orange). Just make sure the protein source doesn't get low. I can always tell if I run out of cat food because I start to see halves of individuals strewn about the enclosure :/

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I'm really late to the show here, but actually roaches don't need much protein.  I'm parroting information from a professor that has been posting his research on roaches since 1966, so I consider him a better authority than anybody else I've heard of.  Below is an exact quote.

The 4% protein diet should satisfy all stages (nymphs and adults).  You can produce some happy medium with a minimum of work by allowing them to choose their own diet but forcing them to get some of their moisture from vegetables such as carrots and potatoes that provide more filler that is low in protein and provide a restricted amount of the ~20% protein from readily available dog/rat chow.

So that should answer the question about roaches eating potatoes as well as protein requirements. 

I have a fairly new (about 2 months old) Dubia colony and between oranges and carrots, they will usually choose carrots.  Although some days when I put both in they ignore the orange slices and devour the carrots, and other days I'll come back and the carrot will barely be touched and the orange slices are gutted to absolutely nothing.  I also give apple cores, oats, about any fruit/veggie that is left over from dinner.  My colony is too small to have to worry with DIY roach chow, so until my colony grows a bit I am feeding the Lugarti's Premium Dubia Diet and what remains of my Fluker Farms high calcium cricket food, and letting them decide which they need.  Many roaches will avoid some foods and eat others when given a choice depending on their nutritional requirements, although as the professor said, roaches can eat a totally un-nutritious diet and still thrive!

 

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2 hours ago, Taffer said:

I'm really late to the show here, but actually roaches don't need much protein.  I'm parroting information from a professor that has been posting his research on roaches since 1966, so I consider him a better authority than anybody else I've heard of.  Below is an exact quote.

The 4% protein diet should satisfy all stages (nymphs and adults).  You can produce some happy medium with a minimum of work by allowing them to choose their own diet but forcing them to get some of their moisture from vegetables such as carrots and potatoes that provide more filler that is low in protein and provide a restricted amount of the ~20% protein from readily available dog/rat chow.

So that should answer the question about roaches eating potatoes as well as protein requirements. 

I have a fairly new (about 2 months old) Dubia colony and between oranges and carrots, they will usually choose carrots.  Although some days when I put both in they ignore the orange slices and devour the carrots, and other days I'll come back and the carrot will barely be touched and the orange slices are gutted to absolutely nothing.  I also give apple cores, oats, about any fruit/veggie that is left over from dinner.  My colony is too small to have to worry with DIY roach chow, so until my colony grows a bit I am feeding the Lugarti's Premium Dubia Diet and what remains of my Fluker Farms high calcium cricket food, and letting them decide which they need.  Many roaches will avoid some foods and eat others when given a choice depending on their nutritional requirements, although as the professor said, roaches can eat a totally un-nutritious diet and still thrive!

While that may be true, they certainly will eat high protein foods with no ill effects, and I know that with a complete lack of protein, some species will cannibalize each other.

I've been feeding my roaches a staple diet of dog food, supplemented with fruits and veggies for the live bearing species, and I have not had any problems related to this whatsoever in any of the 40 species I own, (any problems I have had with my roaches in the past have been unrelated to diet). Of course the Corydiids are the exception to this feeding regime, most of their diet is decaying hardwood leaves, with dog food fed as a supplement. 

The roach experts Kyle Kandillian of Roachcrossing.com, Orin McMonigle, author of many invertebrate care guides and one of the pioneers of arthopod culture, and Alan Jeon AKA @Cariblatta lutea of this forum also feed their most of their roaches this way, and have been culturing roaches way longer than I have and have bigger collections. Just wondering, what species did that scientist work with?

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I agree with hisserdude dog food has long been the staple I actually take it further sometimes using cricket flour or canned meat as a supplement. E posticas and red runners can be susceptible to cannibalism Nothing is more graphic then seeing a freshly molted roach walking around with only half a body...makes you want to give the colony more protein so you don't have to see that again.

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30 minutes ago, lovebugfarm said:

Nothing is more graphic then seeing a freshly molted roach walking around with only half a body...makes you want to give the colony more protein so you don't have to see that again.

I've seen the same thing with my Rhabdoblatta formosana and Parcoblatta americana on occasion, whenever they run out of food, despite conditions being adequately moist. Never fun to see. :(

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You answered your own questions in what you said.  You're feeding them high protein food, and they also have low protein plants to feed off of to balance out the amount of urates in their bodies. 

Anyway, I'm not here trying to start an argument, I was just sharing information that a professor that has been posting research papers on roaches for 50 years shared with me.  I only have a few months of knowledge and there are so many posts and web sites acting like they are professionals and that their way is the best way, just because it works, and so much of their information is conflicting.  Just because it works doesn't necessarily mean it is the best way, it is just another way that is acceptable...thus why I started e-mailing Professor Joe Kunkel, I wanted to get answers from someone that had done actual scientific research.  A professor that has been working with a range of roaches over the past 50+ years probably knows a fair amount more than people that have been breeding and selling roaches for 10-20 years.  Some people consider Allen Repashy a professional in the roach field, but Allen still goes to Joe for professional advice. 

Here is a list of research Joe has published over the past 50 years.  It isn't in chronological order.

http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/roachrefs.html

 

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7 minutes ago, Taffer said:

You answered your own questions in what you said.  You're feeding them high protein food, and they also have low protein plants to feed off of to balance out the amount of urates in their bodies. 

Anyway, I'm not here trying to start an argument, I was just sharing information that a professor that has been posting research papers on roaches for 50 years shared with me.  I only have a few months of knowledge and there are so many posts and web sites acting like they are professionals and that their way is the best way, just because it works, and so much of their information is conflicting.  Just because it works doesn't necessarily mean it is the best way, it is just another way that is acceptable...thus why I started e-mailing Professor Joe Kunkel, I wanted to get answers from someone that had done actual scientific research.  A professor that has been working with a range of roaches over the past 50+ years probably knows a fair amount more than people that have been breeding and selling roaches for 10-20 years.  Some people consider Allen Repashy a professional in the roach field, but Allen still goes to Joe for professional advice. 

Here is a list of research Joe has published over the past 50 years.  It isn't in chronological order.

http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/roachrefs.html

 

Interesting, well for the Blaberids that's true, however I never really feed my Ectobiids or Blattids anything other than dog food, since they don't need fruit for reproduction, and I have yet to see any problems.

Oh I didn't mean to start an argument, just a little debate, sorry if I came off as aggressive! :( I agree, I don't think anyone here has been researching or keeping roaches for 50+ years, so Joe is definitely an expert, however keeping a large variety of roaches for 10-20 years does give you quite a bit of expirence too, especially when I comes to husbandry aspects. Kyle from Roachcrossing has been in the hobby for about 10 years and has over 100 species of roaches in culture and counting, so you gotta admit, that should make him a bit of an expert too. :)

TBH, feeding more fruits than protein is probably healthier for the roaches, however most of the species in the hobby still thrive and breed well with a higher protein diet, (with the exception of Corydiids and a few Blaberids that prefer a high fruit diet like Panchlora and Corydidarum). I mean so many people employ this method of feeding, so it can't be all that bad.

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2 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Oh I didn't mean to start an argument, just a little debate, sorry if I came off as aggressive! :( I agree, I don't think anyone here has been researching or keeping roaches for 50+ years, so Joe is definitely an expert, however keeping a large variety of roaches for 10-20 years does give you quite a bit of expirence too, especially when I comes to husbandry aspects. Kyle from Roachcrossing has been in the hobby for about 10 years and has over 100 species of roaches in culture and counting, so you gotta admit, that should make him a bit of an expert too. :)

TBH, feeding more fruits than protein is probably healthier for the roaches, however most of the species in the hobby still thrive and breed well with a higher protein diet, (with the exception of Corydiids and a few Blaberids that prefer a high fruit diet like Panchlora and Corydidarum). I mean so many people employ this method of feeding, so it can't be all that bad.

Whoa, I thought I lost this by mistake and had to redo it all...thank goodness for internet caching!

Bah, no worries.  That is an issue with conversing in black and white versus voice, you cannot always interpret the other persons intentions/attitude with plain text.  I didn't take you as argumentative, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't coming across that way myself, especially as the new nymph on the forums. 

Another reason I doubt many things I read on some sites that sell roaches and they give information on how to breed and maintain your bins...if you are breeding your own colony you're not buying product from them so I don't always trust them to provide the best information.  If something goes wrong and your colony fails, then you're more likely to end up buying more roaches and food from that site again.  That sounds a lot like a conspiracy theorist attitude, but when sites are telling you to keep your Dubia at 85 degrees and others are saying keep them up to 110 degrees, it begs the question...do they honestly do this themselves or are they setting you up to fail to increase their own profits.  Sorry, I work for the federal government and because so many companies intentionally try to overcharge you because they think you don't know what you are talking about, or because you are not physically on site, that they will automatically win the argument and be able to demand more money.  I have a vendor trying to charge us over $8,500 to run a data cable 500 feet through conduit to add an additional T1 versus connecting the new circuit across the existing house cable.  What bites them in the butt is I've done this type of work myself and I know the that the house cable will easily manage bandwidth up to 80-100 Mbps, and when you are only pushing 1.5 Mbps for a T1 circuit, you do not need to spend $8,500 when you can just use the existing cable.  Sorry for the rant, but a couple of decades of stuff like this tends to leave me a little jaded when it comes to people that want my money.  Well, actually taxpayer money, but I'm still stingy with it LOL.

I was wondering about that too, about how much health difference healthy food makes in the roach health.  Joe said roaches "thrive" even on un-nutritious food, so I was wondering if all the bee pollen and strawberries, vitamin's and such in roach chow is actually beneficial, or sales fluff?  If it actually helps, I'll spend the money for it, at least until my colony is big enough to make it worthwhile to make my own, but if they could live off of just chicken crumble and be fine, and just do a good gut load before feeding them to my bearded dragon, why waste the time, effort and money?  I don't have a response back on that question yet, but Joe is a few hours behind me too.  Plus, if he's been doing this for 50+ years, I wouldn't be surprised if he took today off to make it a 4 day weekend and hasn't even seen my questions. :0)  I'm sure better food makes a difference, but I was just curious how much difference.

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1 hour ago, Taffer said:

Whoa, I thought I lost this by mistake and had to redo it all...thank goodness for internet caching!

Bah, no worries.  That is an issue with conversing in black and white versus voice, you cannot always interpret the other persons intentions/attitude with plain text.  I didn't take you as argumentative, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't coming across that way myself, especially as the new nymph on the forums. 

Another reason I doubt many things I read on some sites that sell roaches and they give information on how to breed and maintain your bins...if you are breeding your own colony you're not buying product from them so I don't always trust them to provide the best information.  If something goes wrong and your colony fails, then you're more likely to end up buying more roaches and food from that site again.  That sounds a lot like a conspiracy theorist attitude, but when sites are telling you to keep your Dubia at 85 degrees and others are saying keep them up to 110 degrees, it begs the question...do they honestly do this themselves or are they setting you up to fail to increase their own profits.  Sorry, I work for the federal government and because so many companies intentionally try to overcharge you because they think you don't know what you are talking about, or because you are not physically on site, that they will automatically win the argument and be able to demand more money.  I have a vendor trying to charge us over $8,500 to run a data cable 500 feet through conduit to add an additional T1 versus connecting the new circuit across the existing house cable.  What bites them in the butt is I've done this type of work myself and I know the that the house cable will easily manage bandwidth up to 80-100 Mbps, and when you are only pushing 1.5 Mbps for a T1 circuit, you do not need to spend $8,500 when you can just use the existing cable.  Sorry for the rant, but a couple of decades of stuff like this tends to leave me a little jaded when it comes to people that want my money.  Well, actually taxpayer money, but I'm still stingy with it LOL.

I was wondering about that too, about how much health difference healthy food makes in the roach health.  Joe said roaches "thrive" even on un-nutritious food, so I was wondering if all the bee pollen and strawberries, vitamin's and such in roach chow is actually beneficial, or sales fluff?  If it actually helps, I'll spend the money for it, at least until my colony is big enough to make it worthwhile to make my own, but if they could live off of just chicken crumble and be fine, and just do a good gut load before feeding them to my bearded dragon, why waste the time, effort and money?  I don't have a response back on that question yet, but Joe is a few hours behind me too.  Plus, if he's been doing this for 50+ years, I wouldn't be surprised if he took today off to make it a 4 day weekend and hasn't even seen my questions. :0)  I'm sure better food makes a difference, but I was just curious how much difference.

Well no worries, you didn't come off as argumentive either. :)

Well as with anything on the web, info on roach breeding can be a little controversial, particularly when it comes to dietary needs. Sure there are scammers out there in the hobby, however I've found that for the most part, the people in the roach breeding hobby are very nice and not trying to rip you off. :) You can actually keep dubias from the 70s up to the low 100s, though the high 80s seems to me like the safest temperatures to keep them at while still keeping them breeding at a fast rate, (you can keep Shelfordella lateralis even hotter, they love heat!).

All that extra stuff may be unnecessary, seems like they'll grow just as good on a fruit and dog food diet as one that also had bee pollen and vitamins and all that fancy stuff, (also I've found that none of my roaches really liked strawberries, and they mold really fast compared to apples). Would be interesting to hear what Joe has to say on the matter, hope he writes back soon!

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There are colonies of roaches in the local university lab that's been there since 1980s (or so the label says) that are thriving. All they get is dog food and occasionally a piece of lettuce every once in a while. If the high protein food was truly detrimental to the roaches I doubt these colonies could've lasted this long. 

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OK, let me go back and stress the >20% protein and lethality thing.  If you were feeding >20% protein and not providing other forms of food, that is how he said the high protein would be lethal.  Feeding other fillers that have low protein, or forcing the roaches to feed on carrots, potatoes and the like for hydration, or letting the roaches run out of food for 12-24 hours would give enough break to make a difference.  The statement where the >20% was fatal was something he told Allen Repashdy (SP?) who was trying to create an "all-in-one" roach chow that provided all the food and hydration the roaches had, so it was literally all they had to eat.  With no alternative than to go hungry, the roaches would eat the >20% protein rich food and the uric acid would build up and kill the roaches.  The steady diet of >20% protein was lethal to the roaches.  From the studies Professor Kunkel has done roaches, both nymphs and adults can be raised on as little as 4% protein, and that is more than sufficient for both nymphs and adults.  I'm just saying from the studies that Professor Kunkel has performed, aiming for high protein for everyday feeding has a real chance of being detrimental without filler foods. 

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Sounds to me hobby style is in line with the scientific method in this case. 

I think roach hobbiest are generally pretty laid back real debates happen on arachnoboards mention USPS shipping there and people pounce. Lol

We all have different backgrounds and reasons for finding our way to this hobby. A lot of people here are young entomologists in school or avid amatures. Then there are people like me who enjoy raising feeders and having crawly pets.

As for my background I once worked on a cricket farm that was just starting out. Aspire food group if you want to look them up. Anyway they had a lot of money hired scientific consultants, bought scientific papers, flew to 2 of the leading cricket farms in the country for tours and to hire the owners as consultants. With all of that they still couldn't produce the numbers they wanted. Ultimately I taught them hobby style husbandry and their numbers improved.

The lesson I took away from that experience was in the growth and health of inverts there are many variables and they are all highly tied into each other. If one variable changes then there's a chain reaction affecting other variables. 

In the cricket farm we tracked heat, humidity, light, crowd density, available resting surface area, availability of food and water.

Some fun facts:

The rooms we raised them in used space heaters and no fans and we showed on graphs that the bins on the highest shelf produced better and any touching the floor hardly produced at all.

If raised in the dark crickets will eat continuously. We were able to show on graphs that the bins closer to the windows were less productive then the far side of the room so we put black plastic on all the Windows. We worked with headlamps on lol.

In high crowd density situations crickets will only travel about one foot for food and water due to the stress caused by their antennas touching the antennas of other crickets. So in 4ft bins we had 3 water containers.

For me the reason I find insects so facinateing is their so intricate and there are no right awnsers. Its really about learning your own colony and adjusting to their needs. 

We can all be right in our own way and the opinions of the scientific, hobby, and commercial will always be valued and a source of inspiration in our own life's whether we are here for knowledge, fun, or profit. 

We all lovebugs ;)

:hope this came across with the love and acceptance it was intended to show:

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LBF, that sounds like it was a good time chasing the graph for the best results.   :0)  I took a shot at raising a few crickets last year and  it flopped.  Just as I was giving up and about to toss the crickets, I noticed itty-bitty baby crickets in the bin, but never had any luck after that.  I'm guessing I had too much light, among other things.  Are there any roach breeders out there that you are aware of that breed on that same massive scale?

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It was amusing we ran a different experiment each month. I was there for a year they may still be doing that. It can be hard raising crickets on small scale because they are so finicky. It's a good thing we have have roaches to replace crickets far more forgiving.

So as far as massive roach breeders it's tricky to say cause not many people advertise how big their colonys are. If you know they have a lot then customers will expect to pay less regardless of the work and cost to produce them. Many of the cricket company's now have roaches as an option and places that sell only one spieces like dubia are likely to have large operations. As far as multiple pet and feeders in large quantities Kyle at roachcrossing.com and Brett at capecodroaches.com and Peter from bugsincyberspace.com are kinda the big 3 in the pet/commercial realm.

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I learned a lot from this thread. From the beginning when I started my colonies (dubia and red runners) I was going by the information I had found regarding keeping their protein percent low to avoid uric acid issues. I have always mainly fed oats, grains, and supplements like bee pollen, but have had wing nips in my Dubia colony. I may try a higher protein diet with their usual vegetable offerings and grains included and see how they react.

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I do't know much about Red Runners, but a friend of mine that has a massive Dubia colony (as well as Orange Head and Ivory Head roaches) prefers Orange Head roaches for feeders.  He says they have more meat on them for their size so your bearded dragons and other pets that eat roaches have less exoskeleton to digest. 

LoveBugFarm, It would be good (and fun) to be able to follow those month to month reports on breeding roaches to see at what temperature, protein and other food sources, humidity, amount of light, amount of time they are disturbed per day/week, etc., and see how the numbers of deaths and reproductive amounts vary from test to test. 

My first and only attempt with raising crickets failed for the most part, but after reading and seeing how many people swore how easy it was to breed roaches with barely more than no attention what-so-ever, I decided I'd give it a shot.  I was tired of buying crickets and seeing so many die by the time they were fed off, and how many died in shipping or the first day or two after shipping due to the cold, so having my own source of bugs in-house per se seemed to be the answer. 

Oh, for people still using crickets, I read somewhere (not sure if it is true or not though), that you should try to remove dead crickets, or maybe ventilate the enclosure as when crickets die, their bodies put off a gas that is harmful to the other crickets.  Has anybody heard this, or have any idea if it is true?  I don't really plan on having crickets again so it doesn't really matter to me, but if it shares knowledge that will help... :0)

I'd share my feeder roach source, but I get the impression from her e-mail today that she is about at the point she has too many customers already and is raising the prices 25%, which still leaves her under any other price I could find.

 

I checked back in for the side by side roach taste test between the Fluker Farms High Calcium cricket food and the Lugarti's Premium Dubia Diet, and although I believe the Dubia Diet is probably better for the roaches, they ate about 70% of the Flukers cricket food, and about 30% of the Dubia Diet, so they prefer the taste of the Fluker cricket food.  I also read somewhere that roaches love hard boiled eggs to the point the poster said his male roaches were actually fighting over it, but I put two slices of hard boiled eggs into my bin and they barely touched the white or yellow parts and they just dried up.  :-p 

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I prefer feeding orangeheads to their exoskeleton is harder-thicker but for my spiders it doesn't matter as much. There are kinda 3 different levels to the exoskeletons soft body, medium, and hard body. Examples of soft would lobster and red runner, medium would be like dubia, and hard exos are hissers and orange head. The hardness is determined by the amount of chitin in the exoskeleton.

I personally don't do the graphs for my roaches that requires a lot of extra time and space. It was something I did on the cricket farm but they used a minimum of 20 bins to measure the data I just keep one massive bin of each roach species personally. Some times I combine species to save space.

So its true about the gas thing we did open bins for max ventilation. We tried screens once and the negative effects happened over night. rate pushed to the max in a factory setting don't live as long and defiantly don't do well in shipping. We didn't ship live crickets so it wasn't a problem for the company I worked for.

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lol sorry I had typed out more but there was a formatting freak out. Basically that last paragraph I was talking about how you can push growth rates in crickets from pinhead to adult in 3 weeks and they will be dead a week later cause forcing fast growth lowers their immune systems.

Also I had the same effect with hard boiled egg no interest what so ever could be a good way to test if they are getting enough protein if satisfied the ignore egg if desperate for protein they devour it.

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2 hours ago, lovebugfarm said:

I prefer feeding orangeheads to their exoskeleton is harder-thicker but for my spiders it doesn't matter as much. There are kinda 3 different levels to the exoskeletons soft body, medium, and hard body. Examples of soft would lobster and red runner, medium would be like dubia, and hard exos are hissers and orange head. The hardness is determined by the amount of chitin in the exoskeleton.

I personally don't do the graphs for my roaches that requires a lot of extra time and space. It was something I did on the cricket farm but they used a minimum of 20 bins to measure the data I just keep one massive bin of each roach species personally. Some times I combine species to save space.

So its true about the gas thing we did open bins for max ventilation. We tried screens once and the negative effects happened over night. rate pushed to the max in a factory setting don't live as long and defiantly don't do well in shipping. We didn't ship live crickets so it wasn't a problem for the company I worked for.

Do you think off-gassing could severely affect a healthy dubia colony as well? I just made a post about how I covered the screen to increase humidity for a SINGLE night, and it just about devastated my breeder colony bin when I found it the next morning. Hundreds were twitching and couldn't crawl, which led to a slow death. There are never many dead in my colonies, and cleaner beetles usually take care of the corpses, but  there was frass build up in the bottom of course. Maybe ammonia or some form of decomposition of frass could have caused the issue?

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6 minutes ago, cab5392@ said:

Do you think off-gassing could severely affect a healthy dubia colony as well? I just made a post about how I covered the screen to increase humidity for a SINGLE night, and it just about devastated my breeder colony bin when I found it the next morning. Hundreds were twitching and couldn't crawl, which led to a slow death. There are never many dead in my colonies, and cleaner beetles usually take care of the corpses, but  there was frass build up in the bottom of course. Maybe ammonia or some form of decomposition of frass could have caused the issue?

Do you use a under-tank heater or something? If so you may have steam cooked them, the heat may have built up and with no ventilation it would have nowhere to go, so they may have just gotten way too hot and steamy. 

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Hisser dude may have nailed it here a heat plus lack of ventilation sounds like the issue. The only time I have had issues similar to offgas 8n roaches is when I do a big harvest and have roaches in a separation bin to long where there is like 3inches of roaches in the bin. The co2 they breath out is heavier than air and can cause suffocation. Now I use bigger bins where they are never more than half an inch deep. Roaches are surprisingly heavy breathers so ventilation is crucial.

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