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Vivarium for Single One Very Lucky Dubia Roach

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This is a really strange one. I don't know how it got there, but when I was collecting dwarf white isopods from my culture, I saw a little brown moving insect in the substrate. It freaked out and tried to hide when I got near it, but I scooped it out and lo and behold I am 95% sure it's a little dubia nymph! Little buddy is a cutie for sure, and I got a good look at it's face and legs and it's definitely a roach, and since it can't climb, has similar markings, and could have easily come from the same culture the dwarf whites were originally collected from, I am almost certain.

I ended up telling my partner this, and for some reason he got VERY EXCITED and wanted to know if he could keep it as a pet! He's always been extremely supportive of my herptile and invertebrate endeavors, and he even cared for my b. rothi when I was away with medical and family issues, but he's never been this excited before! He thinks its really cute and already decided it's name is "Skittles" and he really wants to keep it.

The neat thing is, he's always wanted something made by me for his dorm. I talked about taking my extra moss from my vivarium (the moss didn't grow right in the viv but I saved a ton of it and it's been growing well enough in a tub under the light) and making mason jar terrariums, and I promised I'd make him a special one just for him. The more we talked, the more we added the two ideas together, and I'm thinking of making a small living vivarium just for this little buddy. I just need some advice first. c:

 

I have a few ideas in my head, but I'm struggling to find answers. Here's what I'm wondering about:

  • It seems like everyone uses tanks and artificial lighting to make roach vivariums with living plants, but is it possible to go about it in different ways? Could a tub, kritter keeper, or plexiglass/acrylic enclosure work just as well, or are there pros/cons to each one?
  • As for lighting, would indirect sunlight be enough? Usually terrariums, without an animal inside, are usually grown without artificial light. But is that not possible or not as beneficial as artificial lighting? And in a smaller enclosure, would a light heat up the enclosure too much, or is the extra heat a good thing?
  • Finally, would a small cleaner crew benefit one roach and its plants? Would too many overwhelm the roach? Or would just springtails or a few isopods of the same sex be sufficient? My partner seems really obsessed with powdery blue isopods for some reason, so if selecting a few males would be beneficial and safe, then that'd be awesome.
  • Would this single dubia be okay by itself? Do they do better in groups? Should we try and get more of them...? I don't have the heart to feed this one off, but maybe I could get some dubia for my Eurydactylodes and see if I can't sex some out of the group to join this one. It'll be more of a hassle, but if it helps, I'll do it. c:

I think that's about it. Any advice is really appreciated, so thanks in advance. c:

 

[Also! If my ID on this little guy is wrong, PLEASE correct me! I'll keep it, regardless of what it is, but I just want to make sure I know what it is so I can tailor its care to its species needs]

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To further ID the roach... where did you find it? (Country, region, etc.)

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Pretty sure that is actually a Blaberus nymph, not Blaptica dubia, you'll know for sure once it gets larger. Both genera would do well in a humid vivarium, so care wise it doesn't really matter which species it is. :)

Can't answer most of the other questions, since I have no experience with keeping live plants in vivarium, however, I can say that you probably won't want isopods in the enclosure if it's just one roach, springtails are OK though. And yes, the roach should be fine by itself, but it surely wouldn't mind companies either should you decide to get it a tankmate. :)

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12 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Pretty sure that is actually a Blaberus nymph, not Blaptica dubia, you'll know for sure once it gets larger. Both genera would do well in a humid vivarium, so care wise it doesn't really matter which species it is. :)

You would be correct sir! It's a Blaberus craniifer nymph.

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54 minutes ago, CodeWilster said:

You would be correct sir! It's a Blaberus craniifer nymph.

Cool! Great find @MooreInverts, you got one of the prettiest Blaberus species there is! :D

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Woah!! Jessie's going to be thrilled!! He's been so excited about this and he's already chosen his plants (he's become obsessed with mini african violets and all sorts of tiny plants now. I never would have guessed before Skittles came along)

I'm pretty embarrassed that I didn't know what it was...I shouldn't have assumed, it just looked very similar, but I'm not so experienced. Well, live and learn. c:>

But gosh that's amazing...they're one of my favorite species and this is so exciting. We've also extensively planned this viv idea out and I think I know what to do! I'll be getting a small exo terra faunarium most likely, and I'll treat the construction like a mini vivarium or container garden. I'll be giving it a short drainage layer, topped with a thin level of horticultural charcoal, then sphagnum moss, and finally a nice amount of substrate. I'll add small cork flats/pieces (I have tons of extra pieces and will likely be getting more) and half-bury them as hides, and arrange small plants in the space. He's sold on microminiature african violets, oxalis v. "bicolor" (a really funky pink and green shamrock with tiny leaves), oak leaf creeping fig, and moss. I'm thinking if he treats it like a container garden and gives it bright, indirect sunlight it should be safe for the roach and good for the plants. I'm really excited for this project and it just might work out. Any feedback on this idea, if there are any issues here, let me know. c:

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Oh, and I do have a second option of keeping the plants in pots and burying them in substrate so we can ditch the drainage except around the plants, I think, so we can have a deeper substrate layer in total. But I'm not sure yet, it's something I'll experiment with in person. c:

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Your plan sounds good to me. Be certain the roach can burrow, baby death's head roaches (that's the common name for these) burrow constantly and don't come out except to feed, but they come out and put on a show as adults. Also, put a thermometer in there, and monitor the temperature for a few days before putting the roach in. Be sure the substrate is safe for inverts- try whatever your isopods get. When he comes out as an adult, he'll need something to hang from to molt properly, so be sure there's something tall that he can sit on. Cork bark would work. 

No need for embarrassment, they do look a lot like baby dubias. 

He'll eat cat food and veggies, or whatever your isopods get. They aren't really fussy 

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