Matttoadman

The ultimate roach display has begun

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I have now acquired a small start of Archimandrita tesselata. These are going into a 40 gallon long aquarium. My goal is to create an accurate as possible display vivarium. If anyone has any ideas feel free to elaborate. I’m looking for all information regarding; native plant species, habitat info, first hand in the field info. Considering live plants would be eaten I plan to buy high quality artificial. I am also beginning a driftwood hunt. I think it would be awesome to find a hollow stump or log to trim to fit. I will probably choose Costa Rico as the habitat to reproduce. Have any of you used sphagnum moss (the green mossy kind not the substrate kind) with roaches? 

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Sphagnum moss likes to be really damp and have very bright light over it, and it's a bog material. I don't think it'd fit the appearance, and I don't think its needs are compatible with those of the roaches. 

Check your local pet shop for cork rounds, sometimes you can get what look like hollow stumps of cork bark. 

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I’m not referring to live moss. Just the dried stuff in a box you rehydrate for moisture retention.

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Oh, yeah, that stuff should be fine. I'm not sure about it as a solid substrate, I think it would be a bit difficult for larger ones to wriggle through without getting tangled, but a few dampened handfuls mixed into the substrate would help keep things nice and moist.

Do NOT use peat. I'm not sure why, but it'll kill roaches if used as a substrate. 

I have my peppereds in coco fiber with pecan leaves over the top, and there's only two of them so far, but they seem to be doing well. It works great for my domino roach nymphs, too, they love it. They can burrow without problems, the coco fiber holds moisture well, and it looks natural. Probably cheaper than that much sphagnum, too. 

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I always use coco fiber. My wife bought a box of the sphagnum moss to use for a crested gecko breeding box and didn’t like it. So I would only be adding it to the top for looks. The substrate will be several inches of coco fiber, dead oak leaves and dead magnolia leaves. Magnolia leaves provide a nice look, solid structure for nymphs and last forever. I’m probably going to do a back ground where you use great stuff foam, spray adhesive and cover with coco fiber. Then put some sticks in it to make them look like roots. 

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Well there are numerous posts in this forum about using peat and most say it is ok, with some reference to it harboring fungus if not pre-baked.  My son is setting up his crested gecko-arium next week and I  suggested peat; is it not a good?  I was surprised the owner of the local herp shop didn't seem to know what peat was.

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57 minutes ago, Marlon said:

Well there are numerous posts in this forum about using peat and most say it is ok, with some reference to it harboring fungus if not pre-baked.  My son is setting up his crested gecko-arium next week and I  suggested peat; is it not a good?  I was surprised the owner of the local herp shop didn't seem to know what peat was.

I'd suggest just getting coconut fiber, it is sold with the intent to use it in reptile and invertebrate enclosures. Peat moss can harbor nasty fungus and other microfauna, so you'd want to sterilize it before use, which is more work than it's worth IMO.

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I second Hissderdude, Coco works great. I suggest buying higher grade sifted kind, or sifting it yourself. It can be really fibrous. 

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I had a peat substrate kill off some roaches, not sure what happened. It retains more moisture than you really want for roaches, also. It's OK for amphibians, but coco fiber is better as a substrate, and also better for the environment- peat is dug out of old bogs and takes a long time to renew, while coco fiber comes from coconut shells and is a byproduct of everything that uses coconut interiors. 

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Thanks for the opinions; I was thinking peat at first because I already have one of those giant bags that's been sitting outside partially open for 4 years, and I don't mind sterilizing it.  After the gecko, I am going to add some roaches (next week) but if coconut is safer, I guess that's a good reason to spend a little more $.  Then add fallen pear leaves on top.

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I've never used anything besides cocofiber in my roach bins. If you buy the pressed hard block 3 packs they are super affordable and makes a ton of substrate. It holds moisture well, is safe for the roaches and has an interesting, almost minty aroma. However if you're putting live plants in the enclosure be sure to give a layer of sterilized soil beneath or they won't root well. (I suggest air plants because of this) 

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Thanks, I went for the 10lb block of coco on amazon prime.  More than I can imagine ever needing, but its quite a deal.  And my peat is frozen solid anyway. Will try it soon.

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Just weighing in on the peat. I use it in the substrate for beetle grubs, and it usually comes with fungus, which then draws fungus gnats, which are horrible to get rid of as they will move on to moist substrate roach enclosures. I've spent all winter battling them. I would vote to skip it even if you sterilize it first. Peat is rotting organic matter, so you may end up with fungus gnats eventually anyway. Unless you're using it bone dry. That I've had no problems with. 

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12 hours ago, Axolotl said:

Just weighing in on the peat. I use it in the substrate for beetle grubs, and it usually comes with fungus, which then draws fungus gnats, which are horrible to get rid of as they will move on to moist substrate roach enclosures. I've spent all winter battling them. I would vote to skip it even if you sterilize it first. Peat is rotting organic matter, so you may end up with fungus gnats eventually anyway. Unless you're using it bone dry. That I've had no problems with. 

Try mosquito dunks, a few people on Facebook said they work well to kill off fungus gnats, and they are supposedly harmless to all non-Dipterans. I personally don't mind fungus gnats, as they don't harm or stress out any roach or beetle species I own. They can be a bit annoying in millipede or some beetle tanks though, since they can turn rotten wood into frass very fast, which means you have to change out the substrate more frequently. 

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11 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Try mosquito dunks, a few people on Facebook said they work well to kill off fungus gnats, and they are supposedly harmless to all non-Dipterans. I personally don't mind fungus gnats, as they don't harm or stress out any roach or beetle species I own. They can be a bit annoying in millipede or some beetle tanks though, since they can turn rotten wood into frass very fast, which means you have to change out the substrate more frequently. 

I'll give the mosquito dunks a try. Do you add them to the water being used in the enclosures? Or do they leave a bowl of treated water out to catch them? I had good luck with the yellow sticky boards, potato slices (larvae swarm to it then you just throw them out) and just generally drying things out a bit (tricky with the beetle grubs, but I just added a dry top layer). Initially I just let them be, as I figured they were something of a clean up crew, but they gradually got out of hand. Good to know you haven't had trouble with them and roaches, as I suppose I'll always have a few around. 

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I’m always leery about things like that. I know it’s not chemical but. I can see the news now. Zombie apocalypse linked to the bacteria found in mosquito dunks. I am still trying to develop a trap that is out side of the habitats. I wonder about carnivorous plants ability to get a percentage of them?

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2 minutes ago, Matttoadman said:

I’m always leery about things like that. I know it’s not chemical but. I can see the news now. Zombie apocalypse linked to the bacteria found in mosquito dunks. I am still trying to develop a trap that is out side of the habitats. I wonder about carnivorous plants ability to get a percentage of them?

That's a clever idea. I haven't had much luck keeping carnivorous plants alive, but let me know if you try that! I swear by the officially "fungus gnat traps," which are just yellow sticky boards. You can find them on Amazon. I hung one in the roach room and it was almost covered by day's end. I did look into the beneficial nematodes that keep the gnats under control, but they will also affect roaches - they only list the big three in the literature (German, American, Oriental), but I imagine they'd adversely affect all species.

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I guess in reality the fungus gnat larvae are beneficial it’s just the adults are a nuisance 

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14 minutes ago, Matttoadman said:

I guess in reality the fungus gnat larvae are beneficial it’s just the adults are a nuisance 

Yep. They help keep mold and decay away but are annoying. Glue traps near lights work well, vinegar traps sometimes help but in the end its just cleaning the bin substrate and starting fresh that will get rid of them. 

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Unfortunately that’s hard to do in a tank of small millipedes because it’s jammed full of pedelings 

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Carnivorous plants need to be kept in peat or sphagnum and given rainwater or distilled water, they can't stand minerals. They also mostly need very bright lights. Sundews and pinguicula love gnats, but only catch the gnats that stray out and bump them. Speaking from experience, they don't have enough catching power to wipe out an infestation, though I do have a pinguicula on a living wall that keeps the very low gnat population from ever increasing. Not good gnat control, but neat plants. 

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4 minutes ago, Betta132 said:

Carnivorous plants need to be kept in peat or sphagnum and given rainwater or distilled water, they can't stand minerals. They also mostly need very bright lights. Sundews and pinguicula love gnats, but only catch the gnats that stray out and bump them. Speaking from experience, they don't have enough catching power to wipe out an infestation, though I do have a pinguicula on a living wall that keeps the very low gnat population from ever increasing. Not good gnat control, but neat plants. 

I have not much exp. with carnivorous plants, but I did remember reading that a Sarracenia can actually become injured and develop brown areas after catching too many insects. Also, fungus gnats are built for high mortality rates, like most insects, and (while I have never had such a problem, due to keeping aridity-tolerant tenebrionids) it seems that large swarms cannot be stopped just by killing adults unless you shoot the whole room with an x-ray gun.

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Sarracenia pitchers eventually die if they become clogged with insects, but the plant stays healthy and regrows pitchers, and it gains more energy from the insects than it loses by having a pitcher die. They're made to deal with occasional swarms of insects coming through. 

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On 1/27/2018 at 7:17 AM, Axolotl said:

I'll give the mosquito dunks a try. Do you add them to the water being used in the enclosures? Or do they leave a bowl of treated water out to catch them? I had good luck with the yellow sticky boards, potato slices (larvae swarm to it then you just throw them out) and just generally drying things out a bit (tricky with the beetle grubs, but I just added a dry top layer). Initially I just let them be, as I figured they were something of a clean up crew, but they gradually got out of hand. Good to know you haven't had trouble with them and roaches, as I suppose I'll always have a few around. 

I don't know for sure how people were using them, but I was under the impression they just placed the dunks directly in moist substrate, and the bacteria then colonized the substrate. 

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On 2/4/2018 at 6:36 PM, Hisserdude said:

I don't know for sure how people were using them, but I was under the impression they just placed the dunks directly in moist substrate, and the bacteria then colonized the substrate. 

I'll do a test of a variety of techniques and report back. Just have to wait for the gnats to bloom again. 

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