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stanislas

Two Schizopilia fissicollis roaches died

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A few days ago two of my Schizopilia fissicollis nymphes died unexpectantly. One just sat on top of a leave, the other on top of a piece of wood. Not moving.... Which made me suspicious. 
I have their death on camera (time-lapse). They have been moving around in the hours prior to they demise. Eating, walking, and then slowed down, stopped walking and after a few hours stopped moving altogether. 
So that made me consider that the condition in their enclosure wasn't, lets say 'optimal' 
I assumed they preferred a hot, humid environment with a lot of bark, and a substrate with dried leaves. 
When I took out all roaches and did a thorough overhaul of the terrarium, there was a lot of fungi in the substrate and the wood tended to rot at the fringes... no good.
The new setup consists of slightly moist coco peat and a lot of bark pieces on top. I provided better ventilation as well to reduce air stagnation.  
Basically I will try the classic 'moist corner' setup. Water is provided through fruit and agar blocks.

In any case, the roaches are now much more active at night and walk over the whole area. They eat well (fruit and a leaves/grasshoppers/fish food paste smeared on bark).
Keeping my fingers crossed! 

Do other people have similar experiences with keeping their roaches too humid and/or with too little ventilation? In particular with rainforest species? 
How did you solve it? Is moisture a real problem for roaches? 

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How smooth are their bark hides? Do they have plenty of smooth, flat areas to rest? Because that seems to be essential for these bark dwelling roaches. The extra heat might have been unnecessary too.

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They have all kinds of bark. Plenty of it is rather smooth. They don't seem to be very picky when it comes to the bark types. They also walk around on the bottom. And they haven't shown any preference for vertical positions. In fact they mostly reside under bark laying on the substrate or on top of another bark piece. 
At night they become quite active and walk over the bottom as well as over the bark pieces. But not in a stressed way, although the adults seem to have active interactions. Probably the males clashing or courting the females? 

@Hisserdude: How humid do you keep your roaches? In particular the bark roaches?

 

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8 hours ago, stanislas said:

I assumed they preferred a hot, humid environment with a lot of bark, and a substrate with dried leaves. 

Do other people have similar experiences with keeping their roaches too humid and/or with too little ventilation? In particular with rainforest species? 
How did you solve it? Is moisture a real problem for roaches? 

I have almost zero experience with captive roaches. However, you may find the below of interest, even though beetles are not roaches.

 

A while back, while I was traveling out of town, I captured a beetle that seemed to be some sort of cantharid. It likely flew in from surrounding rainforesty areas. I kept it in a small glass cup, and ventilation was mostly restricted to the everyday cup-cleaning session. A lump of melon was often with it overnight and all day, which may have created excessive humidity.

After an estimated day or two into captivity, I noticed it was limping slightly and having slight trouble climbing the glass. One antenna also became curly and somewhat stiff/useless, although the beetle still had some muscular control over it. After an estimated few more days, it seemed to stop limping, though the antenna didn't recover. I assumed that the antenna may simply have been injured by rough handling and stopped working for the most part.

After another estimated few days after the beetle seemed healthy, it started limping and having glass adhesion minor issues again. It seemed mostly fine when I put it away one night, but in the morning it was rapidly losing control over its movements. Since it was too weak to fly, I "glued" its mouth to a fruit piece and made its glass cup open-topped for ventilation. Didn't work. It started twitching like a moribund Periplaneta and was soon dead.

 

A few more notes: Even though adult cantharids are presumably short-lived, the sudden death was awfully suspicious. Although at the time I was unaware that cantharid adults ate other insects, I kept a (non-predatory) tenebrionid beetle and a (predatory) coccinellid (Olla v-nigrum?) in the same poorly ventilated and mostly-meatless conditions temporarily and both are still alive. The tenebrionid is now in a large open-topped cage and seems mostly healthy, but the coccinellid (now in a large non-ventilated cage) is also showing slight difficulty in walking/climbing. Strangely, the coccinellid lives with another ladybeetle (likely Coccinella septempunctata) and that one is full of energy, although often prone to restlessly bonking its head at the walls.

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9 hours ago, stanislas said:

I assumed they preferred a hot, humid environment 

Did you give them heat and moisture gradients so they could self-regulate, or was the entire cage hot and humid? Also, how did you provide heat?

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4 hours ago, stanislas said:

They have all kinds of bark. Plenty of it is rather smooth. They don't seem to be very picky when it comes to the bark types. They also walk around on the bottom. And they haven't shown any preference for vertical positions. In fact they mostly reside under bark laying on the substrate or on top of another bark piece. 
At night they become quite active and walk over the bottom as well as over the bark pieces. But not in a stressed way, although the adults seem to have active interactions. Probably the males clashing or courting the females? 

@Hisserdude: How humid do you keep your roaches? In particular the bark roaches?

Ok, was just wondering. I really don't know how Schizopilia are supposed to act, @Nicolas Rousseaux could probably shed some light on the situation, but I know that for Lanxoblatta at least, walking around on the bottom, trying to take refuge on dead leaves, is a sign of not having proper hides.

I keep the Lanxoblatta very humid, with limited ventilation. I think I'm keeping mine too cold though, I should have gotten babies by now...

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40 minutes ago, Test Account said:

Did you give them heat and moisture gradients so they could self-regulate, or was the entire cage hot and humid? Also, how did you provide heat?

I provided heating with a heating mat at the back of the glass enclosure. So at least for there was gradient. They didn't show a preference. 
However the whole substrate was quite moist. They did however reside mainly on the drier pieces of bark. The latter did me thinking of excess moisture. That combined with little ventilation allowed fungus growth. So I guess that did them in:(

46 minutes ago, Hisserdude said:

Ok, was just wondering. I really don't know how Schizopilia are supposed to act, @Nicolas Rousseaux could probably shed some light on the situation, but I know that for Lanxoblatta at least, walking around on the bottom, trying to take refuge on dead leaves, is a sign of not having proper hides.

I keep the Lanxoblatta very humid, with limited ventilation. I think I'm keeping mine too cold though, I should have gotten babies by now...

Well, it's not that they walk around restlessly. Rather nibbling on pieces of bark and fruit and after that getting back to their hiding places. They also do not climb the glass. They seem quite relaxed, but moving around slowly. I make time-lapses with 1 minute intervals, so that makes them look fast. In reality it would be very boring... :) 
And the one getting on a leave was the one dying. In fact now they have better ventilation, they are more active. I have the impression that they were rather inactive due to bad circumstances and staying on the dryer parts of the enclosure. 
Nicolas has a similar experience. He also had some dying and considers it also due to keeping them too moist. They fare better for him with less humidity, at least that's what I understood. 
Perhaps there is a difference in habitat niche between Lanxoblatta and Schizopilia? Also interesting that the Lanxoblatta prefer vertical surfaces, something the Schizopilia definately do not. 
 

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55 minutes ago, stanislas said:

Well, it's not that they walk around restlessly. Rather nibbling on pieces of bark and fruit and after that getting back to their hiding places. They also do not climb the glass. They seem quite relaxed, but moving around slowly. I make time-lapses with 1 minute intervals, so that makes them look fast. In reality it would be very boring... :) 
And the one getting on a leave was the one dying. In fact now they have better ventilation, they are more active. I have the impression that they were rather inactive due to bad circumstances and staying on the dryer parts of the enclosure. 
Nicolas has a similar experience. He also had some dying and considers it also due to keeping them too moist. They fare better for him with less humidity, at least that's what I understood. 
Perhaps there is a difference in habitat niche between Lanxoblatta and Schizopilia? Also interesting that the Lanxoblatta prefer vertical surfaces, something the Schizopilia definately do not. 

Well that's good to hear!

Hmm, maybe they are more similar to Phortioeca than Lanxoblatta then, they like slight humidity rather than very high humidity.

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On 01/02/2018 at 9:10 AM, stanislas said:

A few days ago two of my Schizopilia fissicollis nymphes died unexpectantly. One just sat on top of a leave, the other on top of a piece of wood. Not moving.... Which made me suspicious. 
I have their death on camera (time-lapse). They have been moving around in the hours prior to they demise. Eating, walking, and then slowed down, stopped walking and after a few hours stopped moving altogether. 

Hi,

 

from your description, I can ques that it can be Valentian dysentery caused by high temperature during molting time. Is it possible that you have too high temperature for them or maybe you tried to clean your tank then some of them was on molting process? All creatures is very sensitive during molting so don't do cleaning process or etc.

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8 minutes ago, Bronislava said:

Hi,

 

from your description, I can ques that it can be Valentian dysentery caused by high temperature during molting time. Is it possible that you have too high temperature for them or maybe you tried to clean your tank then some of them was on molting process? All creatures is very sensitive during molting so don't do cleaning process or etc.

Could very well be the case. The enclosure wasn't ventilated well enough and there was certainly too much mold present. 

Now the ventilation is better and the temperature a bit lower, they seem to do much better. 

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6 minutes ago, stanislas said:

Could very well be the case. The enclosure wasn't ventilated well enough and there was certainly too much mold present. 

Now the ventilation is better and the temperature a bit lower, they seem to do much better.

Is mold presents on the substrate? How often did you change food source? How you control humidity level?

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On 4/27/2018 at 1:54 PM, Bronislava said:

Is mold presents on the substrate? How often did you change food source? How you control humidity level?

I replaced the substrate with pure coco coir. Since then, no mold had been present. The lid on the enclosure I replaces as well with one full of ventilation holes. 
Food is always on a dry place, high above the substrate and replaced every few day. I always make sure it stays dry (also to prevent mites). Moist food (citrus fruit, apple etc.). Is also place on a dry section, away from the dry food. Moisture is provided with keeping the substrate moist by wetting one corned when needed. Misting is provided every few day. 
Since these changes, the mold has gone away and the roaches seem to do fine. No losses since... 
So with hindsight I think stagnant air with mold present in the substrate did those two roaches in. 

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