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I've searched here and beetleforum extensively, and I have not found any guides to making rotted leaves (though wood fermentation instructions are rather common).

Here is my attempt, which some of you roachkeepers may find useful. Currently they have been freshly put into containers, so I will update as time progresses.

https://sp-uns.blogspot.com/2018/02/i-attempt-to-synthesize-rotted-leaves.html

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Might be because finding the right types rotten leaves outside is a lot easier than identifying well rotted wood. And i'm not sure that fermenting leaves is necessary. Roaches and isopods will eat dry leaves and leaves rot just from being in a moist enclosure.

Also... i think rotten leaves should smell something like a mushy forest.

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1 hour ago, Salmonsaladsandwich said:

Also... i think rotten leaves should smell something like a mushy forest.

:lol:

a particularly rank and soggy forest

 

The dry leaf thing is good to know, but many beetle groups do prefer their leaves well-rotted.

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20 hours ago, Salmonsaladsandwich said:

Roaches and isopods will eat dry leaves and leaves rot just from being in a moist enclosure.

 

Yes, many roaches and isopods will eat dried, green leaves, but that's like eating dry lettuce really. Many species require the nutrients that can be found in brown, decaying leaves, and for that, there is no substitute.

@Test Account The thing is, it's very hard to mimic the conditions in which leaves decompose in captivity, without turning them into dirt in the process... Perhaps you could do it if you placed them in a tub full of dirt or potting soil that had came from outdoors, as it would have all the microbes and such that aid in decomposition.

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16 minutes ago, Hisserdude said:

Yes, many roaches and isopods will eat dried, green leaves, but that's like eating dry lettuce really. Many species require the nutrients that can be found in brown, decaying leaves, and for that, there is no substitute.

@Test Account The thing is, it's very hard to mimic the conditions in which leaves decompose in captivity, without turning them into dirt in the process... Perhaps you could do it if you placed them in a tub full of dirt or potting soil that had came from outdoors, as it would have all the microbes and such that aid in decomposition.

I leave dried lettuce in the Coniontis jar

Interesting, I may have to dig a lump out of the garden. My 2015 leaf-rot attempt did produce isopod-edible stuff; have you personally tried making rotten leaves yourself?

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39 minutes ago, Test Account said:

I leave dried lettuce in the Coniontis jar

Interesting, I may have to dig a lump out of the garden. My 2015 leaf-rot attempt did produce isopod-edible stuff; have you personally tried making rotten leaves yourself?

Well they'd eat fresh lettuce too, what I'm saying is they'll EAT fresh leaves and dried green ones, but that doesn't mean that it's the same as a fully decayed, hardwood leaf. :)

Again, isopods will eat just about anything organic, but that doesn't mean that those leaves were technically rotten enough to replace dead leaves harvested from outdoors. 

I have not, but if you were to use the method for fermenting wood for leaves, I think they'd break down far too fast before the process was done. Additionally, even if they didn't break down completely, I'm not sure the end result would be the same as a dead leaf from outside, because rotten wood and rotten leaves may have different decomposition processes than each other.

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2 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Well they'd eat fresh lettuce too, what I'm saying is they'll EAT fresh leaves and dried green ones, but that doesn't mean that it's the same as a fully decayed, hardwood leaf. :)

Again, isopods will eat just about anything organic, but that doesn't mean that those leaves were technically rotten enough to replace dead leaves harvested from outdoors. 

I have not, but if you were to use the method for fermenting wood for leaves, I think they'd break down far too fast before the process was done. Additionally, even if they didn't break down completely, I'm not sure the end result would be the same as a dead leaf from outside, because rotten wood and rotten leaves may have different decomposition processes than each other.

Ignore the Coniontis; its dry lettuce is just for fun :)

 

Since leaf fermenting hasn't been tried before, we cannot know for sure until the results show themselves. I will think about adding a third container with both dirt and leaves, just to experiment. :):)

 

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6 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Yes, many roaches and isopods will eat dried, green leaves, but that's like eating dry lettuce really. Many species require the nutrients that can be found in brown, decaying leaves, and for that, there is no substitute.

@Test Account The thing is, it's very hard to mimic the conditions in which leaves decompose in captivity, without turning them into dirt in the process... Perhaps you could do it if you placed them in a tub full of dirt or potting soil that had came from outdoors, as it would have all the microbes and such that aid in decomposition.

I mean dry brown leaves. 

Leaves turn into dirt under the conditions in which they decompose in nature... i don't really see the problem with them turning into dirt? I doubt they would turn into dirt so fast that you couldn't feed them to the roaches first.

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3 hours ago, Test Account said:

Ignore the Coniontis; its dry lettuce is just for fun :)

Since leaf fermenting hasn't been tried before, we cannot know for sure until the results show themselves. I will think about adding a third container with both dirt and leaves, just to experiment. :):)

Well good luck with your attempts, let us all know how it goes! :)

28 minutes ago, Salmonsaladsandwich said:

I mean dry brown leaves. 

Leaves turn into dirt under the conditions in which they decompose in nature... i don't really see the problem with them turning into dirt? I doubt they would turn into dirt so fast that you couldn't feed them to the roaches first.

Ah, OK. They still should have been sitting on the ground for at least a couple weeks though, otherwise they are just too full of nutrients and attract grain mites and such, (whereas leaves that have been on the ground a month or two don't).

Yes, but in nature it is the roaches and isopods that help turn them into dirt. If you give the leaves to them when they are already that far decomposed, it's more likely to be used as a substrate, not as a food source. Some species may eat it, and it could make a good snack, but it probably wouldn't be a good enough substitute for whole dead leaves for species that require those in their diet.

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35 minutes ago, Salmonsaladsandwich said:

I must say, I never would've guessed that dead leaves have the nutritional density to cause pest outbreaks.

Me neither, but Orin states it multiple times in his books, and I've personally had small grain mite infestations from using fallen leaves that are too fresh.

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On 2/14/2018 at 3:40 PM, Test Account said:

My loquat leaves appear to be rather fresh off the tree.

https://sp-uns.blogspot.com/2018/02/rotten-leaves-update.html

Well hopefully the mold and such will help degrade them for you!

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It can take my various isopods months to break down whole dry brown magnolia, but that's a good thing if you are trying to keep leaf cover available longer. Break up the leaf so more surface area touches moist substrate, or submerge whole leaves in the soil if you want them as a more readily available food source.

It takes my various isopods weeks to break down whole dry brown live oak (rounded leaves), but they start eating them right away. The pointy-leafed oak leaves seem to take months like the magnolia.

Try sycamore. In just days, my isopods wil demolish whole, barely dry (two days in summer sun), and still green sycamore leaves, leaving behind a few veins and some fuzz that coats the leaves.
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/sycamore

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15 hours ago, EricSJCA said:

It can take my various isopods months to break down whole dry brown magnolia, but that's a good thing if you are trying to keep leaf cover available longer. Break up the leaf so more surface area touches moist substrate, or submerge whole leaves in the soil if you want them as a more readily available food source.

It takes my various isopods weeks to break down whole dry brown live oak (rounded leaves), but they start eating them right away. The pointy-leafed oak leaves seem to take months like the magnolia.

Try sycamore. In just days, my isopods wil demolish whole, barely dry (two days in summer sun), and still green sycamore leaves, leaving behind a few veins and some fuzz that coats the leaves.
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/sycamore

Magnolia was already broken a while ago. Gave Coniontis a taste test. Failed, will continue to cook them in rot box

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