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Twilightroach

Enclosure cleaning

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My Turkistan roach colony is expanding nicely, but now I am wondering, how exactly do you clean an enclosure with little nymphs and ootheca everywhere? The enclosure has coconut fiber as a substrate and egg crates for hiding.  I haven't done any major cleaning yet, which I am wondering how you do? but I have changed out the egg crates before but now am not sure I can with all the nymphs on them. But the egg crates are getting rather dirty, with frass building up in the little nooks. And I don't want the enclosure to get too dirty. What is the best way to clean substrate? Would taking out the top layer work? And then adding some new substrate?  What about egg crates with nymphs on them?

I do make sure there are no dead roaches on a regular basis, and as soon as I spot one, which have luckily been very few, I take it out right away. So my colony is clean in that respect its just the excess frass I am worried about.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

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I'd use a clean up crew of some sort. Buffalo beetles seem to be the go to for drier enclosures. I'd knock the egg crates a few times in the bins and that should take care of the extra nymphs hanging on. Then you can replace them or spot clean them as you see fit. 

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I would have a second bin ready and you just transfer over the egg crates. Then pick out any left over roaches and  ootheca, and freeze the dirty substrate before chucking it.  Are your eggcrates set up vertical, because most of the frass should fall to the floor. I keep mine on moist cocofiber with springtails.

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The egg crates are horizontal. Freeze the substrate? Is that to kill off any bacteria? and make sure no roaches/ ootheca get out?

I could try adding springtails. I try to keep it moist in the enclosure, it is usually between 50-70% humidity. So Springtails might work.

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2 hours ago, Twilightroach said:

The egg crates are horizontal. Freeze the substrate? Is that to kill off any bacteria? and make sure no roaches/ ootheca get out?

I could try adding springtails. I try to keep it moist in the enclosure, it is usually between 50-70% humidity. So Springtails might work.

The crates will last a lot longer if you put them vertical. Freeze it to kill any roaches or ooth you missed, so they don't establish anywhere unwanted. 

 

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Ok, I will see if I can put the egg crates vertical once I clean out the enclosure. I was wondering though, is it necessary to have a substrate for Turks? I know some people like to have substrates and some don't. And also it depends on the species. But I am wondering which is better, to stay with the substrate, or go without any and maybe use paper towels. Has anyone tried Turks without a substrate and been successful?

Of course I know that a substrate does have several benefits like holding moisture and keeping humidity up, which is one of the primary reasons I put it in, as well as a place for ootheca to be laid. But if the enclosure would be cleaner, and easier to clean, without it and if removing the substrate didn't cause any problems then that might be better? Any opinions or thoughts?

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I have mine in a naturalistic vivarium. http://imgur.com/a/iQakT 

I use a moist substrate mix of coco fiber, sphagnum moss and shaved aspen. I also have a layer of moist sphagnum on top of the substrate (the nymphs love to hide out in there). I added several little "incubators" so females have a nice moist place to lay ooths — cut the bottom off a deli cup, flip it upside down, and add a small notch to make an entrance. I add wet moss underneath and hide them with strategically placed bark and sticks. They actually do use the little huts! Most of the ooths end up under/beside one of them. I have temperate springtails for my clean-up crew, but I've noticed that they tend to eat their dead quickly so I haven't had to add beetles.

I've had this setup for about 8 months now and have never needed to clean the enclosure. I pick out by hand any dead ones, bits of shed and moldy food. I don't know where all the poop goes, but I've never smelled them (unlike my former egg crate set up, which got ripe real quick). Naturalistic isn't for everyone, but over time I've transitioned all but my dubia feeders to natural enclosures and they work great. 

I can honestly say that this is my very favorite species of the moment. They are so active and interesting to watch. I love feeding time, especially - watching all of them run around carrying bits of food up the branches and into the hides. Reminds me of their termite cousins.

 

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