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New naturalistic setup questions


crepsis
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Hey guys! I would like your thoughts to help streamline my plan.

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Zoomed under tank heaters? I was planning on my very first pet roach display tank being a 5.5 gallon (at least just to start out), with a Zoomed UTH that fits the 10-20 gallon size aquarium, because it will cover 2/3 of the bottom of the 5.5 gallon aquarium. Does anyone think this brand UTH and setup will work well for roaches?

If I use this as my setup, what substrates (only planning on a relatively thin layer...not more than 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick) would work well conducting the heat? I used to have coconut husk bedding in my toad tank, but it seemed like it was insulating the UTH and keeping most of the heat outside the aquarium, so I don't want to use that for this application...

Here's what I was planning on substrate, does this sound good? Do you have any suggestions?

I was thinking of putting a very thin layer of sand (mixed with a bit of activated carbon) maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick over the whole bottom. And then, only on the left side on top of the sand, another layer (up to 1 inch thick) of either spagnum moss or a chunky/bark/wood strip type substrate (to help with humidity, along with any decorations (i.e. driftwood pieces, silk plants, ceramic/resin naturalistic pieces) to increase the surface area for climbing and hiding, and aesthetics. I would put the food and water over on the right side where there's only sand. The UTH would be under the left 2/3 of the tank.

Can non-climbing species climb on silk plants, to hide between the leaves, if they're layered? What about plastic ones?

I saw some dark green sphagnum moss (fluker, I think)...it looks like it may have been dyed. Is it fine to use (because of the dye)?

Also, for food/water dishes, I really like these small kidney shaped glazed ceramic dishes that I've seen at one of the pet stores here, but they are very smooth (glass like :( )...would non-climbing species nymphs be able to climb in and out of these (I'd say they are very shallow, like 1/2 inch deep at the very most and maybe 1 1/2 inches wide) or would I need to go with a rougher texture dish (like those resin/plastic faux {really faux!} stone dishes), or no dish. The ceramic dishes could be sunk in the sand as far as they will go...it's climbing out that I am more concerned with (...or maybe they won't even think to try to climb in because it will be too slick). I *really* like the kidney shaped dishes, plus they come in such cool colors, including lime green! :)

Oh, btw, this setup will be for a starter pet colony of B. craniifer.

Thanks in advance for your (experienced) input! (I know, I like parenthesis way too much!)

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<_< Well, anyyywayyys...

I bought a 10 gallon tank instead (I wanted to start out with the 5 and move up, oh well :rolleyes: ) , a really cool metal mesh lid that folds in the middle (from left to right or right to left), and the 30-40 gallon size Zloomed UTH (covers about 2/3's of the tank floor).

Just need to get some sort of substrate to put on top of the sand layer and at least one or two pieces of wood/silk plants to get started before I order nymphs. (Yay!)

I figure I can just put the food directly on the sand, and either spray the humid side of the tank often or make a gravity style waterer initially. The waterer that I made for my crickets out of a prescription bottle, a cotton round pad, and the bottom of a styrofoam cup, works really well for them, and I imagine it will work just as well for the babies.

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I've got my hissers in a 10g aquarium, and instead of a UTH, I just used a full aquarium hood with incandescant lights. It keeps it nice and warm and keeps humidity in quite well. I also just let them get any supplemental moisture from the walls which is spray down everyday, or the fresh friuts or veggies I give them daily.

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Do you mean the flourescent reef tank type moon lights? I did a lookup for moon lights and that's all I could come up with.

An incandescent hood sounds like a good idea, and relatively inexpensive, escpecially if the UTH (that I already stuck to the bottom of the tank grrr!) doesn't provide enough heat.

I just realized that I could also use red bulbs too, since insects can't see the red end of the spectrum (or can they?).

I already know that I'm going to need something to boost the humidity level within the tank itself...I was planning on just getting a cheap piece of glass cut to size to fit inside the lip of the aquarium lid, underneath the screen top, but an incandescent hood would also take care of that too, I guess.

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I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Zoomed under tank heaters?

While heat can be important I've never used a UTH. I watch the placement of the cages in the room and use a thermometer when curious to guage the average temperature. Certain areas and shelves range widely depending on the room.

If I use this as my setup, what substrates (only planning on a relatively thin layer...not more than 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick) would work well conducting the heat? You would think any substrate would insulate.

Here's what I was planning on substrate, does this sound good? Do you have any suggestions? How about 1/2" of gravel with an ich of potting soil.

Can non-climbing species climb on silk plants, to hide between the leaves, if they're layered? What about plastic ones? Only some types of roaches would normally be interested in resting on leaves, such as adult Gyna. Other's might hide between the fake leaves if they're on the surface but not hanging. Try a slab of cork bark for them to hang onto and lean it against the front so you can see them.

I saw some dark green sphagnum moss (fluker, I think)...it looks like it may have been dyed. Is it fine to use (because of the dye)? The dyes are supposed to be harmless to reptiles so they're unlikely to bother any Blattid.

The ceramic dishes could be sunk in the sand as far as they will go...it's climbing out that I am more concerned with (...or maybe they won't even think to try to climb in because it will be too slick). I *really* like the kidney shaped dishes, plus they come in such cool colors, including lime green! :)If you decide on this dish, fill it with gravel to prevent drowing.

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Do you mean the flourescent reef tank type moon lights? I did a lookup for moon lights and that's all I could come up with.

An incandescent hood sounds like a good idea, and relatively inexpensive, escpecially if the UTH (that I already stuck to the bottom of the tank grrr!) doesn't provide enough heat.

I just realized that I could also use red bulbs too, since insects can't see the red end of the spectrum (or can they?).

I already know that I'm going to need something to boost the humidity level within the tank itself...I was planning on just getting a cheap piece of glass cut to size to fit inside the lip of the aquarium lid, underneath the screen top, but an incandescent hood would also take care of that too, I guess.

No. I have the box here this time. The one I have is called "Night Glo" Moon light lamp by ExoTerra. It's a little 25w incandescant light bulb that will fit in an aquarium hood.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey all! Here's my finished setup! Obviously I made some changes from the plan above...for instance, using sterilized oak leaves from outside along with moss, instead of silk plants/leaves... a cork flat, and a piece of some sort of cool looking african hard wood to seperate the dry/food area from the humid side.

There is still a thin layer of sand/activated charcoal underneath the coconut "bark". Also have a piece of 1/8" thick glass covering the humid half of the tank to help retain humidity on that side...supplemental heat with an infrared 50w bulb that I turn on during the day while I'm gone at work and leave on until I go to bed... The moss is up to 3 inches thick in some places, giving plenty of room for the nymphs to swim around in and hide, the coconut "bark" is about 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick all over, and the leaves are layered (so the little ones can play hide and go seek!). Well, I think that's about it...

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...apparently my nymphs are *real* good at hiding, because I hardly ever see them! I have to resist the urge to dig everything up to look around for them! :lol:

Luckily, when I moved the tank to take some pics of it, one of them got disturbed and came out of hiding for about a minute...

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Yeah, from what I've been told, B. Giganteus (thats what those look like to me, correct me if i'm wrong) usually stay hidden as nymphs but are fairly active on the surface as adults. Just give them time. I have mine in a 20long and I don't ever see them, but their food pile is smaller every morning, so I know they are eating.

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These guys are B. craniifer... and they are super cute! I can't wait to watch them grow. I've already seen one that may have molted, since it was a light brown, and none of them were that light when they arrived...

I was thinking about adding another piece of the knobby african hardwood or two, or maybe another smaller cork flat for more vertical living space, but I'm gonna wait on that until I'm sure that my setup is good for them, and I'm sure they are reproducing...

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Hi

I am getting my roaches today via purolator... For the heat mat; I think you should avoid it. My first set-up was a 20 by 20 cm tropical heat mat for a 10 g aquarium with closed hood,jungle earth and no light. The temperature never went above room temp. "19 celcius". It was a 4 Watt. I returned it to the store, because it was worthless, and changed for a screen hood and infrared light. Now the temp. is in the high 80's.

I don't really like Heat mats. I think the lights is the was to go for heating. I would recommend the infrared (red) light 50W max for a 10g or you can also buy a ceramic heating light witch emits no light, only radiant heat... I never tried it anyone has experience with those?

jacques

Hey guys! I would like your thoughts to help streamline my plan.

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Zoomed under tank heaters? I was planning on my very first pet roach display tank being a 5.5 gallon (at least just to start out), with a Zoomed UTH that fits the 10-20 gallon size aquarium, because it will cover 2/3 of the bottom of the 5.5 gallon aquarium. Does anyone think this brand UTH and setup will work well for roaches?

If I use this as my setup, what substrates (only planning on a relatively thin layer...not more than 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick) would work well conducting the heat? I used to have coconut husk bedding in my toad tank, but it seemed like it was insulating the UTH and keeping most of the heat outside the aquarium, so I don't want to use that for this application...

Here's what I was planning on substrate, does this sound good? Do you have any suggestions?

I was thinking of putting a very thin layer of sand (mixed with a bit of activated carbon) maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick over the whole bottom. And then, only on the left side on top of the sand, another layer (up to 1 inch thick) of either spagnum moss or a chunky/bark/wood strip type substrate (to help with humidity, along with any decorations (i.e. driftwood pieces, silk plants, ceramic/resin naturalistic pieces) to increase the surface area for climbing and hiding, and aesthetics. I would put the food and water over on the right side where there's only sand. The UTH would be under the left 2/3 of the tank.

Can non-climbing species climb on silk plants, to hide between the leaves, if they're layered? What about plastic ones?

I saw some dark green sphagnum moss (fluker, I think)...it looks like it may have been dyed. Is it fine to use (because of the dye)?

Also, for food/water dishes, I really like these small kidney shaped glazed ceramic dishes that I've seen at one of the pet stores here, but they are very smooth (glass like :( )...would non-climbing species nymphs be able to climb in and out of these (I'd say they are very shallow, like 1/2 inch deep at the very most and maybe 1 1/2 inches wide) or would I need to go with a rougher texture dish (like those resin/plastic faux {really faux!} stone dishes), or no dish. The ceramic dishes could be sunk in the sand as far as they will go...it's climbing out that I am more concerned with (...or maybe they won't even think to try to climb in because it will be too slick). I *really* like the kidney shaped dishes, plus they come in such cool colors, including lime green! :)

Oh, btw, this setup will be for a starter pet colony of B. craniifer.

Thanks in advance for your (experienced) input! (I know, I like parenthesis way too much!)

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These guys are B. craniifer... and they are super cute! I can't wait to watch them grow. I've already seen one that may have molted, since it was a light brown, and none of them were that light when they arrived...

I was thinking about adding another piece of the knobby african hardwood or two, or maybe another smaller cork flat for more vertical living space, but I'm gonna wait on that until I'm sure that my setup is good for them, and I'm sure they are reproducing...

Oh, Ok. They look really similar to my B. Giganteus nymphs, but I can see how they would, both being a Blaberus species and whatnot. I found one of my B. Giganteus that had molted when I moved them from their temp home to a 20 gallon long aquarium. It was neat, he was completely white, I have photos somewhere. :)

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Hi

I am getting my roaches today via purolator... For the heat mat; I think you should avoid it. My first set-up was a 20 by 20 cm tropical heat mat for a 10 g aquarium with closed hood,jungle earth and no light. The temperature never went above room temp. "19 celcius". It was a 4 Watt. I returned it to the store, because it was worthless, and changed for a screen hood and infrared light. Now the temp. is in the high 80's.

I don't really like Heat mats. I think the lights is the was to go for heating. I would recommend the infrared (red) light 50W max for a 10g or you can also buy a ceramic heating light witch emits no light, only radiant heat... I never tried it anyone has experience with those?

jacques

Hey Jacques! Actually, the under tank heater that I am using is 16 Watts...the dimensions are 8" x 12". It doesn't really heat the air above the substrate so much, maybe a little, say 5 degrees above room temp (I doubt it's as much as 10 degrees, but I am not using a thermometer, so I don't know), but is DOES keep the substrate (up to 4-5 inches thick in some places) nice and toasty warm and humid (when sprayed every other day or so with water), so I imagine it's good for the nymphs, since they like to burrow around in it and hide. But the substrate that you are using (jungle earth) I am not familiar with, so I don't know if it would insulate against the heat, or work with the heat mat and stay warm.

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Oh, Ok. They look really similar to my B. Giganteus nymphs, but I can see how they would, both being a Blaberus species and whatnot. I found one of my B. Giganteus that had molted when I moved them from their temp home to a 20 gallon long aquarium. It was neat, he was completely white, I have photos somewhere. :)

I did see the photos, and they do look really similar! I'd like to see mine molt, but I'm kind of doubting that I'll get to see it anytime soon (since they're so good at hiding), maybe when they molt into adults and they need space to fill out their wings ;)

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OK, so today I pulled out the tank from where I have it (sort of a big wooden box that my bird cage sits on top of), and I noticed that some of the coconut "bark" under the sphagnum looks like it may be getting a bit moldy (just a couple pieces here and there, and just barely moldy, little white specs starting to grow on it), and maybe a couple little things that were mixed in with the moss might be getting moldy too (white hair coming off of it) :( Which sort of cheeses me off, since both those things should be more resistant to mold than other stuff!

Is this the kind of thing that isopods are good at keeping in check?

(If so, I'll go outside on Saturday, and see if it's possible to find a few even though it's getting cold here).

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If there is mold, you might try using a little less water or water well after it dries out, let dry, water well, cycle that way. Mold occurs when there is either too much moisture too frequently or there is not enough air circulation.

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OK! In an effort to stave off any mold, I did a bit of redesign... I figured that the mold was due to air flow, in other words, the thick mat of moss I was using on the surface of the coconut bark was keeping the water from evaporating fast enough to keep mold from growing. As a result of this conclusion, I have turned the coconut bark substrate into a 2 to 2 1/2 inch thick mixture of washed and sterilized, dried, and crushed oak leaves, moss, sand, and coconut bark - with some activated carbon thrown in, just for kicks. This substrate is still very chunky with lots and lots of air spaces in between it all - the sand was just for added airation, not for filler. I now only have one much smaller area where there is a much thinner layer of moss on the surface (thin enough to allow air flow, and evaporation), and the rest has a couple leaf thick layer of oak leaves on the rest. It still basically looks the same except the area behind the cork flat is where the moss is, and in front of the cork flat is all leaf top. The water seems to be evaporating much faster now, since I have been misting every day, at least once a day, and the substrate does appear to dry much faster than it did before - probably due to the UTH that is constantly heating it.

Well, we'll see how it goes, hopefully that will take care of the mold problem, since I actually would prefer NOT to add any extra animals (i.e. isopods) to the tank, unless absolutely necessary.

On another note: I've found two large molted skins from two of the larger nymphs! :P So they are obviously doing OK so far! YAY! :lol:

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