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Which Isopods burrow the most/the deepest?


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Tl;dr- need species of isopods that will do the best in a very dry/hot tank, and may survive by burrowing for moisture, which will be under the top layer of the substrate.(the top inch or so will be bone dry)

Temperature and humidity- I have a ocellated uromastyx(herbivore) tank that I am adding substrate to and going bioactive with. 4 feet wide, 1.5 feet deep, 2.66 feet tall. The humidity is around 20-30% and the coolest spot is usually 75f in one corner, and it's around or above 80f along most of the floor(the basking spot is like a foot off the ground on a big rock where it is above 120f on a good area of the rock. and above 100f on maybe most of the top portion of the tank(there are two "shelves" that run along the back half of the tank and vertical logs(2, along of which, along with the top shelf, hold up the basking rock rock))

Substrate- I plan on doing a substrate mix in the bottom layer of mostly dirt, leaves, and sphagnum moss, then a layer of that mixed with bio dudes terra Sahara substrate, then just terra Sahara, then a thick layer of leaves, then more terra Sahara, ,maybe mixed with some sand. The terra Sahara is made especially to stay really fry on the top layer and hold in humidity below it in the middle/bottom layers. There should be around 6-8 inches of substrate. The top inch-ish(how ever much it needs to be really) will be bone dry.

Plants/substrate continued- I plan on having one six to eight inch spineless opuntia/prickly pear cactus, along with some smaller ones a some aloe verra(living stone and maybe some others) Plant suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I plan on planting the roots of the plants below the leaf layer and then watering them by using a turkey baster or some such thing to inject water below the leaf layer directly to the roots. I may also have balls/patches of sphagnum moss.

I might try to use twig/small sticks with sphagnum moss and leaves to create an open or less dense area near the bottom of the substrate that the clean up crew will hopefully use, I could inject water directly into these as well. I might try to make small holes/tunnels from the top of the substrate that lead down into these chambers(smaller than the uromastyx who is 50 grams/6 or so inches long) But I will have to see if these release too much humidity. Maybe they will have to be really long and at a very shallow angle to keep in the humidity, I'll make them out of pieces of bark, probably.

I have some flat rocks under which maybe I can make these chamber closer to the surface. I could also bury them a bit into the ground, I may also get some cork berk to try that with, I have one piece of that right now.

Other clean up crew- I will have buffalo beetles and worms(maybe also meal worms and their beetles), and I think I will get two or three blue death feigning beetles and or a similar species(like those sold at bugincyberspace.com) And or maybe a desert millipede or two. The Uromastyx is herbivorous so he should not eat the clean up crew, He only eats dark leafy greens(as they are supposed to) and he is a picky eater and doesn't like any fruit and some vegetables so I am hoping he either will ignore the bugs or taste them and then stop(even my leopard gecko ate a few orange isopods at first but now she totally ignores them, and I think the buffalo beetles move too slow and are too dark for her to even see them).

Cleanup crew food- There will be lots of left over vegetables the he(the Uromastyx) and I will knock down onto the substrate and I will knock any of his waste from the shelves down onto the substrate. An isopod that will come up and drag food/waste under the substrate would be good, I have heard some will do that, which do it the most?

Isopod- So, I am looking for an isopod that tolerates heat well And really burrows. So which Isopods burrow into the substrate the most/the deepest?

I'm not sure whether how long they stay under the substrate or how deep they burrow is more important.

One that is crepuscular/nocturnal would be best as the lizard is very Diurnal. But I am hoping/thinking he will ignore them anyways, I mostly would worry about them bothering him

His skin, is much tougher than a leopard gecko but maybe not quite as tough as a bearded dragon, his tail is extremely tough though and he can use it to defend himself well. But, I am hoping for something that won't try to bite him or anything. Although I have heard of people keeping zoophoba/super-worm beetles, which supposedly bite, with leopard geckos, so idk.

I don't how much the lizard will try to burrow, or if he will at all, so idk how much he will disturb the substrate.

An isopod that can/will also climb might be good so that they maybe go onto the top shelves and eat any waste/left over food that is there, though I might worry about them bothering him, especially while he sleeps( he always sleeps on the top shelf right now)


Any advice and recommendations are very greatly appreciated, and thank you for reading if you read the whole thing. Thank you.

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1 hour ago, Allpet Roaches said:

I would say Trichorhina tomentosa are among the few true burrowers. Mostly just live in scrapes under objects but tomentosa are mostly in the dirt. Some of the other micros burrow, but not as much.

hm,ok I have heard those are tropical, although I have also read that they are nocturnal, do you think they would come to the surface at all during the night? At night it gets to about 50% humidity and around 65-80f.(more like about 70 in the summer/now)

Maybe if I did those I would have to encourage them more to come out at night, so I could put less plant matter on the substrate and maybe use something else other than a leaf layer, and just have food for them on the top of the substrate?

Do you think they would use those tunnels that I talked about making with bark?

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15 minutes ago, Allpet Roaches said:

They come to the surface for food but often from underneath. I've kept them close to 65F but not sure how much colder they would still be fine.

OK, it shouldn't get below 65F at all, it will usually be above 70F even at night. The main problem would be humidity I think, but maybe if they come up at night for food that could work well. I may try them, thank you.

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21 hours ago, Erik897 said:

OK, it shouldn't get below 65F at all, it will usually be above 70F even at night. The main problem would be humidity I think, but maybe if they come up at night for food that could work well. I may try them, thank you.

If they don't work for your purposes there probably isn't an isopod that will. Maybe lawn shrimp or something else.

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