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Self-sustaining roach enclosure


morganrw989
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Howdy all! I’ve got a question for you seasoned roach wranglers. Is there such a thing as a self-sustaining roach colony? What I mean by this is that I’ve got a dubia colony that I hate cleaning. Is there an environment that I can create that will need the absolute minimal maintenance? My thoughts are an organic substrate, composting worms (might have to thin them pretty often), and a plant that will run through the droppings for sustenance like wildfire without being a major food source for the dubias. Any thoughts on the dwarf isopods for decomposting and maintenance? I appreciate any advice ya’ll can give!

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Nothing is any lower in maintainability than a roach colony. My dubia colony has not been cleaned in over one year and going on two. I put food/water in and take roaches out to feed my critters. It started with 2 inches of cypress mulch in the bottom, and some of that is still present. Roaches are composters so are inclined to break down egg cartons and anything else in the bin. A plant will only absorb liquid nutrients leaving behind many solids- or at least until the roaches kill the plant. Not sure what the point of isopods would be- they compete for the same food sources.

My advice: Most roach colonies do best if you dont mess with them too much as they normally would be set up. Less is more.

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You're thinking more like a vivarium, right? I had a terrarium last year with field crickets, worms, isopods, ground beetles, and Parcoblatta. The only problem was how the crickets literally cut down any plants I tried to put in within a fortnight.

A well-planted and furnitured terrarium would make a great display for a small colony of Blaberus or Panchlora or something. With big colonies it's just impractical.

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  • 2 weeks later...

thanks guys for the input. i have a dubia colony that used to have substrate (ate it all) and about every 6mos i try to clean it. donning gloves and separating babies from feces just ain't fun! you called it ralph, i would like to have some type of vivarium/terrarium that mimicked their natural habitat with some type of soil, plants, and other decomposters that would 1) maintain itself and 2) be a real purdy sight for guests as soon as they walked in ;) i may try something as a side project in an old 10gal i've got lying around and see what happens. thanks again and if any thoughts about this project pop up i'd appreciate 'em!

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One problem I foresee is that any colony of ‘roach is usually kept at a density that is so unnaturally high that any decomposer you put to work just won’t be able to keep up (especially with such a large species). What kind of substrate did you use? Normally a well fed colony shouldn’t eat their own substrate (all of it in six months at least).

If you have live plants in there chances are they’re going to get eaten and torn apart; you’re going to need to replace the plant often (not too hard if it’s kept in a little planter pot), I doubt there is a way around it. I am interested to see how it works out though; you can do a post showing how you set it all up with pictures and such. Good luck!

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