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Gallon Pickle Jars for Roach Housing:


wcbpolish
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I'm currently using gallon pickle jars to raise my roaches. I was wondering if anyone else did so and could share ideas. Right now, all I have are G. portentosa. The adults are in an aquarium, and I have been separating the nymphs into gallon jars because:

  • I have a good supply of them (the custodians know I use them and bring them to me often)
  • The screw-on lids seem like a pretty good way to prevent escapes (I punch small holes in the lids for ventilation)
  • The bottom half of a 1/2 dozen egg carton fits well in the jar- it sits on an angle up to about half the height of the jar.
  • I can "hide" the colonies from my students... who want to feed every little roach to our Rana pipiens "Mr. Bean"

Other things to note:

  • I've had a bit of a problem with moisture- the jars hold more in than I expected.
  • I'm not currently using substrate- just a jar with egg carton and some random food items scattered on the floor (rabbit food, dog food, breakfast cereal) I will probably start using substrate in the future.
  • I write the date of the brood on the jar with sharpie marker
  • I'm not really able to heat them, and ambient room temp is not where I'd like it, but it is what it is.

Questions:

  • Any one else using gallon jars like this want to offer suggestions?
  • Would coconut husk substrate help moderate humidity?
  • I've been considering removing the egg cartons (if I add substrate) because it seems that it's the cartons that mold first. Good or bad idea?
  • Would this set up work for other roach species? I have a former student on a mission to catch me some roaches from his dorm room... likely Germans. I also want to go look for Parcoblatta sp. this spring/summer. Finally, I might be receiving some B. dubia and P. surinamensis from folks I met online (still working out the details)

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Moist coconut husk definitely increases the humidity (I use it in all my natural setups to increase humidity). The egg cartons might not mold if you use a mulch or bark substrate. If you did add substrate, you could use cork flats since they don't mold as easily in moist conditions. If you want to lower humidity I would use some mesh screening on the top instead of the lid that comes with the pickle jar. Also, I don't think it is going to take long for the hissers to crowd the container...10 gallon aquariums get overpopulated easily and your using only a 1 gallon container. Maybe you could keep one gender in the pickle jar, and keep the females at home in a larger enclosure? One of my previous science teachers had her hissing cockroaches separated by gender and in two ten gallon aquariums.

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Moist coconut husk definitely increases the humidity (I use it in all my natural setups to increase humidity). The egg cartons might not mold if you use a mulch or bark substrate. If you did add substrate, you could use cork flats since they don't mold as easily in moist conditions. If you want to lower humidity I would use some mesh screening on the top instead of the lid that comes with the pickle jar. Also, I don't think it is going to take long for the hissers to crowd the container...10 gallon aquariums get overpopulated easily and your using only a 1 gallon container. Maybe you could keep one gender in the pickle jar, and keep the females at home in a larger enclosure? One of my previous science teachers had her hissing cockroaches separated by gender and in two ten gallon aquariums.

Thanks for the insight.

The gallon jars are not a final home for the hissers, but rather a place to raise the nymphs in safety. When the colony is well established, the plan is to have 5 gallon tank on display for the students to handle (I'm thinking males only) and a breeding tank elsewhere (mostly female, but obviously some male). Right now it is for the nymph's safety (away from students who want to feed them to the frog, or who might take them out and lose them)

What about for the other species listed?

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I wouldn't trust any of the "pest" species in a pickle jar, especially at school. I don't think the school leaders would be happy with a cockroach infestation :) P. surinamensis would grow to rapidly in an enclsoure (there parthenogenetic) that little, and the same with dubia. Of course, it probably would work with dubia if you just had males in one enclosure (like with the hissers).

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I wouldn't trust any of the "pest" species in a pickle jar, especially at school. I don't think the school leaders would be happy with a cockroach infestation :) P. surinamensis would grow to rapidly in an enclsoure (there parthenogenetic) that little, and the same with dubia. Of course, it probably would work with dubia if you just had males in one enclosure (like with the hissers).

Thanks. I will take that advice into consideration.

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