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Cohabbing peppereds and dominoes? Also, planted domino roach enclosure?


Betta132
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I went to a ComicCon yesterday, and there were some people there who'd brought some reptiles, both preserved (dead of natural causes) and live. They also had some roaches, including some peppered roaches, that they'd brought as display. The roaches weren't intended to be sold, but, when I asked, the owner was happy to sell me a couple. I now have two male peppered roach nymphs, one almost 2" long, one closer to 1". 

They're both in my domino roach tank, and I haven't seen them since I put them in, unsurprisingly. They were really charming to hold before I put them in, though, calm and seeming curious more than anything else. I impulse-bought these guys after chatting with the owner about how they were kept, but I'm strongly considering trying to get some females. 

The owner was keeping them in a bioactive enclosure with hissing cockroaches, and there were a couple of teeny peppered nymphs in the moss they'd been brought in, so they were definitely doing well. Apparently the enclosure was just wet enough to keep the decomposers happy, so I thought I'd give these guys a try in mine. 

The enclosure is an 18" cube aquarium, with a 3" layer of petroleum jelly to prevent escapes. The substrate is a mix of coco fiber and coco chips, 3-4" deep, with about 1" of pecan leaf litter on top of it. There's a big piece of driftwood that would make a good hanging surface, plus a goat skull and some pieces of slate, so there's room for shedding. I keep about a third of the substrate damp enough to keep springtails happy, and there's a heating pad on one side so the temperature doesn't go below 68F. The dominoes seem pretty happy, though it's hard to tell when I only have two adults. 

Anyone have any thoughts on if I could add female peppereds and have these two do well together? I don't think they'd fight each other. I know the peppereds eat a lot of food, but I don't think it'd be too hard to keep both species supplied with cat food, and the 5 pecan trees in my yard mean I could keep them supplied with literal heaps of leaf litter, so I'm pretty sure I could give them enough food to keep them from outcompeting each other. I haven't seen them interact yet, but I'm reasonably certain they wouldn't stress each other- dominoes stay mostly on the floor, peppereds climb. 

Do domino roaches actually need a dry area of substrate, or could I keep all the substrate at least slightly damp to help up the air humidity? Mine were damp all the time in a smaller tank before I put them in here, and they didn't seem to mind, though a lot of mold happened. 

 

Also, has anyone tried keeping plants with either of these species? I've turned on a light over the tank to see if they'll come out under a light, and, if so, I'm hoping to plant some ferns or something else that can grow in coco fiber, or maybe tuck some pots in somewhere. Maybe try some ivy- though I'd have to make sure it didn't climb over/through the jelly layer. I know the dominoes won't eat plants, but what about peppereds? And I assume there's no concern about them burrowing into the roots and getting stuck, since they'd encounter roots in the wild. 

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The A.tesselata should do great in that set-up! :) I would have previously said that the temp might be something to worry about, but mine have gotten a bit lower than that recently and I saw no aborted eggs.

The various Therea spp. don't really seem to mind moisture all that much, and keeping all of the substrate slightly damp shouldn't be a problem. :)

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the Archimandrita would chew on the plants though.

 

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Great to know, thanks. 

I'll leave a dry patch in the substrate just in case, but I think I'll keep things slightly wetter for the A. tesselata. They're such lovely roaches, I'd love to have some adults available to handle occasionally. 

If the roaches are OK with the light, and I might try shading it at first, I'll try a couple of nontoxic plant species in there. If they chew the plants, no big deal, I'll take the plants out. Much rather have A. tesselata than plants. 

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The Archimandrita would probably do very well in that setup! However, I can't help but feel like the Archimandrita would be too disruptive to the Therea, that's just my opinion though, no scientific info to back it up.

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Would there be any particular way to tell if they were causing trouble? I'm assuming it would be really hard to tell, what with them all being under the substrate. Your concern definitely seems like something to have in mind, since even these nymphs are larger than the adults. Not sure how to tell how active the nymphs are under the substrate. 

With that in mind, can I keep a colony of A. tesselata in a 10 gallon tank? Maybe even a vertical setup? Not sure what the best shape would be for tesselata or if they'd have enough room in there. 

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21 hours ago, Betta132 said:

Would there be any particular way to tell if they were causing trouble? I'm assuming it would be really hard to tell, what with them all being under the substrate. Your concern definitely seems like something to have in mind, since even these nymphs are larger than the adults. Not sure how to tell how active the nymphs are under the substrate. 

With that in mind, can I keep a colony of A. tesselata in a 10 gallon tank? Maybe even a vertical setup? Not sure what the best shape would be for tesselata or if they'd have enough room in there. 

Would be rather hard to tell considering both species spend much of their time underground, I assume by the time you noticed anything, it would be too late. Perhaps you'll see the dominos running around on the surface more frequently if stressed?

A 10 gallon tank would work for a while, as the colony gets bigger though, I'd get either a tank or a tub that's twice as big. Something that has a lot of floor space, while still having a good foot and half or two feet of vertical space would be the best I think, some vertical hides would be great for molting adults.

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I agree with @Hisserdude about the enclosure, I would definitely get one around that size to house the colony permanently. Just thought I'd throw in that a 10 gallon should be fine until the population gets to around 300 individuals (I've heard of colonies being around or even a bit over this number and still doing well), at that time it would probably be best to switch to a larger tank/container.

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You mean 300 dominoes, right? Because that seems like a huge number even for them, and I'm pretty sure 300 A. tesselata would fill a 10g with solid roaches. 

Does anyone know where in the substrate both nymphs tend to hang out? I haven't gone digging around too much, but the dominoes seem to stay just under the leaf litter, they don't go down very far unless frightened. Not sure about the peppereds, they vanished when I put them in and haven't come out. 

Good news: the dominoes don't seem to mind the light! Some testing is still to be done, but these guys are really chill. 

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17 hours ago, Betta132 said:

You mean 300 dominoes, right? Because that seems like a huge number even for them, and I'm pretty sure 300 A. tesselata would fill a 10g with solid roaches.

Nope, I meant the A.tesselata.....mixed sizes of course. ;)

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