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I apologize if this is posted incorrectly I was literally just approved to use this website(and roach keeping in general)

I plan to buy two female gromphadorhina portentosa roaches and keep them as pets. I want to give them the best life that I could possibly offer them. 

This is what I plan to do and I would like to know if any of it sounds unsafe.

My roach enclosure would be in my wooden bookcase that has a section for a medium sized television. Ive been looking at a Exo-Terra Glass Terrarium, 12" L X 12" W X 12" H as the terrarium of choice. For bedding I was recommended Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate but I was wondering if Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding would be good as well. I was looking at plastic aquarium/terrarium plants that were marked for pets as some cover for the roaches and then reptile wood branches and cork rounds. I want a natural looking terrarium for them.

For water I'd give them water crystals or cricket 'water' (also known as 'insect gel') because I feel that it's much easier to monitor instead of a wet paper towel. Food would be a mix of lightly crushed cat food, small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, all in moderation and adjusted once I get a feel for their preferences. I know there are cricket 'water' jellies with calcium in them.

I live in New Jersey so it gets hot and cold all through the year. I was thinking about a Zoo Med Hermit Crab Heater or a Zilla Under Tank Reptile Heater Mini because the enclosure isnt that large and Im not looking to breed but I dont want them to be cold. I also plan to mist the enclosure and I dont know if I need a water conditioner or not. I dont know what kind of thermometer and humidity gauge to get so that I can have accurate numbers.

The most ridiculous part is perhaps that I want to install a curtain over the section of the shelf that theyd live in. I think a sheer, dark colored curtain would help keep out some of the natural light since I know they like the dark but itd also allow them to keep breathing. The little curtains wouldnt be closed all the time anyway. I dont want them to over heat or anything like that so I think thin and sheer would be better than standard, solid curtains.

I apologize if this is all crazy but Im very serious about this. Yes, I am this extreme about my other pets. I have several cats and dogs in my house already (they dont go into the room where the roaches would be) and Ive been this crazy with my darkling beetles. (My mother was an elementary school teacher and for many years we kept the life cycle going, we had several generations all from a single 50c cup of mealworms from petsmart) I just want to make sure they can live full and happy lives. If you have any advice, feedback, or criticism please let me know.

please note that I have not purchased any hissers yet, I want everything set up and all questions answered before I do. I want to make sure I'm as prepared as possible to give these lovely creatures the best life possible.

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So long as the lid of the tank is fairly tight fitting and there are no gaps, it should work fine for adults. Either substrate choice will work fine, they aren't picky! :) Same thing for those hide choices, both will work fine!

Water crystals are overkill, so long as you mist one area of the enclosure every couple days, and offer them fruits and veggies fairly often, they will get all the moisture they need. ;) I've kept many hissers, and I've never found that a water bowl of any sort was necessary. 

The heater will speed up the roaches' life cycles, which is great for growing nymphs or breeding, but if you just want a few males as pets for example, I think they will live longer when kept in the high 60s to mid 70s Fahrenheit. So depending on how warm you keep your house, a heater may not be necessary!


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Don't get an exo-terra. I can guarantee that any female hissing roaches you get, unless you get them as nymphs, are already pregnant, and the babies will squeeze out the gaps around the door. Use something that opens from the top, then put a 3" tall, thin layer of petroleum jelly around the top of the bin, that way they won't be able to climb out. I'd suggest a small glass aquarium with a non-airtight lid, since plastic isn't safe with the heaters you want to use. Should be able to get one very cheaply on Craigslist. 

Either heater is fine, but stick it to the side of the enclosure so there's a cooler area on the other side. 

You don't need a water conditioner, small amounts of tap water are fine. If you're really worried, you can use bottled water, it won't take much. 

A thermometer is good. Just go to a pet store and pick up one of the floating sticks meant for aquarium use, they should work fine. Same for a humidifier, anything cheap is fine, it doesn't need to be terribly precise. 

Either substrate is fine. I personally wouldn't use the plastic plants, it's not really needed, sticks and cork bark are fine. It's your choice, though, the roaches really won't care about it as long as they have cover. You could put doll furniture in there and they'd use it to hide in. 

The curtain isn't crazy, most people keep hissers in relatively dim places. 

The cats and dogs aren't actually a concern near the roaches as long as they're well-behaved enough to not try and get into the enclosure. The roaches probably wouldn't notice an animal outside. 

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