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Wide Horn Hisser Care?

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Hello all, new to the hobby, looking for some advice! I have a few wide horn hissers that I was given by a local friend, and though I've been wracking my brain to think of anything that they could be missing, they just won't seem to thrive. I've had them for about five months now, and I haven't seen any evidence of reproduction, or any oothecae. I've helped care for many insect species before, including several roaches, but I must be doing something a little differently from what these prefer. All the caresheets I've found insist that they're very easy to care for, without much more information than the basic.

I have them in a repurposed 20 gallon tall fish tank, heated by a lamp (turned off during the night, so that they can do their nocturnal thing) and a under-tank heating pad (attached to a side of the tank near the bottom, as I was nervous about putting it on underneath the tank itself, given that the tank rests on a wooden surface). Their tank stays around 80F during the day, cooled to 72-75F at night when the heat lamp is turned off. I try to keep their humidity around 40% or higher. I have them on coco coir as a substrate, with local leaflitter (frozen for a few days before being added to the tank), a few rocks to sit on, and a hollow half-log thing from the petstore (the roaches spend most of their time sitting on top of this). They also have a few plastic plants (cleaned thoroughly with a little dawn and hot water) for cover. They have a very shallow water dish with little rocks (the kind sold to increase drainage for potted plants), both lightly bleached, washed off, and air-dried before being added to the tank. 

The roaches are fed a mixture of things as I desperately try to get them to show interest in something, but they always have a fruit/veggie (strawberry tops, cut-up oranges and bananas, butternut squash, broccoli, etc., though usually the strawberries and oranges) and a protein (cat food and/or generic fish flakes). I replace their food daily, and check it for evidence that they've eaten any of it. They seem to eat very little, given they they're six big roaches, and have recently dropped off from consistent nibbling to hardly touching their food at all. One of them, though they're all adults and I don't know how old they actually are, died yesterday. I've tried everything I can think of, even completely cleaning out and redoing their enclosure about a month ago, just in case they didn't like something in there.

I'm concerned about them, but for the life of me I can't find the problem. Is the temperature too low, too high? Does it vary too much? Do they want more humidity, or less? Images of their setup are attached. Help appreciated!



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A few things. I'm not too sure about putting the lamp directly inside of the cage, along with the side-tank heater. This could make the enclosure too hot and dry, although from the picture they don't seem to be seeking out cool or moist places. Also, I'm sure other people would probably tell you not to use the rock water dish combo. It might be better to mist or pour water in one corner of the cage, creating a small moisture gradient/humid microclimate in the substrate for them to move into if they are too hot or dry. They are adults, and from my experience, adult roaches of most species usually eat far less than nymphs do, except for gravid females. I suggest just letting them do their thing for a while. If you take apart and redo their enclosure often, I think it's likely to just disturb them. I also don't think you need to bleach or clean anything with dish soap, it might be more likely to harm them with residual chemicals. 

Also, make sure their cage is escape proof. I can't see the lid in the picture but babies could be escaping through the lid. Vaseline along the top inch inside of the walls helps. 👍

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For fruits, maybe try apples and bananas instead? Very few roaches I've kept actually like strawberries... Oranges can be hit or miss, but apples and banana have been the best staple fruits for roaches in my experience.

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  • 11 months later...

How are your roaches doing?

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  • 2 months later...

Just place them in a plastic box with full mesh ventilation. Lay out egg cartons. Place a wick drinker. Pour dry food (preferably bran, grass and meat and bone meal). Offer shredded carrots or chopped apples once a week. They love heat very much (up to 32 ° C) and cannot stand high humidity.

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  • 10 months later...

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