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Thread: Orange Isopod - P. scaber

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    kayaker78's Avatar
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    Orange Isopod - P. scaber

    Has anyone tried keeping P. scaber in there terrariums to help keep them clean?

    I know that they are getting popular for keeping with tarantulas and reptiles as they are generally not frequently eaten and they easily reproduce.

    P. scaber is an excellent scavenger.




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    swords's Avatar
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    Far out I just asked about these guys on another forum! So what can you tell me about them I am very interested to get them going in all my soon to be assembled Tarantula and other critters fully planted vivariums.

    Let the interrogation begin:

    1) What is the difference between the orange and white Isopods? Is one better or bigger or...?

    2) We have a plethora of white ones everywhere here since i live at the edge of a forest. Is there anything wrong with getting them from under the rocks/logs in my back yard?

    3) Is there a required temperature for certain species? Can they be kept cooler in a highland tank that drops to 40-50*F at night? I suppose since it snows here the wild ones from my area would work in a cooler tank?

    4) Can wild Isopods bring in diseases and pests?

    5) How long do the generations live?

    6) Do they eat food boluses and carcass bits?

    7) They are predatory correct? Eating mites, nemertean probiscid worms, aphids and so forth?

    8) Can they be kept in a roach colony as maintenance crews since roaches occasionally get mite infestations? (according to some sources)


    9) Is that a cuttlefish bone in the second pic? Do they need that?

    10) What do they eat when grown as a colony or in a new relatively waste free tank?

    11) how many would be good for a 10 gallon tank laying horizontally (soil area 10" x 20" x 4-8" deep) and how much for a tank standing on end (soil area 10" x 12" x 4-6" deep). Does their population self regulate?


    Please tell me everything you know on these guys - I beg of you!


    Also if you have a good trustworthy source who accepts paypal for them please PM me!

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    kayaker78's Avatar
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    By "white ones" do you mean the grayish ones? If so they are actually probably the same species. In most areas there are 3 different species of Isopods that you will run into, Porcellio scaber is the most common in most areas even though in most cases it is not native. There are sometimes native white ones but in my experience, they are much more difficult to find and present in much lower numbers. I have tried keeping 5 different species and found that P. scaber is the most easily kept. I see no problem with starting a colony from the individuals that you find in your yard but I would maintain that colony for at least a year to be sure that it is free of parasites and other pests. My colony of the orange variety is well over a year old and I havenít experienced any problems, but I have read in other forums where people have had problems with parasites in wild caught Isopods. My colony is in a room that would get down to 50F at night in winter and I noticed decrease reproduction in winter but no other ill effects. I know that outdoors here they go deeper into the ground in winter to avoid freezing. I am unsure how long they live, I would suspect a couple years. Babies are fast growing and can reproduce in a couple months but this depends on how much food is available.

    I feed mine bread, fruit, and vegetables that have started to go bad in the kitchen. On occasion I put way to much food in there aquarium in it all turns moldy and slimy, to the point where you would think you need to clean it out and start over, but after a few weeks everything is clean and spotless again. I donít know how predatory they are, but there aquarium is always mite free even though I have on occasion had large numbers of mites coming out of my scorpions tank right next to them. Also if you get too many of them, I do know that they become cannibalistic, attacking and eating each other on occasion, I donít think they would be able to catch an aphid though. I would see no problem with keeping them in roach tanks provide you do not let their population grow too large, in fact, I have read about this being done in other forums.

    I have no clue if they actually need the cuttlefish bone, but they seem to love it so I add one from time to time. I do know that in the wild they do better in environments where calcium levels are higher.

    I started mine in a 2.5 gallon tank with 1" of cocopeat and a small piece of egg carton for them to crawl under. I now have them in a 20 gallon long aquarium with 2" of cocopeat, they started eating there egg cartons so I replaced them with some ceramic pieces and wood from an old aquarium. I would definitely start them in a smaller container if you are starting them in a waste free colony, if starting them in an established terrarium I donít think size will matter. If kept with other animals that will eat them, I would keep a separate colony until they have become established and started reproducing in the terrarium so that losses are replaced.

    I would start out with a dozen individuals as they will readily reproduce!

    If you are looking for some I would be willing to trade for carnivorous plants as I gave my collection away a few years back!


    Here is an interesting link

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    Thanks very much for the info!

    So they don't actually eat mites/hunt pests but rather keep the tank "spotless" so mites have nothing to get attracted to in the first place?

    What is it about the Scorpion that causes more mites than usual? Are Scorpions messy eaters? Can't Isopods be put in the Scorpions tank?

    They don't go after healthy plants but only leaf litter?

    Are the Isopods glass climbers/escape artists?

    I gave my collection away a few years back!
    You and me both! LOL I'm slowly building back up but only have about 10 CPs right now, most are terrestrial utrics who haven't bloomed for me. If you're interested in divisions from them we certainly can work something out, just shoot me a PM.

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    kayaker78's Avatar
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    I don't know this for sure but I would assume that they will attack and eat mites. They definitely keep things clean as well. I haven't seen them go after health plants, I once put a potato in with them to see if they would eat it, it started growing and they didn't touch the shoots until they started dying due to lack of light. Also, as long as there is older rotting stuff in there aquarium they don't seem to touch fresh stuff I put in.

    I'm not sure what caused the mites with scorpion, they ended up going away after I either let the tank dry out or really wet it down, I don't remember which. I never put enough in with the scorpion to create an impact, there were a few living under the water dish. You can create a space under the water dish for them to live in really dry environments as long as you let a little water spill over when you refill... this creates the humidity under the dish that they need.

    They cannot climb the glass as long as you don't let it get really dirty!

    Right now I really want mex. pings and Drosera, In going to be building a nice landscaped terrarium for Utrics. but I have been too busy to really get it started.

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    swords's Avatar
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    That's great if they only eat the pests, "waste", decaying leaves, etc. Will they eat like discarded cricket and roach legs/bits as well? Isopods could be kinda like the Malaysian Trumpet Snails & Turbo Snails of the vivarium. I've been wishing for a critter like that, a terrestrial clean up crew for a landscaped terrarium that won't bother the larger inhabitants.

    Yeah, I've let algaes/mosses get the better of the glass in tanks before and found the crickets are nearly making it to the lid glass!

    I fried my Mex pings and dews with a soil amendment experiment I did last October or so. The conclusion: don't use Napa Auto Parts' Floor Dry product as a replacement grit. It grows succulents really well but kills CPs almost overnight. After 3 days all six plants were toast. I'm mainly a Nepenthes freak myself but only have two in my current collection, N. ampullaria and N. belli. I'm keeping my choices to the smaller of the genus (sort of), last time I collected the giant species but ended up having to sell them whenever they got really nice looking and outgrew their chambers.

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    Where can we get some of these Isopods




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    kayaker78's Avatar
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    Orange P.scaber kinda looks like those.... someone needs to start selectivly breeding them for size

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