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Two methods of raising Sprintails, which is good/?

This is a discussion on Two methods of raising Sprintails, which is good/? within the Springtails (Collembolla), Firebrats, Silverfish, etc forums, part of the Food: Live, Frozen, Freeze-Dried, Pellets, etc category; Hi, So far, I have heard of two ways of doing it. 1) Peat moss 2) charcoal I have been ...

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Old 4th January 2006   #1 (permalink)
ian
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Hi,

So far, I have heard of two ways of doing it.
1) Peat moss
2) charcoal

I have been using Peat moss since I originally thought they look more similar to what a natural springtail will live in. But I know that peat moss is acidic. So if I just put some peat moss in the newt morphs tank, that might not be good.

I have tried to put them on water and spoon them out. But I dont want my tank to be all wet. Bad for the substrate.

So I think the peat moss idea is very difficult to collect.

So how about the charcoal? will it be less effective in breeding springtails?

Please advice. Thanks
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Old 5th January 2006   #2 (permalink)
jennifer
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I haven't tried charcoal. I used coconut fiber (bed-a-beast type stuff). It's less acidic than peat, but also more costly.
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Old 5th January 2006   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Ian,

I use Bed-a-Beast mixed with compost (50/50) with chunks of charcoal embedded in it, all in a disposable tupperware type container (no holes in the lid). I keep it very moist and sprinkle with fish food every few days. I have tons of springtails (which I mainly use to feed my dart frogs). When I want to collect some I just take out a chunk of the charcoal and either put it directly in the vivarium, or knock the springtails into the tank.

Hope this helps,
Duncan
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Old 5th January 2006   #4 (permalink)
russ
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I started mine on top soil. I originally fed the colony shredded paper for about four years so now the texture has changes quite a bit. The last couple of years I have supplemented their diet with Gerber rice cereal flakes. When I need to collect some I place a small clay pot bottom in the container with some cereal flakes on it. The clay bottoms work well because the flakes stick to it when you go to tap the springtails off.
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Old 5th January 2006   #5 (permalink)
alan
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Depends on the species. Charcoal is much more productive and easier to harvest:
http://www.dendroworld.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1162
but not all species will grow on it. Works well for Folsomia candida (the little white ones) but not for the larger Tomocerus spp. I'm working with as well.
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Old 5th January 2006   #6 (permalink)
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I have used charcoal, dirt, peat, gravel, and leca (expanded clay pellets) all for cultures. The gravel and leca are the easiest to use since you can just flood them and use a spoon to collect the Collembola. At the Nat'l Aquarium in Baltimore they used a concrete even with texture in it for theirs-- same principle, you just flood it to collect them. I have fed both with tropical fish food as well as yeast.
j
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Old 5th January 2006   #7 (permalink)
ian
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according to Alan, it seems like charcoal is a nice way to go. Is this a good way to culture them with Charcoal? (I got it from a website)

"The alternative method of growing springtails uses a sealable plastic box filled with washed barbeque charcoal. Put a few centimetres of water in the bottom, add some springtails and feed with some sort of organic matter. Most people recommend using some sort of carbohydrate such as dried pasta, but I seem to have better luck with vegetable peelings, banana skins, etc. To harvest the springtails, pick up some pieces of charcoal and bang them together over a collecting container to knock the springtails off, or blow them off gently."
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Old 5th January 2006   #8 (permalink)
alan
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When they get going, you can just wash them off the charcoal as shown in the link above.
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Old 5th January 2006   #9 (permalink)
adam
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I use an approach similar to Alan's, except I place 2cms of microwaved compost on the base and keep it very soggy and then fill the container to the brim with wet large lumpwood charcoal (sycamore) pieces, when i need the springtails i generally bang them off the charcoal into the tank, for aquatics such as rearing young discoglossus, I drop them straight onto the surface of the water. All rearing setups for caudates are "seeded" 2 months before use to enable springtails to colonise the enclosure. Hope this helps.
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Old 5th January 2006   #10 (permalink)
ian
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Thanks, now I will try to work out a way that suitable to me. Thanks for the suggestion.

So how about the nutritional value of springtail? Any idea?
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Old 5th January 2006   #11 (permalink)
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That is a question for Ed-- only he would know that off hand...
j
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Old 6th January 2006   #12 (permalink)
alan
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The nutritional value depends to some extent on what they have been fed. I keep mine with water containing 300ppm CaCo3 and feed ReadyBrek, which is supplemented to calcium, iron and vitamins. The species I keep on soil/compost I feed the same but also mix ground eggshells into the substrate to provide calcium.

There have been no published nutritional analyses of springtails, but by comparison with other soil arthropods, they would be expected to contain a relatively good Ca:P ratio compared with other insects if maintained as described above. Experience of raising lots of dartfrogs primarily on springtails without any MBD problems confirms this.
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Old 6th January 2006   #13 (permalink)
edward
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Hi Alan,

there has been at least one published analysis of springtails as part of the mineral content of soil arthropods but I have not been able to lay my hands on a copy of it yet. I'll have to track down the reference to see if you have any better luck.

The assumption is that if the springtails are kept on a calcium rich substrate (like soil) then they would have a favorable Ca:P ratio as there would be the uptake of the soil with and on the arthropod. Gutloading calcium to adjust Ca:P ratios is marginal at best in all invertebrates studied to date and typically does not significantly shift the Ca:P ratios unless the invertebrate is ingesting enough Ca to kill it.

As is seen in other herps, if the growth rate is slowed down then the risk of "MBD" is greatly reduced and may not manifest itself.

Ed
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Old 6th January 2006   #14 (permalink)
alan
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Found that reference yet Ed? Click the image to open in full size.

My dartfrogs start out on a diet primarily composed of springtails (exclusively in some cases) and tend to grow fast compared with caudate metamorphs, but no MBD problems, so I'm happy with my springtails at least.
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Old 6th January 2006   #15 (permalink)
edward
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I'll dig for it...

I know of some anecdotal reports of limb tremors in springtail raised froglets but I think they were in froglets that were fed springtails removed from the culture. I'm more inclined to set froglets up in small cultures and allow the froglet to feed in the culture so they can uptake the substrate with the springtails. Now the problem may not be the calcium in the springtail but the lack of D3 in the diet that allows them to uptake and metabolize the calcium....

Ed
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Old 15th January 2006   #16 (permalink)
edward
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Hi Alan,

The reference you want is
Reichle, D.E.; Shanks, M.H.; Sunde, M.L.; 1969, Calcium, potassium and sodium content of forest floor invertebrates; Ann Entomol Soc Am 62: 57
(at least this is where I was told that information could be found)
If you can get a copy I would also be interested in one..

Ed
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Old 16th January 2006   #17 (permalink)
alan
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Thanks Ed. I've just checked and I'm afraid I can't get hold of that article. Anyone else?
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Old 11th October 2008   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Two methods of raising Sprintails, which is good/?

I'm also doing research on how to get my own culture going. Leading me to my questions.

So I'm wondering what a good calcium rich substrate would be. I mean, I can start collecting my egg shells and fruit skins, but I don't necessarily have access to pesticide free soil near where I live or any other kind of non polluted soil. I use coconut fiber (Bed a Beast) in my terrarium; should I just mix it all together in a Tupperware; the coconut fiber and skins and shells?

Do the spingtails consume the charcoal? Does the charcoal hold any significant benefits when it comes to nutrition? If I put a piece of charcoal in the tank would that harm my newts?

One more, do sprintails help keep soil clean OR are they simply food?

Thanks, Sara.
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Old 31st October 2008   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Two methods of raising Sprintails, which is good/?

I use orchid bark to raise mine on.
I then feed them peelings and porridge oats mixed with calcium/vit powder. All my vivs have orchid bark substartes and so I just tip out some of the orchid bark and springtails out and replace with more bark. Seems to work well.
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Old 28th June 2009   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Two methods of raising Sprintails, which is good/?

Realize this is an old thread but since its still up.

I've been trying 2 different colonies, one with charcoal and one without. The one without is just coconut hulls and peat moss. I have noticed that the one with the charcoal seems to be doing better. Another benefit of the charcoal is the springtails sit on it a lot and it makes it easier to feed them out that way.

I've been feeding them a mix of high quality fish food mixed with bakers yeast. It seems to be working good. None of the animals I've fed them out to seem to be having any developmental issues.
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