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Old 27th April 2009   #1
Michael Shrom
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Default Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Do any of you raise aquatic isopods and or use them for salamander food? I have an isopod obsession that needs fed. I saw a reference to John using Asellus in the archives.



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Old 28th April 2009   #2
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

I feed them occasionally. I suspect like woodlice they have a bitter taste and are not every newts cup of tea. They reproduce at an alarming rate and I use the hatchlings to feed larvae (you need to sieve them out from the adults). I wouldn’t say I actually culture them as they tend to look after themselves. My method is a rain filled plastic dustbin with about 1ft of pond sludge/aquatic soil in the bottom, throw in a handful of decomposing vegetation and away they go. I can collect thousands in a few minutes.

The only real downside is that uneaten ones remain in the tank, reproduce and create quite a bit of waste.

Here’s a photo I took – it may help with your obsession. :)

Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 28th April 2009   #3
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

To deviate somewhat from the topic Michael I have been wondering if there are any Asian isopods available? I was looking at your list of the various species that you offer and was thinking that it would be nice to at least have a regional biotype design for my various Tylototriton enclosures. The concern with this of course would be the potential of introducing yet another non-native organism into a foreign environment.

Mark - You must be taking much better care of your Asellus than I did because I have not seen any in months in my "pond/stream life" tank.
Chip



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Old 28th April 2009   #4
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Hi Chip,
I don't know. I do know that Isopods and springtails have been spread around the world. Many are found in areas they are not native to. My guess is most of this has happened with food, natural products, and plants.



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Old 29th April 2009   #5
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

I have always collected local isopods for my terrestrial enclosures. Now that I think about it back when I was in Japan about ten years ago I remember finding isopods that looked almost exactly like the kind I see here in VA. I suppose that I was hoping that there would be some colorful Asian species available. How big do the giant ones that you were selling become?
Chip



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Old 30th April 2009   #6
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Quote:
Originally Posted by freves View Post
Mark - You must be taking much better care of your Asellus than I did because I have not seen any in months in my "pond/stream life" tank. Chip
I take absolutely no care of them and they flourish in plague like proportions. Lots of organic matter is the key to success. The bins are set up for aquatic worms but hoglouse always become the dominant species.

Here's one net scoop to give you an idea of the problem.

Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 1st May 2009   #7
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Wow. I have dead leaves, lots of plants, and a sponge filter in my tank . I have not tested the water but it is crystal clear. In any case, this is my emergency tank in the event of unexpected eggs. I set it up just to grow various, minute organisms. Initially I had Assellus and Gammarus but again I have not seen any for a while.
Chip



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Old 2nd May 2009   #8
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Default AW: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Hello,

in my garden i have a 550 Liter Gardenpond and a water butt just to raise Daphnia and water slater.
Infrequently but periodical i feed the culture with dry yeast, honey and liquicell. It grow like hell.
And the water assels and daphnia will be eaten very well.

Greetings Ingo V.



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Old 7th December 2009   #9
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Hello

I introduced local aquatic isopods (Asellus sp.) in the tanks, full of aquatic plants, where I have my aquatic caudates (Axolotl and Pleurodeles).
A population of these isopods remains, in the plants and on the ground. The caudates used to eat them from time to time when they were young. Now, I rarely see themeating Asellus, but the isopods don't crowd, so I guess somme of themare eaten.

Even if they are not the bulk of the available food, I think they are also useful as they eat dead organic matter. As for a bitter taste, well... I never tried.

Friendly,
JM



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Old 7th December 2009   #10
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

my newts sometimes eat them, but I've introduced them in my tanks to get rid of organical matter. works very well



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Old 7th December 2009   #11
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

I swapped for some last week. They are interesting looking little animals. I'm going to raise some up on dried leaves, live plants, and salmon pellets. When I have extra I'll start using them as live food and clean up animals.
Do you know if they are safe to put in with small larvae?



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Old 7th December 2009   #12
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

I have each year, always a few larvae with the adults in the tank. Never seen Asellus grabbing a larvae. I think that they are just 'cleaners' and won't harm larvae



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Old 8th December 2009   #13
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Interesting - keep us posted, Michael. As a side note... I recently learned that there are aquatic forms of Collembola (springtails). I would consider finding some and growing them, but I doubt that they'd be any better than daphnia/moina.



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Old 8th December 2009   #14
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

When people talk about aquatic springtails they often mean ones that are found on the surface of the water. I'm not sure if their are any that actually swim in the water or go under water. I'm raising Podura sp. that are often described as "aquatic" springtails. Many of the springtails do well on the surface of water. I think Podura are most often found on water. They culture easily on non water substrate.

I'm working with about 6 kinds of springtails and 7 or 8 kinds of isopods. Most often amphibian keepers use Folsomia springtails and Dwarf white or Dwarf temperate isopods for food. I do have big plans for the aquatic isopods but I'll have to see how they pan out.

Quote:
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... I recently learned that there are aquatic forms of Collembola (springtails). I would consider finding some and growing them, but I doubt that they'd be any better than daphnia/moina.



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Old 8th December 2009   #15
Joseph S
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Interesting. Any advantages/disadvantages from gammarus/Hyalella more commonly seen? They seem to be competitors and dang near indentical in needs/reproductive capacity.(as in, not much and a whole lot!)


Michael: Do you work with aquatic amphipods too?



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Old 8th December 2009   #16
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Some advantages and disadvantages I saw :

- Gammarus moves more than Asellus, so it's more attractive.
- Gammarus are more chitinous than Asellus ; even big caudates like adult axolotls can have trouble with it, although it seems not to be harmful.
- Gammarus needs better quality water than Gammarus. If a population of it can be durably introduced in a tank, it may be good news.
- Aside from their food interest, both are cleaners.

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Old 8th December 2009   #17
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

I've used gammarus as food and clean up for years. The isopods are a little bigger than the gammarus. I think it's good for a tank to have an assortment of little critters in it.



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Old 9th December 2009   #18
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

I tried culturing Gammarids and what started as a promising enterprise, turned out to be a huge failure.
I would love to try Asellus, but i don´t know where to find a starter culture.
We should all do a little effort in trying to introduce more crustaceans in our aquatic caudates´s diets, after all they are a big chunk of what they eat in the wild.



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Old 9th December 2009   #19
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Hey Azhael, you can find Asellus in most natural ponds. Just pull a bunch of waterplants out, put it in a bucket, with a few cm of water. If you can make sure that the plants almost dry out (just hanging it on the top of the water), the Asellus crawl down to the water.



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Old 9th December 2009   #20
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Default Re: Asellus (Aquatic isopods)

Sure we should.
But first, anybody must decide if he/she wants to introduce some crustaceans:
- as a longterme population, cleaning the tank, and occasionally feeding caudates ?
- or as a regular and substantial part of the food ?

The first option necessitates a very complex st-up (plants, rocks, crevices, wood, dead leaves...) so that a significant part of the crustacean population can avoid to be eaten.

The second option necessitates a real separate culture, or a rich pond or stream not too far ?

I founf Asellus easier to maintain, because they don't move a lot, and the caudates don't see them immediately. Gammarus are generally totally eaten within a few days or hours by big caudates (axolotls).



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