Ideas for cleanup crews in substrate

chin_lee

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I'm planning to either use 2-3 inches of coconut coir chips or orchid bark for my torts. I got the idea from a fellow TFO member about putting superworms into the substrate as cleanup crew.
I'm canvassing for ideas on other critters to add to my substrate to help to with eating leftover foods and poop? The enclosure will be monsoon tropical condition in the high 20s to low 30s.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and one critter that I see often in my yard are the woodlouse (roly polys, pill bugs). I'm wondering if I harvest some, will they survive in my tropical enclosure substrate in the long term?
 

Lynn1957

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That's a very interesting idea. I was kinda wondering how that could work myself lately. What if a person used organic black soil, would earth worms do the job? How often do you have to change out your substrate at the moment? Hope a few chime in!
 

Millerlite

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I've heard of people using earth warms and pill bugs in substrate to help with clean up. Some might get eatin, I've never tried it myself but seems like it could work if done right.

Kyle
 

Babiwangi

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I currently using organic soil and I thought of replacing the soil every week. (Not so sure when is good duration to replace the soil entirely)
Any suggestions?
 

SaraT

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I am in the process of doing this now. I would also recommend
https://www.thebiodude.com/ he was recommended for his knowledge with the bioactive substrates. I am doing a mix of spring tails, isopods but also some bacteria to help. I may also put works near some of the planted areas. The bacteria will help with break down since most of the waste is plant based but the bugs will also help with aeration of the substrate.
 

Anyfoot

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Woodlice do survive and thrive at 30c. Just need the correct environment for them to live in. Orchid bark, Cyprus mulch and dried leaves with some moisture for them. Also they will live under things like rocks and slate. They love old rotten logs to live in and under, pieces with the bark peeling off so they can get under the layers of bark and breed. Also your torts may be lucky enough to catch them from time to time.
Maybe snails too.
 

Pearly

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I'm planning to either use 2-3 inches of coconut coir chips or orchid bark for my torts. I got the idea from a fellow TFO member about putting superworms into the substrate as cleanup crew.
I'm canvassing for ideas on other critters to add to my substrate to help to with eating leftover foods and poop? The enclosure will be monsoon tropical condition in the high 20s to low 30s.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and one critter that I see often in my yard are the woodlouse (roly polys, pill bugs). I'm wondering if I harvest some, will they survive in my tropical enclosure substrate in the long term?

Little late with my response but in case you are still looking for ideas i had a bunch of earthworms, pillbugs that had colonized the 40 gal tank beutifully (started with only 5 of them), and little garden snails all from my garden, including live plants (from my garden also). I had 2 babies living on this biosubstrate for almost 2 yrs. never had to change anything except for occasional replacing patches of live moss that would give in to the heat lamps, and of course replacing some of the plants every now and then, same reason as moss not making it- desiccating heat, despite the humidity always in the 90’s, still, 40 gal tank, tube the length of the tank for UVB was not really enough light for any plant to thrive but I kept them going for few months before changing them out, so really not too bad. The substrate depth was about 6-6,5”. Also please note that if you take time to bathe their baby torts daily like they will most likely empty their cloaca in their bath this eliminating a excreta issue inside of the terrarium. I kept my bugs mainly for taking care of food remnants which they did beautifully. That tank NEVER smelled bad! If i had to raise baby torts again, bio-substrate is the only way for me!
 

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