Originally Posted by Johanovich
Sure, I'll bite
Regarding the addition of calcium carbonate and other potential minerals for your springtails: I never said that the springtails will grow better, I do this to increase their calcium content for the frogs who will eat them later on. Springtails need a certain amount of calcium to form their exoskeletons, and they can make do with the low amount that is present in yeast. But you can make them more nutricious for your frogs by making sure they have more calcium available. Same goes for most other nutrients, the springtails will grow perfectly fine with the amount that is present in yeasts, but your frogs will benefit more if the springtails are allowed more access to minerals. I totally agree that buying food for them is a waste of money, just get yeast and mix in a tiny bit of your preferred vitamin supplement for your frogs (for the reasons mentioned above) and you're good to go.
Same for flies, I agree that buying special product seems a bit unnecessary, however there have been studies showing that adding carotenoids to fly medium has benefits for frogs, so maybe just adding something like bell pepper or spirulina powder to your cultures will also give your frogs these benefits.
To get springtails out of my hydroball cultures I keep a piece of tree fern on top of the balls. There are always a lot of springtails crawling on this (I tend to sprinkle the yeast on this piece of tree fern) so I just take it out and tap it above a small jar. I never want to deplete my cultures completely so this method ensures there are always enough springtails left to continue production.
I also forgot to mention, a similar method has been used before but with plaster (mixed with a bit of charcoal for color) instead of clay. It's the preferred way of most research institutes to culture wild-caught springtails. The design is slightly different in that the bottom of the tube they use is open, so to keep your springtails moist all you have to do is place the tube in water so the plaster absorbs the moisture. Here is a link to the dutch forum which explains the plaster-tube method:
Thats fair. I would say with being able to make the clay calcium bearing you're probably supplying more than enough if you go that route. I have always been in the camp that as long as you are dusting your flies at every feeding (with Repashy) your probably good with calcium and carotanoids and springtails are more of a treat. Usually when I feed springtails it's in between FF feedings and because I want to watch my frogs for a little. That said I guess it wouldn't hurt to add a little repashy to my brewers yeast (which come to think of it I probably already do since I store the yeast in old repashy bottles). I used to add old supplements to my DIY mix for FF but don't anymore as I found they didn't last as long. Not to mention I've heard gut loading FF probably doesn't do much.
That is interesting about the plaster cultures, leave it to those crazy Dutch. The only problem I can see with that method is the potential for massive die offs if you slack and the plaster dries completely.
I guess one of the main benefits with this method over others is the fact that you can produce many cultures very quickly and the small size of the culture helps with storage. I am just guesstimating here but I would think you can store around at least 9 cultures of these cultures (3 long stacked 3 high) in the same space as a plastic shoe box and I can guarantee you would be able to harvest more springtails faster with this method. I don't own too many frogs and the ones I do are tincs but I could see this being a benefit if you have a whole mess of thumbs and needed to feed lots of springs to the babies. Of course in this instance it would make a lot of sense to make them as nutritional as possible so the addition of calcium to their food would probably be of benefit.