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Old 11-21-2019, 03:12 PM
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Default A new way I've been culturing springtails.

I am sure there is nothing new under the sun but I have not come across this way of culturing springtails so here it goes.

I have been using 8 ounce deli cups for my cultures, these have small holes poked into them for air exchange. What I do is FIRMLY press clay into the bottom of the cups. This is the same kind of clay you make for clay walls and there are plenty of recipes out there if you look. You can also make the clay calcium bearing for added nutrition.

All you have to do from there is add springtails then feed and mist them accordingly. I feed them brewers yeast and mist when it looks dry or I see cracks in the clay.

It works great as you can create many many cultures in a short amount of time.

The idea of pressing the clay as firm as possible is that then you can tap the culture into a viv without any clay becoming dislodged. Eventually if the cultures dry out a bit the clay might separate from the cups, at this point I do not abandon the culture I simply take the culture and blow the springtails into the viv.

You could alternatively just open the lid to the culture put it into the viv and let the frogs go to town.

I have not tried this but I feel these would make great vacation feeders as well. All that would have to be done is have a culture that is booming and poke a small hole (big enough for the springtails to escape / small enough that no frogs get in) at ground level in the culture. This would slowly release springtails into the viv with no real threat to the frogs. I would imagine some springtails will venture out while other will stay put which would make for a slow and steady release but as I said I haven't but this theory to the test.

Anyway thought I would share. It's been working great for me and I have so many springtails that I have been feeding them all most exclusively to my fish. Let me know what you guys think.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

This does sound interesting. Could you post a link to the clay recipe that you use?
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
Let me know what you guys think.
Sounds like a great idea. Seems as though your setup solves one of the biggest problems in springtail usage, which is how to feed them out to the frogs (yeah, I know there are a bunch of ways people approach this problem -- this method sounds better than any of the others I've read or tried).

I'm skeptical of the 'vacation feeder' idea. First, a person can dump a lot of springs into a viv without stress to the frogs -- like the population of a few 8 oz cultures. Two, I don't see the value in any sort of vacation feeder; healthy frogs can go a week -- easily -- without any bugs added to a properly running viv, and for more than a week a qualified frogsitter should check in anyway. Perhaps there are some very limited cases where the spring feeder would be useful (growouts where there isn't a naturally large spring population established, maybe), but for general practice vacation feeders aren't valuable.

Some pics of your cultures would be interesting, if you could post some. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Originally Posted by Herpin Man View Post
This does sound interesting. Could you post a link to the clay recipe that you use?
This is what I have used in the past when making it myself, it is DB user @Pumilo 's blend

Recipe for clay walls here.
3 Quarts RedArt powdered clay
1/2 Quart Sodium Bentonite powdered clay
1/2 Quart Calcium Bentonite powdered clay
3/4 Quart Sphagnum moss run through a blender
1/2 Quart Fine Aragonite Sand
1/4 to 1/2 cup Calcium Carbonate

Link here: https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/me...ilo-build.html Comment #33

These particular cultures I bought premade stuff off ebay. Link:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/LIVING-BACK...0AAOSwnDZT3aFu

Last edited by thedudeabides; 11-21-2019 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
Sounds like a great idea. Seems as though your setup solves one of the biggest problems in springtail usage, which is how to feed them out to the frogs (yeah, I know there are a bunch of ways people approach this problem -- this method sounds better than any of the others I've read or tried).

I'm skeptical of the 'vacation feeder' idea. First, a person can dump a lot of springs into a viv without stress to the frogs -- like the population of a few 8 oz cultures. Two, I don't see the value in any sort of vacation feeder; healthy frogs can go a week -- easily -- without any bugs added to a properly running viv, and for more than a week a qualified frogsitter should check in anyway. Perhaps there are some very limited cases where the spring feeder would be useful (growouts where there isn't a naturally large spring population established, maybe), but for general practice vacation feeders aren't valuable.

Some pics of your cultures would be interesting, if you could post some. Thanks for sharing!
Good points for the vacation feeders. Usually that is just what I do (dump a bunch of springs directly into the viv and have a go to frogsitter, I usually don't bother if I am gone less than a week to have someone come over). I guess my thought on the vacation feeder is that instead of the springs quickly getting lost in the wood work the frogs would quickly learn to congregate by the opening where the springs come out. This would almost serve like a feeding station like putting a piece of fruit in your viv to attract fruit flies. It seems to me like it would work in theory. Maybe I will test the theory out and let you know the results.

Also maybe I should clarify the, "no real threat to the frogs comment." I did not mean as much stressing the frogs with too many flies/springs/whatever. I was more thinking of the stories I've heard where frogs get stuck in the culture media of vacation feeders then die.

I will snap a few picks of some cultures when I get home.
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Last edited by thedudeabides; 11-21-2019 at 04:33 PM. Reason: jlgghjf
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Old 11-22-2019, 02:43 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Hmmm This seems much quicker and easier then smashing up charcoal. About how thick of a layer of clay do you use?
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Old 11-22-2019, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

I currently keep my springtail cultures on hygrolon clay balls instead of charcoal. Works great.
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Old 11-22-2019, 04:46 PM
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I’m failing hard at culturing them on anything else but soil. 😞
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Just had a random thought has anyone tried covering the hydroballs in calcium clay (imagine like a chocolate whopper). This way you get the crevices for the micro fauna, the calcium benefit, , you use way less clay, but also it doesn't crush into a solid mass if you press on it
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Iím failing hard at culturing them on anything else but soil. 😞
What do you feed your springtails? / what other substrates have you tried?
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

I can't get hold of charcoal (out of season here). I've attempted to culture on orchid bark pieces and soil thus far but only the soil seems to produce a stable population. Hard to dispense them from that though... I am trialling cardboard which looks like it'll work well with a few taps.

Feeding, I've tried fish food, mushroom and carrot. Carrot seems to do it.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Im wondering how well pot scrubbers, pond filter sponges, plastic shower loofahs, or stuff like plastic "easter" grass etc would work.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Originally Posted by Johanovich View Post
I currently keep my springtail cultures on hygrolon clay balls instead of charcoal. Works great.
this is why I used leca/hygrolon in all my tanks - breeder and temp.

The wonderful spaces between the balls allows = good aerobic.

The tiny balls are fired clay already - dunno if that would have a calcium transfer benefit.

Springtails like isopods need calcium to grow cuticle / bodymass. Best food I've found is Josh's frogs spring to life.
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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this is why I used leca/hygrolon in all my tanks - breeder and temp.

The wonderful spaces between the balls allows = good aerobic.

The tiny balls are fired clay already - dunno if that would have a calcium transfer benefit.

Springtails like isopods need calcium to grow cuticle / bodymass. Best food I've found is Josh's frogs spring to life.
For springtails is usually mix a bit of calcium carbonate into their food and for isopods I put some cutllefish shell pieces (cleaned and boiled) into their box. I also usually do this in terraria to provide the resident isopods with a calcium source.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:32 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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For springtails is usually mix a bit of calcium carbonate into their food and for isopods I put some cutllefish shell pieces (cleaned and boiled) into their box. I also usually do this in terraria to provide the resident isopods with a calcium source.

Yeah the isopods and springtails definitely seem to enjoy the cuttlebone (only a $1 at walmart). Do you use a repti calcium or like crushed calcium carbonate pills?
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Originally Posted by Beerbohm View Post
Yeah the isopods and springtails definitely seem to enjoy the cuttlebone (only a $1 at walmart). Do you use a repti calcium or like crushed calcium carbonate pills?
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Originally Posted by PBM3000 View Post
I can't get hold of charcoal (out of season here). I've attempted to culture on orchid bark pieces and soil thus far but only the soil seems to produce a stable population. Hard to dispense them from that though... I am trialling cardboard which looks like it'll work well with a few taps.

Feeding, I've tried fish food, mushroom and carrot. Carrot seems to do it.
Try Lowes or Home depot online. I believe its called orchid or floral charcoal
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Yeah the isopods and springtails definitely seem to enjoy the cuttlebone (only a $1 at walmart). Do you use a repti calcium or like crushed calcium carbonate pills?
I collect them at the beach. My birds also love them. Just make sure to clean and thouroughly cook them.

I have some pure calcium carbonate available from when I was making a clay substrate for froglets, but you can also just crush cuttlebone and use that. It's mostly calcium carbonate anyway but it also contains some extra minderals.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Hmmm This seems much quicker and easier then smashing up charcoal. About how thick of a layer of clay do you use?
It's probably a little more than halfway up the side of an 8 oz deli cup so maybe 1" or so.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

With hydroballs you run into the same problem as charcoal in that it isn't as easy to get the springtails out of your cultures. This method makes that much easier than any other culturing methods I've tried and you can also make lots of cultures at the same time. As far as putting clay on hydroballs to culture this won't make getting them out of the cultures any easier and would also eliminate the ability to water feed. I use 8 oz deli cups with about an inch of clay in the bottom so it's not using a ton of clay anyway.

As far as feeding springtails I have never used anything other than brewers yeast and have always had good results. The couple times I've put strawberries or mushrooms in cultures I end up with grain mites.

Personally I feel that commercial food for springtails and fruit flies are unnecessary and a waste of money. The videos you see for advertisements of said products showing booming cultures can be accomplished by just adding a large number of flies/springs to the initial culture and those cultures will probably ultimately crash. Change my mind.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
With hydroballs you run into the same problem as charcoal in that it isn't as easy to get the springtails out of your cultures. This method makes that much easier than any other culturing methods I've tried and you can also make lots of cultures at the same time. As far as putting clay on hydroballs to culture this won't make getting them out of the cultures any easier and would also eliminate the ability to water feed. I use 8 oz deli cups with about an inch of clay in the bottom so it's not using a ton of clay anyway.

As far as feeding springtails I have never used anything other than brewers yeast and have always had good results. The couple times I've put strawberries or mushrooms in cultures I end up with grain mites.

Personally I feel that commercial food for springtails and fruit flies are unnecessary and a waste of money. The videos you see for advertisements of said products showing booming cultures can be accomplished by just adding a large number of flies/springs to the initial culture and those cultures will probably ultimately crash. Change my mind.


I meant using the clay covered hydroballs for inside the terrarium
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:06 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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I meant using the clay covered hydroballs for inside the terrarium
That clay wouldn't stay on there very long.
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Some pics of your cultures would be interesting, if you could post some. Thanks for sharing!
Here is some pictures to show how much clay/how far up the side I am using. This culture is older so you can see the clay has separated from the side and springs are congregating in the gap between the clay and the cup.

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

Just some pictures of the culture. I hadn't fed in a while so they aren't going crazy or anything.

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
With hydroballs you run into the same problem as charcoal in that it isn't as easy to get the springtails out of your cultures. This method makes that much easier than any other culturing methods I've tried and you can also make lots of cultures at the same time. As far as putting clay on hydroballs to culture this won't make getting them out of the cultures any easier and would also eliminate the ability to water feed. I use 8 oz deli cups with about an inch of clay in the bottom so it's not using a ton of clay anyway.

As far as feeding springtails I have never used anything other than brewers yeast and have always had good results. The couple times I've put strawberries or mushrooms in cultures I end up with grain mites.

Personally I feel that commercial food for springtails and fruit flies are unnecessary and a waste of money. The videos you see for advertisements of said products showing booming cultures can be accomplished by just adding a large number of flies/springs to the initial culture and those cultures will probably ultimately crash. Change my mind.
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:
https://www.gifkikkerportaal.nl/Gifk...n-gips-methode
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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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:
https://www.gifkikkerportaal.nl/Gifk...n-gips-methode
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.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Made a quick and dirty video of how I feed out the springtails to the fish in my paludarium.

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Old 12-15-2019, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
This is what I have used in the past when making it myself, it is DB user @Pumilo 's blend

Recipe for clay walls here.
3 Quarts RedArt powdered clay
1/2 Quart Sodium Bentonite powdered clay
1/2 Quart Calcium Bentonite powdered clay
3/4 Quart Sphagnum moss run through a blender
1/2 Quart Fine Aragonite Sand
1/4 to 1/2 cup Calcium Carbonate

Link here: https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/me...ilo-build.html Comment #33

These particular cultures I bought premade stuff off ebay. Link:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/LIVING-BACK...0AAOSwnDZT3aFu
Any other links for the premade clay?
Or anything specific I can look for in a craft store?
That recipe looks complicated.

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Old 12-15-2019, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Found a video using cat litter. Anyone try that? Cant seem to get it smooth, but maybe that is a good thing

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Old 12-15-2019, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Found a video using cat litter. Anyone try that? Cant seem to get it smooth, but maybe that is a good thing


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Old 12-16-2019, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

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Found a video using cat litter. Anyone try that? Cant seem to get it smooth, but maybe that is a good thing


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You can use cat litter but it doesn't hold up well over time. Cat litter is mainly sodium bentonite (one of the ingredients in the mix I included) one of it's tendencies is to adsorb too much water this causes clay walls to fail over time. Would it work in this application? Not sure.

As far as other links that is the only pre-made clay I have seen out there.

At the end of the day the mix I included is solid and has been used for both clay walls and substrate. You can buy most of the ingredients at a ceramics store.
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

I tried " natural clay" ,from Michael's, (link below) but it was a big failure. I think the clay is still absorbing the water because the next day the springs were stuck in the clay and it was like quick sand to them.

The kitty litter clay seems to ge working our so far.


https://www.michaels.com/craft-smart...M10114031.html

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Old 12-18-2019, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

I have tried this and it failed for me
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troia View Post
I have tried this and it failed for me
Hmm, I wonder why? How long did it take before they crashed? Mine are still going strong.
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Old 01-22-2020, 03:06 AM
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I skimmed looking for the post to give credit to whomever advised using avocado peels. Holy crap is that awesome. I keep a mushroom atop the charcoal, and the avocado peel above that. I haven’t ever had a springtail boom until now.

They retain the integrity required for shaking them off after weeks of sitting in a moist environment too.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Does anyone have a good source for iso's or springs that don't send you a few fresh starter cultures?
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:52 PM
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Has anyone tried using the zoomed excavator clay substrate for this purpose? Just wondering if it would work?
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Old 02-15-2020, 04:44 AM
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Default Re: A new way I've been culturing springtails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
Hmm, I wonder why? How long did it take before they crashed? Mine are still going strong.
Yours are going strong with the cat litter clay?

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