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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a terrarium (not my future dart frog vivarium, but rather the terrarium that got me interested in the hobby) which I seeded with springtails and a couple types of isopods (dwarf white and purple, dairy cow) out of curiosity. I added them a month or two ago.

I added some CUC food the other day, and after it started to mold noticed these black bugs running around on it. Very fast, wingless, tiny (maaaybe 2-3mm long), and aggressive towards each other (they chase each other away from the food with raised... Tails? Hind ends?).

Are these adult springtails, or some other random bug that hitched a ride in on a plant? I bare-rooted the plants as much as possible before adding them, but some of the spikemosses had dirt still. I'm concerned because I used the same supplier to order plants for my vivarium that I'm starting to build, and I'd hate to introduce something unpleasant to the place I'll eventually house dart frogs in...

Not the best pictures, I'll try to get better ones later
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The terrarium itself
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The bugs look to be native springtails to me... Likely came in on your substrate. Almost all my tanks have inverts that look similar... or used to until the frogs devoured them
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The bugs look to be native springtails to me... Likely came in on your substrate. Almost all my tanks have inverts that look similar... or used to until the frogs devoured them
Thanks! I won't worry about them if they appear in the viv too then
 

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I think they look more like staphylinid beetles rather than springtails based on your description of their behavior, combined with the photos. You will need much clearer photos and/or something for size reference if you want a definitive identification...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think they look more like staphylinid beetles rather than springtails based on your description of their behavior, combined with the photos. You will need much clearer photos and/or something for size reference if you want a definitive identification...
Oh, looking at photos of rove beetles you might be right. They vamoosed as soon as I misted the terrarium, so I'll see if I can catch one in a deli cup tomorrow once it's dried a little bit, to get better photos.

On the plus side, poking around in the substrate showed me some of my (actual) springtails doing their thing, and the dairy cow isos are all still there chilling, so positive signs! 😅
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looked again before bed and managed to catch one. Closer photos definitely look like beetles. Do they get in by hitchhiking in substrate/plants as well?

The biggest concern I've seen about them online is that they're voracious eaters and will go after springtails (and I suppose isopod larvae?). Is my best bet just to make sure I have a good springtail culture going on the side? The vivarium will sit for several months "growing in" before I add frogs (mostly due to difficulty getting frogs shipped with how hot it is in the summer), so I can culture springtails separately for a while... (And of course hope for no aggressive bugs to get in, but i'd rather not count on that lol)
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Yeah these are rove beetles, possibly atheta coriara. I actually breed these as a feeder, my small geckos love them and their larvae. They're sometimes also used as a biological control for root aphids and fungus gnats and will certainly eat some springtails but are nothing to worry about in a vivarium. I'd be very surprised if they managed to eradicate your springs. I don;t believe they will eat isopods or their larvae. I have these in all my tanks and they generally reach a sort of dynamic equilibirum with the springtails and other microfauna as long as there is sufficient food but the population can grow quite quickly if theres nothing preying on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah these are rove beetles, possibly atheta coriara. I actually breed these as a feeder, my small geckos love them and their larvae. They're sometimes also used as a biological control for root aphids and fungus gnats and will certainly eat some springtails but are nothing to worry about in a vivarium. I'd be very surprised if they managed to eradicate your springs. I don;t believe they will eat isopods or their larvae. I have these in all my tanks and they generally reach a sort of dynamic equilibirum with the springtails and other microfauna as long as there is sufficient food but the population can grow quite quickly if theres nothing preying on them.
Too bad they'll be too big for dart frogs lol. I did get a bunch of fungus gnats in the terrarium, wonder if that's why their population boomed. Hopefully with the viv being more enclosed I'll have fewer issues (and maybe I should sterilize the substrate to kill off any larvae 🤔)
 

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Too bad they'll be too big for dart frogs lol. I did get a bunch of fungus gnats in the terrarium, wonder if that's why their population boomed. Hopefully with the viv being more enclosed I'll have fewer issues (and maybe I should sterilize the substrate to kill off any larvae 🤔)
I'd also be slightly more hesitant to feed these to darts as some rove beetles produce fairly potent defensive toxins. I imagine there would be a slightly higher risk of a dart frog being able to produce it's own toxins if fed a lot of rove beetles but I'm no expert.
 
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