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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey gang 馃憢
Long term lurker, first time poster. I started a paludarium (exoterra 60x60x45) about 18 months ago with a view to getting some PDFs, added some isopods, shrimp, mourning gecko after the plants started to pick up, and a year on, I鈥檝e steered away from frogs and added vampire crabs. The geckos (4) I added as hatchlings have just started laying. I鈥檝e also started a couple of nano aquarium and a larger open-top musk turtle (rescued, very docile female, long story) riparium with some tetras and endlers.

I think setting up the paludarium awoke a bunch of memories of having aquaria growing up in the 80s and I went for it.

I鈥檝e leant on this forum a lot for advice as almost all of my creations are heavily planted and ecosystems in their own right - if not strictly a naturally occurring biome. All roads lead to dendroboard.com

I鈥檝e got mixed species, which I monitor but getting it out there before I end up in some hot water. Mourning geckos with vampire crabs - the crabs don鈥檛 leave the edge of the water and lower level much, though the geckos have started exploring their burrows occasionally. There are neo shrimp in there but they鈥檙e thriving. No issues so far. As for the turtle with the fish - well she鈥檚 dumb as a rock and doesn鈥檛 care about them. They actually eat out of her mouth and clean her when she鈥檚 sleeping.

Im happy to be here posting but I did register for a reason:

I鈥檝e recently noticed an aphid population (probably from a new fern I added when I realised PDFs might be prohibitively high-maintenance for me at this point in my life, and so didn鈥檛 need the open lower level/ground area).

Apparently frogs love them but I have no frogs. I have the crabs and the geckos to think about too. The options currently seem to be ladybugs or lacewing. Ladybugs (or ladybirds as we call them in 馃嚞馃嚙) are toxic and lacewing larvae have impressive mandibles. Anyone have any experience clearing aphids in an established habitat without frogs?

sorry for bowling in with a big question on the first post. Thanks for any advice you can give.

Here鈥檚 the paludarium:
295411


and an honourable mention to hot sauce hotel:
295412
 

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I'm UK based too and I've had the exact same thing happen to me. For some reason it always seems to be ferns that bring in aphids. I had a big outbreak of some kind of black aphid in a Lygodactylus conraui vivarium the same size as yours and they only lasted until the next batch of eggs hatched out and then the babies absolutely demolished them so I suspect you actually just have a great supplemental food source that wont last long when your mourning gecko eggs hatch.
I've got another tank with the same black aphids but for whatever reason the only plant in there that seems able to support them is a java fern growing on a very low flow waterfall/drip feature. I just leave them alone and they don't ever get out of hand in that tank, there are rove beetles in there that I suspect prey on them and an adult Sphaerodactylus macrolepis that probably picks a few off too although they might be too small and slow moving to get her attention, The adult L. conraui never showed any interest in aphids - only the babies.
If you have persistant problems though I have used Aphidoletes aphidimyza very effectively as a biological control for aphids in my garden, their larvae are slightly smaller than a mature fruit fly but absolutely decimate aphids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm UK based too and I've had the exact same thing happen to me. For some reason it always seems to be ferns that bring in aphids. I had a big outbreak of some kind of black aphid in a Lygodactylus conraui vivarium the same size as yours and they only lasted until the next batch of eggs hatched out and then the babies absolutely demolished them so I suspect you actually just have a great supplemental food source that wont last long when your mourning gecko eggs hatch.
I've got another tank with the same black aphids but for whatever reason the only plant in there that seems able to support them is a java fern growing on a very low flow waterfall/drip feature. I just leave them alone and they don't ever get out of hand in that tank, there are rove beetles in there that I suspect prey on them and an adult Sphaerodactylus macrolepis that probably picks a few off too although they might be too small and slow moving to get her attention, The adult L. conraui never showed any interest in aphids - only the babies.
If you have persistant problems though I have used Aphidoletes aphidimyza very effectively as a biological control for aphids in my garden, their larvae are slightly smaller than a mature fruit fly but absolutely decimate aphids.
hey, thanks for replying - glad to hear it鈥檚 not just me. Would be ideal if the geckos grow to love them, and, like you, they are hyper local to two ferns but they鈥檙e dense - new fronds are almost completely black/covered in them. I had the gall gnats (Aphidoletes aphidimyza) on my list but haven鈥檛 seen them available on eBay - they look like a perfect snack for the mourning gecko too. Where did you source those?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For some reason it always seems to be ferns that bring in aphids.
also, arrowhead (syngonium sp.) though instead of black aphids I get green ones. I just removed that from the paludarium but subsequently added another variety to the riparium and the same thing happened. That plant isn鈥檛 very successful in the riparium so the aphids have little to go on.
 

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Biological controls are always pretty expensive but here's the cheapest UK source I could find for 250 pupae.
Aphidoletes 250
It's the larvae that actually prey on the aphids so you would need to try and find some way to confine the adults to the tank until they've laid eggs but the good news is the adults are strongly attracted the sugary excretions of the aphids themselves and so small and harmless as to not be that much of a problem if some escape.
Cool tanks by the way. I've been tempted to get some vampire crabs myself, have yours reproduced in there? I imagine the mourning geckos would probably eat babies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
here's the cheapest UK source I could find for 250 pupae.
Ah thanks man, that鈥檚 super helpful. I鈥檒l sleep on it but it鈥檚 no bother if a few escape during feeding/maintenance.


Cool tanks by the way. I've been tempted to get some vampire crabs myself, have yours reproduced in there?
cheers! I鈥檓 having fun with it, enjoying slowly finding equilibrium. They鈥檙e quite new - only a couple of months. There鈥檚 5 of them and they鈥檙e really shy - I鈥檒l peer in and see a lot of scuttling and then just a few pairs of yellow eyes peering out from behind stuff. No sign of babies but the tank is such a maze I鈥檇 struggle to know. I thought I only had 3 mourning geckos (I added 4) for over a year until one day recently seeing them all together out about!
 
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