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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been culturing tropical white springtails with almost no problems, but I'm having some major issues with the pink ones (R.I.P). I keep them both the same way -- on charcoal with about an inch of water, and I've been feeding them both exclusively yeast. Today I open up my pink culture and they're all dead (I'm sure it was CO2 because everything was dead). Anywho, here are the problems I've been having, and maybe somebody knows some helpful tips for dealing with them...

I guess the first problem is mites (which also perished via CO2). I had these huge globular and really slow moving white mites in the culture. They couldn't have been praying on the fast springtails, so I have a few theories as so what they've been gorging themselves on: the pink's eggs, the yeast, or the pink's shed exoskeletons. I think it's the last option. So maybe they've been doing a clean-up duty for my clean-ups?
On a similar note, another type of contamination I've been getting is from my white springtails. I've read that they can travel from one culture to another, which is probably how this has happened. Maybe putting both cultures on mite paper would kill two birds with one stone?

I guess the second problem/oddity with my pink culture was the water. My white culture has clear water in it which I've never done anything to. My pink's water however is this yellow urine color. Does anyone else experience this? Is it supposed to be this way?

My last problem might be related to the water. The culture REEKED. Now, I understand that springtail cultures aren't supposed to smell like roses. My white springtail culture doesn't smell either way in my opinion.... it just smells kinda yeast-y, or mildew-y. When I opened my pink culture it smelled of death and decay; like the smell of something that went bad in a tupperware in your fridge, but then you forgot to throw it away for several months. It smelt so bad, my girlfriend commented on the stench from across the room instantly as I opened the (now dead) container. Something is definitely wrong with this picture.

I seeded these guys into my viv, and when I did some remodeling 2 days ago I found plenty of them in there. Any way to start a culture from springs in my viv?

Any advice/input would be greatly appreciated!
 

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There are differences in how springtails tolerate CO2 levels, the more subterranean the springtail, the better they tolerate CO2. In your case, it sounds like the culture went anaerobic with a die off of the bioload in the culture and resulting in the foul smells (decomposition) which is often called souring.

A culture that sours, may have been overfed which increases both CO2 production by the springtails and mites but also by the microbes in the culture.

Ed
 

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i culture my pinks [only springs i have] with my white iso's and actually didnt even touch the cultre for like 7 months, and when i opened it, there were tons of pinks and white iso's...i didnt even open the lid for the 7 months...so I'm surprised your's died of CO2 build-up...how deep is the substrate? Mine are in a large sterilite with my viv mix 1-2'' deep [with cleaned bark(ash, maple, oak and beech), LL and shredded paper ontop] so maybe the large gap between the dirt and lid helped a bit....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There was little room between the lid and the substrate, so less room for air and oxygen. Less room for mistake too I guess.

Do the micron filters allow the springtails to escape? Any more info on these filters?

So how do you get rid of or avoid getting the mites that can survive off of yeast?

Has anyone else experienced the yellow water in their pink springtail culture? I mean it wasn't just yellow after the culture went "sour". I think it got yellow a few days after starting the culture. Is this a bad sign?
 

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here is the filters he is talking about

Fungi Perfecti: micron air filters
Synthetic Filter Discs
These filters fit neatly within the rim of spawn jars underneath the lid, allowing air exchange but preventing the passage of contaminants. Sterilizable and reusable for life (not for food canning) 99.97% efficient filtration down to .3 microns.
For regular-mouth canning jars (70mm diameter opening)
Sets of 10 EADF70/10 $7.95
Sets of 100 EADF70/1C $39.95
 

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Doug,

These filters are used in growing mushrooms and other fungi. I am told by people in the business that they use a cheaper alternative. Tyvek House Wrap. It supposedly has a larger micron flow than .3. Some people use smaller exposure of the tyvek than they would of the filter to compensate. Others use a double layer. I have not tried this myself yet, but I do have some left over in the garage.
 

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Doug,

These filters are used in growing mushrooms and other fungi. I am told by people in the business that they use a cheaper alternative. Tyvek House Wrap. It supposedly has a larger micron flow than .3. Some people use smaller exposure of the tyvek than they would of the filter to compensate. Others use a double layer. I have not tried this myself yet, but I do have some left over in the garage.
Thanks Brian, let us know how they work if you give them a try. Mine aren't as expensive as you might think, though, as I cut them up into smaller pieces.
here is the filters he is talking about

Fungi Perfecti: micron air filters
Synthetic Filter Discs
These filters fit neatly within the rim of spawn jars underneath the lid, allowing air exchange but preventing the passage of contaminants. Sterilizable and reusable for life (not for food canning) 99.97% efficient filtration down to .3 microns.
For regular-mouth canning jars (70mm diameter opening)
Sets of 10 EADF70/10 $7.95
Sets of 100 EADF70/1C $39.95
Yes, those are the ones.
i culture my pinks [only springs i have] with my white iso's and actually didnt even touch the cultre for like 7 months, and when i opened it, there were tons of pinks and white iso's...i didnt even open the lid for the 7 months...so I'm surprised your's died of CO2 build-up...how deep is the substrate? Mine are in a large sterilite with my viv mix 1-2'' deep [with cleaned bark(ash, maple, oak and beech), LL and shredded paper ontop] so maybe the large gap between the dirt and lid helped a bit....
Sounds like an all natural bark and paper diet then? Nice that it's maintenance free! When we push for maximum production in a shorter time, the live yeast is adding to the CO2 problem. I love that there are so many different ways to work springs and Isopods. That air gap is important, especially when unvented. I always leave at least a one inch air gap.
There was little room between the lid and the substrate, so less room for air and oxygen. Less room for mistake too I guess.

Do the micron filters allow the springtails to escape? Any more info on these filters?

So how do you get rid of or avoid getting the mites that can survive off of yeast?

Has anyone else experienced the yellow water in their pink springtail culture? I mean it wasn't just yellow after the culture went "sour". I think it got yellow a few days after starting the culture. Is this a bad sign?
An air gap is important. I always leave at least an inch.

The micron filters will not allow any bugs in or out. Of course, that danger always exists every time you open up to feed or to harvest.

Start with a clean culture, and be careful not to store your culture containers anywhere near an area that may have mites, like close to your vivs. They can crawl up around the lid and move in when you open for feeding. If you get careless and accidently lay your lid down near ff cultures or vivs, they can crawl onto the lid and get in that way. I will be trying to start a thread on methods of trying to clean contaminated cultures soon.
 

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I have seen two different types of mites that seem to survive on Bakers Yeast just fine.
Interesting, once I switched over to baker's yeast, the large white mites and faster yellowish ones all disappeared.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Start with a clean culture, and be careful not to store your culture containers anywhere near an area that may have mites, like close to your vivs. They can crawl up around the lid and move in when you open for feeding. If you get careless and accidently lay your lid down near ff cultures or vivs, they can crawl onto the lid and get in that way.
Ah well that explains where the mites are coming from. I have my viv on top of a cabinet, and the springs are stored in the cabinet, right under the viv.

I try to be as clean as possible to keep any cross contamination from happening directly on my part. I spray any area that I'll work with feeders with 91% i-PrOH before and after working with them (I also wipe down the containers before and after) and I also spray my hands.

I know people keep their FF cultures on mite paper, but does anyone do the same fro their springtail cultures? I'm thinking of buying mite paper from either
Bug Kill and M'Lady No Bugs Insecticidal Shelf and Drawer Paper and Covering for Mite Control or
Anti-Mite Paper, 18 in x 10 ft Roll - Insect Genetics - Genetics - Life Science - Carolina Biological Supply Company
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting, once I switched over to baker's yeast, the large white mites and faster yellowish ones all disappeared.

Ed
Coincidentally, even though the two cultures are a few inches apart, I haven't had problems with the large white mites in my tropical white culture. I see the fast tan ones hanging out on the inside of the lid and the sides waiting for food, but not on the actual charcoal
 

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Coincidentally, even though the two cultures are a few inches apart, I haven't had problems with the large white mites in my tropical white culture. I see the fast tan ones hanging out on the inside of the lid and the sides waiting for food, but not on the actual charcoal
They may be less tolerant of CO2 and are up there to try and avoid it.

Ed
 

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Hmmmm, so might increasing ventilation in that culture actually make the mites more proliferative?
Possibly. I was making an educated guess on why they weren't evenly distributed through the culture.

Ed
 

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Interesting, once I switched over to baker's yeast, the large white mites and faster yellowish ones all disappeared.

Ed
I have some in an old culture that are big, fat, extremely slow moving, white ones. I have also seen some smaller, faster, reddish ones that seem to do fine on just yeast. (sucks!)

Hmmmm, so might increasing ventilation in that culture actually make the mites more proliferative?
It may if the culture already has them. The purpose of the vents is for the springtails to get more oxygen exchange as the culture gets big and food supplies increase. The purpose of the filter material is to try to keep mites out in the first place. Neither will do diddly squat if they are already in there.
 

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Were you using R/O water in your original culture? A friend of mine was having a similar experience to yours and believed it was caused by the high ammonia (Among other things) in his well water. He tried everything without any luck, but once he changed over to R/O water he never had the same problem again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have been using bottled water for my springtail cultures. Again, I've only experienced the yellow water in my pink springtail culture. Could it be caused by wastes from the springtails?

Weird thing is, I got this problem twice with pink springtails. The original culture I started got yellow water, and then I started a second culture by blowing springtails off of charcoal bits and into the new culture (to try to indirectly transfer the springtails without transferring mites). The new water also turned yellow.

Anyone else encounter yellow water in their cultures? Or am I the only one? lol
 

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That would have to be a LOT of springtails to alter the water enough to change it colors simply due to waste. How much yeast were you feeding and at what frequency?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
About a pinch or two every couple of days. The frequency is really dependent on how fast they were eating; I would not add more yeast until the previous was completely gone.

Maybe the yellowing of the water was being caused by some bacteria? Possibly feeding on the waste and all that shed skin that I see the pinks constantly leaving behind?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK, so just to be on the same page as everyone else -- yellow water in pink springtail cultures is abnormal, and everyone else has clear water, correct?
 
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