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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had springtail cultures going for the last year or so without ever running into an issue until recently. I have two different cultures going both using charcoal, but one is like pebble size charcoal the other is much larger lumps of charcoal. I feed them some yeast a couple times a week, and again until a couple weeks ago I always have booming cultures. Within the last couple week my two cultures using the pebble size charcoal cultures have just started dying. As far as I know I have not changed anything about the way that I am keeping them, and the cultures with the larger pieces of culture are still doing fine. The cultures that are dying look normal other than the fact that you can see dead springtails floating on the water, there is no mold or anything else.

Has anyone run into these issues before?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The charcoal is about an inch and a quarter in total depth and the water comes up about half way.
 

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I have had that issue before several times over the years. In my research, my understanding of the theory is as follows: The carbon/charcoal absorbs/neutralizes toxins over a period of time, but after a period of time it loses its effectiveness (the carbon becomes saturated in its ability to remove toxins). At this point the cultures slowly decline in productivity. It happens relatively quickly, though never gets to extinction proportions.

When I notice this, I'll start a fresh new culture with new carbon. I lure the springs into a dish containing soil or abg and feed yeast in that location over the next few days to get them concentrated on it. Then put that small dish into the new culture and feed on the charcoal to get them lured out from the soil container. Remove the soil container and you have a brand new fresh culture that should be booming in no time and last you a while.

I have noticed over the years that the cultures I cull the most often through feeding off and seeding last longer than ones I mere feed and keep going.

I'm sure someone can provide some more science to what happens, but hopefully this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This makes sense and I have wondered about this before because the springtails must be producing some kind of waste over time, so it would make sense that the charcoal would absorb it until it reached its capacity to neutralize the waste. However, in my case when I noticed that my springtails had started dying I started a new culture with new charcoal and its still dying off.
 

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Did you dump the water, any of it from the old culture into the new culture? The new carbon ought to be able to neutralize it, but it may take a little time before the environment becomes more conducive for production. I should have explicitly stated in my previous post that my intention of lureing the springs into the dish was to not add any "fouled" stuff into the new cultures.

I also seem to recall the new cultures taking some time to get going compared to the originals from which I seeded, but that I just chalked up to a smaller population to start with. They always get back to their former glory though with a little time.

Another thing to consider is that it is definitely possible to overfeed them with to much yeast. It kills them via CO2 poisoning/ asphyxiation, same as too high a population can. When the yeast activates it puts off CO2. If the springs don't eat it fast enough it will continue to produce CO2 potentially creating a deadly environment.
 
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