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Where do you get charcoal for springtails?

4180 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Spar
I have tried using cooking charcoal, but that stuff just breaks up when it is wet so I can't pick up the pieces to feed from them. I'm also considering using LECA. Where do you guys get your charcoal?
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They have both smaller and larger pieces of charcoal. I use the smaller ones like a substrate, and then put the larger chunks on top to use to feed off of. I also use LECA as the substrate (still use the larger chunks on top of this to feed from), and actually like it a little better but it is more expensive.
Josh, a lot of places are selling it like trader joe's, home depot and lowes. It is called "cowboy charcoal". It seems to be the trendy thing to use in grills right now.
I cut pieces of wood to the size that I prefer. Then I get out the wheel barrow and start a fire in it. I keep a 10 gal bucket next to it along with some long metal tongs. I let the wood burn and flip the pieces with the tongs so one side doesn't get too burned. If it is too burned, the charcoal gets brittle. I remove the wood when it begins cracking. The springtails seem to prefer hiding in the cracks. I let the wood soak for awhile and then pull it out of the bucket to wash it. After that, I start cultures and save the remaining wood. I like this method and seem to get good results from my cultures. However, there are other ways to culture springtails that require less effort.

Jon Werner
WALMART... normally in the gardening area.

I refuse to shop at Wallly-World
This is getting a little off subject, and the Mods will probably kick this one to the curb soon, but since we don't have a "Rant and Rave" section, let me join in here.
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The "W" word is a bad word! :wink:

Seeing that I work for the bullseye:)

What method do you find the easiest and most effective to culture springtails?

JWerner said:
However, there are other ways to culture springtails that require less effort.

Jon Werner
Forget charcoal, go with coco bark. Its cheaper, easier to come by, and I think it works more consistiently year round. I believe Black Jungle sells it but i get mine from Quality Captives.
I use 760z. gladware containers with great success, I add a thin layer of sphagnum peat moss, than some leaf litter, than hardwood charcoal. I then feed white rice once a week, it works great.

After culturing springtails a couple of different ways, I feel using treefern chunks is the best. Isually I cut 3 treefern chuns, each roughly 1" tall x 1.5" wide x 3" long. The 3 will fit in a 2 QT Glad container. Most Safewys, Fred Meyers, grocery stores sell these for packaging left-overs. After placing the treefern in the container, I add about 3/4" of RO water. Let the treefern pieces soak overnight. Then add springtails. I believe this method has produced the best results for me because of the amount of surface area for the springtails. The are able to find the best microclimate in the treefern where they breed. This method is not messy at all. When needing springtails, I just tap a piece of the treefern on the side of the tank and hundreds will fall out. I will also periodically mist the top of the treefern pieces too. I replace my water about every 2 months. The springtails that are floating is the water, get dumped into a tank. The springtails that remain in the treefern, start the next culture. They are fed cous-cous.
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Thanks Jon! I'll give it a try compared to some other ways. Sounds easy to feed your frogs this way!
I found that charcoal today at the grocery store, and for full description reasons took a picture of the bag. It appears to be a Texas brand, but I am sure there is a similar brand in all states. But... since most states are sissys when it comes to grilling... you may be out of luck... move to TX :)

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