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Thread: Harvesting Isopods and Springtails for a tank rebuild

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    [United States]
    Mount Laguna, California, United States

    Default Harvesting Isopods and Springtails for a tank rebuild

    Hi All!

    So, I stupidly messed up and when rearranging some plants in my viv, got a ton of dirt into the drainage layer. It's officially time to rebuild! So, I'm wondering, how do I go about harvesting my Isopod and Springtail colonies? I am planning to reuse some of the soil, but not all, as I'm not happy with the water retention.

    I can see a few isopods milling about most days, so it shouldn't be too hard to pull them, but what about the springtails? Will I be able to see them?? I never see them in the viv as it stands, but I have a large piece of manzanita in it and they could all be hiding under it... but at this point I'm wondering if the culture I bought survived shipping. Having no idea what to look for, I basically dumped it in and figured I'd see what happened.

    I am planning to break everything down this weekend (hopefully) and rebuild with a new landscape mat that actually fits the tank, so any help would be much appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator flybyferns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    [United States]
    Huntington .. New York
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    Default Re: Harvesting Isopods and Springtails for a tank rebuild

    Hello junebug,

    Consider removing and saving as much of the substrate as possible. ( if you are going to put the same frogs back into the enclosure)
    Put into a storage container w a non-air tight lid.
    Tip it up several inches so any left over moisture drains.
    I have even used a big plastic spaghetti strainer over a bucket to let soil drain (into the bucket)
    You'll be crazed trying to remove the isopods.
    Removing the springs is just about impossible.
    Substrate/ soil can be re-used as long as it does not smell ( ie has been draining properly)
    Give it the whiff test !

    I would supplement the soil, however before re-using it:
    1) Josh's ABG ABG, Atlanta Botanical Gardens Mix | Reptile Substrate | Josh's Frogs
    2)2-3 Josh's springs - charcoal and all ! Temperate Springtail (Colombella) Culture (32 oz) - Springtails | Josh's Frogs
    ( I would add these now -including the charcoal - rather than later- adding the springs to the storage bin will start to help clean things up)
    3) feed the springs and the isopods now to keep the colonies going.

    I use green summer zucchini the isopods
    If you are pulling out any old wood your are not going to re-use; throw that in the bin as well for the pods.
    For the springs I feed "Solgar " brewers yeast ( powder) and Josh's springtail food.

    Josh's Frogs Spring to Life Springtail Food (5 oz) - Springtails | Josh's Frogs
    Solgar, Brewer's Yeast Powder, 14 oz (400 g) -

    One or both of these foods can be put into the storage bin; lightly dusting it on top / very gently mix into the very top layer of the soil. Keep in mine , you don't want any frogs walking over the springtail foods.

    Having new/extra ABG on hand can also be use to temporally re-pot any plants that are going back into the enclosure or keep plants moving forward for additional builds.

    If your are getting new frogs for this re-build ...... then I would discard ALL of the soil
    and completely disinfect the enclosure and any deco that might be going back in or stored.
    Now this is a matter of opinion and needs to be your decision.
    Some people just set used substrate aside/ store it - for months and months.

    Have fun with your new build.

    Current Collection
    Dendrobates leucomelas - standard morph
    Dendrobates auratus “Costa Rican Green Black"
    Dendrobates auratus "Pena Blanca"
    Dendrobates tinctorius “New River”
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    Dendrobates tinctorius "French Guiana Dwarf Cobalt"

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    Oophaga pumilio "Rambala"

    Oophaga “Vicentei” (blue)

    Oophaga sylvatica "Paru"
    Oophaga sylvatica "Pata Blanca"
    Oophaga histrionica “Redhead”
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    Oophaga lehmanni "Red"
    Oophaga histrionica "Tado"

    Ranitomeya variabilis "Southern"
    Ranitomeya imitator "Varadero"
    Ranitomeya sirensis "Lower Ucayali"
    Ranitomeya vanzolinii

  4. #3

    Default Harvesting Isopods and Springtails for a tank rebuild

    Springtails are easy to harvest. They float. Either flood the tank with some water higher than the substrate and you can net them out. Or put some substrate into a bin of water, and do the same. The ISO's though, don't float. So they would have to be removed by hand.

    Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world ~ Nelson Mandela
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    0.0.10 Phyllobates Vittatus
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    0.0.5 Dendrobates Leucomelas
    0.0.2 Dendrobates Tinctorius 'Powder Blue'
    0.0.2 Ranitomeya Variabilis 'southern'
    0.0.3 Epipedobates Anthonyi 'zarayunga'
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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    [United States]
    Mount Laguna, California, United States

    Default Re: Harvesting Isopods and Springtails for a tank rebuild

    Yeah, I learned the hard way that Isos drown LOL.

    I had only just seeded the tank, nothing lives in it yet. I suspect the springtails arrived DOA because of heat, so I wasn't feeding them, I figured they could eat whatever waste was in the soil and some of the plant waste as well if they were alive. Isos seem to be doing fine but I may supplement the culture when I re-soil the tank.

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