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What do isopods need to survive?
The isopods rely on the soil bacteria as well as cultures of bacteria in the posterior end of their reproductive tract to break down cellulose and some toxic compounds in the leaf litter that they eat. The young are copophagic, which means they consume the fecal material left by adults.
How do you keep an isopod as a pet?
If you would like to maintain your isopods, you will need to prepare a habitat. We recommend a plastic aquarium/terrarium with a lid. You can also use any plastic container with a lid. Punch small airholes in the lid of your chosen container if it is not vented, and then mist the container with room-temperature water.
How can you tell if an isopod is male or female?
Males and females can be distinguished by looking at the ventral (underside) plane. Males have copulatory organs on the anterior portion of the thorax and females have a pouch for brooding (the marsupium), if they are pregnant. Adults can live for two to five years.
How quickly do isopods reproduce?
Isopods usually breed within 2 weeks to 1 month.

Creating A Basic Isopod Enclosure

 A simple Sterilite-based enclosure for Armadillidium sp.

Most basic style enclosures are built by Isopod enthusiasts, breeders, or by those in an educational setting. These are a little harder to maintain than a live vivarium, but are far cheaper & simpler to create.

Selecting An Enclosure

We recommend providing an enclosure with at least 6 quarts in overall volume (about 1.5 gallons) to start a small colony from one of our Isopod starter cultures. As the population grows, the size of the container can be increased considerably. The Isopods we work with won't readily climb clean glass or plastic containers with vertical sides. A Sterilite container, small aquarium, or tiny glass terrarium would work great for this purpose depending on your aesthetic goals. Providing a small vented area on the top of the enclosure is especially important, considering adequate airflow has proven to be highly beneficial to Isopods in captivity. The ideal size of a vent depends on your ambient conditions, but we personally add a 2in vent on 6 quart (1.5 gallon) containers, 3in vent on 16 quart (4 gallon) containers, and two 3in vents on 28 quart (7 gallon) containers. All vented areas should be covered by fine screen mesh to prevent unwanted guests from joining your Isopod colony. options include more expensive 2-micron filters, and less expensive coffee filters. We use our non-toxic black silicone as adhesive for adding screen.

Substrate Layers

We use & recommend V2 Vivarium Substrate mixed with boiled Leaf Litter for this purpose. The substrate is admittedly a little "over-engineered" for a simple enclosure like this, but it's the basis of all of our breeder cultures here at Tropical Isopods, and we've had great luck with it over the past few years. Substrate should be at least a couple inches deep, and a few inches away from the top of the enclosure. A thin layer of Leaf Litter is then applied on top of the substrate, with care taken to ensure it doesn't reach too far up the sides to allow for Isopods to escape. We recommend moistening the whole enclosure evenly at first as an easy baseline. Afterward, one end of every enclosure is kept slightly more dry than the other to allow the Isopods to naturally hydroregulate. We try to keep all of our Isopods between 73F-83F year-round. If your room temperature is significantly cooler, it may be worth purchasing an Under Tank Heater, and placing it on one side of the enclosure to allow the Isopods to thermoregulate. (We've got models available for both plastic & glass style enclosures!)

Maintenance & Feeding

Maintenance & upkeep will involve adding more boiled & crushed leaf litter as the supply is eaten, misting every other day or so, and performing at least partial substrate changes every 4-6 months.