Invert Feeder Cultures

Captive care and husbandry discussions.

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Kelly Mc
Posts: 4526
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 1:03 pm

Invert Feeder Cultures

Post by Kelly Mc »

Let's discuss invert cultures modalities.

Currently doing beetle larvs, roaches, waxworms, springtails, drosophila and banded crickets.

Personally I enjoy working cultures almost as much as vivaria inhabitant care.
stlouisdude
Posts: 441
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:30 pm
Location: St Louis, MO / Hartford, CT

Re: Invert Feeder Cultures

Post by stlouisdude »

I've raised most of the popular ones. I must admit I enjoyed it also. When I was a kid, I did it because I really couldn't afford to pay pet store prices (bait shops were slightly cheaper) but soon learned it was fun and does require a little skill and know how too. I'll give my .02 on culturing various insects. I'm a jack of all trades, expert in none of these species.

Mealworms, red flour beetle, and Superworms: Some people really demonize these but I did not find them to be problematic. I did not see significant undigested materials in any of my reptiles and amphibians. They are eaten by most lizards, salamanders, and frogs I kept. They come in all sizes from tiny to very large. I used the red beetle larva (dusted) for small frogs/salamanders and they only made up a small part of their diets, superworms for large lizards, mealworms for everything inbetween. The lack of available calcium is of course a real concern. I addressed this by growing the mealworms and superworms in ground chicken feed (medication free, Diatomaceous free) rather than something like oats and often put them in with repahsy gutload formulas for 24+ hours before feeding and dusted them often.

Crickets: I found the trick with crickets is make sure they have access to moisture for drinking, but they also need to be dry. I use a paper towel or cotton ball in their water container. The only time I've really had issues is when moisture was high through poor ventilation, especially this has been true for older crickets. The other issue is without fairly warm temperatures it takes them longer to grow. Temperature greatly changes the timeline. I either fed them the ground chick feed and vegetables (any suitable for tortoises or iguanas) or my own mix with 65G Calcim/KG of food for 24-72hours before being fed. I still dusted them fairly often on top of this. Many people hate crickets but I really like them. I found they are widely accepted, can be produced in huge numbers, and they were probably my most heavily used insect.

Roaches: Dubia, Red runner were the species I used. Red Runners are nice because a single container can hold all sizes. unfortunately, I found they often successfully hid from the animals and if not careful could build up in large numbers in enclosures. I never had an infestation in my home but ultimately I just prefer crickets and got rid of them. Dubia are hard to beat for ease of use, they just slowly build in numbers with minimal care and are not fussy. I use a food processor to blend up vegetables in addition to the chick feed. I use a paper towel in a water dish and change it out often.

whiteworms, grindal worms, brine shrimp: These I use for salamander larvae and/or small salamanders. I grow some daphina also outside in buckets. Oddly, I have not had much luck growing mosquito larva where I live. Very few eggs are ever deposited. I use a coffee filter to help sort out the brine shimp as I found the brine shrimp net alone lets most of them through when I try to swirl them in fresh water where the coffee filter holds them in place while I am rinsing them off.

Wingless houseflies: I had really hoped these would work out but I only grew a couple of batches. I really don't recall exactly why I got rid of them but I think I was worried about bacteria with the powdered milk and dog food they were grown in.

Other stuff I use are fruitflies (great for small frogs and some salamanders will take them too), european nightcrawlers (for some reason my culture would always stop producing after a few months, so I kept 2 going, most salamanders love earthworms), silkworms (I find a lot of species like these, but if not kept clean can easily get disease. I've mostly purchased the eggs as I've had mixed results raising these), hormworms (I just buy these).
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Kelly Mc
Posts: 4526
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 1:03 pm

Re: Invert Feeder Cultures

Post by Kelly Mc »

Saint Louis Dude,

Thanks for responding, so much experience I really appreciate you taking the time.

Because of all the taxa and husbandry detail shinin up there I will be brief but really found many parallels of agreement. The mealworms for one, deserve another look I too have found. You really get out what you put into them and healthy guys enjoy with no problem. Fun to feed good things to and easy to keep clean.

I wonder if the flies could be fed another way.. I bet they could.

Thanks for your information. I hope we get some photos too.
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