In the wild, isopods are most often found in layers of leaf litter, under rocks or logs, or burrowed a short distance under the
surface of the soil. The environment they seek is moist and dark, in or near dead and decomposing wood and other plant
material. In a home vivarium setting, they do best in dimly lit terrarium/vivarium habitats where temps range between 70-85
degrees F and humidity is at 80-90%. They prefer a moist, organic substrate such as peat moss, coconut fiber, sphagnum
moss, leaf litter, and leaf compost.
Isopods are omnivores. They feed on frass (poop), leftover bits of feeder or pray insects, dead and decaying plant matter, and
pretty much anything else in or on the substrate. In captivity, bits of fish food flakes, dog or cat food, bits of fruit and
vegetables, dried leaves, and mosses are all viable food sources.
- Any plastic container (shoebox or sweater box) that retains moisture and retards predators will suffice
- The culture growth rate will be directly proportional to food availability and container size (bigger container = slower rate)
- Optimum breeding temperature is low to mid-80’s F (warmer = faster)
- Place culture in warm, dimly lit location
- Substrate: Base layer: 2-3 inches of equal parts coconut fiber and peat moss, mixed and moistened (moist but not
dripping wet). Top layer: a layer of moist oak or maple leaf litter and oak/maple wood/wood bark
- Feeding: Feed fruits, vegetables, and occasional fish food flakes/pellets. Do not overfeed. Feed only when previous
food is completely devoured.
- Temperature & Humidity: Mist culture (with dechlorinated water) every 2-3 days. Keep base and top substrate layers
damp and moist. Maintain culture temperature at 80-85 degrees F for best breeding results
There are both male and female isopods. After mating, the female lays several dozen eggs which she carries in a brood pouch
on her underside. It takes 3-4 weeks for the eggs to develop and hatch. A few days after hatching, fully formed, minute
isopods emerge. While nearly invisible at first they soon grow to a size that can be seen by the naked eye. Females are
sexually mature at about 6 months.
To harvest and relocate isopods from culture to habitat simply remove a portion of culture substrate (isopods and all) and place
it in the desired habitat. Isopods will also congregate on pieces of wood, bark and cardboard. Any of these items can be carefully
removed from the culture, placed over the target seeding area, and gently tapped into the desired habitat.