Springtails are primitive wingless insects in the subclass Apterygota.
They are chiefly soil and/or litter dwellers, and live off the fungi that
decompose organic matter. Although they can be very abundant in soil in
the outdoors and household plants, they are seldom noticed because of their
small size. Most of them are 3 mm or less in length. Their
size makes them an excellent food source for newly morphed dart frogs.
They are also useful if introduced into a vivarium with a soil substrate
where they will colonize and serve as scavengers for the ecosystem.
First, take some potting soil (Jack Cover at the National Aquarium in
Baltimore recommends mixes formulated for African violets) and place it
in a microwaveable container. Cover the soil mix with water and allow
the soil to hydrate for about 5 minutes. Next, drain the water off
and microwave the soil until hot. After the soil has cooled, place
approximately 1 inch of the soil in an air tight container such as tupperware
and add water until there are some low points of pooling water. Now
introduce a starter culture of springtails. To provide food
for the springtails, add flake fish food to the culture and mist with water
to insure the food is moist. Do not worry if fungus is seen in the
culture, as the springtails will feed off of it. Please note that
new cultures need to be setup approximately once a month. Also, temperatures
above 80 degrees will greatly reduce productions.
Another method I have seen is to keep moist mulch in a large container, keep it moist, introduce springtails into
it, and let nature take
its course. To feed, place a handful of the mulch in the vivarium.
For places to order supplies and starter cultures
65° - 75° F. (18° - 24° C)
The easiest method I have found is to place several pieces of tree fern
bark (approximately 3" x 3") into the culture and place the food on the
tree fern bark. The springtails will move into the tree fern.
When you want to feed, place one of the pieces of the tree fern bark into the
tank with the frogs. This is especially useful with newly morphed froglets
which need to have food available in a form that they can feed
NUMBER OF CULTURES
I personally do not know of anyone that feeds springtails exclusively,
because of the small size of the springtails. I normally keep 2 -
4 going when I have froglets.