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I am currently breeding wild caught isopods, pillbugs and sowbugs living together in a fairly large sterilite bin. They have mostly ecoearth as a substrate and also some forest moss and pieces of wood and misc. organic material. I mist them every other day, though I think I should everyday. Most of them are young white ones, mostly from manual sorting through a tall industrial sieve, which works quite well but gets tedious and starts hurting my eyes and neck over time. Sieving them helps to prevent other soil-dwelling arthropods (especially mites) from invading their culture. My bin remains at around 90% humidity with a tiny bit of ventilation, but I focus more on moistening the soil, so sometimes I pour water into the soil. Regarding the environmental conditions, I think the soil being light and fluffy is important for these arthropods, and coconut fiber also gives a plentiful source of food for the pillbugs, so that's why I did ecoearth. I added moss as an extra addition and to retain some moisture. I tried using dirt breeding pillbugs and camel crickets, and it of course was very packed and dried out easily, though I never poured water into the soil and instead misted it occasionally. That operation was finally scrapped once a black field cricket ate literally everything remaining there, it eventually died from pesticides or some virus, though I am more likely to think it was pesticides from the potatoes I fed it. I digress.
So I have some questions about the optimum environment for breeding isopods, including sowbugs, pillbugs, and common striped woodlice. More important questions will have emboldened numbers.
1. Should I contain the different species all in one big bin? Should I keep pillbugs and sowbugs in the same bin?
What should I do if mites arise? I tried adding a cheap predatory mite when the bin was smaller, but I don't know if it helped much; those were meant to eat thrips and specific mites. I hear springtails like well with isopods, but somewhere else I heard springtails could eat mites. Are there passive beneficial insects that could live with the isopods but eat mites?
Can isopods handle dense populations? I see they like living in small 'families' in the wild, so it would make some sense to me.
Is it a problem some isopods will be under the fluffy coconut fiber soil? Will they be able to resurface? It would be a pain to have to manually keep them all above the substrate.
5. In general, are pillbugs practical to scale up to larger sized cultures? I hear they can take 3-5 months to achieve breeding age (that would be as long if not longer than Madagascan hissers); are there any differences between age development for pillbugs vs sowbugs vs common striped woodlice, or which one would be more practical and fast to reproduce and farm? I assume pillbugs take longer.