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Old 24-06-2009, 07:38 PM
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Default Help, new with Lobsteer Roaches.

Google found this site in my search for Lobster Roach forum. I'm a bit doubtful I'm in the right place, but here I go. This is about dying roaches.

Two weeks ago I received a batch of Lobsters. There were about 100 adults, plus 200 tiny ones. I found out they like it hot, so I have them in a spacious tank with a wooden lid and a CHE. The warmest spot in the cage is probably 95 - 100 F. The tank is propped up at one end so the bottom is sloped, and I keep about 3 mm of water at the low end. When the roaches approach the water, they first encounter water that is 0.5 mm deep at the shallow end. They can wade in to a depth of about 4 mm, but they do not. I keep the extra water (keep the tank that steeply inclined; 3/4 inch high at one end of a 30 inch long tank)) for a water source for evaporative humidification, if you know what I mean. If I add less water, it evaporates away pretty quickly. I use a 100 watt CHE hung right in the middle of the tank, with the sensor about a foot away; The thermostat is set at 85F, which is actually higher right under he heater.

They are not supposed to stink, right? Well mine do. I suspect the smell is from dying roaches, not rotting ones. I keep the tank clean. Hey, I can't even keep the easiest insects in the world :-( Because of the odor, I can't have company over right now until this is solved. I'm sure my brain has adjusted to the odor, so i can't detect the low intensity odor in my house until I take the lid off the tank. I sift through the roaches every day to remove the dead and drowned (they drown in 1/4 inch of water, that puzzles me). Every day about seven die. With their long lifespans I would not expect that.

They have a bit of every kind of food from a deli sandwich: lettuce, thinly sliced beef, cheese, and bread, fresh every day. No mayonnaise or other condiments. I don't see them clustering around their food. They might be starving. I don't see them flocking to the water, they might be dying of thirst. Today I'm going to get a tin of cat food and add a teaspoon of that to their other food.

I'm sure I'm doing something wrong. Can you help me? Should I wrap the tank in black paper to keep out daylight?

Roger the Bewildered
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Old 24-06-2009, 08:32 PM
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you will probably find alot of the smell is rotten foodstuffs
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Old 24-06-2009, 08:41 PM
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I'd do the following things:

Un-tilt the cage and don't keep flooding the bottom.
What's the ventilation like? You'll need fine mesh at floor level!
Use a substrate like vermiculite (which holds humidity) and spray lightly and regularly.
Move the heating equipment to one end of the cage.
Add sheets of eggcrate, stacked upright, for hiding spaces. Stack them upright so that the frass falls to the floor.

Stop feeding them meat and cheese - THAT will be what smells. Not just the rotting food, but also poorly digested stuff in the faeces.

I feed my roaches (three species at the moment - dubias, red runners and hissers, although I have kept lobsters as well) a mix of the following:

Curly Kale
Sliced "Fresh Greens" (also known as Spring Greens or Collards)
Thinly sliced courgette (zucchini)
Thinly sliced apple
Thinly sliced carrot

They also get a tablespoon or two of moistened chicken layer's mash on occasion for the calcium and protein content.

I suppose the occasional VERY dry cooked chicken bone - with very little meat left on it - or a little bit of dry cat food or undyed dog food - would be suitable as well, but I don't use it myself.
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Old 25-06-2009, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Fine mesh at floor level??

Hello,

Does that mean the floor needs to be composed of fine mesh, like window screen or smaller? I have a 3/8 inch glass drilling bit, and I could drill holes in my tank all around the walls right next to the floor. I would cover the holes with mesh. Does that sound like it will fulfill the fine mesh at bottom requirement?

Roger
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Old 25-06-2009, 07:43 PM
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I would actually remove two square "windows" in the sides of the tank - fairly large - and then apply the window mesh over that. You need a really good through-draft to ensure there is no ammonia buildup.
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Old 25-06-2009, 07:57 PM
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Rather than keeping water in the housing,you could use water gel. I use it for my dubias and locusts it keeps them hydrated and does not get any cardboard hides damp thus eliminating risks of mould.
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Old 25-06-2009, 11:08 PM
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My roaches get all their moisture from their food. They have bran, oats, sometimes pellets, spring greens and butternut squash.
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Old 26-06-2009, 07:55 AM
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if through draft is important maybe use flexarium???? not sure i only have a turkistan colony that are sooooo small they live in a large jar
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