Before the Isopod-Hype reached us, isopods were mainly used as clean-up crews in many kinds of reptile terrariums. Reptile keepers promised themselves a positive effect on the artificial biological system which is state in a terrarium. They actually got to see great results because the tiny isopods are very hardworking when it comes to organic waste, mold or other kinds of dirt. It’s great food material for them.
Ever since using the cuban isopods (Porcellionides pruinosus) as feeding animals, the kinds that are reproducing very quickly are often used as food for reptiles and amphibians. Especially the great amount of calcium of their exoskeleton makes isopods an ideal food for those animals. And as long as they’re not eaten, they clean up the ground. Could it get any better?
Nowadays, isopods have become a way more special to some of us and they’re not just used for feeding other animals or to clean up their mess. They’re often kept in seperate tanks and many keepers aren’t quite sure what to feed them instead of the basic food such as fallen leaves, dead food or cuttlebone. In the following text you’ll get many tipps about that, but first, I’d like to give you some information about what isopods eat in their natural habitat.
What Isopods eat in nature
Looking at the natural food sources of isopods, you will notice that they mostly eat what comes in their way. They’re not hunters that imitate any living animal. They’re the victims most of the time. So they eat things like fallen leaves, dead wood, moss or linches. Their high need of calcium is covered by them eating different kinds of stones and dead insects. What you should totally and always bear in mind is that plant based food is the easiest and most important food for isopods.
Plant based food is great, even in a terrarium
While organizing your terrarium, you should always be inspired by nature. If you want to keep your isopods right, you should make sure to prioritize plant based foods. A great example is to offer them fallen leaves, dead wood and different kinds of vegetables such as zucchini or carrots. Every now and then you can offer them a substitute for the dead insects which they eat in nature. Over time, i realised that the best product for that is shrimps.
Isopod food in stores
If you’re looking for food that is made for isopods you probably won’t find any. That’s why many use fish food to feed their isopods. The offers of fish food again are uncountable, just as the variation of ingredients and recipes. Some include artificial attractants, questionable bacteria or just unnecessary extracts that are more harmful than positive. The best decision would be to go for a natural and organic version that only includes the things that isopods actually need.
How to meter your Isopod food properly
As important as the right choice of food for isopods is the right metering of the food. Many keepers – mostly beginners – are putting way too much food inside the tank to make sure they won’t starve to death. That’s not productive at all since it will probably get moldy spread around the terrarium really quick. This can even lead to the death of your tiny flatmates. Keep in mind that isopods are very little and can’t eat much. So only put as much food inside the tank as they really need. I recommend to use food that’s rich of proteins every three days, it’s also great if you switch up the kinds of food you use so that they’ll get as many ingredients as possible. You don’t have to feed your animals every day and if you put in too much food by accident I’d recommend to take out the leftovers very soon.