Are these plants safe and collecting wild bugs

Vastra

I ate all your bees
Messages
27
Location
Oregon
Hello! I'm working on setting up a new 20 gallon long tank and will be filling part of it (roughly 10Lx12Wx6D) with a sand+soil+eco earth mixture, I want to make this portion of the tank bio-active if I can, and need some leaves for the mixture, plus bugs to clean the soil.

These are the plants I can collect from locally: Oak, Hazelnut tree <my favorite choice, Sugargum tree, purple Japanese Maple, Silver leaf maple.
I'd bake the leaves in the oven for good measure but there's not a lot of information on how toxic these species are to reptiles, will any of them be safe?
He will very rarely hunt something as small as a mealworm but there's still a chance of him eating a bug that's eaten any of these leaves.


On to the bugs..
I would not have put something from the wild into my leo's tank even just a few months ago (though he had woodlice in the tank when I got him) but reading around I'm seeing a lot of people collecting their own pillbugs and springtails and maybe raising a generation or two before adding them to the tank, it's a risk but I'm curious how much of a risk? My yard is pesticide free so the things I'm really worried about are mites and worms, do pillbugs carry many worms? Can you see mites with a microscope? Will mites swim for air if submerged underwater or stick to the bugs? What about springtails? Can they be treated?
Basically any information on wild caught clean up crews from someone with experience would be useful!

If isopods and springtails aren't an option then all I have are mealworms, a few supers, and maybe some dubia roaches. Are mealworms and their beetles enough of a crew?



Oh, and I'm making a custom hide for the warm side (foam & plaster+sand), will the mealworms eat this?
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
11,387
Location
Somerville, MA
I think the idea of breeding wild-caught cleanup crews and putting subsequent generations in the enclosure is fine. I've actually put pill bugs directly from the outdoors into enclosures with no problems. It's more of an issue if someone is collecting wild bugs for the geckos to eat, especially if the bugs fly since there's no way to know where they come from. I have also put leaf litter directly into the enclosure. The geckos aren't going to eat it and I don't believe that leaf litter (especially if it's baked) is going to out-gas anything toxic.

Aliza
 

Vastra

I ate all your bees
Messages
27
Location
Oregon
GAAAAAAUH I was carving the foam for his hide and I found tunnels in it!!! Icky mealworm skin filled tunnels! :skull:
Some mealworms that escaped last year had burrowing into the syrofoam and shed in the tunnels. EEEW.


Hides coming along nicely though..
 

Vastra

I ate all your bees
Messages
27
Location
Oregon
I think the idea of breeding wild-caught cleanup crews and putting subsequent generations in the enclosure is fine. I've actually put pill bugs directly from the outdoors into enclosures with no problems. It's more of an issue if someone is collecting wild bugs for the geckos to eat, especially if the bugs fly since there's no way to know where they come from. I have also put leaf litter directly into the enclosure. The geckos aren't going to eat it and I don't believe that leaf litter (especially if it's baked) is going to out-gas anything toxic.

Aliza
Thank you! :)

I'm going to dig up my dad's microscope and double check the WCs for mites but I'll go through with it! Might go looking for them somewhere else in town though as now I think my yard has raccoon roundworms in it. :main_lipsrsealed: Maybe those are too large for pillbugs..

With the leaf litter I'm more worried about a larger bug (say a superworm or dubia) eating the leaf and then my gecko eating that bug, but hazelnut seems to be the safest of the bunch so far and someone's used at least some sort of maple as gutload.
 
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