Dubias Breed Too Slow

Neon Aurora

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1,376
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New Mexico
I've had a dubia colony for over a year now, but I've found that I hardly ever use them. I only feed one gecko from the colony because he refuses to eat anything except roaches. I feel like if I wanted to try to support all of my gecko on a partially roach diet, I would run out of roaches. They just don't grow very fast. I've had mealworm colonies for about as long and have produced thousands and thousands and never come close to running out.

I guess I just don't really understand this problem. How am I supposed to feed off roaches regularly when each one I feed takes a really long time to replace?
 

Eavlynn

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37
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What are your temps for the roaches? They like it toasty. Mine seem to like the high 80s, low 90s, but I've heard of people who keep thriving colonies in the high 90s. If you have enough adults they usually breed pretty quick. Each female averages around 30 babies every 60 to 70 days, so you plan your adults with that in mind. About 3 to 5 females to every male. It can take up to 2 months for a colony to become established, even if you provide them with everything they could want in life. Low breeding rates after a year is probably temp related, it took me forever to get my temps where I wanted them, and heat mats never cut it for me. I had to move my colony to a blacked out 40 gallon tank with a ceramic heat emitter to get the results I wanted.

I've found that the key to happy roaches is heat, darkness, and food. Roach chow supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies, being careful to never allow mold (learned that the hard way).

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Neon Aurora

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1,376
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New Mexico
Honestly, I'm not too sure on my temps. I've had problems. I was heating them with heat tape initially, but I had problems with mold that killed some of my roaches so had to remove it. Perhaps a CHE would work better because it would be more likely to dry them out than create more moisture in the air. I really dislike using CHEs because of the amount of power they use compared to heat tape/UTH.

What wattage of CHE do you use? I think the tub I keep mine in is probably pretty similar to a 40 gallon.

I feel that my colony is established, just slow progress. I see babies in there pretty often but I seem to have either adults or pretty small babies. The nymphs are too small to feed off and I am reluctant to feed off any of the adult females or males because I think I have a pretty good ratio of them.

I haven't been feeding them roach chow. I would rather make my own food when I can rather than buy it. They don't have a very highly regulated diet, I guess. They get the spare fruits and veggies we have on hand and I also specifically buy them oranges because they seem to really like those. I have to be really careful not to give them too much though because of the mold. Otherwise they just get whatever I have. Wheat bran, crushed fortified cereals, things like that. While reading when I first got them, I noticed that some people just feed them fruits and veggies without anything else so I wasn't really sure what the right way to do it was.
 

Eavlynn

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37
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I switched over to the glass tank when I started using the CHE because I was worried about melting the plastic, and having a potential fire hazard. I could never find a safe way to get temps up in the tub. I use a 150 watt CHE, and cover the open area on the screen top with a folded up blanket to trap the heat, which has worked well. I'm not sure how I'd go about using a CHE on a tub, but if you can, I bet boosting the temps will have them breeding well for you in no time.

The CHE definitely dries things out. Before I switched over, I had to keep a close eye on the food because it would mold pretty quickly. Thankfully I didn't have a huge die off event, just a small one that I was able to get a handle on. Now the food is either eaten, or dries up instead of molding.


I buy homemade roach chow from roach vendors. The adults don't need a ton of protein in their diet, but the nymphs need a good bit. And then I throw in fruits and veggies. They definitely do love oranges!

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Neon Aurora

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New Mexico
Hmm, 150 watts is pretty powerful. I've got on 100 watt one that I can test out. I doubt it'll melt the plastic. It's a pretty heavy duty tub.

Thanks for the advice. =)
 

Eavlynn

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Sure thing! 150 is what I had on hand, so I used it. It would probably be a bit much for a plastic tub since they have less air flow.

You've had success with mealworms, what do you do to keep them happy and reproducing? I'd like to give breeding a try for my leos.

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Neon Aurora

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1,376
Location
New Mexico
Oh, mealies are so easy. I keep them in these plastic drawers: plastic drawers rainbow at DuckDuckGo

I keep them in a base of wheat bran and give fruits and veggies daily. Carrots, potatoes, apples, really just whatever is around. If I'm using potatoes or carrots I actually microwave them. I really think they get a more energy from cooked potatoes and carrots than they do from raw. The daily fruits and veggies are definitely the most important things. Before I was just doing it a few times a week and was not liking the quality of my worms. By giving fruits and veggies every day, I get HUGE fat worms that are very active.

At least once a week, I look through all the bins and if the bran is very frassy, I change it out. This requires different size sieves to be able to filter out whatever size worms are in the bin.

I remove the pupae from the worm bins whenever I see them and place them in a separate bin to turn into beetles. When the beetles emerge, they get moved into their own bin. There they are provided with bran and fruits and veggies and they breed like crazy. Every 1-2 weeks I change out their bran and put the old stuff in its own bin because it it full of eggs. The eggs hatch and you get more worms and grow them up and repeat.

I never run out of worms and always have the size that I need. I've thought about heating them but haven't really found it necessary. When the worms are a decent size, they seem to create enough of their own heat just by friction. Their substrate is actually a little warm to the touch. I do think they would grow faster if I heated the really tiny ones since their substrate is never very warm, but it also works fine not to. They grow a little slower, but I always have so many worms that it doesn't really matter to me. I through somewhere near 1000 worms a week and always have plenty.

So all in all, I think the most important things for mealies is nutrition and moisture. Daily fruits and veggies provide both and from there it is relatively simple.
 

Eavlynn

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Messages
37
Location
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That's the cutest rack ever! I don't need a plethora of mealworms, unless I can find someone else who could use them, too. I'll do some poking around. Youre right, It does sound incredibly easy. Let me know how your dubia do for you!

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