Springtails are fascinating tiny creatures that are often overlooked in the world of invertebrates. These six-legged arthropods can be found all over the world, living in soil, leaf litter, and other organic debris.
They are also a popular addition to terrarium setups, where they serve as a cleaning crew and help to regulate humidity levels. In this blog post, we'll explore the world of springtails, their benefits, and how to keep them in terrariums.
What are Springtails?
Springtails are tiny, six-legged arthropods that belong to the order Collembola. They are typically less than 6 mm in length and can vary in color from white, gray, brown, or black. Springtails are found in many different environments, including soil, leaf litter, and other organic debris. They are important decomposers, helping to break down dead plant material and other organic matter in the ecosystem.
Common Misconceptions about Springtails
They are harmful to plants: In fact, springtails are beneficial to plants as they help to break down organic matter and release nutrients into the soil.
They are pests: While they may be considered pests in some situations, such as in large numbers in homes or other buildings, springtails are not typically considered harmful to humans or pets.
They can jump long distances: While springtails are known for their ability to jump, they typically can only jump a few centimeters at a time.
They are difficult to keep in terrariums: While it's important to provide a suitable environment for springtails in a terrarium, they are generally easy to keep and can thrive with the right conditions.
They are not important in ecosystems: Springtails play an important role in ecosystems as decomposers, helping to break down dead plant material and other organic matter. Without them, organic matter would accumulate and nutrients would not be released into the soil.
By understanding what springtails are and dispelling common misconceptions, we can better appreciate the important role they play in ecosystems and in our terrariums.
Benefits of Keeping Springtails in Terrariums
Springtails can be a valuable addition to a terrarium setup for several reasons:
The Clean Up Crew: Springtails help to break down dead plant material and other organic matter. This makes them a brilliant cleaning crew in a closed terrarium, doing all of the hard work keeping the soil clean and free of mould and other unwanted organisms.
Controlling Humidity Levels: In tropical terrariums, where high humidity levels can create ideal conditions for mold growth, springtails can help to regulate humidity levels by consuming excess moisture.
Visual Appeal: Some species of springtails have bright colors or unique patterns, adding to the visual appeal of a terrarium.
Setting Up a Terrarium for Springtails
When setting up a terrarium for springtails, it's important to provide them with a suitable environment. Here are some tips:
Substrate: Use a substrate of coconut coir or peat moss mixed with leaf litter or other organic matter to provide both moisture and food for the springtails.
Moisture: Keep the terrarium moist, but not too wet. Too much moisture can lead to mold growth and other issues.
Temperature: Springtails prefer temperatures between 18-27°C, so keep the terrarium in a suitable temperature range.
Light: Springtails are sensitive to light, so keep the terrarium in a dimly lit area or provide shade.
Ventilation: Adequate ventilation is important to prevent the buildup of harmful gases in the terrarium.
Overall, springtails can be a great addition to a terrarium setup. They help to keep the terrarium clean and free of unwanted organisms, regulate humidity levels, and add to the natural beauty and complexity of the ecosystem. By providing a suitable environment, you can create a thriving community of springtails in your terrarium. Interested in adding some to your glass? They are now available to purchase from us HERE.