Springtails - Culturing & Care

Springtail Culture - Your Clean Up Crew!

In nature, springtails are decomposers and are commonly found in and around dead and decaying organic matter. In a terrarium, they will help to decompose the leaf litter, excess plant material and mould.

Once a population is established in your terrarium, they will reproduce on their own and create a steady supply of food. Additionally, they will have the ability to keep up with most of the decomposing needs of the terrarium.

We feed the springtail culture with a pinch of crushed up cracker before we ship. This should be enough to feed your Springtail culture for 3-4 days. Due to their small size, they will actually float on water because they do not break the surface tension. So to harvest, simply add a little water to your culture and watch them all float up to the surface. You can then simply pour them into your terrarium/vivarium.

If you are not adding them straight away, feed them with a light dusting of a crushed up cracker every 3-4 days until you are ready to transfer them to your glass.


Other Tips and Tricks:

  • If you see a lot of small round things moving around in your culture and reduced numbers of springtails, you have a mite infestation. The best thing to do in this case is throw away the culture and start a new one. DO NOT try to save any springtails from the culture that has mites in it. If you get even a couple in your new culture you will end up in the same situation. Either start a new one from an uninfested culture, or buy a new Starter Springtail Culture.
  • Ambient lighting is important. Springtails do not need direct light, but do seem to benefit from a day/night lighting schedule.
  • Do not allow the culture to dry out. Springtails can go weeks without food, but they cannot live in a dry culture.
  • If you notice your culture starting to smell, cut back on the feedings. Any odor is usually associated with excess food in the culture rotting, or possibly too much CO₂ build-up.
  • If you ever open your container and see all of the springtails sitting still and not moving, try leaving the culture open to fresh air for 15-30 minutes. Sometimes the CO₂ levels get too high, and the springtails just need fresh air. If you open the culture and see more than 50% of the top of the culture covered with springtails, you should harvest some in order to start a new culture.
  • The containers that we ship springtails in are good for temporary culturing but are not meant for long term containment.