As we focus on the beautiful and amazing animals we keep, it is easy to forget about the small things - arguably the most important part of the mini environment we create for our amphibian friends.
In case you haven't guessed it yet, I'm talking about the wonderful little clean up crew worker, the springtail. These great creatures are the backbone of the modern vivarium. They eat the mold and help to speed the process of breaking down waste in the tank. When properly seeded, these little helpers can keep you from having to clean your tank out every couple of days and extend your substrate’s life to 2 years or more!
The thing about sprinagtails is they are tasty! Frogs love to eat springtails. When left to their own devices, springtails will keep their populations healthy and prolific. But then when you add our voracious eating frog friends, the springtail population magically decreases. Generally they hold their own for a while, but in order to bolster your cleanup crew so they can keep up with the water in the tank, it is always good to keep a “Mother Culture”.
The care for a mother culture is about a minute every week… but the best part is that if you care for it properly, you'll never have to buy another springtail culture again!
Take a look at our springtail culture kit. This comes with everything you need to set up your Mother Culture. Set up is a breeze. Simply put your charcoal into the plastic bin about half full. Then empty your springtail starter culture in the bin. Add water until it is about halfway to ¾ the way up your charcoal layer. The last touch is a sprinkle of Spring to Life. This is not the actual food the springtails will eat. This is actually just a medium to grow the mold that the springtails thrive on.
Now that you have your Mother Culture setup, it's time to set it aside. Cultures thrive best in temperatures in the low 70s. Once every week, check the water level to keep it between halfway to ¾ the way up the charcoal layer and sprinkle a little more Spring to Life on the culture. Using Spring to Life may take a few tries to add the right amount. You want to have mold left over every week, but you also don't want to have an overabundance of mold. Adjust your amounts as you go. You'll get the hang of it quickly!
Now you'll be able to add springtails whenever you need to. You can even help your friends spring into this wonderful world of dart frogs by teaching them about the great little helpers called springtails!