Springtails are widely used here in Europe as a food source for Dendrobatids, especially for froglets of small species. Springtails or Collembola are tiny arthropods that live in moist conditions, usually feeding on decaying plant matter and fungi. They can be useful in raising the smallest of froglets, but anecdotal evidence suggests that there may be problems with protozoan infections associated with the long-term use of collembola.
My own personal experience is that the more springtails you can feed with, the better is the frogs doing. If you have problems with frogs that get tadpoles that turn into froglets with spindly legs syndrome (SLS) it will often solve the problem or at least decrease the number of frogs that get SLS if you start to feed with more springtails.
Another situation where springtails can help out alot is when you have a frog group that you want to start up for breeding. Increased springtail feedings will often help with starting them up. For feeding small froglets and some tiny species like R. reticulata springtails is the only alternative. Newly raised O. pumilio is best raised into adults with alot of springtails. Even if this is a good food source it's important that you don't overfeed with this since to much springtails at one time will stress the frogs.
Setting up a new springtail culture
You need this to start with:
- Plastic boxes with lid without airholes (Candy-type about 20x20x12cm width/length/height)
- Soil or cocos fibre soil
- Cous-cous, grinded cat food pellets, fishfood flakes or ready springtail food mix.
- Start culture of springtails
There is alot of people having problems to keep the cultures up running. Often it's not an easy task but I have some advices that can help out alot. There is also some diffrences between the diffrent kind of springtails how to keep them.
General springtail care:
- Keep them at 19-22 degrees
- Open the lids at least once or twice per week to let in air.
- Before feeding, remove all mold or it will kill the culture.
- When you feed, try to use a fine grinded powder for feeding and try to spread it alover the surface in a thin layer instead of building piles. If the springtail food isn't as a powder try to grind it in a coffee bean grinder.
Special care with the regular springtails:
For the thin white more common springtail it's the same care, the only diffrence is that you have to check them out more often. It seems like they need the get air let in every 1-2 day and that they are alot more sensitive against mold. Never feed them to much because in this springtail cultures it will result in mold very quick.