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Do Isopods Eat Mold? (Read to Know!)

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If you are culturing isopods, you already know that isopods are very easy to raise. They can eat a lot of stuff and you do not even need to feed them very often.

What if you see mold growing in your isopod tank? Can isopods eat mold?

Isopods can eat mold and decaying food particles, but you should not feed them with mold.

The presence of mold could also indicate the presence of harmful microbes that can harm your isopods. What causes mold in your isopod tank? How can you prevent mold from growing in the tank? We’ll answer these questions and more in this article.

Isopod eating foods

Do Isopods Eat Mold?

Isopods eat a lot of things. From fresh to decaying foods, isopods can eat them all so long as they are plant products. Something that grows around decaying food, however, is mold. Even though many animals will not eat mold, detritivores such as isopods can eat mold.

Detritivores are animals that eat dead and decaying materials. Most of these animals such as isopods and earthworms have no option but to eat the decomposing microbes around the food. When microbes such as decomposing fungi are ready to reproduce, they produce mold around the decaying food particles.

This means that your isopods have already been eating fungi even before the appearance of mold.

Should Isopods Eat Mold?

What happens when isopods eat mold? Is it safe?

Even though isopods can eat mold, the presence of mold in your isopod tank could indicate many things. It could mean that there could be harmful microbes in the tank. You should not wait until your isopod food particles get moldy before you remove them.

Before learning how to prevent the growth of mold in your isopod tank, we should discuss what causes mold to grow in the tank in the first place.

Multicolored mold on a food surface

What Encourages Mold Growth in Your Isopod Tank?

Here are the major causes of mold in your isopod tank:

  • Humidity: Isopods love a humid tank, so the humidity in your isopod tank is likely high. High humidity encourages the growth of microbes that can produce molds. Your isopod tanks do not need to be so humid so as to always encourage mold growth.
  • Too Much Waste: If you ever wonder whether to feed your isopods or not, wait till the next day before feeding them. When the food particles in your isopod tank become too many, mold will grow in the tank.
  • Not Enough Isopods: It does not matter if you throw in just a little amount of food particles into the tank. If your tank does not have enough isopods to consume the food, it will become moldy.

How Can You Prevent Mold from Growing in Your Isopod Tanks?

Here are some effective methods to prevent a moldy isopod tank:

1. Remove Uneaten Food Particles

If the food particle in your isopod tank is still sitting around in the tank after two or three days, remove it. It could be that your isopods do not want to eat it or they have had enough of it.

Leaving particles of food in your isopod tank can cause a mold infestation.

2. Ventilation is Key

The presence of mold in your isopod tank indicates that there is high humidity.

Even though the humidity of the tank should be higher than average, it does not need to be too high. You should decrease the tank humidity by poking holes on top of the tank or using a mesh in the middle of the tank lid.

3. Make More Drainage Holes

You should drill holes at the bottom of your isopod tank. These holes can help excess water to drain quickly from the tank.

Excess water can cause humidity and can even suffocate your isopods because the environment can quickly become anaerobic. If there are drainage holes in your isopod tank, you should place the tank on a saucer or a similar object so that it will not drip on the floor.

4. Mist the Tank Less Often

Only mist your isopod tank to prevent it from becoming dry. Do not mist the tank so regularly that you encourage the growth of mold.

A tank with very high humidity can quickly become anaerobic which can kill your isopods.

5. Do Not Overfeed Your Isopods

Guess what. Isopods usually do not need extra food for up to a week after food particles in their tank are finished. Isopods can eat organic materials in their substrates such as humus and microbes. You do not need to feed them all the time.

Got any questions? Here’s the answer:

1. What Should You Do If Your Isopod Substrate is Moldy?

Here are some things that you can do when your isopod tank is mold-infested:

  • Wait: When you have removed the decomposing food, increased the ventilation, and you have done everything that you can do, all you have to do is wait. Your isopods will take care of the remaining mold.
  • Collect the Moldy Parts: You can scoop off moldy parts with a spoon. You just need to remove the surface.
  • Change the Entire Substrate: If you feel that the substrate is getting bad, you can change the entire substrate. Bring everything out, filter out your isopods, and then put them in a new substrate.

Now mold itself is not bad, it is just an indication that some things are wrong in your isopod tank. This means that you do not need to remove the mold when you have fixed everything.

2. What Can You Do with Spent Isopod Substrate?

How do you dispose of your isopod substrate? You should note that spent isopod substrate is nutrient-rich and beneficial to plants.

You can pour the substrate directly into your garden soil as it does not burn plants. You can also use it as a compost starter or accelerator as it is loaded with a lot of beneficial microbes.

3. Why Are Your Isopods Dying?

A dead isopod (Cubaris murina) on soil

Isopods can be dying for a lot of reasons. Some reasons why your isopods are dying are:

  • Pesticides: Did you throw in food particles that have pesticides on them? Aside from pesticides, some other items may be toxic to your isopods. For example, detergent can kill your isopods.
  • Not Enough Ventilation: When there is not enough ventilation, the oxygen level in your isopod tank can become low which can lead to your isopods dying because of suffocation.
  • Too Much Water: Is your isopod substrate waterlogged? Make sure that excess water drains quickly from the tank.
  • Drought: Isopods have gills. This means that they collect dissolved oxygen from water. If the tank becomes too dry, they may not breathe properly.
  • Predators: Check your isopod tank if there are predators such as centipedes and lizards in it.

You should find the cause of the death of your isopods before you try to fix it.

4. Why Must an Isopod Tank Be Humid?

Isopods are crustaceans just like lobsters and crabs. They also have gills. This means that oxygen needs a moist environment to survive. If the tank is not moist and humid, they cannot breathe as they mostly breathe in dissolved oxygen (i.e. oxygen in water).

This does not mean that you should flood your isopod tank with water. When you pour too much water into the tank, air-breathing microbes in the substrate will die, and while they decompose, the tank will become anaerobic (i.e. oxygen-depleted).

A waterlogged tank can kill your isopods and everything else in the tank.

5. Can Farm Animals and Pets Eat Isopods?

Peru and the chickens watching the jumping rabbit. Duck lying, carefree. Small farm animals

Isopods are completely safe for pets and farm animals to eat. Isopods are rich in calcium, so they are beneficial for the development of the animals’ bones. They can also encourage egg production in birds. Some animals that can eat isopods are:

  • Lizards
  • Chameleons
  • Chickens
  • Ducks
  • Praying Mantises

Isopods can eat moldy food as it is not dangerous to them.

The presence of mold, however, can indicate that your tank is either too humid or you are giving your isopods more food than they can eat. You should try to prevent mold from growing in your isopod tank.