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Beetles in a 10 gallon aquarium

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by camoman01, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Seawolf l noticed in a post that you keep a small colony for delicate stuff could you give us beginners a quick lesson on how to set up something like this?

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  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Not much to it. I ordered beetles from Ken (Fogbound). I got a 10 gallon aquarium and cleaned it well. I have a shredder for my mail and ran a section of the local newspaper through it. I put in a layer of shredded newspaper that was about 3 inches deep. I added a couple of fair sized chunks of Styrofoam for them to tunnel into and a dish filled with chunks of the stuff that you use to water crickets from the pet store. Clear gel look to it. Bugs can't get caught and drown in it like they would with a dish of water. When that was done I took a jar of Vaseline and made a band of it about 3 inches wide around the whole top of the inside of the tank. You need to do this to prevent them from crawling up the glass and escaping. Make sure you get the corners. I then added the beetles. Food was placed on solid sheets of cardboard (not corrugated) or on larger flat plastic lids from things like CoolWhip or margarine tubs. Dry out the specimens first as they are cleaner and it reduces any smell. Rotting smells in the living room are not cool.

  3. Thanks ive been thinking about trying this .now bear with me two more questions how many did you put in initially and what size skull do you generally put in a 10 gallon aquarium for cleaning?seawolf is the best for answering all our newby questions!
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  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I had a large order from Ken. Don't remember how many. Couple of hundred. Whole container got dumped in there. I have had things in there up to the size of an adult wolf. Most times it was birds and fish or reptiles.
  5. I would suggest making sure you have a top that has a couple layers of screen or even finer mesh to keep other bugs out of you tank too. You don't want any other critters moving in to your new tank. I made my first lid out of 1x2 wood and two layers of screen. It is slightly bigger than the tank so the screen is actually resting on the tank. Nothing is getting past.
  6. Thanks for the info
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Some sort of top would be a good idea. Depends on where you have your tank. Mine is in the house so I don't have a worry of other bugs. If yours is in an outbuilding .. or you have a cat (or finger pokey kids) get a lid. You also have to keep the colony below 80 .. or 90? degrees or they will FLY! That info is in the archives. You can look it up with the advanced search page.
  8. Kayla

    Kayla Member

    I was wondering how often you would have to put a skull in/feed a colony like this? Thanks
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Feed them dried skulls, dried out meat scraps, dry hotdogs .. any sort of meat, fowl or fish.
  10. Kayla

    Kayla Member

    How often do you have to feed them though? And do you just leave food and skulls out in the open to dry them out?
  11. fogbound

    fogbound Member

    Dermestids like their food dryer than fresh/bloody. Set uncovered in a freezer to freezer-burn and dry out skulls, also has advantage of killing any fly eggs/larvae. If you don't have a freezer to dry out skulls, allow to dry in the breeze of a fan. You just don't want any possibility of flies laying eggs on the meat.
  12. The dryer, the less smell. Before anyone thinks I disagree with them, I don't. Dry is best.
    My beetles have no problem with fresh. I have not had the freezer space to freeze dry stuff and have not had space to thaw, then process, then freeze dry again so they get plenty of fresh. The bad is higher humidity in the tank and a lot more smell. Last week, I got complaints from in the house because the wind shifted and the exhaust from the tank was drawn in. This next specimen season will be better.
  13. Kayla-to answer your question-you can feed them continuously (i.e. after they finish something put in some more) or at the very least every 3-4 days maybe a week after they finish the last feeding. The more often you feed them the faster your colony will grow and the faster they will reproduce.
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You don't want to be feeding them a lot if they are not cleaning a specimen. Otherwise they will overwhelm your 10 gallon tank and you will have to set up a larger container or start selling them off.
  15. So do you need to ventilate the 10 gallon aquarium if you feed them dried meat or can you just go with the screen lid?

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  16. NorthernSkulls

    NorthernSkulls New Member

    Use speed tape on the silicon joints and a 360* strip 1/2 way up the tank. Use a standard reptile screen up top. Monitor the temps, sub-76* will keep them from flying as well as having a consistent food source.
  17. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You want to keep them in a 10 gal tank. If you are going to go to the hassle of ventilating the tank, why even bother with a 10 gallon? Set up a chest freezer for them and you can do larger things. Then you can ventilate it to the outside. A 10 gallon tank and a screen top is for a small amount of beetles inside. If you want a large colony it isn't going to work.
  18. I agree with SeaWolf. With a small tank, using only dried food, no ventilation necessary. I wouldn't put the tank in my closet with my clothes, but it won't smell much.
    I suggest the screen top to make the beetles don't fly out and we have lots of spiders here. We don't spray around our house so they move in overnight no matter how much you vacuum and clean.

    SeaWolf has a great point on the chest freezer. I started with a clear plastic 30 gallon tub. Made the screen top and wanted my colony to grow fast so fed them some fresh stuff with brains. Setup a cheap exhaust fan on top of the tub venting to outside my garage. I also heated the tank using a heated mat under the tank. They grew like crazy. When I upgraded to a freezer, I used/use this tub as my backup colony which saved my butt from a overheating accident in my freezer.

    When I was running this tub setup in the garage and we went away for a few days, we had a young couple come feed our cats. They called one of their Mom's and told her they thought we were into some weird stuff and were really worried. A glass cabinet full of skulls including human and the stench of death coming out of our locked garage. The Mom knew us and told her it was our job, so all was good. Now if only I could get ahead of things so I could dry out my specimens and get a chest freezer to dry them out in.
  19. cattledog

    cattledog Member

    Iv got a twenty gallon tank that im thinking about setting up a small colony in.It will be kept inside.But what should I use to maintain the proper temperature in the tank?Read where somebody on here said they kept a heating pad under the tank.Or is a light on top better?New to beetles and just don't want them dying after I getm.Thanks.
  20. Don't use lights. The beetles don't like them. I have actually covered my clear tank with old rags to make the beetles work at the top of the skull faster. The beetles will work fine at room temp. The higher the temp, the faster they work and breed up to a point. Once they reach 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, they will fly. You don't want that. Temps in the 60's and 70's work. I had to heat my tank because my garage gets down into the 40's and 50's. When beetles get cold like that, they don't eat much. When they get into lower 40's or upper 30's they are pretty much dormant.
    If you need heat a ceramic reptile heat bulb works. It only puts out heat not light. It needs to be plugged into a reptile heater thermostat.
    I used a heated mat meant for people to stand on for my first colony. I put it under the plastic bin. It is tough and heat rises. I could put it and the tub on the floor of my garage. Thermostat was built in. I did heat my garage too, but only to the above temps.