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Posted by iwana on May 08, 2003 at 12:37:39:
In Reply to: Pine shavings in my crix tank?? Please read posted by Jack31081 on May 08, 2003 at 11:32:09:
Just thought I'd share what I've been doing with my crix. After several attempts at keeping and breeding crix, I've just recently come up with something that seems to work really well.
First of all, ventilation is of utmost importance. Simply drilling a few holes into the container is not sufficient. Cut out a large hole in the lid and apply a screen. This will assure good air flow.
Also, stack the egg crates vertically instead of horizontally, even if it means cutting them to fit the container. This allows for most of the feces, shed skins and dead bodies to fall to the ground, so that when you shake some crix loose into feeding bowls, only crix will fall out (minus feces and dead crix). It also helps keep your crix clean. Have the crates fill only half to 2/3 of the tank, leaving the rest of the space available for a food dish.
Also, if you can find a feed store, get a big bag of red bran and use that as a substrate. The bran is fine enough that you can easily sift out crickets during cleaning time, but coarse enough to allow droppings to fall to the bottom, keeping the top layer fairly free of feces, thus clean crickets and no smell. Plus it gives the crickets a little something extra to munch on. I only put about 1" of substrate.
If you can't find bran, you could try oatmeal and crush it up a bit in a food processor or something, basically your goal is to use something that's small enough to allow you to sift crickets out during cleaning time but large enough to let feces pass through and fall to the bottom of the container.
Finally, have a shallow feeding dish available (I use the lid of a tupperware) to put veggies in. It keeps moisture out of the bran (thus promoting mold) and makes feeding the crix cleaner and easier. Don't use the soaked cotton ball or inverted bottle method, this creates a mess as the crix will defecate and lay eggs in the cotton.
Here are some pics of a similar set-up I use for hissing cochroaches (the crix were being cleaned at the time!):
For the lid, we used a utility knife to cut out the hole, then glued on some leftover aluminum screen with a glue gun:
The entire container:
These are just suggestions based on my experience. This method has worked great for me so far.
:I'm getting a new shipment of crix in tomorrow and for the first time I'm going to be using the 'pine shavings substrate' method of keeping the smell down.
:To those who use this method:
:1 - How deep should I make the substrate?
:2 - Should I pack it down or just leave it as is?
:3 - Is it hard to get crickets out of the substrate?