General Housing Question

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Hi guys,

I'm new here so if this is in the wrong place I apologize. I'm currently caring for about 25 mantids in hopes of eventual breeding. I have multiple popa spurca, truncata, cat eye, spiny flower, orchid, pantherina, psuedocanthops and gemmatus. They all currently live in your standard 32 ounce deli cups but I was wondering once they reach adulthood what a good affordable housing option is. I have a few exo terra nano talls for my adult shield and rainforest mantids but I this that will be way too expensive and take up too much room for all of these once they mature.

Also, another general question. I recently had an adult mantid of mine become sick and die after 4 months of care. I kept her in an exo nano tall and cleaned her basic coco sub and branch enclosure about once a month. How often should you clean a mantids enclosure? I'm unsure if her vomiting was from bacteria, over misting, not cleaning enough or perhaps from the red runners I was feeding her.

Any advice is very much appreciated! 

 
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I dont have time for substrate, I use nothing right now and so easy to rinse out container. I do keep flowers glued around the container so they can climb/walk around easy.

I like the med round on my site, it seems big enough for even the adult giant asian, gives them room to move around easy and find food.

 

Synapze

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2 gallon treat containers work great with a few modifications. I've raised many large species in containers like these. Eat or dump out the treats, cut a large ventilation hole in the lid and glue screen mesh to prevent escapees (also provides a safe molting surface), drill small holes near the bottom for cross ventilation, or use a vent insert... they cost a couple of bucks on eBay. Throw in some substrate or just use paper towel material. Total cost approximately $5-$6. Also, very eco-friendly. 

Not as aesthetically pleasing as a manufactured enclosure, but if you're keeping that many large adults, it's a very economical way to house them. I've made 10 of these now and they work great. 

 
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2 gallon treat containers work great with a few modifications. I've raised many large species in containers like these. Eat or dump out the treats, cut a large ventilation hole in the lid and glue screen mesh to prevent escapees (also provides a safe molting surface), drill small holes near the bottom for cross ventilation, or use a vent insert... they cost a couple of bucks on eBay. Throw in some substrate or just use paper towel material. Total cost approximately $5-$6. Also, very eco-friendly. 

Not as aesthetically pleasing as a manufactured enclosure, but if you're keeping that many large adults, it's a very economical way to house them. I've made 10 of these now and they work great. 
thank you for the reply! do you have any recommendations for cheap treats? I looked on amazon for plastic food containers and they're all expensive still. Also, what do you use for screen mesh? I have some but don't love it - links would be greatly appreciated!!

 
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how often do you clean the enclosure even if you have no substrate? Does feces from mantids cause molding and bacteria at all? I'm just trying to figure out how often to clean my enclosures. Thanks!!

 

Budwing

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Clean the plastic tubs once a week or if you notice it starts to smell. Bacteria bulds up them fairly quick. Just use warm water. Another cheap option for housing is the the mantis cages or cubes from ebay. Their only good for mantis that dont require high humidity though. Braplast containers can be used for some of species. The look alright but you need to be carful when cutting or putting holes in them as they can break.

 

Synapze

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thank you for the reply! do you have any recommendations for cheap treats? 
Most Walmarts carry this brand. The containers are approximately 12" tall and 8" wide. The plastic is very clear and most I've purchased had very few superficial scratches. ≈$4—$5

SmartSelectImage_2019-10-07-23-09-41.png

Cheap vent inserts easily found on eBay or you can drill holes near bottom. ≈$1

s-l400.jpg

Regular windscreen mesh is what I use, but you can also use fabrics. 

I also insert a humidity and temperature gauges in the ones I make. ≈$1

rps20191008_083955.jpg

Easy to clean. Pop out meter if used and rinse container with a mild soap solution. The gravel on the bottom serves both to add a little weight and keep temps more stable during the winter when used with heating cables; I use a long 50 watt heating cable under a line of multiple containers. I don't recommend heat mats for this type of container. Cleaning gravel is easy... pour in water and the poop rises to the top and can be poured off. I keep the decor very simple. Every mantis I've raised in these use the lid mesh to molt from so I make sure they have plenty of free space below. 

They're not pretty, but if you're keeping many large specimens for breeding it's very cost effective. If decorated nicely, they really don't look that bad.

My personal collection specimens get better enclosures, of course. 😀

The cheese balls aren't too bad either. 

 
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Budwing

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Most Walmarts carry this brand. The containers are approximately 12" tall and 8" wide. The plastic is very clear and most I've purchased had very few superficial scratches. ≈$4—$5

View attachment 12629

Cheap vent inserts easily found on eBay or you can drill holes near bottom. ≈$1

View attachment 12630

Regular windscreen mesh is what I use, but you can also use fabrics. 

I also insert a humidity and temperature gauges in the ones I make. ≈$1

View attachment 12631

Easy to clean. Pop out meter if used and rinse container with a mild soap solution. The gravel on the bottom serves both to add a little weight and keep temps more stable during the winter when used with heating cables; I use a long 50 watt heating cable under a line of multiple containers. I don't recommend heat mats for this type of container. Cleaning gravel is easy... pour in water and the poop rises to the top and can be poured off. I keep the decor very simple. Every mantis I've raised in these use the lid mesh to molt from so I make sure they have plenty of free space below. 

They're not pretty, but if you're keeping many large specimens for breeding it's very cost effective. If decorated nicely, they really don't look that bad.

My personal collection specimens get better enclosures, of course. 😀

The cheese balls aren't too bad either. 
Thats a nice looking enclosure. I would buy that ready made if the price was right. Very hard to get anything suitable for keeping mantids or other arboreal invertebrates without it costing a small fortune.

 
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Thats a nice looking enclosure. I would buy that ready made if the price was right. Very hard to get anything suitable for keeping mantids or other arboreal invertebrates without it costing a small fortune.
I totally agree! So well done for a budget enclosure. I'm definitely gonna try to make these.

 

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