Over time, you may find unintended inhabitants in your isopod setups. Are they harmful? How do we deal with them?


Springtails are commonly added to isopod enclosures as they help to clear mould and leftover food. Just be sure not to overfeed as a boom in the springtail population may affect some sensitive isopod species.


Most mites are harmless but predatory mites may pose a problem when in large numbers. The mite population usually goes up when there is excess protein-based food in the enclosure. Just stop or drastically reduce protein feeds for a couple of weeks and the mites will disappear.


Pest snails may appear in the soil or moss from time to time. Be sure to remove them on sight as they are known to prey on isopod mancae, especially when they are moulting.

One way to quickly get rid of snails is to put bait out in the open. It can be a slice of carrot or even a piece of cuttlebone. Simply remove the bait together with the clustered adults.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are generally harmless to isopods, although their larvae can deplete your food sources when in large numbers. Isopod keepers tend to be more concerned with the visible and irritating adults, especially when there is a population boom.

  • Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) is sold as a mosquito killer. You can soak the BTI bits or dunks in water before watering your enclosures, or just sprinkle some BTI bits on the wet corner. The water soaked with BTI will kill the fungus gnat larvae, so the effects may take some time.
  • Sticky paper/board is excellent for trapping adult flies like fungus gnats. Just be careful to place them where isopods could never reach.
  • You can physically press on them to kill them but it is a long process to kill them all.
  • Use a small battery-operated vacuum cleaner to suck up any flying gnats. Useful for quickly reducing a large and dense population.


If the ant nest is not in your enclosure, just physically kill and remove any ants in sight. You may use sticky sheets along any paths that they must walk on to stop them from getting in again.

If the ant queen is in your enclosure, just remove her to stop the reproduction. If the infestation is severe, it may be recommended to remove your isopods and restart a fresh enclosure.

Earthworms and Flatworms

Earthworms are great at burrowing through the soil and aerating it. However, they are also known to feed on isopod mancae. You may allow some earthworms to co-exist with your more prolific isopod species.

Flowerpot Mushrooms

Leucocoprinus sp. may appear from time to time in your enclosure, looking like tiny yellow dusty dots. They don’t harm isopods directly, but they may cause the substrate to compact and harden over time.

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