Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Dubia cockroach cultures have, for a long time, been very popular with reptile, amphibian and tarantula keepers around the world, but it may be surprising to learn that many fish keepers culture these insects too.
Eating insects is quite natural as insects and their larvae often constitute a significant portion of a freshwater fishes' natural diet.
Studies into various freshwater species, from pufferfish to stingrays demonstrate that insects are a very important food source. Take the Colomesus asellus (the Amazon Puffer) for example. Almost half of their natural diet (48.63%-49.9%) is Ephemeroptera (mayfly).
Feeding live-insects - as a part of a varied and balance diet - to our captive fish can be very beneficial. This is precisely why many renowned manufacturers now offer insect based fish foods, but culturing livefoods at home provides a level of self-sufficiency, greater control over your animal's diet and direct access to a renewable supply of healthy feeder insects. This is why livefood cultures appeal not only to those who are looking to save money (although saving money is a welcomed consequence), but also those who want the best for their animals. Raising you own feeder insects has additional benefits such as having access to different sized cockroaches, from little to large, to suit the size/type of predator.
Cockroach cultures are not only a very popular choice because of their nutritional value, but also because - compared to other livefood cultures - cockroaches are easy and inexpensive to maintain, require relatively little space and are also very hardy and readily available.
This article will focus on the requirements of Blaptica dubia (photographed above).
The requirements of other species of cockroach may differ.
The B.dubia is a species of cockroach, from Central and South America, which grows to approximately 40–45 mm (1.5-1.77 inches). It is the most commonly cultured species of cockroach and they are known to most as the Dubia cockroach, South-American cockroach or Orange-spotted cockroach.
Their popularity as a feeder insect is owed mostly to the following characteristics:
Their excellent nutritional value
They can not climb smooth, vertical surfaces
They are very slow moving and cannot jump
They are quiet, unlike crickets
They can not bite
They are not capable of sustained flight
They produce a very low odour, unlike some other species of cockroach
They reproduce relatively quickly
They are very capable of withstanding a variety of different stressors
What you need:
A storage container (read Housing)
A Drill (read Ventilation and humidity)
Maybe a heat mat and thermostat (read Temperature)
Egg crate flats (read Egg Crates)
Blaptica dubia mating and lifecycle
Mating occurs when the male deposits a sperm packet in the female. This sperm packet inhibits the female from further mating.
Females then lay an ootheca (egg case) which is incubated internally.
The gestation period is approximately 28 days. After gestation, anywhere from 20 to 40 young nymphs (approximately 2-3mm) will emerge from the female.
The nymphs will reach sexual maturity in approximately 120 days, depending on temperature and nutritio