Why Do Springtails Need Charcoal? {Bonus:14 Tips For Springtail Cultures}

Do you keep seeing springtails on charcoal and wonder, “Why Do Springtails Need Charcoal?”

What makes charcoal an excellent source of substrate additive for springtail cultures? Why should you use charcoal?

In this article, we’ll find out why springtails need charcoal to reproduce and thrive.

Why Do Springtails Need Charcoal?

Charcoal is an excellent source of substrate starter to increase the production of springtails. Charcoal helps to reduce odors and increase aeration during this process and it’s quite simple to use.

This is why we choose charcoal over most other types of mixed media. Charcoal reduces the chance of getting mites instead of springtails. Harvesting is simple and easy while using charcoal.

Why Is Charcoal the Ideal Terrarium Substrate?

Charcoal gives springtails enough surface area to thrive and reproduce to their maximum efficiency. The higher the quality of charcoal the more aeration, reduction of older and simplicity and harvesting becomes easier.


  • increases drainage.
  • adds more aeration to terrariums.
  • is lightweight.
  • keeps bad bacteria and fungi away. 
  • has the ability to maintain air spaces between the substrate.

Charcoal is readily available and easy to use compared to many other types of substrates. In our experience, springtails thrive and multiply rapidly by using charcoal substrates to increase aeration and the ability to hold moisture in the potting soil.

The aeration and lightweight composition of charcoal allows springtails 2 multiply while odors are reduced.

What Does Activated Charcoal Do In A Terrarium?

Activated charcoal in a terrarium helps to keep the fungi and bacteria that we do not wish out of this ecosystem. Activated charcoal is also an excellent way to keep the potting soil fresher for a longer period of time.

The soil itself maintains its quality and reduces any chance of foul odors emerging. Activated charcoal keeps your terrarium lightweight and increase is aeration due to the spaces between it.

Springtails love to multiply in a terrarium with activated charcoal. The more springtails that you have in your terrarium, the added protection you will get from mold outbreaks.

Do Isopods and Springtails Need Charcoal?

Springtails and isopods would prefer charcoal as part of their bioactive substrate.

Charcoal is considered one of the most important parts of terrarium substrates because it can keep harmful bacteria and fungi away. These bacteria or fungi can create awful smells that come out of your terrarium due to standing water.

Springtails and isopods are not benefiting from the charcoal itself, but this additive is helping to increase aeration while keeping the potting soil moist allowing them to thrive.

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Is Activated Carbon The Same as Activated Charcoal?

It’s important to not be misunderstood between referring to activated carbon or activated charcoal. Although we can nitpick the differences between them, in the case of using either for a substrate in terrariums, you can use both terms interchangeably.

Activated carbon is another way of saying activated charcoal. Either label and term that is contained on the outside of a package makes it suitable for you to purchase and provide your terrariums ecosystem with an easy-to-use substrate additive which allows springtails to thrive and multiply.

At the same time activated carbon or activated charcoal is going to ward off the stink that can come from using potting soil that contains foul-smelling bacteria. Activated charcoal or carbon keeps these smells away while increasing aeration.

How Do You Transfer Springtails From Charcoal to Dirt?

Transferring springtails from charcoal to Dirt the can involve a few different processes.

Method  #1

  • You can start by wetting a piece of wood or cardboard and place it in the tub. Close the lid on this tub or container to maintain the humidity.
  • After one night passes, the springtails may have crawled to the top of the wet cardboard.
  • If you tap the material inside the tub, you may notice springtails easily falling from the charcoal and landing on the dirt.

Method  #2

  • Grab a large piece of charcoal with many springtails on it and shake them off into the vivarium.
  • You can also add water to the culture and force springtails to fall in.
  • Springtails will float and at this point you will be able to pour out the water to notice how many springtails you will get floating on top.
  • If you have a larger enclosure you will notice hundreds of springtails at this point.

Tips for Springtail Cultures

When you start a fresh springtail culture,  you should not use it as a feeder source just yet. They are not finished reproducing.

  1. If you would like your springtails to become a source of food you need to build breeding cultures first.
  2. Start the culture of springtails for about a month before you use them as feeders.
  3. When starting your own culture be careful not too deplete from the breeding culture itself.
  4. Preventing mites will help you enjoy a larger population of springtails.
  5. If you keep your springtail culture on mite paper or paper towels with mite spray contained on t, you will have successfully prevented them from feeding on your springtail culture.
  6. Preventing mites from entering your springtail culture will allow you to maintain and multiply their numbers while limiting the population of pest mites.
  7. If you see mold on the cultures do not be concerned. It is quite normal. Mold is a great food source for springtails so you are offering the food source to help them multiply.
  8. Springtails eat detritus and mold. This is what happens to yeast when yeast becomes moist.
  9. Brewer’s yeast works well to minimize the increase of mites and it supports your culture of springtails instead.
  10. Try to keep the temperature between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Springtails are able to withstand high heat and humidity.
  11. Limiting the climate to 80 degrees Fahrenheit makes it ideal for them to multiply. If the heat increases higher than this number, you will notice them reproducing much slower.
  12. Ambient sources of lighting are best. Direct sunlight should be avoided because it can overheat the culture too fast.
  13. No light whatsoever will slow down the reproduction cycle of springtails.
  14. Charcoal is an excellent way to help young frogs eat. If a piece of charcoal is crawling with springtails you can simply lift it up and shake it off into a small cup. This cup now contain nutritious springtail food for your young frogs to devour.

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Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable