The Magic Potion Isopod: Care Secrets All Spell-ed Out

The Magic Potion Isopod really is an enchanting sight.

A unique combination of a pale carapace contrasting electric yellow and black coloration. It makes for an exciting visual spectacle.

That being said, the original scientific species that it belongs to (Armadillidium vulgare) is actually just the common woodlouse… So there’s definitely some alchemy gone on here to produce this crazy-looking specimen!

In this guide, we’re going to reveal all the secrets of these wonderful critters so you know how best to care for them and to employ their bioactive wizardry in a terrarium.

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Overview of Magic Potion Isopods: Size & Appearance

There’s no mistaking the characteristic appearance of the Magic Potion Isopod.

The result of a unique expression of the common “dalmatian gene” (that’s responsible for producing a lot of popular isopod species, e.g., Dairy Cow Isopods).

Each isopod is wonderfully unique, but they will also differ depending on which lineage they come from. There’s both an American and a Japanese line that both have their own nuances.

Both are medium to large-sized species, measuring up at 1-2 cm, and they both make fantastic options.

The Japanese line is often regarded as having slightly smaller bodies and more subtle coloration, while the American line is bigger and bolder (no surprises there).

I know I shouldn’t have favorites… but this one is by far the brightest in my culture.

👉 Ready to go? Grab a culture of Magic Potions Isopods from our store.

Magic Potion Isopods Care

Overall, Armadillidium vulgare ‘Magic Potion’ is an easy isopod species to keep.

Which is to be expected from the cousin of the “Common Pill-Bug.” These are made of hardy stock!

Somewhat adaptable and forgiving, they can work in a variety of terrariums and culture habitats. Though they do have their preferences.

It’s a good job they’re cute!

Habitat & Conditions

For an isopod of this size, a starter culture should do fine in a shoebox-sized container. 

A moderate moisture gradient should be fine, with recommendations online ranging from 1/4 to 1/3 wet-to-dry ratio. You can achieve this with a sphagnum moss patch to act as your “wet area.”

isopod bin setup
Here’s one I made earlier (as an example).

Though Armadillidium species typically tend to prefer a dryer environment (particularly their Clown Isopod cousins and, to a lesser extent Armadillidium nasatum), these don’t seem quite as fussy.

Equally, they don’t seem as sensitive to ventilation either.

We’ve successfully kept Magic Potion Isopods in closed tropical terrariums (with loose lids), so humidity, moisture and ventilation all have some flexiblity.

In truth, it sounds like Magic Potion Isopods can be more forgiving than your average Armadilidum isopod.

These adaptable critters can reportedly handle a broad temperature range, but most breeders recommend a more typical household range of around 15-27°C (60-80°F).

Humidity is much the same; they’ll handle almost anything, but a balanced 50% relative humidity is ideal.


As far as the substrate itself, there are two things to consider. 

  1. The substrate helps to regulate an isopod‘s moisture levels. So, it’s important that it can retain moisture (at least in some areas).
  2. One of the primary food sources for isopods is their substrate. They’ll feed on any decomposing organic material, so it’s helpful to make sure your mix contains something of nutritional value.

Honestly, a typical tropical terrarium substrate is always a good starting point.

You can’t go wrong with a variation of the classic ABG mix. Using sphagnum moss and coco coir as a base, then supplementing with orchid bark and earthworm castings for those fertilizing nutrients. 

👉 Our terrarium substrate mix is a peat-free variation!

It’s a two-way street with these isopods, though. They make great bioactive cleaners, and their burrowing activities (and pooping activities) help to refresh and replenish the substrate in a terrarium.


Besides the substrate, larger decomposing natural materials form the backbone of an isopod’s diet.

Think rotting softwoods (like cork bark) and leaf litter. These are essential whether you’re culturing Magic Potion Isopods on their own or as part of a terrarium setup. 

👉 Grab a bag of leaf litter from our online store.

Isopods love to eat and hide in leaf litter.

Of course, if these isopods are part of a bioactive setup complete with animals like lizards or snakes, they can use another food source, too…

So you’ll probably have to refresh their organic food sources a lot less if they’re able to feed on animal waste instead. 

Magic Potion Isopods also do best with protein and calcium supplementation. Fish food flakes, cuttlefish bones, and eggshells are just a few easy ways to boost their diets.  

They certainly seem to enjoy these algae disks.

You can also supplement with vegetable scraps and such. Just add a little at a time so any excess doesn’t mold over. Or you can use a premade mix like our Isopod Superfood Blend.

isopod food
Our superfood blend is packed full of calcium, protein, and micronutrients!

Magic Potion Isopod Breeding

The Japanese line is well known for breeding well and producing large broods. However, American Magic Potion Isopods can be slow to start and can often struggle to create a healthy population. 

For isopods destined for bioactive terrariums, I always think it’s best to have a dedicated separate culture first. At least to seed with a large enough population, but also as a backup.

I’d definitely recommend this if you go for the American lineage.

Where to Buy Magic Potion Isopods

Magic Potion Isopods used to be quite hard to source, but you can now find them over on our online store!

👉 Shop Magic Potions Isopods.

For other Armadillidium species, check our collection of isopods for sale too.

Over to You

Well, are you as bewitched by Magic Potion Isopods as I am?

If not, you might find these other cool isopod species are more appropriate for you. Why not check out the cousin of the Magic Potion Isopod, Armadillidium Gestroi?

1 thought on “The Magic Potion Isopod: Care Secrets All Spell-ed Out”

  1. loved this one too. thanks dan. i own these kind and i love them more than life itself. glad there are fellow isopod lovers out there

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