These days, the rubber ducky isopod is the darling of the bioactive terrarium world, and for good reason.
I mean, just look at them…
With their cute yellow duck faces and painted tails, they bring so much character (and usefulness to a terrarium).
Only recently discovered in Thailand, the new species – Cubaris sp. Rubber Ducky – was found in limestone cave areas so they have some unique care requirements compared to other isopods.
Find out where to find these beautiful creatures for yourself and how to care for them!
Rubber Ducky Isopod Lifespan, Behavior and Growth
Part of what makes these critters so rare is that they’ve been quite challenging to breed in captivity. They can take a fair few months to reach maturity, so it can take a while to produce enough for breeders to sell.
These cuties will grow a little bigger than the typical terrarium dwarf isopods, but they should max out around 2cm long so they’re still suitable for most reasonably sized terrariums.
They also seem to be quite shy, and there are plenty of worried Redditors asking if their broods are okay because they haven’t seem them much in weeks!
Thankfully, rubber ducky isopods reportedly can live for several years with good care. Though, with them only discovered in 2017 that doesn’t give us a lot of lifespan data to work with…
Rubber Ducky Isopod Care
With Cubaris sp. Rubber Ducky being a relatively new species, people have been experimenting a lot to find the best conditions to care for them.
These orange-faced beasties tend to prefer damper conditions, moderate temperatures of 70-80°F (21-27°C) and a higher humidity – which makes them an excellent fit for tropical terrariums.
The following recommendations are a curated mix of supplies, foods and substrates that expert isopod owners and shops have found success with.
Rubber ducky isopods reportedly like/need quite a varied diet.
Though they seem to prefer natural sources of decaying wood or leaves rather than scraps from your meals, you’ll likely still need to supplement their diet with a protein source and ideally some limestone (more on that last one later).
For protein, some people like to add dried fish, either whole (small ones like minnows) or in flake form. It’s worth experimenting to see what they like, and start small, as you don’t want your terrarium full of rotting food.
Adding a few sprinkles of fish flakes when you water your terrarium definitely seems like the easiest option to me.
Substrate recommendations mostly fall in line with typical terrarium mixes, but with a few added supplements. Here’s some personal recommendations from experienced isopod owners.
“25% coco fiber, 40% chunked rotting wood, 15% leaves, and, 10% dried sphagnum moss, and finally about 10% pulverized limestone.”@Derposour on Reddit
The coco fiber and sphagnum moss will help to maintain the higher level of moisture they prefer, and the wood and leaves are their primary food source. Check out EZBotanicals on Etsy for a range of great leaf litter and cork bark options.
The limestone is an interesting one though.
In order to accurately recreate their natural environment, people have been adding limestone to the substrate mix with great results.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock that’s made up primarily of calcium carbonate, which they use to build their exoskeletons. Thankfully for us, calcium carbonate is actually a common gardening supplement that often goes by the name of “Garden Lime”. It’s typically used as soil supplement to increase the pH for plants, but it’ll work a treat here.
Finally, with their shy nature, rubber ducky isopods seem to like a deeper substrate layer that they can burrow into. If you’re establishing them separately from a terrarium, you can use these great acrylic invertebrate enclosures from EZbotanicals.
Where to Find Rubber Ducky Isopods for Sale
Well, here’s the real question…
You’ll likely have to shop around and/or wait for stock (and they don’t come cheap) but here’s a few sellers you can check out.
Other Cubaris Isopods for Sale
Interestingly, there’s a wide variety of new Cubaris species being discovered. In fact, the rubber ducky isopod hasn’t even been officially classified yet.
Here’s a few other cool species you can check out too.
Over to You
Have you been one of the lucky few to get your hands on this incredible isopod species?
Let us know how you’re getting on in the comments!