Friday, January 15, 2016

How I Setup My Cockroach Enclosures

Upon request I am doing a post on how I setup my roach enclosures! For my first setup I will be doing a terrestrial enclosure, this style of caging is for the typical roaches, Parcoblatta, Pseudomops, ect. This cage in particular is much larger than most of my other cages, it is for my incoming Madagascar hissing roaches!

First we start with a boring old plastic container:

Now we need to drill some holes into this thing. I used to use a Black and Decker electric drill, but sometimes if I drilled into thin plastic the drill would make cracks in the container and I would have to get a new container. Now I use a soldering iron/gun, it melts holes in the plastic, and does not cause cracks!

Then I get poking! Here is the finished product:

Now we add substrate! I use coconut fiber as the base substrate, then add other things like moss and mulch if necessary. I am just using the coco-fiber this time. For this kind of setup I use about an inch of substrate, maybe less:

Now I add the basic hides, toilet paper rolls, cardboard egg cartons, etc. I also add a food bowl:

Then I add the natural decor, dead leaves, bark etc. I am putting dead leaves in this enclosure:

This is where I usually call it finished, but hissers hold a special place in my heart, so these guys get a fake leaf vine in their cage!

There we go, all done! Now all we need are the roaches, which should be arriving tomorrow!
Now let's do a burrowing roach enclosure. This enclosure is for my Byrsotria sp. "Cuba", I took out all the roaches and re-setup their cage, this time taking pictures. As a rule, burrowers like a much deeper substrate than terrestrial roaches, about 2-3 inches of substrate. They also don't utilize hides as much as non-burrowers, though they do appreciate something to hide under.

First I put in the substrate:

Then I add some dead leaves. This is not needed for most roaches, but all roaches will appreciate a layer of dead leaves as a secondary food source, as well as to hide in. Polyphagids however, (Therea, Ergaula, Polyphaga, etc.), absolutely need dead leaves in their enclosure, it is their main food source. A inch or so of dead leaves is required for those roaches. Byrsotria do not need leaves, but it is a good aesthetic:

And now I add a simple hide, in this case a piece of cardboard eggcarton. I also add the food bowl:

And ta-da, we are done!

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial-like post, and I will see you all soon! :)


  1. Thanks! This was a great tutorial! :)

  2. How large (in gallons) are your normal roach bin setups?

    1. Most of my roaches are relatively small or medium sized, so the standard cage size for most of them is 1 Gallon. However, I have some of my Blaberus species housed in these and as their colony gets bigger I will have to upgrade their enclosure size for sure. Also, I'm finding that the containers I'm using make it easy for climbing species to dart out and escape while I'm doing cage maintenance...

  3. how many gallons is your hisser tank?

    1. About 4 Gallons I believe. It's one of those Ziplock Weathertight containers, works really well for the hissers and it is impossible for nymphs to escape.