Balancing Your Sealed Terrarium: The Ideal Number of Springtails

Balancing Your Sealed Terrarium: The Ideal Number of Springtails

Creating a vibrant, thriving sealed terrarium is a wonderful way to bring a bit of nature into your home. A crucial element in maintaining the health and balance of this miniature ecosystem is the introduction of springtails. These tiny, beneficial insects play a key role in the terrarium's wellbeing. In this article, we'll explore the optimal number of springtails to add to your sealed terrarium and address the common question: do springtails eat moss and plants in the terrarium?

Understanding Springtails

Before diving into numbers, it's important to understand what springtails are. They are small insects, usually less than 6mm in size, known for their ability to "spring" away when disturbed. They are excellent decomposers, breaking down organic matter and thus helping to maintain the terrarium's health.

How Many Springtails Should You Add?

The number of springtails to add to your sealed terrarium largely depends on the size of the terrarium and its existing ecosystem. As a general guideline:

  • Small Terrariums (Under 1 L): Start with a small colony of 10-15 springtails.
  • Medium Terrariums (1 - 20 L): A healthy number would be around 20-30 springtails.
  • Large Terrariums (over 20 L): Consider adding 40-50 or more springtails.

Remember, these numbers are just starting points. Springtails reproduce quickly, so they will naturally adjust their population to the available space and resources.

Will Springtails Eat Moss and Plants?

A common concern is whether springtails will harm the plants and moss in your sealed terrarium. The good news is that springtails primarily feed on fungi, decaying plant material, and mold. They are unlikely to cause harm to healthy plants or actively growing moss. In fact, they help in keeping the terrarium clean by consuming decaying matter, thus preventing mold growth.

Benefits of Adding Springtails

Adding springtails to your sealed terrarium has several benefits:

  1. Decomposition: They break down organic matter, preventing mold and fungus growth.
  2. Soil Aeration: Their movement helps aerate the terrarium soil.
  3. Balanced Ecosystem: They contribute to the overall health of the terrarium ecosystem.


Incorporating springtails into your sealed terrarium is a wise decision for any enthusiast. Not only do they help in maintaining a clean and healthy environment, but they also add to the dynamic, self-sustaining ecosystem. Start with the recommended number of springtails based on your terrarium size and watch them work their magic, all while keeping your plants and moss safe and sound.

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