The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

Hello.  Has anyone here been successful keeping physarum polycephalum in a terrarium?  I got mine from Carolina Supply.  I read in Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method by Sally Kneidel, that a slime mold can be kept this way.  

If anyone else is doing this, I would love some advice.  Do you buy potting soil of gather soil from the forest?  What kind of rotting logs do slime molds prefer?  Since the terrarium contains rotting organic matter do you still need to feed your mold?

Thanks,

Alicia          

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Well, I started my own terrarium so I'll post an update.  I went the found-materials route and started with a 2 gal glass jar.  I layered in pea gravel from the garden, charcoal from the store, and soil from the greenhouse.  I put in two pieces of rotting wood (pine and juniper) which I found in the park.  Last, I planted a small strawberry plant to help regulate the humidity.  (Side note: Soil, gravel, and logs were boiled/microwaved in an attempt to sterilize them)

I waited until my slime mold seemed big and healthy then placed it and petri dish inside the terrarium.  By the next day it had crawled out of the petri dish and was crawling all over the juniper log.  I gave it a piece of oatmeal which it found and ate.  

Within a day or two, a hairy/powdery mold appeared on the juniper log and quickly spread.  Some of the slime mold produced sporangia and the rest moved onto the pine log which was mold free.  The hairy mold soon covered the sporangia and kept mostly to the juniper log for about a week.  My slime mold explored the pine log during this time.  I would spray it with distilled water when the log started to look dry.  

The slime mold started to look hungry (in my opinion) so I fed it an oatmeal flake, which it ate.  The hairy mold was beginning to move onto the pine log but was moving slowly and sticking to to the shadows.  Eventually, the slime mold lost too much ground and put up sporangia.  The hairy mold is beginning to move onto the sporangia right now so I fear my experiment is over.  

I will try again with a more sterile environment.  I bought potting soil, gravel, and an overpriced natural log from the pet store.  

I'll burn the old logs and contents of the terrarium because I don't want to introduce invasive species into the yard or landfill.  

Thanks for your update, it makes enjoyable reading. Keeping fungal growth down is always a challenge. Did you take any photos of different stages? Would be good to see.

Good luck with the next experiment. Do keep posting...

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