Magic Potion Isopods (Armadillidium vulgare ‘Magic Potion’)

Do you have an interest in knowing more about the fascinating Magic Potion Isopod? If so, then you’ve come to the right place!

As an experienced critter keeper, I’m here to provide you with the information and advice you need to ensure that these exciting little animals are properly taken care of.

In this care guide, I’ll cover aspects such as temperature requirements, substrate needs, feeding, potential issues, and breeding tips.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into how you can provide the perfect home for your Armadillium isopod!

Common Name Magic Potion Isopods
Family Name Armadillidae
Scientific Name Armadillidium vulgar 'Magic Potion'
Use Cleaning, Aerating Soil, Feeders
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan 1-3 Years
Diet Detritivore
Adult Size 0.5-1.5 cm
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Easy
Minimum Tank Size 2-5 Gallons
pH 6.5-7.8
Hardness Soft
Temperature 69-77°F

What Are Magic Potion Isopods?

Armadillidium vulgare ‘Magic Potion’ belong to the family Armadillidiidae and is also known as Magic Potion Isopods.

The ‘Magic Potion’ component of the name comes from the animal’s unique coloration; Separating them from their darker Pill Bug relative.

They are widely found in humid and moist areas of Japan but have also become popular among insect and invertebrate hobbyists.

What Do Magic Potion Isopods Look Like?

Armadillidium vulgare ‘Magic Potion’ is small, usually measuring half an inch in length or less.

They possess a convex body, which is covered in a flexible outer layer known as an exoskeleton. This exoskeleton is usually mottled, ranging in color from white to grey and deep emerald green.

This intricate marbling of colors and pattern makes these isopods truly stand out in comparison to other isopods.

Aside from their striking coloration, Magic Potion Isopods also possess seven sets of legs, two antennae, two eyes on the top of their heads, and a pair of pincer-like claws.

These pincers are used by the isopods to grab food and are also used as a defensive tool. 

These isopods also possess two lungs behind the back of their heads and two gills on either side of the lungs to help with breathing.

This makes them highly adapted and able to thrive in humid and moist areas, which are the ideal conditions for Magic Potion Isopods to survive.

Benefits Of Using Magic Potion Isopods

Using Magic Potion Isopods in vivariums is beneficial for many reasons.

They keep the enclosure clean and help to maintain its ecological balance by consuming decaying plant material and some animal waste.

Magic Potion Isopods also act as a natural pest control as they will search for and consume any small invertebrates living in the bioactive terrarium.

Furthermore, as they are mostly nocturnal feeders they add an extra level of interest and diversity to the vivarium during the night.

As they are quite hardy and easy to look after, they are ideal for those who are just beginning to keep invertebrates.

The Armadillidium vulgare Magic Potion Isopods Care Guide!

Magic Potion Isopods Facts

Magic Potion Isopods are parthenogenetic invertebrates that have a natural diet of decaying plant and animal matter.

They have a lifespan of 2-3 years, reproduce without needing a mate, and can reach maturity in 4-8 weeks with proper environmental conditions.


Armadillidium vulgare ‘Magic Potion’ is widely spread throughout Japan and East Asia. They are native to moist or wet areas such as woodlands, marshlands, and thick pine forests.

The moist and humid conditions of the habitat are perfect for their survival as well as the dark and damp crevices they love to hide in.

In the wild, they often feed on decaying matter such as dead leaves, fungi, and other organic matter. 

Given their preference for damp habitats, they are able to survive in locations with high levels of humidity.

This enables them to inhabit environments that are not suitable for other species, such as moist soils and wet surfaces.

Magic Potion Isopods have a great temperature tolerance since they are relatively active even in temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius.

However, in the wild, they are rarely seen during the cold months of winter and instead remain dormant during this time. 


In the wild, Magic Potion Isopods feed on tiny pieces of decaying plants and small insects.

They prefer decomposing leaves that have been softened by rain, compost, or other forms of moisture.

In addition to foliage, Magic Potion Isopods also scavenge for small dead insects, such as ants and aphid carcasses, as well as fungi, which they can then digest for the essential dietary nutrients that it needs. 


Magic Potion Isopods are generally docile and uninterested in humans.

Their curious minds may lead them to explore humans, but they are not aggressive and their pincers will not harm you.

Most of the time, Magic Potion Isopods will stay hidden in their enclosure and out of sight from humans.

When kept with other animals, such as other isopods or terrestrial arthropods, Magic Potion Isopods are peaceful.

They will not harm any other animal and will even form social structures with other isopods in their enclosure.


Armadillidium vulgare ‘Magic Potion’ has a relatively long lifespan, averaging between 2-3 years.

The Magic Potion Isopods’ life cycle consists of three main stages: egg, juveniles, and adults. The female produces eggs, which are then fertilized by the male.

The eggs are laid in a moist area and hatch after about two weeks. The newly-hatched isopods are then referred to as juveniles and enter the first instar stage.

Through seven instar stages, the isopods will molt and grow into adults. Once they reach adulthood, they will reproduce and the cycle will begin again.


Mating for Magic Potion Isopods is quite unique compared to other isopod species.

After the male Isopod locates a suitable mate, he will squat down and touch the female’s antennas and antennae with his antennae.

This is called antennal brushing and is a sign of courtship and acceptance to the female.

If she allows it, the male will then step over her and grab onto her with his pleopods. 

The male will then secrete a spermatophore, which is a capsule containing semen, and deposit it onto the female.

The female will then absorb the spermatophore, allowing the sperm to be transferred.

The female is then capable of storing the sperm inside of her, allowing her to mate multiple times without needing to find a new mate each time. 

Once she is ready to lay her eggs, she will dig into the substrate and lay up to 80 eggs at a time.

These eggs will hatch in about a month, and the young Isopods will go through 7 instar stages before reaching adulthood.

Where To Find Magic Potion Isopods

Finding Magic Potion Isopods in the wild is no easy task. They can be found throughout much of Japan in humid and moist areas such as deciduous forests and riparian meadows.

Because of their small size and coloration, they are hard to spot and can often be mistaken for other small isopods.

However, if you are lucky enough to come across them in the wild they can make a great addition to any collection. 

If you are looking to purchase Magic Potion Isopods, they can be found online but also in specialized pet stores.

One good resource is a trusted pet store that specializes in exotic insects and invertebrates.

They will have the best knowledge of how to care for Magic Potion Isopods and can help you get started.

Magic Potion Isopods Care

To properly care for Magic Potion Isopods, maintain temperatures between 24-28°C, with a 70-80% humidity level.

The substrate needs to include natural materials such as coco fiber soil, peat moss, and leaf litter, with optional pieces of wood and bark.

Isopods also enjoy a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and decaying plant matter.

Breeding can be accomplished if there is enough space, however, if one starts to overcrowding, it is best to source another tank.

Tank Requirements

The best vivarium type for Magic Potion Isopods is a terrarium that is at least 10 gallons in size, with a lid that allows for ventilation.

The enclosure should have a pH of 6.5 to 8.0, with the optimal pH being 7.0. The ideal hardness should be between 5 and 8 dH.

The temperature for Magic Potion Isopods should be approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

For terrarium substrate, coconut husk/coir or similar organic matter should be used.

Their vivarium also needs a moderate amount of proper terrarium lighting that can be put on an automatic timer for consistent day and night intervals.

What Do Magic Potion Isopods Eat?

Feeding Magic Potion Isopods is a fairly straightforward process.

Generally, it’s best to feed them a variety of natural items such as fruits, vegetables, and organic matter.

In terms of actual food items, you can give them a variety of things such as apples, bananas, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, tomato, and zucchini.

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and parsley are also good sources of food.

Additionally, you can also feed them small decaying insects such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms, as well as frozen shrimp.

Be sure to offer them food in moderation, as overeating can lead to health problems.

Furthermore, you should keep in mind that these animals do not need specialized dietary items, and can thrive on a variety of natural food items.

If you’re more of an avid hobbyist like myself, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY Isopod food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my personal favorite recipe.

What Do Isopods Eat? + A Fun DIY Isopod Food Recipe!

Best Tankmates For Magic Potion Isopods

Magic Potion Isopods tend to do best when kept with tankmates that have similar care requirements, such as springtails, land snails, and millipedes.

These animals are often beneficial for the Magic Potion Isopods because they help to clean up food scraps and other debris that the isopods may miss. 

Before introducing other animals to Magic Potion Isopod tanks, it’s important to make sure that the tankmates don’t prey on the isopods.

I also recommend that they have similar temperature and humidity requirements. Introducing animals that don’t have similar requirements could upset the balance in the tank.


By following the advice in this guide, you can be sure that your Magic Potion Isopods will be properly taken care of and have a happy and healthy home that they’ll enjoy.

With the right environmental conditions, regular feeding, and potential issues taken care of, these creatures will have no problem thriving in captivity.

With a little patience and dedication, you’ll soon be able to observe the fascinating behaviors of these unique creatures!

Frequently Asked Questions

Magic potion isopods generally eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and algae.

The main difference between Japanese and American magic potion isopods is that American magic potion isopods are much larger than their Japanese counterparts. Japanese magic potion isopods are also much rarer, with a smaller population in the wild and a limited availability in the pet trade. Japanese magic potion isopods have more vibrant colors and patterns compared to American magic potion isopods, which are more muted. Additionally, Japanese magic potion isopods are more active, so they require more frequent feeding and maintenance.

There are many potential causes for isopod death, including improper care, poor water quality, poor nutrition, overcrowding, high temperatures, and parasites. Ensuring that your isopods have the correct habitat, diet, and water quality can help prevent them from dying.

Magic potion isopods typically grow to be about 1/2 of an inch in length.

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