Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede (Tonkinbolus dollfusi)

The Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede (Tonkinbolus dollfusi) is an exotic and beautiful creature that brings a touch of color to any vivarium.

With its brilliant rainbow hues and hardy nature, this fascinating species of tropical millipede makes a wonderful pet for any animal enthusiast.

If you’re thinking of taking in a Tonkinbolus dollfusi, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to provide your new pet with a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment.

Read on to discover the basics of this giant millipede‘s care!

Common Name Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede
Family Name Pachybolidae
Scientific Name Tonkinbolus dollfusi
Use Cleaning, Aerating Soil, Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan 5-8 Years
Diet Detritivore
Adult Size 10 cm
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Easy
Minimum Tank Size 10-15 Gallons
pH 5.5 to 7.5
Hardness Soft
Temperature 60-75°F

What Are Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes?

Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes, scientific name Tonkinbolus dollfusi, are a species of tropical millipede in the family Pachybolidae.

Native to coastal areas of Southeast Asia, they come in a variety of bright colors, ranging from ruby red to bright yellow, earning them their coveted common name.

If given the natural environment and care they require, these creatures will thrive for many years.

What Do Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes Look Like?

Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes are long, cylindrical millipedes that measure up to 10 centimeters in length.

They have a distinctive rainbow pattern of bands along their body, ranging in color from yellow to orange, pink, brown, and even green.

The banding pattern is unique from one individual to the next, making the Tonkinbolus dollfusi one of the more eye-catching species of millipede. 

These millipedes have a hard exoskeleton to protect them from predators, and their bodies are composed of numerous individual segments.

The Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede has a relatively modest number, with only 7-9 segments, each with 6-8 legs. 

Benefits Of Using Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes

Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes are an attractive and hardy species of humid-loving millipedes, which makes them an ideal addition to a vivarium.

Not only will their bright colors make a stunning display, but they are also low-maintenance and can help create a healthier environment for your other captives.

In addition to providing an aesthetically pleasing display, Tonkinbolus dollfusi make for great tank cleaners.

By foraging for food and stirring up the substrate, they can help your other captives get access to nutrient-rich food sources while aerating and decomposing organic matter in the process.

Tonkinbolus dollfusi "Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede" Care Guide

Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede Facts

The Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede is an exotic and vibrant species of millipede native to Southeast Asia.

These hardy millipedes have a relatively long lifespan and a mild temperament.

They are mostly omnivorous and feed on decaying leaf matter, fungi, and small invertebrates.

Breeding is possible with the right setup and conditions, and the millipedes reach sexual maturity at 5-6 months of age.


Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes are native to Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam and Thailand.

They inhabit damp lowland forests, where they prefer to live burrowed in decomposing leaf litter.

In the wild, these millipedes are often found in dark, damp hideouts beneath rocks, logs, and other debris, or burrowed in the soil.

During the day, they can be seen roaming around on the forest floor, searching for food, and occasionally basking in the sun.


Tonkinbolus dollfusi is a detritivorous species of millipede.

This means that in the wild, Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes will eat both animal and plant matter.

Their natural diet consists mostly of decaying wood, bark, leaves, and fruit as well as small insects and other invertebrates.

It is important to replicate this natural diet in captivity. 


The temperament of Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes toward humans and other animals is mostly “nonaggressive”; they will not bite humans unless provoked.

This species is quite docile, so they do not release toxic secretions or cause any other “defensive” behaviors.

However, they will move away quickly when touched, as they are quite sensitive to hand and finger pressure.


The Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede is a hardy species that can survive for up to 5-8 years with adequate care.

Like many other species, Tonkinbolus dollfusi go through different stages of life beginning from an egg stage and culminating in an adult stage.

The larval stage lasts for around one year, after which they develop into adult millipedes and begin to reproduce.

During the adult stage, they will reach their full coloration and will become sexually active.


When it comes to mating and reproduction, Tonkinbolus dollfusi can reach sexual maturity relatively quickly at one year of age.

Males typically reach maturity before females.

They practice polygynandry, which means that multiple males can mate with one female.

Interestingly, these millipedes feature a sort of courtship ritual; males will raise their front legs and entwine with the female to ensure that they are her partner. 

The female will deposit her eggs in the soil, where they will remain for a few weeks before hatching.

When the eggs hatch, the babies emerge in a vibrant multicolored coat, much like their parents.

They take about one to two years to reach full maturity, depending on environmental factors.

Where To Find Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes

Due to their colorful appearance, Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes are occasionally imported as pets by insect enthusiasts.

Because of this, they are usually relatively easy to find for sale in pet shops and online stores.

When purchasing, it is important to make sure that they come from a reliable and certified source.

This should ensure that they have been ethically and humanely sourced, as well as properly cared for in transit.

For more adventurous explorers, Tonkinbolus dollfusi can often be found in the wild in their native habitat.

Keep in mind, however, that the species is protected by international law and should not be captured from the wild or exported.

 This should only be done with the permission of the local state or provincial authority, or with the assistance of a local guide or expert.

Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede Care

Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes require a habitat with plenty of substrate, and moisture.

I recommend two or three inches of substrate topped with a thin layer of leaf litter.

A varied diet of fresh fruit and vegetables should be offered along with feeder insects at least once every two weeks.

Be sure to monitor humidity levels and temperatures as well as to regularly clean and disinfect the enclosure.

Handle Tonkinbolus dollfusi carefully and infrequently, and if breeding, provide a separate container for the eggs.

Finally, be prepared to take swift and appropriate action if common health issues arise.

Tank Requirements

When establishing an environment for your Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede, it is best to use a tank that is at least 10 gallons.

The ideal vivarium type would be a tropical terrarium, as this will provide a sufficient ecosystem for the creature to explore and hide in.

The tank should also have plenty of airflows, with several small holes at right angles to one another.

My suggestions for pH would range between 6.5 and 7.5, with hardness levels at 150 ppm.

The temperature should remain between 75-80°F while providing a hiding place in warmer and cooler spots of the tank.

The terrarium substrate is another key component of the tank setup and should be 3-5 inches deep.

Lastly, terrarium lighting is not necessary but a day/night cycled light source is very beneficial.

What Do Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes Eat?

Feeding a Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede is easy and straightforward – but it’s important to know the basics to ensure your pet’s health and safety.

A variety of dark green leafy vegetables, like kale and collard greens, are popular choices; Other popular options include carrots, potatoes, apples, and bananas. 

It is vital to ensure that all food is cut into very small pieces before offering it to your Tonkinbolus dollfusi.

Cutting the food into smaller chunks makes it easier for your pet to digest.

In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also offer small amounts of fungi to your Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede – a popular choice is live oat grass.

Here’s a quick list of things you can offer your Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede:

  • Green leafy vegetables (kale, collard greens, spinach, etc.)
  • Carrots, potatoes, apples, and bananas
  • Live oat grass (in moderation)
  • ( NO animal proteins, dairy, processed foods, or sugary foods)

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

The Ultimate DIY Millipede Food Guide | Best Food + Recipes

Best Tankmates For Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes

Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes can coexist peacefully with a variety of other animals if the correct setup and practices are followed.

With their tolerant personalities and easy-going behavior, they make ideal tank mates for many species of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

A few beneficial animals to keep with the Vietnamese Rainbow Millipedes include pet isopods, springtails, and snails.

These animals have compatible tank mates, which makes the setup process much easier.

In addition, all tankmates should be monitored closely so they are not too stressed out when they encounter one another.

Be sure to set up a sturdy lid or approved mesh cover to keep the inhabitants of the tank safe and sound. 


By taking the steps outlined in this guide and providing your Vietnamese Rainbow Millipede with the right environment and proper care, you can ensure that it remains happy and healthy.

Understanding how to care for your pet is a crucial part of being a responsible pet owner.

We hope this article has been helpful in that regard. Have fun with your new pet millipede!

Frequently Asked Questions

To take care of a Vietnamese rainbow millipede, provide a suitable humid habitat, offer a varied detritivore diet, handle them gently, avoid using chemicals, and monitor for any signs of illness or injury.

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