There are many methods for culturing springtails. Common substrates range from charcoal, peat, wood chips, coconut bark, etc. Commonly used foods include flake food, mushrooms and yeast. After trying numerous variations and combinations of these substrates/foods, we find that the following to be easy, cheap, and to work equivalently or better than the other approaches.
1) Soak hardwood wood chips in dechlorinated water for a minute or two. Decant water and blot wood chips with a paper towel to remove excess water.
2) Fill a >16 oz Tupperware container ~1/2 full with the moistened wood chips.
3) Microwave for ~1 min (until thoroughly steaming) to sterilize culture.
4) Let culture cool to room temperature.
5) Add 30-50 springtails.
6) Feed with a pinch of springtail food and/or instant yeast 1-2x per week. Alternatively, the springtails thrive on reconstituted dried mushrooms. We do NOT recommend using fresh mushrooms as this is likely to introduce mites into the culture eventually. For more tips on preventing mites click here.