Water slaters tolerate a wide range of ecological conditions and are distributed across much of temperate Europe, Russia and North America. They are often abundant in polluted water and live in lakes, rivers, springs and even caves - where albino subspecies with smaller eyes have evolved. Being scavengers, they just need some detritus and fallen leaves and organic material to subsist.
In the last few days, a female has laid eggs into her brood pouch or marsupium. While she climbed over the leaves beside the tank wall, I took a photo where her yellow eggs are visible through the transparent brood pouch.
The marsupium is made of overlapping flat blades coming out of the female's anterior four pair of legs, and allows the mother to hold the brood under her body. This structure is a common feature of all Isopods - which include also terrestrial woodlice. The female not only carries the eggs but also the developing larvae. The larvae will emerge as miniature versions of the adults (see the figure below).
Occasionally females expel some larvae from the pouch - possibly due to physical limitations of how many she can carry as they grow - and larvae can also develop normally outside the marsupium from developmental stage B. Probably they need the ventilation and extra oxygen produced by the mother in the initial stage. Carrying the eggs and larvae is also bound to offer them some protection from predators, so it probably evolved as a form of maternal care.
Although water slaters normally stop reproducing during the coldest months of the year, my indoor pond is warmer than outside, and this might have triggered the start of reproduction; a situation that also occurs in wild populations downstream thermal power stations where water is warm all year round.
Vitagliano, G., Fano, E., Marchetti, E., Colangelo, M., & Vitagliano, E. (1991). Importance of longevity, growth, and diapause in the evolution of Asellus aquaticus Bolletino di zoologia, 58 (2), 113-117 DOI: 10.1080/11250009109355740
Holdich, D., & Tolba, M. (1981). The effect of temperature and water quality on the in vitro development and survival of Asellus aquaticus (Crustacea: Isopoda) eggs Hydrobiologia, 78 (3), 227-236 DOI: 10.1007/BF00008519