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Dspdrew's Formicarium 05 Research and Design (Updated 9-21-2016)

formicarium container out world enclosure how-to diy design dspdrew nest tutorial

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233 replies to this topic

#221 Offline charliebynar - Posted November 27 2017 - 8:32 AM

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webcam?


Yeah, it was linked in my Myrmecocystus mexicanus journal.

http://antcam.gyg.cc:8081/

I usually have it off between 5:00 pm and midnight because it slows my computer down too much


#222 Offline charliebynar - Posted November 27 2017 - 8:42 AM

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Springtails? Do the ants eat them? Are they good for the colony? What is your reasons for adding springtails?

#223 Offline charliebynar - Posted November 27 2017 - 8:52 AM

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webcam?


Yeah, it was linked in my Myrmecocystus mexicanus journal.

http://antcam.gyg.cc:8081/

I usually have it off between 5:00 pm and midnight because it slows my computer down too much.

Do you still have your antcam?

The other day, I got access to a laser cutter. I didn't actually run it myself, but I was about as close as you could get to running it. This was perfect for making a couple prototypes with some scrap pieces of acrylic I bought from the plastic store. Working this closely with the laser cutter made me realize what changes I could make to the specific design that's actually fed into the laser cutter, to help get much better results.

This laser cutter was 75 watt, which had a hard time cutting through the 12mm piece of acrylic. It took about four passes to get all the way through it. Here's what it looked like when it didn't make it all the way though.

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Here's the one that we made it all the way through. along with one of the thinner chamber extension plates next to it. You can see how nicely it cuts much thinner pieces of acrylic.

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I also cut the main tunnel & chamber design out of a few 3mm smoked grey pieces of acrylic I found. I'll just weld all three of these together to create one much cleaner cut 9mm piece for now.

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Here's the back brace that the bolts will screw into, holding all the pieces together tightly.

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Finally, here's an idea of what the nest will look like, just without the block of Ytong in back. never mind all the random colors, and levels of opacity, these were just scraps I was working with for the prototype.

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Nice lighting!

#224 Offline T.C. - Posted November 27 2017 - 9:32 AM

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Little much, don't you think @charliebynar



#225 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 27 2017 - 8:41 PM

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Drew, how are you measuring humidity of the Yong? It's my understanding that the ideal humidity for Myrmecocystus Mexicanus is between 50%-70%. At what humidity have you had the most success at with this species?

 

I wasn't measuring humidity in Ytong. That was the humidity range in my apartment. I have not measured my success with this species based on humidity.



#226 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 27 2017 - 8:52 PM

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Springtails? Do the ants eat them? Are they good for the colony? What is your reasons for adding springtails?

 
Springtails eat fungus.

#227 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 27 2017 - 9:02 PM

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webcam?


Yeah, it was linked in my Myrmecocystus mexicanus journal.

http://antcam.gyg.cc:8081/

I usually have it off between 5:00 pm and midnight because it slows my computer down too much.

 


Do you still have your antcam?

 

 

No.



#228 Offline charliebynar - Posted November 28 2017 - 4:42 PM

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I finished the third prototype. I cut the front off the lid used for the water tank tray this time, making it easier to slide in and up against the Ytong.

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I made some changes to the water tank. The mouth is now on the front, so nothing pours out while filling it.

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This time I added a little plastic tray to the out world to put food on. That should be easier to clean off than the Hydrostone bottom.

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I painted this one black. It has the odd colored black and white nest in it, so it kind of matches.

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Here it is after moving my Camponotus semitestaceus colony into it. It's funny they moved the queen and all the brood into one of the smallest chambers.

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#229 Offline charliebynar - Posted November 28 2017 - 4:43 PM

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Cute, the workers love to shove the queen into the smallest chambers. 😃

#230 Offline charliebynar - Posted November 28 2017 - 4:50 PM

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I finally took the prototype that the Veromessor chewed through apart and removed the Ytong. You can see how much of it the ants chewed away.

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I glued some 100 micron nylon mesh with 32% open area to the back of one of the plates.

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I quickly rigged up a back plate that will be used to press the sponge tightly up against the nest.

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Here is the PVA sponge I'll be using next to a regular common sponge. These sponges are very dense, and hold way more water.

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Here it is all put together.

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I already moved the ants back into the nest, and they quickly made it their home. The new backing is soaking up the water perfectly and keeping the bottom chambers very humid.

One very strange thing I noticed, is they don't seem to like the nylon mesh/sponge backing. They seem happy with the nest, but hardly any of them stand on or even get near the back wall now. Instead of the back of the chambers, they stand all over the front of the chambers, making it harder to view them. They even pile all of their brood toward the front, keeping it away from the backing. I have no idea what would be causing this. I dropped a piece of a PVA sponge and common sponge in the out world, and they all crowded around both, drinking the water that was soaking into the Hydrostone, but didn't do much climbing onto the sponges. I also tried sticking a piece of the nylon mesh in there, and they didn't seem to mind it at all. I'll have to keep testing things out until I can figure out exactly what's causing this.

At the time I removed the water tank about two weeks ago, it was about half empty. Since it was in there for about one month, this would mean that this tank, being smaller than the original, will probably last about two months, which sounds about right.



#231 Offline charliebynar - Posted November 28 2017 - 4:53 PM

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Drew, these are great journalsite, thanks. I keep reading a bit every day, thanks for all the great info. PS do keep the crickets live until you are ready to feed them to the ants? Then you make them lame or kill them, do the honeypots dip and then feed them to the ants?

#232 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 28 2017 - 10:42 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Drew, these are great journalsite, thanks. I keep reading a bit every day, thanks for all the great info. PS do keep the crickets live until you are ready to feed them to the ants? Then you make them lame or kill them, do the honeypots dip and then feed them to the ants?

 

I didn't completely understand the last part of your question, but I think the answer is yes.



#233 Offline AntsCalifornia - Posted April 13 2018 - 5:05 PM

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Great journals, it amazes me how much work you put into making formicariums perfect for your ants. I was wondering, do you use distilled water or tap water for your ants? I know some ant keepers like to use distilled water just to be on the safe side, but tap water should be fine. I was wondering what you did with your ants because it would take a lot of distilled water to support this many colonies, and that would be a little expensive. Also, did you ever find a replacement container for these or a different site that sells them?


Edited by AntsCalifornia, April 13 2018 - 5:14 PM.


#234 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 13 2018 - 5:24 PM

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I just use plain bottled water. No I have not found replacement containers. I have not worked on this design in a long time.







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