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Test Tube Condensation Remedy?

condensation

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Lazarus - Posted September 13 2017 - 4:30 AM

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A few weeks ago when the overnight temperature first dropped drastically (living in Ottawa, Ontario) my son and I were shocked to find heavy condensation in 4 test tubes containing growing colonies. Two tubes were so wet we set up exit tubes hoping the colonies would move to formicariums despite numbering only 10 or so workers. (Long story short, they did not want to move out permanently, but used the joining tube long enough to get away from the condensation, and then moved back into test tubes.)

The condensation is formed when there is too much of a temperature difference between the air in the test tubes and the glass exposed to the outer air.

Since that night I've bundled the tubes under a heavy towel, making sure the front cotton swabs are still exposed to allow for fresh air, and this seems to work although I still do see a bit of condensation at times.

This got me thinking about how I could improve that airflow with the hope that the inner and outer temperatures could remain fairly equal and avoid any condensation. I thought that a fine wire mesh might do the trick. I have both 150mm and 200mm test tubes and looked around for something that I could use as a cap into which I could insert the mesh. I managed to find some bottle inserts used to restrict flows (such as those in a bottle of Soy Sauce) that not only fit, but could be used for BOTH sizes of test tubes. The wider test tube snaps tightly inside the cap outer rim\ while the smaller test tube fits into the plastic wedge used to create the block that restricts the flow of liquid. I was able to hot glue circular mesh cutouts on the 'top' of these plastic restrictors, and then cut out the plastic that blocks the flow (the pictures below showing one of these caps still with the plastic).

I have not used them yet but was wondering what others thought about it and whether or not this may be a bad idea. Would it be a problem to have the ants more exposed to the outside air like this?

PS: Before anyone asks, I do not know from exactly which sauce bottle these restrictors came from as these were in my 'parts bin'. I wish I knew since if they work out I'd like a to make a dozen more myself.

Dario

 


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Dario


#2 Offline drtrmiller - Posted September 13 2017 - 6:21 AM

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You got the cause right. But you don't want lots of air exchange because the purpose of the test tube is to simulate a subterranean environment, and gas exchange reduces condensation by allowing dry air to enter and moist air to exit. This will deplete the water reservoir prematurely and also possibly create suboptimal humidity levels for brood.

Keeping the temperature stable is what you should focus most on.


#3 Offline ultraex2 - Posted September 13 2017 - 6:58 AM

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Do you know what species they are?  If you need to keep the temperature consistent you may want to get a heating pad/cable.

 

For hibernation, if you have a deep enough basement it should stay at a pretty consistent temperature.



#4 Offline klawfran3 - Posted September 13 2017 - 8:41 AM

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If the room outside the tubes is colder than the air in them, condensation will form. So long ae you keep the room warmer or at the same temperature they'll be fine. Basically if you turn on your AC they'll condense if they arent insulated to change the temperatures slowly.
Put them in a closet that doesnt have an AC and low air flow and you'll be good.

Edited by klawfran3, September 13 2017 - 8:42 AM.

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#5 Offline Lazarus - Posted September 13 2017 - 9:14 AM

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The point of prematurely drying out the water reservoir is a good one, and enough for me to think twice about using these. I'll keep them around should I get another condensation issue, and then consider just using them to temporarily replace the cotton for a short time to get rid of built up condensation and then switch back to the cotton.

 

AC was not the issue since it was not even on at the time. Just rapid drop in temperature overnight.

 

These are Camponotus novaeboracensis (Identified here http://www.formicult...uptial-flights/) but I have two other queens in tubes and only with eggs that have yet to be identified. (Need better pictures)

 

As per the recommendations in these forums I will be hibernating them for 3 months over the winter, hopefully finding an adequate cool and isolated spot in my basement.

 

Thanks for all the replies and help.

 

Dario


Dario





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