Jump to content

  • Chat
  •  
  •  



Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use, and contain no ads for members. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

Photo
- - - - -

Dspdrew's Formicarium 08 Research and Design (Updated 8-5-2016)

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

  • Please log in to reply
170 replies to this topic

#1 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 8 2014 - 7:27 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Okay so that last thing I built for my Acromyrmex seems to have killed half the workers in the colony I put in it. I have no idea what it could possibly be, as it was nothing but plastic boxes, vinyl tubing, stainless steel mesh, and a sponge. I do use a solvent to bond the plastic pieces together, just like anyone who builds acrylic cases for pets. This solvent while still wet is quite toxic, but once it has evaporated and cured, it's no longer there and no longer dangerous. All I can figure is it didn't cure long enough, but that's weird because it evaporates extremely fast, and the thing sat for almost an entire day before I put the ants in it. Either way, I probably won't ever find out what the problem was, because I have since come up with a much better formicarium for these guys.

 

Here's the new leaf-cutter formicarium.

 

med_gallery_2_281_472469.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_281_430580.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_281_433898.jpg

 

 

I based these on the same design used by Dr. Rebecca Clark from Texas A&M University. These here are the ones she made.

 

11571425765_b80fe93d78_z.jpg

 

 

As I always do, I added a hydration system to mine for convenience and consistency. I sealed up one of the shorter medium sized containers to make a water tank. I then created a port where a long narrow sponge sits and acts as a wick for the water. The sponge is small so that it can be easily pushed down by the weight of the container sitting on top of it, ensuring good transferring of the water from it to the Hydrostone in the floor of the chamber container.

 

med_gallery_2_281_53174.jpg

 

 

Here's the bottom of the chamber container. You can see the Hydrostone port that comes through the bottom. This is part of the Hydrostone floor of the container, so it becomes damp when the sponge touches it. The Hydrostone around it, separated by the plastic ring, is there just  for weight, and purposely segregated from the port.

 

med_gallery_2_281_565478.jpg

 

 

Here are both the chamber container and the foraging container. I added Hydrostone to the bottom of the foraging container for added weight as well.

 

med_gallery_2_281_466955.jpg

 

 

I should be testing this out over the next few days, so as always, I'll report back here with the results.



#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 8 2014 - 8:29 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Last night I put some extra Camponotus workers in the nest  to make sure it isn't going to mysteriously kill anymore of my Acromyrmex.

 

I put a hygrometer in each chamber to measure the humidity difference. At first both containers were 94% humidity, but later today, I found the foraging container at 87% and the fungus chamber container at 92%. I checked the humidity in one of the foraging containers I currently have the Acromyrmex in, and it's only about 70%. This is most likely going to result in mold growing on the substrate.



#3 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 9 2014 - 8:52 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I cut out the majority of the lid on the foraging container, leaving just a small lip that I can glue some steel mesh to later.

 

med_gallery_2_281_632394.jpg

 

 

I tested the humidity again after about 30 minutes, and it was down to 78% while the fungus chamber hadn't changed at all, still reading 92%. This is perfect! As I predicted, the water is wicked up into the fungus chamber fast enough to keep the humidity up even as its constantly escaping through the foraging container.



#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 9 2014 - 8:55 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Late last night, I attached some stainless steel mesh to the foraging container lid, and moved a medium-sized colony into it.

 

med_gallery_2_281_141625.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_281_667668.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_281_366897.jpg



#5 Offline drtrmiller - Posted December 9 2014 - 2:03 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,565 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

They like all that open room at the top?



#6 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 9 2014 - 2:22 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Apparently. Did you see Rebecca Clark's setups? She started the colonies in those things.



#7 Offline Crystals - Posted December 9 2014 - 2:35 PM

Crystals

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,030 posts
  • LocationAthabasca, AB (Canada)

This is a very interesting setup.  I am very curious to see how it grows.

I think this will work very well for the fungus growers.


"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

List of Handy Links   (pinned in the General section)

My Colonies


#8 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 9 2014 - 2:50 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Yeah, based on what's been used in laboratories, this should work well. Dr. Rebecca Clark even said as long as it stays humid enough, she thinks it should work "fantastically". :)



#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 15 2014 - 8:04 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

So far these Acromyrmex formicariums are working great. I have two colonies moved into them right now, and should be moving another five in tonight.

 

Last night I made a jig for drilling the holes in the containers.

 

med_gallery_2_281_40758.jpg

 

 

I have planned to do this for all my formicariums once I get the design finalized. Since this fungus-grower formicarium was pretty basic, I figured the design is final for the most part and I decided to make a jig for it now. Measuring and drilling the holes in the containers for one of these formicariums took about an hour before, and now with this, it takes exactly five minutes. Even though it took a few hours to make, this jig and others like it, will save me tons of time in the long run.



#10 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 22 2014 - 9:04 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I made these stackable.

 

gallery_2_281_247227.jpg



#11 Offline dermy - Posted December 23 2014 - 11:12 AM

dermy

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,358 posts
  • LocationCanada

Man if that was in my house someone would knock it down and there'd be a mess...



#12 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 24 2014 - 10:01 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

:lol:  That's why I don't have kids in my place, or anyone for that matter unless they're guests.



#13 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 26 2014 - 10:11 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Problem!

 

The capillary action erosion problem strikes again. This is a strange phenomenon that causes problems for me all the time. I haven't been able to find any information on this anywhere on the internet, let alone find a word for what is happening here. Basically anywhere any material transfers water via capillary action to another material like Hydrostone or Ytong, there seems to be some sort of erosion that takes place. Whether it's a string, sponge, or anything else, it will eventually eat its way into the material over time. This seems to only happen to cement type materials like gypsum cement (Hydrostone) or Ytong, although I haven't really tested any other materials other than plastics likes sponges which don't seem to have this problem that I can see. The higher the rate of water flow, the faster this happens. I noticed this when I was testing an idea I have for a hydrated cricket bin by putting peat moss in one of the fungus chambers of these. After about eight hours, and after a relatively large amount of water had passed through, WAY more water than would pass through one of these while being used for ants, it had formed a small pinhole all the way through the 1/4 inches of Hydrostone.

 

Here's what the Hydrostone port looked like.

 

Top

 

med_gallery_2_281_415442.jpg

 

 

Bottom

 

med_gallery_2_281_500747.jpg

 

 

Here's the bottom side under a microscope.

 

med_gallery_2_281_193789.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_281_151665.jpg

 

 

Unless I can figure out how to stop this from happening, It looks like the only materials that are going to work with a hydration system will be plastics.



#14 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted December 26 2014 - 10:22 PM

Gregory2455

    Advanced Member

  • Care Sheet Editors
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,286 posts
  • LocationCalifornia

I agree with whoever said in chat that it may be the Ph of the water.



#15 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 26 2014 - 11:06 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

That could be part of it, or all of it... I wish I knew. This might just take some experimenting.



#16 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted December 26 2014 - 11:15 PM

Gregory2455

    Advanced Member

  • Care Sheet Editors
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,286 posts
  • LocationCalifornia

Whatever it is, it is a really cool phenomenon. Have you ever thought of making your own mini scale hydrostone stalactite caverns? :D



#17 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 27 2014 - 6:08 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Strangely enough, I've never thought of that.



#18 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted December 27 2014 - 11:51 AM

Gregory2455

    Advanced Member

  • Care Sheet Editors
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,286 posts
  • LocationCalifornia
I wonder if hydro stone mineralizes like limestone does, and be able to make stalagmites and stalactites... :thinking:

#19 Offline drtrmiller - Posted December 27 2014 - 12:05 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,565 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

I wonder if hydro stone mineralizes like limestone does, and be able to make stalagmites and stalactites... :thinking:

 

Given that these generally take tens or hundreds of years to form, I'm not sure it would be an idea worth exploring.

 

It may be possible to accelerate the formation by using a thin string as a drip line, then finding the optimal ratio of salts and minerals to use as a drip solution, as well as the optimal rate of flow.  

 

But in the end, you have to ask yourself—why am I doing this?  What problem am I trying to solve?



#20 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 27 2014 - 12:51 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

:lol:


  • BugFinder likes this





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: formicarium, container, out world, enclosure, how-to, diy, design, nest, dspdrew, tutorial

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users