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
* * * * * 4 votes

Dspdrew's Formicarium 09 Research and Design (Updated 10-29-2017)

formicarium out world ant nest how-to tutorial dspdrew

  • Please log in to reply
323 replies to this topic

#81 Offline dspdrew - Posted October 19 2015 - 7:11 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

The test tube caps I use for the caps on the water tank make great feeding bowls.

 

med_gallery_2_295_439719.jpg


  • Major likes this

#82 Offline drtrmiller - Posted October 19 2015 - 8:16 AM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA
Oh great, you explained it here.


#83 Offline dspdrew - Posted October 19 2015 - 9:41 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Oh great, you explained it here.

 

Haha yes, because it's on this thread for more than just the ants.



#84 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 5 2016 - 10:09 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

So I finally decided to get back to working on my "dirt shacks" again. B)  As a matter of fact, I'm starting the actual formicarium I had planned to make in the first place. All the other designs in this thread were really just temporary solutions and experiments. As you see below, I'll be starting out with two of them, so I am planning on testing those two out with two species of ants I have plenty of this year--Myrmecocystus mexicanus, and Acromyrmex versicolor. It will be especially interesting to see how the Acromyrmex colony digs its nest and behaves in a little more natural of an environment. I don't think I have ever seen any fungus-growers kept in an ant farm type setup before.

 

I found a place about 30 minutes away that makes cylinder glass vases. As much as I hate round things, round vases are really going to be best for this display-type design. The vases are hand-made, so there are imperfections, and slight inconsistencies, but they're not too bad for the price. After seeing them in person, I think they are perfect for not just this design, but to be used as aquariums and terrariums as well. They come in all different sizes, including some that are over four feet tall. The large sizes, make them very expensive to ship, but luckily I won't need to worry about that. To start out, I bought two 8" x 28" vases. All the larger-sized vases are about 1/4" thick, so I shouldn't have to worry about them breaking too easily.

 

Edit: These are actually VERY thin, and only thick at the very top and bottom.

 

Here's a picture of the one I just got. Keep in mind, this thing is over two feet tall.

 

VCY0828.gif

 

 

The taller these are, the better of a moisture gradient they are going to allow for. It's also going to allow the ants to dig much deeper, more like they do in the wild.

 

What I need now is some 6" PVC pipe, and some caps. This is not going to be cheap. Home Depot has what looks like a pretty good price for the pipe, but unfortunately I'll have to buy 10 feet of it, so hopefully this will work out well and I'll be making more of them.


Edited by dspdrew, February 23 2016 - 1:57 PM.


#85 Offline drtrmiller - Posted February 5 2016 - 10:23 AM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA
You are really taking soda straws and hamburger boxes to the next level. What a sad, pointless, pathetic waste of your abilities.

Rather than scouring the world for pre-made containers and materials, and then altering the s*** out of them to make them work, you should be using the knowledge and talents you have to make something completely new.

You have a great eye for detail and balance, and have tons of tools and the technical sills to make something completely new and custom. Use them. Stop catering to your inner penny pincher and think outside the box. Make something new.
  • Mannomorth likes this


#86 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 5 2016 - 10:55 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I knew my "dirt shack" would get you riled up. :lol:

 

How might you suggest I go about "making" tall, seamless glass containers? As much as I hate round things, I'm going with round, because these 360 degree ant farms need an internal container, so not only would I have to some how make one container, I would need another one of an exact size to fit inside it. A round exterior container allows me to use a relatively cheap pipe for the internal container. Also, being that these are not designed for compact colony storage, I'm not too worried about them being round. Round would be better for this concept for more than one reason anyway.

 

Inner penny pincher. :lol: I don't have money bags laying around... or 10,000 dollar pieces of machinery.


  • dermy likes this

#87 Offline PTAntFan - Posted February 5 2016 - 11:17 AM

PTAntFan

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 478 posts
  • LocationBurbank, CA

I just think we love tinkering, DrT.  It's just part of the hobby. 

 

Drew, since the glass are handmade by local blower, what customizations are you considering for your design and would they make them for you?

 

I'm really happy with this concept below.  The moisture gradient was REALLY good and easily managed but the key was holes in the bottom of the outer tube which enabled the soil to draw the moisture up towards the surface which was dry and crusty so the ants could easily manage their entrance.

gallery_326_433_839469.jpg


PTAntFan

----------------------------------

Formica Francoeuri

*****************************

I use the $3 Tower I made up.  See it here.


#88 Offline drtrmiller - Posted February 5 2016 - 11:29 AM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA
What about a 8x8x24 (LxWxH) box? What is the thickness of the dirt supposed to be, for the inner box?


#89 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 5 2016 - 11:39 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I just think we love tinkering, DrT.  It's just part of the hobby. 

 

Drew, since the glass are handmade by local blower, what customizations are you considering for your design and would they make them for you?

 

I'm really happy with this concept below.  The moisture gradient was REALLY good and easily managed but the key was holes in the bottom of the outer tube which enabled the soil to draw the moisture up towards the surface which was dry and crusty so the ants could easily manage their entrance.

 

Haha no I know exactly what drtrmiller is talking about, and he's right to an extent, but the container I use for this doesn't change the fundamental design at all. If I find a better container in the future, I'll use that instead.

 

The little temporary square ones I have already made, hydrate from the bottom up, with the water being added to them through the top of the internal container. This works fine, but what I really want is something with an actual water tank--something that can hold a lot more water, and hydrate over longer periods of time. I already killed five of my Myrmecocystus mexicanus colonies because I had some dry out faster than I thought they would.

 

To do this, I'm going to use the sealed tank (pressure regulated) form of hydration. The only thing I'm still trying to figure out how to do, is make an adjustment for the rate at which the water is allowed to move from the tank to the dirt. This would give me a little more control over the moisture gradient. Even though the water flow is regulated by evaporation and pressure in a sealed system like this, as long as there is capillary action involved too, I'm pretty sure it will continue moving water until all of the dirt is soaked, or at least soaked up as high as capillary action can overcome gravity in particles of this size. I'm not completely sure, but I'll just have to find out.



#90 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 5 2016 - 11:48 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

What about a 8x8x24 (LxWxH) box? What is the thickness of the dirt supposed to be, for the inner box?

 

I want somewhere between 1/4" and 1" of dirt, depending on the species and other things. Also (and I know this sounds funny), but I prefer round for this. Think 360 degrees...



#91 Offline PTAntFan - Posted February 5 2016 - 12:03 PM

PTAntFan

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 478 posts
  • LocationBurbank, CA

The challenge I had with the moisture box design was that I had no idea how much water was available for the nest without disturbing it and looking into the column, which depending on the size and darkness presented other challenges.  In the 'cotton stuffed hole' design I can see exactly how much water is available in the outer container and over time I know how much evaporation I have.  I can change the outer water container easily to ensure it's always fresh water too or replace with larger container if I am going out of town. I still like your design a lot too and wanted to do glass within glass, but never found compatible inner and outer jars/columns.

 

Can't even conceive how a pressure regulated design would work and looking forward to your updates!


PTAntFan

----------------------------------

Formica Francoeuri

*****************************

I use the $3 Tower I made up.  See it here.


#92 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 5 2016 - 1:38 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Yes, the fact that you can't see how much water is in the tank is a problem, and I thought about that, but since this would be an actual water tank, and not just wet substrate like my other designs, a simple float switch and a light would solve that problem.

 

I bought one of these way back when I first got into ant keeping.
 
s-l1600.jpg

 

 

If it's too much trouble making the sealed tank, then I might just put the tank underneath it like my fungus-grower formicariums. Regardless, these will still need an inner container though, so it doesn't get me out of that.



#93 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 5 2016 - 10:21 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

So I stopped by the plastic store, and like I have seen online, large acrylic tubes are extremely expensive. They happened to have a foot long, 8 inch diameter, 3/16 inch thick tube, and it was about 45 dollars. That would be about 300 dollars for my ideal size tube--I don't think so. Also, using plastic for anything like this is a bad idea. The dirt will slowly scratch it up until it's all foggy. My next stop was Home Depot to grab that  6" x 10' pipe, but instead of that, I found something much better--some pipe called a riser pipe. It's 6 inches in diameter, and 2 feet long. It was perfect. :) It fits inside the vase, leaving about 3/4 inches of space for the dirt. That was pretty much the exact amount of dirt I wanted.

 

med_gallery_2_295_264949.jpg



#94 Offline drtrmiller - Posted February 6 2016 - 12:00 AM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

Is there anybody in the world that understands this image?

 


  • Martialis likes this


#95 Offline Roachant - Posted February 6 2016 - 4:10 AM

Roachant

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 192 posts
  • LocationMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Man, seeing all this makes me want to redo my formicariums! Some great plans here Drew.

#96 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 8 2016 - 1:33 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Finished the tank.

 

Top

 

med_gallery_2_295_117469.jpg

 

 

Bottom

 

med_gallery_2_295_387595.jpg



#97 Offline Runner12 - Posted February 13 2016 - 1:54 PM

Runner12

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 219 posts

Is there anybody in the world that understands this image?

 

 

I'm not following this, how does this work?



#98 Offline dermy - Posted February 15 2016 - 9:42 AM

dermy

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,358 posts
  • LocationCanada

Is there anybody in the world that understands this image?

 

 

I can't figure it out because All I get is a box with an x :|



#99 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 18 2016 - 10:33 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I got the inner container cut out for the next 10-gallon "dirt box" I'm making. This one will have wood instead of dirt, just like the smaller wood one I made a while back. My Liometopum occidentale colony is growing so fast, they're going to have to be moved into something larger really soon. The wood in the old one is disappearing quickly too as they chew it all away.

 

This time I grabbed two rotted logs--one really soft one like the one I used in the first "wood box", and a significantly harder one. I plan to use the harder one so the ants can't chew through it as fast, but if I have trouble working with it, I can resort to the softer one.

 

med_gallery_2_295_206484.jpg

 

 

As for the giant glass vase setup, I tried testing it out, but had a problem with all the water leaking out of the holes I drilled in the bottom of the vase. Nothing I tried would seal it up long enough for this test, so I gave up on that, and just went ahead and Hydrostoned the tank into the other vase (I bought two). During this test, the whole thing was sitting in a pot of water for an entire day, and the moisture only went up about 15 inches. I know when I tested this with a long piece of vinyl tubing, the water soaked up about four feet or so. Maybe this is just a difference in the amount of evaporation, or maybe it was just moving up extremely slow at this point. I really don't know for sure, but I guess I'll find out soon.

 

The bottom of the inner container, or the tank.

 

med_gallery_2_295_176571.jpg

 

 

The bottoms of these vases are really concave, which actually helps in making sure not to break the glass with the expanding Hydrostone. This is what it took to level it off before placing the tank inside. Not much threat to the glass here. You can also see I drilled another hole, but only the upper hole this time. That hole should not be down where the water sits, so it shouldn't leak.

 

med_gallery_2_295_12458.jpg

 

 

Tank added, and Hydrostone poured. Because the tube is separating most of the Hydrostone from the sides of the vase, a lot of the expansion should be stopped. You can see I pulled the switch wires through the hole in the bottom. I'll just be sticking them through a small hole in a plastic plug and inserting that into the vase.

 

med_gallery_2_295_744042.jpg



#100 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 19 2016 - 8:17 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

After a giant muddy mess all over my kitchen, I finally finished one of these giant vase setups. The tank ended up a little higher than I thought, so when I make the lid for this, I'll have to extend it upwards a bit to keep the ants from reaching it. Since I don't have a lid yet, I just had to apply Fluon to the rim for now. To start out, I soaked down all the dirt pretty good, the same way I do with all of these "dirt box" setups.

 

med_gallery_2_295_149450.jpg

 

 

I quickly soldered up a little LED water level indicator and a socket for a power adapter.

 

med_gallery_2_295_60940.jpg

 

 

Right now the tank is empty, so the LED is lid up. After pouring a little over one bottle of water into the tank, the light turns off.

 

med_gallery_2_295_79224.jpg

 

 

I temporarily glued an old boxbox lid onto the cap of the tank, so I can stack the three fungus chambers the colony currently has on it. I'll leave it this way until the colony is completely moved into their new home. Next time I'm going to offset the fill tube so there's a little more room to set larger objects in the out world. If I would have done that, I wouldn't have needed to create this three-story Acro condo. :P For now, I have the whole thing sitting in a Fluon-covered tub in case the thing leaks water, or in case the ants escape the Fluon rim. The outside of the tub is coated with Fluon also to keep any Argentine ants from getting to the colony.

 

This morning, I saw they were already digging their nest in three different places.

 

gallery_2_126_497182.jpg







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

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users