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
- - - - -

Nutrient Agar Formicarium?

formicariums

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Offline William. T - Posted January 4 2015 - 5:20 PM

William. T

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 725 posts
  • LocationWestern Maryland

Ok, ok. This must be most random idea ever. I had just got a shipment of a lot of dehydrated media from Carolina Biological, with many left over. Just today, I had caught a queen and a few workers while flipping over stones. So happy! :) I had just joined the forum yesterday. What a coincidence! I put them in my garage and. Before yelling at me about the consequences of mold and bacteria growth, hear my reasons for this idea:

 

1. Ants can dig freely, like in the Uncle Milton Gelfarms.

2. You can see through the agar.

3. Agar will not collapse.

4. Agar is light.

 

I have an old gelfarm. When the colony I have is awakened from Hibernation, I will put it in the gelfarm, which will be filled with agar. I will have a foraging arena, too.

 

So, any ideas, any thoughts? I am aware that agar can harbor bacteria, so that is why I am posting this question. Thanks for your time!


Species I keep:

 

1 Lasius cf. Neoniger 30 workers

1 Camponotus sp. 15 workers

20 Tetramorium SpE 30 workers

1 T. Sessile 200 workers

 


#2 Offline benjiwuf - Posted January 4 2015 - 6:25 PM

benjiwuf

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • LocationGroßröhrsdorf Germany

boil the water and agar (kills bacteria and activates the agar), and you shouldn't have too much issue initially. there are fungicides and anti bacterial agents you could add as well while making up the agar gel that would help solve that issue. i don't know what they are though, but refer to the agar test tubes post for more information about this:  http://www.formicult...t-tube-set-ups/


Edited by benjiwuf, January 4 2015 - 6:26 PM.


#3 Offline dspdrew - Posted January 4 2015 - 7:25 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

If you're not using the gel they come with and instead using agar, it should be just fine and a pretty good idea. The reason why they are normally a problem is because the gel they come with has sugar in it, and that's what causes mold growth.



#4 Offline William. T - Posted January 4 2015 - 8:02 PM

William. T

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 725 posts
  • LocationWestern Maryland

I know about the other thread, but this is nutrient agar, the stuff biologists use to grow bacteria, not a cooking agent. I know that boiling kills bacteria, but what happens when the ants drag food back into the nest? Or develop a garbage pile? Maybe if I used a very salty recipe it would work? B.T.W Drew, there is agar for growing fungi. Perhaps the A. versicolor leaf cutter ants that people find a hard time in raising  can grow their fungus on that?


Species I keep:

 

1 Lasius cf. Neoniger 30 workers

1 Camponotus sp. 15 workers

20 Tetramorium SpE 30 workers

1 T. Sessile 200 workers

 


#5 Offline benjiwuf - Posted January 4 2015 - 8:16 PM

benjiwuf

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • LocationGroßröhrsdorf Germany

i have the same type of agar, i still prefer to boil it and let it set. i used to use it with sugar water to solidify it so that it would reduce the probability of ants drowning in sugar water. if your ants drag food and leave it in the nest there really isn't many formicaria that will remain mold free under that circumstance as far as i understand.



#6 Offline Crystals - Posted January 5 2015 - 7:34 AM

Crystals

    Advanced Member

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

I am pretty sure any agar with nutrients in it will grow something undesireable in a few months or so.

And if you plan on feeding the ants other foods, why even add nutrients?

 

Making it saltly would not work.  I doubt the ants would want to live in it.

 

The nutrient agar was originally developed to take some worker ants into space.  It was never designed for a long term colony with a queen and brood.

 

If you plan to try it, I advise using a few hundred wild workers for 6 months or so and see how it goes.


"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


#7 Offline William. T - Posted January 5 2015 - 4:51 PM

William. T

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 725 posts
  • LocationWestern Maryland

O.K. Thanks. I guess I have to do the old fashioned way to make formicaries. I would really, though, prefer a acrylic formicarium. Is drtmiller's new acrylic formicarium out yet?


Species I keep:

 

1 Lasius cf. Neoniger 30 workers

1 Camponotus sp. 15 workers

20 Tetramorium SpE 30 workers

1 T. Sessile 200 workers

 


#8 Offline drtrmiller - Posted January 5 2015 - 4:56 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

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

O.K. Thanks. I guess I have to do the old fashioned way to make formicaries. I would really, though, prefer a acrylic formicarium. Is drtmiller's new acrylic formicarium out yet?

 

I'll hopefully release details by the end of the week.



#9 Offline drtrmiller - Posted January 5 2015 - 10:03 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

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

Ok, ok. This must be most random idea ever. I had just got a shipment of a lot of dehydrated media from Carolina Biological, with many left over. Just today, I had caught a queen and a few workers while flipping over stones. So happy! :) I had just joined the forum yesterday. What a coincidence! I put them in my garage and. Before yelling at me about the consequences of mold and bacteria growth, hear my reasons for this idea:

 

1. Ants can dig freely, like in the Uncle Milton Gelfarms.

2. You can see through the agar.

3. Agar will not collapse.

4. Agar is light.

 

I have an old gelfarm. When the colony I have is awakened from Hibernation, I will put it in the gelfarm, which will be filled with agar. I will have a foraging arena, too.

 

So, any ideas, any thoughts? I am aware that agar can harbor bacteria, so that is why I am posting this question. Thanks for your time!

 

I would encourage experimentation with agar, however you would want the plain agar as a base, and not the "nutrient" mixture.  The purpose of the agar gel would simply be to act as a substrate, and would not have any nutritive value to the ants.

 

Nutrient agar is designed specifically for the culturing of bacterial and fungal plates.  Any microorganism would readily reproduce and decompose the gel.

 

If you use plain gracilaria agar, however, and add the correct amount of preservatives and antioxidants, then it should resist bacteria and fungus without being detrimental to the ants.  

 

You'll need a preservative to protect against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria, which also has antifungal properties.  Parabens, benzoates, natamycin, and marbofloxacin come to mind for preservatives.  Antioxidants would include ascorbic acid and your tocopherols, which would slow any animal fats that end up on the gel from going rancid.

 

You will not get anywhere adding salt to the mixture, as that will definitely kill ants.

 

This preparation would definitely be something you'd want to try in a home-lab setup, as measuring the ingredients would require the use of a 0.001 gram scale, and some of the preservatives would require safety equipment to properly administer.

 

Even with published guidelines for usage in human food, achieving the proper ratio of preservatives and antioxidants to balance the antiseptic properties with the safety of the ants, would require some trial and error.

 

I'd encourage you and others to try it, and enjoy the experimentation process.  Just be sure to use ants from your yard for testing before adding any complete colonies.



#10 Offline William. T - Posted January 6 2015 - 6:06 AM

William. T

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 725 posts
  • LocationWestern Maryland

O.K. Thanks for the reply.


Species I keep:

 

1 Lasius cf. Neoniger 30 workers

1 Camponotus sp. 15 workers

20 Tetramorium SpE 30 workers

1 T. Sessile 200 workers

 


#11 Offline AntsAreUs - Posted January 6 2015 - 3:02 PM

AntsAreUs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,029 posts
  • LocationMarion, IN

I've tried the Uncle Milton gel antfarm and the gel in it seemed to just shrink leaving giant gaps between the plastic and the gel and it also got sort of melted and watery which killed them all so that might (no experience) happen with your idea.



#12 Offline William. T - Posted January 6 2015 - 3:20 PM

William. T

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 725 posts
  • LocationWestern Maryland

O.K.


Species I keep:

 

1 Lasius cf. Neoniger 30 workers

1 Camponotus sp. 15 workers

20 Tetramorium SpE 30 workers

1 T. Sessile 200 workers

 






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: formicariums

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users