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What can I put in an outworld?

outworld vivarium

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9 replies to this topic

#1 Offline rubberbandgirl - Posted July 9 2018 - 2:07 PM

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Hi there, I'm very new to ant keeping - I've had my little colony of messor barbarus for a few weeks now.  I have them in an acrylic formicarium, but I do have an at present unused aquarium that I thought it might be a nice idea to place the acrylic habitat inside and use the aquarium as a huge outworld for them.  I was just wondering what sort of decorations etc it's safe to put into an outworld?  Are there restrictions on natural products due to the possibility of mites or bugs etc getting into the nest?  Or can you put into it stuff that you find outside, like dried branches or tree bark etc? (Obviously from areas without pesticide use.)  Thanks in advance for any advice! :-)


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#2 Offline AntsMaryland - Posted July 9 2018 - 3:57 PM

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I would recommend taking any branches or anything you find outside and sterilize it; to prevent possible mites, bacteria, or harmful fungi getting to your ants. I believe you can simply sterilize things by baking it in the oven. But you should get someone else's advice as well, just to make sure I'm right.

 

Best of luck!

 

-AntsMaryland


Edited by AntsMaryland, July 9 2018 - 3:58 PM.

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#3 Offline StopSpazzing - Posted July 9 2018 - 8:01 PM

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250F for 30 minutes in oven will usually do it. Wood won't spontaneously catch fire till about 700F+ so no worries. Any dirt, rocks, etc do the same. Freezing is not as effective.


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Have you been to the Ant Keeping Wiki?
 
Legality of shipping & transporting ants in US

 

It is illegal on a boat. It is illegal in your coat.
It is illegal in a plane, car, and train. Why must you be such a pain?
I do not care if it is in your hair. Do not put your queen ants there!


#4 Offline rubberbandgirl - Posted July 10 2018 - 2:03 AM

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Thanks so much for your replies - going to do that! :-)



#5 Offline DaveJay - Posted July 11 2018 - 9:27 AM

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Be careful heating rocks, especially if found in water or nearby. Pockets of air or water inside them can expand faster than the stone around them causing them to shatter violently. This is well documented in the fishkeeping community where boiling is more commonplace because wood is boiled to remove tannins so people think why not boil the rocks too?

It's also taught in cub-scouts, mostly about using riverstones around a fire.

My preferred method of cleaning rocks is to scrub them then coat with a slurry of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Best results are had if you let the bi-carb slurry dry as it draws dirt and oil out of the rock as it dries, you'd be surprised at the discolouration in the bi-carb from a rock you swear you scrubbed as clean as it could get. Then you rub the dry bi-carb off before thoroughly washing the rock again. Sodium bi-carbonate has medium/high anti-fungicidal properties, medium anti-bacterial properties and the combination of a very high ph value and it's fluid absorbing properties mean that most organisms can't survive in contact with it for very long. 

So my advice is heat wood, sand etc, but treat rocks as I've detailed above.

Also standard super-glue (100% ethyl cyanoacrylate) is perfectly safe once cured, it can be helpful when decorating.


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#6 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted July 11 2018 - 2:23 PM

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I would put a grout bottom sprinkled with substrate to give it a natural feel while preventing the ants from digging, in addition to above suggestions.
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#7 Offline DaveJay - Posted July 11 2018 - 10:23 PM

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I would put a grout bottom sprinkled with substrate to give it a natural feel while preventing the ants from digging, in addition to above suggestions.

Good call! That can be good for adding upright structures so that they can't fall over too.
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#8 Offline rubberbandgirl - Posted July 12 2018 - 5:53 AM

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Great advice re the grout and the rock cleaning - thanks!  Another question - is it okay to put a few living air plants in?  Or would they pose bug risks?



#9 Offline DaveJay - Posted July 13 2018 - 10:46 AM

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Air plants could be a risk but I would think a very low risk being their is no soil involved. Here they are sold in what is practically a plastic bubble and seem almost sterile. They are usually sold small too so visual inspection would be pretty effective. I doubt a couple of days under water would hurt them so that could be a way of minimising hitchhikers and removing pesticides. I would think if any plants could be considered safe they'd be leading candidates.
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#10 Offline rubberbandgirl - Posted July 14 2018 - 4:51 AM

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Thanks DaveJay - good idea re submerging them for a bit!







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