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Ants4fun's formicariums

formicarium ants4fun

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#1 Offline Ants4fun - Posted August 9 2018 - 9:44 PM

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I've been developing formicariums that would be a bit more natural than test tube setups, yet still provide full visibility.

I'm a big fan of the old antscanada classic nests and picture frame formicariums in general.

The common theme I've been using is adding extra substrate for the ants to customize their nest a bit.


First up is a founding formicarium I made. I purchased these containers at Hobby Lobby for $1 each.




I poured Hydrostone at the bottom.

Then, I added different substrates.



Here is a queen carpenter ant. I found her inside her founding chamber, so I simply placed the whole founding chamber in the container.



(Up close view)




The Hydrostone maintains moisture well, and poking a couple holes in the cork lid retains enough humidity so that you only need to add water once a week or two.





Here is another concept for very small queens.

This picture frame comes with a roughly 2 mm space between the thick pieces of glass to hold the picture.



I put Hydrostone along the sides, and filled the middle with dirt.

This Brachymyrmex queen dug out a founding chamber, and was observed drinking from the Hydrostone walls.


[


The formicarium can be placed in water, or it can be watered every few days for hydration.



Then, I made two full size formicariums. The first was made with the clay casting method using hydrostone.

Then, I lined the Chambers with a Hydrostone and fine sand mixture. I really liked the look of that mixture, and it observed water better. I then added pebbles, fine sand, clay, and bark for the ants to customize.



Kind of a crude first try, but hopefully it looks a bit nicer next time.




I'm a bit prouder of my second creation. I kept mixing fine sand with the Hydrostone, and poured six miniture nests using the clay casting method.

I then put them inside this lazy Suzanne picture frame. I connected them with tubing inside. Then, I connected one nest to the outworld on top.

Everything is solidified with Hydrostone, so the ants cannot burrow into it.

Everything is still smudged and sticky with silicone. I'll get better pictures when I move my recently cought aphenogastor colony.












Edited by Ants4fun, August 9 2018 - 9:49 PM.

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#2 Online sirjordanncurtis - Posted August 10 2018 - 2:51 PM

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For the picture frame one, did you expand the middle, or did you keep the same original 2mm distance?



#3 Offline Ants4fun - Posted August 10 2018 - 3:07 PM

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For the picture frame one, did you expand the middle, or did you keep the same original 2mm distance?


No, it was fused together on the bottom. However, the queen seemed to be just fine.

#4 Offline Ants4fun - Posted January 31 2019 - 8:56 AM

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Got a hold of some fire brick and made a couple starter formicariums for young colonies. 2 calories can be housed per brick. Just used some rubber bands so I can clean it out later, but I'll be ordering some magnets soon, so I can have the acrylic removable.

ny5nvl.jpg

Edited by Ants4fun, January 31 2019 - 8:56 AM.


#5 Offline DrygonKing - Posted February 4 2019 - 7:36 PM

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I just carved one out of poplar and oak.

Oak one.
Ww6AhuC.jpg

May have planned for it to be a bit to large. Glad I didn’t carve all of it. Might still when they need it.

Edited by DrygonKing, February 4 2019 - 7:37 PM.

Current Queens:
Formica argentea (1)
Camponotus modoc (1)
Camponotus herculeanus (1)

Queens I Have Found:
Lasius alienus
Lasius subumbratus
Formica podzolica
Formica argentea
Formica (parasitic)
Camponotus sp.
Myrmica sp.


Queens currently looking for:
Myrmica spp.


Queens once more experienced:
Carebara diversa
Myrmecocystus
Odontomachus Sp.

#6 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 25 2019 - 5:17 PM

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Ready for anting season! Going to experiment on some firebrick nests, and some drewcariums. We'll see how they turn out.

2zg89zq.jpg
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#7 Offline Rstheant - Posted February 25 2019 - 6:24 PM

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Oh my god! That must cost a LOT. It will be hard to find every container and you’ll be feeling like :facepalm:. :P

#8 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 25 2019 - 8:12 PM

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Oh my god! That must cost a LOT. It will be hard to find every container and you’ll be feeling like :facepalm:. :P


Not all that much compared purchasing a formicarium like the nucleus from THA. And, I can get plenty more formicariums out of all these.



Made my first drew-inspired setup. Trying out a vertical hydration setup to see if I can alleviate some of the issues with hydrostone. I have some cotton twine running from inside the water tower to inside the nest.

jj8ps8.jpg


Edited by Ants4fun, February 26 2019 - 10:34 PM.


#9 Offline mallonje - Posted February 26 2019 - 6:24 AM

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Where'd you source your containers? 


Founding:

                 1 P. Imparis queen caught 4/26/18

                 2 L. Umbratus caught 5/8/18

                 1 C. Pennsylvanicus queen caught 5/7/18 1st Eggs 5/17/18 

                 1 C. Pennsylvanicus queen caught 5/17/18 1st Eggs 5/22/18

                 1 C. Pennsylvanicus queen caught 5/31/18

                 1 T. Caespitum(?) queen caught 6/1/18


#10 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 26 2019 - 6:25 AM

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Where'd you source your containers?


Tried to go to the source, but Container Store had the best deal for price and free shipping. @dspdrew uses the same place.
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#11 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 26 2019 - 6:29 AM

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Water tower works great, and seems to be releasing the water at a steady pace. I dumped in my Lasius alienus- colony into this setup. Overnight the nested next to the red container, but not quite inside it. They have little brood piles throughout the nest, and seem to be using the whole container as a nest. Might have to add airflow using an air pump, as light doesn't seem to deter them, but so far, I'm pretty happy with the results.

#12 Offline Rstheant - Posted February 26 2019 - 6:59 PM

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Careful. Unless the pH of the water matches that of the hydrostone, the water will slowly corrode and break down the hydrostone.

#13 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 26 2019 - 7:58 PM

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Careful. Unless the pH of the water matches that of the hydrostone, the water will slowly corrode and break down the hydrostone.


The hydrostone will dissolve slowly, but because the water is being gravity fed downward, the hydrostone will have a hard time going anywhere. The gypsom that does dissolve should resettle towards the bottom, impeading corrosion, and greatly extending it's lifetime. As you can see from Drew's experiments, over a ling time, relatively little of mass of hydrostone was dissolved.

#14 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 26 2019 - 10:04 PM

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I like the look of this for a first try. Here are some better pictures of the setup with Lasius neoniger. They moved in (most of the way) with some air flow, and seam to enjoy it really well. One bonus is that with this setup, I see far more workers in the outworld, foraging. Probably because they associate more of the container as their 'nest'. nH_z8VRi2YmwxhV_2MiZ_25jb_1U0NfocmTydzR-

 

Just have a dab of non drying clay to fill the hole at the top of the water tower.

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Also, got a new ant cabinet.

 

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