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Phasor's Phormicariums

nest diy formicarium

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#41 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 19 2021 - 6:16 PM

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So... I had an idea.

A while ago I got these stackable bead containers, I intended to use as either a founding nest or a water tower. But they all screw in to each other, and only have one lid for each stack.

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So they wouldn't work well for either of those, not really.

But I got to thinking, what if I just drilled a hole in the bottom of each, put water in the bottom chamber for hydration, and made it into a single tower nest with seven or so chambers? It could even be expandable in the future, just add more layers. Also available in different sizes.

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I haven't done this yet of course, but I wanted to see what other people thought of the idea. I'm debating putting a layer of ultracal and maybe sand in each chamber, to make it a little bit more natural feeling, and provide some darkness. I don't know if it would be enough hydration though, or if the ants would be able to climb between the layers. What do you think? Should there be more modification? I think it would be a really neat nest design.

Give me some feedback, and then maybe I'll try it out.

#42 Offline gs5248 - Posted February 19 2021 - 6:37 PM

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I think you should put a layer of sand.



#43 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 19 2021 - 6:42 PM

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I think you should put a layer of sand.

Loose sand? Or sand stuck down to plaster?

Edited by PhasorShift, February 19 2021 - 6:43 PM.


#44 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 19 2021 - 7:02 PM

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Stick the sand to the ultracal base.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#45 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 19 2021 - 7:10 PM

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Stick the sand to the ultracal base.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Drilling the hole through such a thin layer of ultracal probably won't work well, I'm just that Ultracal would just crack and break apart. I'll probably drill the holes first and put a short piece of tubing in, and fill around that.

What about the other possible problems though. Can the ants climb between the layers, since only the floor would be textured? Would the humidity be enough to reach up through the chambers, or would only the bottom one be damp enough?

I guess for some at least, the only way to find out is to try...

#46 Offline NickAnter - Posted February 19 2021 - 7:22 PM

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Someone already made a formicarium out of these. Not sure which person, Ill remember eventually.


Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#47 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 19 2021 - 7:24 PM

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Someone already made a formicarium out of these. Not sure which person, Ill remember eventually.

Yeah, I remembered that as well.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#48 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 19 2021 - 7:28 PM

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Someone already made a formicarium out of these. Not sure which person, Ill remember eventually.


Yeah, I figured it's been done before. If you can find the thread let me know, I'd like to see how they did it and how it worked out.

#49 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 19 2021 - 7:31 PM

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Any species that climbs well would have no problem climbing between layers. I think a bottom hydration tank would be sufficient. You could also directly wet the ultracal in the higher levels. I wouldn’t make one of these more than three or four levels high, though.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#50 Offline NickAnter - Posted February 19 2021 - 7:48 PM

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https://www.formicul...er formicarium

 

 

I guess my brain is still working! :D


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Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#51 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 19 2021 - 8:10 PM

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https://www.formicul...er formicarium


I guess my brain is still working! :D


Thanks! Some neat ideas there.

I'm considering just drilling a hole in the bottom chamber with mesh covering it, so it humidifies by evaporation like a THA water tower. Or, I could put in a bit of sponge to wick up to a hydrostone floor. I may try one of both.

#52 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 20 2021 - 4:03 AM

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Also bear in mind that if you use it for Crematogaster, hydration needs are minimal. They can do fine with just drinking water access.

That thread was from the good ol’ days of the forum.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#53 Offline steelplant - Posted February 20 2021 - 7:00 AM

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This amazing Japanese antkeeper makes formicaria from these stacks 

 

Here's a video of him making them


Edited by steelplant, February 20 2021 - 7:35 AM.


#54 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted February 20 2021 - 7:37 AM

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https://www.formicul...er formicarium

 

 

I guess my brain is still working! :D

My friend and I made one of these. I haven't used it yet, but I had no clue other people had them and used them the same way.


Edited by Kaelwizard, February 23 2021 - 10:19 AM.


#55 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 23 2021 - 9:29 AM

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So I went ahead and used those containers to make the nests I was thinking of. Walkthrough here:

So I didn't take details pics of every step of the process, but most. First I drilled holes in the bottom of all but 4 of the containers. I started with a small drill bit, then switched to a step bit to get the diameter I needed. I cut a very short piece of tubing and fit it to the hole. This was to prevent the plaster from pouring out. I used 1/2 inch OD tubing.
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Then, on one of the other containers, I drilled a hole about 1" diameter, and melted my mesh over that. This would be the "water tower" style hydration.
On another, I drilled a hole to fit my larger size tube, (1/2" ID, I would have preferred bigger though), cut a short length of that tubing, and fused mesh to the top of that. Then I slid the tube through that hole. This tube would hold a sponge to wick water up to plaster poured over it.
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Then I had to make entrances. I picked one of the earlier trays and carefully drilled two holes in the side, a quarter around from each other. I cut my smaller tube at an angle, and put a section in each of those. I only cracked the container once, and kinda fused it back together. I chose to do two entrances on the same level, and at this angle, but I really could have done whatever I wanted.
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I also drilled a larger hole in the lids and fused mesh over those. If it gives too much ventilation, I can tape over it.

Here's the two towers completed, but before the ultracal pour.
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Then I mixed up the last of my ultracal, and poured a thin layer in each tray. Most of these were easy, except the one with the water tower. I had to keep the plaster from covering that mesh, so I used some hot glue to make a barrier. Of course it wasn't nearly enough, and immediately got covered. I also had too thin a mix of plaster, but I didn't have any more I could use to thicken it.
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Then, as you might have guessed, I spread sand over the plaster and left it to cure. I tried uncovering the one mesh while it was semi cured, but wasn't too successful...
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The next day, I dumped out the extra sand, and brushed away anything loose. A lot of sand was only kind of stuck on, because of the watery mixture. I also managed to pry out the chunk of plaster over the mesh successfully, though it wasn't very clean. Good enough for testing though.
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Only thing left to do is stack them up and fill the bottom chambers with water.
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I've got them both with a hydrometer and heating cable for testing. Gonna keep an eye on them for a while and see where the levels balance out.
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I actually really like this style of nest, and I learned a few things to improve on next time. I can try a few different hydration methods, some different heating arrangements, as well as other sizes. I ordered more containers for future builds. This may not be the main nest design I end up using, but I am fond of it so far.


On an unrelated note, I need to figure out a different way to post pictures. I'm running out of storage space on FC.
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#56 Offline Canadant - Posted February 23 2021 - 10:09 AM

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Thanks for sharing all that. They look cool and I bet some species will love them. Good luck.
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"You don't get what you want. You get what you deserve".

#57 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted February 23 2021 - 10:22 AM

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Great work!. Mine is a much smaller and less fancy lol.



#58 Offline NickAnter - Posted February 23 2021 - 2:29 PM

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Can someone provide a link to buy these from amazon? I would very much like to try my hand at making some of these.


Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#59 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 23 2021 - 2:40 PM

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Ants are going to thrive in those. Your Crematogaster will love it.

Edited by ANTdrew, February 23 2021 - 2:40 PM.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#60 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 23 2021 - 3:03 PM

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Can someone provide a link to buy these from amazon? I would very much like to try my hand at making some of these.

 

This one is basically the same variety pack I got from Michael's.

 

I just ordered this one to make more. These I think are all the same size as what I used.







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