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Recommended Height of Chambers?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 19 2021 - 9:05 AM

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So I'm looking at the various formicaria available for purchase and note a large variety of height of chambers and tunnel sizes.   
I see that Tarheel Ants is like the shining star of reccomendations, and their underground chamber's are literally one, seemingly massive chamber.  AntsCanada has shorter 'ceilings" on their chambers and tunnels, in his hybrid nests.   Other folks have various sizes as well.   
I was very worried about this factor when I started building my own formicarium because I had done most of the tunnels already drilled.    But seeing all the different versions being so vastly um... different... I'm not as worried about this anymore.   

Is there an ideal ratio for ant species?   I plan to get two new species in a combined setup and want to give them the best care possible while still being able to see them.  

 



#2 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted June 19 2021 - 9:30 AM

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I would recommend that they are at least double the height of the ant as this would allow one to be crawling on the ceiling and one to be on the “floor.”
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#3 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 19 2021 - 9:50 AM

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So there's really not a "too large" chamber, within reason?   I imagine they like it a little smaller.  Although my Trachymyrmex have pretty massive chambers they built themselves to house their fungus.  I was honestly shocked to see the chamber size they had made.   Even their tunnels seemed excessive.  



#4 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted June 19 2021 - 10:36 AM

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So there's really not a "too large" chamber, within reason?   I imagine they like it a little smaller.  Although my Trachymyrmex have pretty massive chambers they built themselves to house their fungus.  I was honestly shocked to see the chamber size they had made.   Even their tunnels seemed excessive.  

There can most definitely be a chamber that is too large. You wouldn't want to give a 3 worker + 1 queen colony in chamber a foot tall. You'll know if a chamber is too big if they start leaving trash and such in it. Trachymrymex and other fungus growers need massive chambers to house the fungus like you have said. The tunnels need to be large so that they can cut off pieces of fungus and bring them elsewhere in the nest if need be. They also need to be large enough for the queen to fit in.



#5 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted June 19 2021 - 11:39 AM

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So there's really not a "too large" chamber, within reason?   I imagine they like it a little smaller.  Although my Trachymyrmex have pretty massive chambers they built themselves to house their fungus.  I was honestly shocked to see the chamber size they had made.   Even their tunnels seemed excessive.  

Fungus growers are an entirely different beast. Most commercially available formicaria aren't typically suitable for them. They also rarely have an issue with being given a space that is too large. For genera like Trachymyrmex and Atta I elect to give them a single large chamber with a base material of ultracal or another absorbent material for them to grow their fungus on. My Trachymymex have a 4x4x4 inch container for their fungus garden.

For other nests, the chamber size doesn't matter too much. Typically the main thing that you want to consider is floor space, as that's where trash will end up if the nest is too large. An excess of ceiling space won't particularly affect the ants at all (to a certain extent, at least). Still, I do prefer shallower chambers for smaller species, especially in a horizontal chambered nest where the ants will end up hanging out on the chamber walls. When they do this it makes it difficult to get a good view of the whole colony, and just overall looks bad. That idea was partially implemented with my nests at arthropodantics.com, there are no chamber walls for ants to clump up on and offers the best possible visibility because of it. 


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#6 Offline Chickalo - Posted June 19 2021 - 12:21 PM

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So there's really not a "too large" chamber, within reason?   I imagine they like it a little smaller.  Although my Trachymyrmex have pretty massive chambers they built themselves to house their fungus.  I was honestly shocked to see the chamber size they had made.   Even their tunnels seemed excessive.  

Fungus growers are an entirely different beast. Most commercially available formicaria aren't typically suitable for them. They also rarely have an issue with being given a space that is too large. For genera like Trachymyrmex and Atta I elect to give them a single large chamber with a base material of ultracal or another absorbent material for them to grow their fungus on. My Trachymymex have a 4x4x4 inch container for their fungus garden.

For other nests, the chamber size doesn't matter too much. Typically the main thing that you want to consider is floor space, as that's where trash will end up if the nest is too large. An excess of ceiling space won't particularly affect the ants at all (to a certain extent, at least). Still, I do prefer shallower chambers for smaller species, especially in a horizontal chambered nest where the ants will end up hanging out on the chamber walls. When they do this it makes it difficult to get a good view of the whole colony, and just overall looks bad. That idea was partially implemented with my nests at arthropodantics.com, there are no chamber walls for ants to clump up on and offers the best possible visibility because of it. 

 

Adding onto this, some species has been observed to take the extra space for granted.  Honey pots, for example, like to hang their repletes on the ceiling.


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Nope nope nope nope nope


#7 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 20 2021 - 10:14 AM

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Love these responses. Thanks guys. I opted to give my Trachys sand to burrow in because I was worried about humidity. I figured this way they could help me help them by regulating via entrances and whatnot as they would in the wild. Kind of. Obviously they can't burrow to any real depth (an inch or two until I adjust their container... Again... As I offer even more sand to them. Slowly. I'm building it twice as tall to accommodate stick insects and higher branches for them to get their leaves from. I LOVE watching them swarm new food items.
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#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 20 2021 - 10:22 AM

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Look up Tschinkel’s paper on ant nest design. He’s the one that poured molten aluminum into nests to make exact casts.

Edited by ANTdrew, June 20 2021 - 10:29 AM.

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

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#9 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 21 2021 - 7:00 AM

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Look up Tschinkel’s paper on ant nest design. He’s the one that poured molten aluminum into nests to make exact casts.

I Don't know if I looked up any papers while designing mine but I DID look up images of those molten aluminum nest casts and they are AMAZING.   It's so cool to see a 3d rendering of ant nests and the different methods each species uses.   And how DEEP they go.   So cool.   If it wasn't so damned expensive I think it would be awesome to make an acrylic nest that basically went 6 feet tall, like a giant Uncle Milton's with multiple hydration ports and just mount it on your wall.   I feel like so many species would uses that entire space, top to  bottom.   Use the top foot for an outworld, maybe build that part out a little bit?  Like 6 inches from the wall?   So 6 feet tall, about an inch deep, and one foot wide?   MAYBE two.   Keep costs down.  Anyway< I'm dreaming again.   This would be SO expensive in acrylic alone, not to mention how to seal something so thin and tall.   Hmmm.... Brainstorming.  



#10 Offline manik - Posted July 5 2021 - 11:23 AM

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a queen and a half lol






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