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Heat cable advice

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5 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 1 2024 - 1:18 PM


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This might come across as pretty stupid, but honestly, I better ask a stupid question than suffer any consequences (or have my girls suffer consequences).


So today I fixed the heat cable to the mini hearths.

It is a 4m 15W cable.

For the few colonies I have, this is total overkill (especially since the Messor also have a heat mat at the back). The heat cable I bought would be long enough to heat a swimming pool.

The end of the cable I am now also using to heat the Messor colony.

Anyways, FullFrontalYeti just made me aware that I had set it up wrongly (thank you! You might have prevented a fire hazard!).

So I re-did the whole thing and just want to make sure this is safe, for me, the flat and the ants.

I checked how hot the cable was getting, and it is only getting warm, when I touch it with my bare skin, it is comfortable warm (like a warm bath) but not hot.

I have now separated the parts of cable that were touching each other, and they are now at least an inch / 2cm apart.

I paid attention to the water tower issue, I have seen that other people had that issue, so the cable is not directly touching any water source.

The nest-mates you see hooked up- they are all empty, no water in them.

So far, I have not seen any condensation, and the setup is now running for 8 hours.


Question- do you keep the heat cables running 24/7? Would it not make more sense to switch them off over night to simulate night time? How do you do this for temperate (=non-tropical) species?


Here are some pictures how it looks now.

Please let me know if you see further issues.












I also am not impressed with the look of the heat cable swinging around everywhere, but luckily, I life in a rooftop flat, and in summer it will become so hot, that no heating is necessary.

Until then, I will have to live with the ugly esthetics.

I am honestly glad I do not need to heat these nests like this for more than 6-8 weeks- in summer, my flat will be an average 25 degrees centigrade (up to 30-32 degrees, depending on if we have a hot summer or not) and there will not be any heating necessary.

Edited by Ernteameise, April 1 2024 - 1:26 PM.

#2 Online ANTdrew - Posted April 1 2024 - 3:00 PM


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I just plug in my cables and forget them until summer hits and I can put away the ugly things. The cable touching itself is not a problem at all.
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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.

#3 Offline futurebird - Posted April 1 2024 - 4:22 PM


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I use Machinist 123 Blocks like mini radiators. I weave the cable through the hole then I can place the cable at a distance and it will stay there radiating heat. I can put two blocks on a cable and use them for multiple needs. 



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Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<

#4 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 1 2024 - 11:24 PM


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Those blocks are a good idea!

#5 Offline Flu1d - Posted April 1 2024 - 11:37 PM


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I use Machinist 123 Blocks like mini radiators. I weave the cable through the hole then I can place the cable at a distance and it will stay there radiating heat. I can put two blocks on a cable and use them for multiple needs.


Are you able to post a pic/video of how this works/how you have it set up?

Edited by Flu1d, April 1 2024 - 11:37 PM.

#6 Offline Mushu - Posted April 2 2024 - 1:42 AM


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Invest in a infrared temperature gun to check the temperature depending on the ambient temperature in your room.

This is the one I use:

Not sure about your heating cable but the 15 W Zoo Med cable, it's not always consistent temperature. It can get hotter/cooler at times.

I prefer to put the cable on the left side of the mini hearth, which is how Tar Heel Ants recommends it also. However I also run the cable in front of the glass, close enough to keep the temperature of the air in front of the glass close enough to not cause condensation but not too close where it will heat up the nest. I think it maintains about +1-2 degrees difference this way compared to if you did not run a cable in front of the glass.

Cables are a bit unsightly, unless you hide it under a board/false floor, which you can use a wooded board or just foam to cover up the the cables and heat it from under. You can carve grooves on the board to set the cable to lie flat against and place a cover over the board, then set your formicarium on it. My buddy did this and it's really clean.

As for the day/night simulation, yes you can get fancy and do that. Right now, I can leave the heating cable on and at night it gets cold(but not too cold) enough to where it simulates day/night as I turn my room heater off at night, but that may not work for your location. Daytime temps for me with current climate is 80-88 °F daytime and around 75-80 °F at night for the nests where I live.

Edited by Mushu, April 7 2024 - 5:12 AM.

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