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Journey into Hebel/Ytong/AAC formicariums


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306 replies to this topic

#41 Offline Leo - Posted January 21 2017 - 8:55 PM

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haha 

Ant one: This is our key to freedom!

ant two: Must be!

ant three: chaaaaarge!!!!!!

All da ants: you are no match to our impressive mandibles you fiendish moss!!!


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#42 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted January 22 2017 - 7:57 AM

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I love this, amazing job. These are the style of formicaria that I think are the best. They have a naturalistic appearance, rather then a printed piece of plastic that looks like a happy meal toy.

Yeah. I feel like grout/Ytong nests make it more natural for the ants. Plus you can see them do whatever they do!
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Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
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(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#43 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 22 2017 - 5:00 PM

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I chose Hebel for the same reasons. Just have to make sure you never let it dry out because when it's dry, it's really dry.

It will suck the moisture out of anything it touches. If you hold onto a dry peice for a while it will suck the moisture out of your skin.

I added some port holes in the clay lining so I can drip some water directly down into the nest if need be.

 

Morning girls.

hydration port And magnet
How rude
How rude. Must've had a late night.
Maybe they're crabby at me for not letting them escape. :D

Edited by CrazyLegs, January 29 2017 - 11:10 PM.

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#44 Offline Annexis - Posted January 22 2017 - 6:55 PM

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How did you get the substrate out of the tank? Did you spray it with pam before you placed the ytong? Really curious cause i wanna do something similar.


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#45 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 22 2017 - 8:34 PM

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I haven't actually taken it out of the tank since I sealed it in with the clay.

When it comes time to get it out and clean it I will just scrape the clay away and the block Itself just slips in and out.

Using a hose will help blast all the loose bits out.

I did have to shape it a certain way so that I could achieve this. ( Tapering one of the sides )

Had I taken the factory fish tank lid holders off I could've left the sides perpendicular and just turn it upside down. :facepalm:

If your worried about scratching the glass, try folding some thin cardboard over the sides of the glass when slipping it in and out.

I find hebel to be quite forgiving to glass when it's damp.


Edited by CrazyLegs, February 2 2017 - 9:57 PM.


#46 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 23 2017 - 2:37 PM

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There haven't been any other attempts to escape as yet, I think they have excepted that there is no way out.

So far their nocturnal habits are helping with day time cleaning and hydration duties, undertaken while they are inside the nest.

Like bats In A cave

Just don't breath down into the formicarium, they despise my breath,  :lol:  and come charging out with their mandibles agape. 

I decided to offer them some cut fruit to see if they would like a change from insects and syrup.
I offered mango, grape and raspberries. Some was definitely eaten and I was surprised to see that by morning, they had covered it with moss.
The mango in particular looked as though it was covered with great care.
Moss covered fruit
Perhaps they were hoping to prevent it from drying out so they could have some more tonight.
 
The way they huddle together in the nest will allow me to house quite a few in here before I need a bigger formicarium. :)
Hanging Out

 


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#47 Offline Martialis - Posted January 23 2017 - 5:19 PM

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Bull ants have pretty small colonies. It's possible you won't need a bigger one.


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#48 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 26 2017 - 1:10 PM

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About once a week I give the surface of the outworld a wet down, mainly because the higher parts can look a bit dry at times.

Also I figure it would simulate a light shower and help water soak from the reservoir through the hebel a little better.

Seems these ants don't like where the moisture builds as they have stuffed these areas with moss from the outworld.

Moss In The nest
At first I just thought it was the antics of a bored ant carrying and dropping things randomly around the place.
But quite literally everywhere there was a breach of moisture, there was some moss pressed into the crevice to soak it up.
Moss 1
Even in the ceiling.
Moss 2
Moss 3
Clever ants. :)
 

 


Edited by CrazyLegs, January 31 2017 - 3:28 AM.

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#49 Offline Martialis - Posted January 26 2017 - 2:11 PM

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Clever girl... please don't sue me.
 


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#50 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 26 2017 - 2:20 PM

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Clever girl... please don't sue me.
 

Is that a jurassic park quote? :)



#51 Offline Martialis - Posted January 26 2017 - 3:40 PM

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Clever girl... please don't sue me.
 

Is that a jurassic park quote? :)

 

 

It is. :)


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#52 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 26 2017 - 10:57 PM

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I did the unthinkable today.

After some rain I figured all the goodies would be stashed near the surface.

Stolen pupae
I was right. There were lots of pupae, but there was also a lot of ants :o, there were hundreds of them!
I lingered long enough to pinch a few, then looked down to see my socks were under heavy assault.
Luckily they were all bunched up and the stingers didn't make it through. I had to high tail it out of there.
Removing an angry bull ant from your socks is a real mission.

Going to give the girls some extra duties. :)


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#53 Offline T.C. - Posted January 26 2017 - 11:05 PM

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Forgive me if this is a dumb question? Are you suggesting that ant colonies move eggs, larvae, and pupae to the surface of their nest after it rains? If so, why? If this is the case, this would be super helpful to know on my next ant hunt.



#54 Offline Leo - Posted January 26 2017 - 11:10 PM

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did you see the queens?



#55 Offline Martialis - Posted January 27 2017 - 5:05 AM

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T.C., they do. This is because moisture changes beyond the range which the brood can handle. Moving them closer to the surface is dryer, too.


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#56 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 27 2017 - 12:07 PM

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I'm not sure if it's the same for all ants but bull ants tend to nest in clay soils which have poor drainage in heavy downpours.

I was taken by surprise when I first took the roof off this nest at the sheer number of ants.

I assume they were all there protecting the pupae.

It would've been impossible to distinguish the queen from the masses let alone plunging my hand in there to grab her.

I've made some BBQ tongs with some padding to pick up one of these girls, but they were in my bag and I had little time to make a decision.

I only saw pupae suggesting that the eggs and larvae could still stay below in the wetter stuff.

The cocoon they spin probably absorbs too much water and would drown the pupae.

I was disappointed to see no alates which means there most likely won't be any queens around any time soon.


Edited by CrazyLegs, February 4 2017 - 10:52 PM.

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#57 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 27 2017 - 12:26 PM

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It was a joyous occasion for my small crew of bull ants, when the lid was lifted and a handful of pupae were presented to them by their new ant god. (Me :D )

It gave the girls a renewed vigor for life as they carted the new additions into the nest and stacked them up in a neat row for inspection.

Stack Em Up
Now the nest is a hustle and bustle with no time to rest.
I should point out that these pupae aren't from the same nest that the ants were from, so I will watch closely for any strange behavior.

Edited by CrazyLegs, January 27 2017 - 3:46 PM.

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#58 Offline CrazyLegs - Posted January 28 2017 - 6:38 PM

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So, now I need to make a formicarium for a Myrmecia chrysogaster.

Measure Up
She's quite a bit smaller than the brevinoda so I thought I might as well go through some of the process again here.
Again I started with sculpting of the outworld. You need to use your imagination here to try and visualize how you want it to look.
I wanted to make a snake like ridge that looks a bit like Australia's Uluru.
I used a hand saw to make cuts into the hebel last time before chipping the bits out.
I'm speeding up the process this time by using my trusty diamond saw.
New hebel nest build

Chooky always needs to know what I'm up to. :)

New hebel nest
Just keep creating a tier to get your hill to form.
New hebel nest 2
As the hebel gets thinner, you might want to make your cuts closer together, so they chip out easily and no breakages occur.
New hebel nest 3
 
 
" The Ridge "
New hebel nest 4

 

 

 


Edited by CrazyLegs, January 28 2017 - 6:44 PM.


#59 Offline Martialis - Posted January 28 2017 - 6:57 PM

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Beautiful handiwork!


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#60 Offline Kevin - Posted January 28 2017 - 6:58 PM

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I like it, but that bottom is most likely going to be very brittle going into the tank with the thick sides, especially with any tunnels on the side.


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