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Are Grout Nests Bad?

grout nest formicarium

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Reevak - Posted August 13 2017 - 11:06 PM

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I was getting ready to make a small grout nest for one of my Prenolepis imparis colonies, but I heard that grout does a poor job of absorbing water, thus causing problems when it came to hydrating the nest. Does anyone have any experience making nests out of grout without any problems/does anyone have any tips when it comes to making grout nests? Thanks



#2 Offline CNewton - Posted August 14 2017 - 6:06 AM

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I made grout nests using CrystalS method. Water flows pretty freely through the nest, but I added more perlite than she used. Probably too much, as I can watch the water drop in the reservoir and can have condensation under the glass. My colony seems to be collecting around the reservoir. I'm not sure if I'm adding to much water (they are staying on higher ground) or too little (close to the water source). I think I would try sealing the perimeter with sanded grout or maybe even silicone to slow evaporation.



#3 Offline Bryansant - Posted August 16 2017 - 6:39 PM

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I also followed CrystalS method for my first grout formicarium (1/3 the way down the page): http://www.formicult...tworlds/page-14

It housed my S. invicta until they chewed through the polystyrene mesh I used for the ventilation windows. Llesson learned: I now use steel mesh. The formicarium worked well for months. I didn't use perlite and also naively placed the gravity well low in the nest. Still, I had condensation on the plastic in the lowest chambers and with a new fill sometimes had a tiny bit of water buildup in the lowest spot.

Since my previous experiences with grout were positive I continue to use it.

#4 Offline Reevak - Posted August 16 2017 - 8:01 PM

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I also followed CrystalS method for my first grout formicarium (1/3 the way down the page): http://www.formicult...tworlds/page-14

It housed my S. invicta until they chewed through the polystyrene mesh I used for the ventilation windows. Llesson learned: I now use steel mesh. The formicarium worked well for months. I didn't use perlite and also naively placed the gravity well low in the nest. Still, I had condensation on the plastic in the lowest chambers and with a new fill sometimes had a tiny bit of water buildup in the lowest spot.

Since my previous experiences with grout were positive I continue to use it.

What's wrong with placing the gravity well low in the nest?


Edited by Reevak, August 16 2017 - 8:09 PM.


#5 Offline Bryansant - Posted August 18 2017 - 10:47 AM

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Less control of overall humidity. My S invicta seemed pretty indestructible once the colony got going and the low gravity well was fine for them; they adjusted their brood placement accordingly and the colony grew rapidly. I know Camponotus can do well in lower humidity. I don't know anything about your intended species but if you want greater control of the overall nest humidity place a gravity well higher. The water will flow, albeit slowly. But you can simply add more water for higher humidity in a greater portion of the nest whereas mine was limited by the low placement.

I'm almost done with some new formicariums using BoxBox acrylic containers with grout nests. This time I made a large THA style water tower with mesh opening in the lowest chamber and gravity well above it. I'll use the combo for better control of humidity.

#6 Offline Reevak - Posted August 18 2017 - 11:06 AM

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Less control of overall humidity. My S invicta seemed pretty indestructible once the colony got going and the low gravity well was fine for them; they adjusted their brood placement accordingly and the colony grew rapidly. I know Camponotus can do well in lower humidity. I don't know anything about your intended species but if you want greater control of the overall nest humidity place a gravity well higher. The water will flow, albeit slowly. But you can simply add more water for higher humidity in a greater portion of the nest whereas mine was limited by the low placement.

I'm almost done with some new formicariums using BoxBox acrylic containers with grout nests. This time I made a large THA style water tower with mesh opening in the lowest chamber and gravity well above it. I'll use the combo for better control of humidity.

Alright thanks. And just to make sure, the gravity well is where you water the inside of the nest so that it can be absorbed and provide humidity to the ants' chambers, correct?



#7 Offline Bryansant - Posted August 18 2017 - 7:15 PM

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Just one way of providing water and humidity. Look at the Casita from THA (photo on the right with yellow Casita and arrows with explanations): https://tarheelants....cts/casita-2016

There's a gravity well higher up, a water chamber not connected to the tunnels that usually holds more water that is slowly pulled downward by gravity, seeping through the grout around the tunnel chambers. The ants can drink from the moisture on the grout as well. Lower down is a "water tower" which is a mesh covered mini Petri dish that also provides water and humidity.

I'm doing the same in my new nests but only on one side of the nest so I can have more of a gradient from one end to the other. Really, they're pretty small nests so I'm not sure how much the humidity in the air will change through the nest but the side with the water well and tower will be more wet than the other end even if the air in the nest has a uniform humidity. The ants will choose whatever is best for larvae vs pupae.

THA's larger nest usually have multiple water towers and gravity wells as well as "nest mates" that can add additional moisture or sugar water if needed.





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