Tubing Diameter

Questions and Discussions for experienced keepers. Post here to engage our community in an exchange of ideas, report on tried and tested techniques and to discuss issues and observations likely to stimulate an challenge.
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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Tubing Diameter

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:31 pm

We have installed hundreds of public exhibits world wide with leaf cutters walking through clear pipes. My feelings on diameter are that if you go too big sooner or later they will start to fill the pipes with fungus. Also using black or solid colourm connections gives the ants a tantalizing area of darkness. Again they are going to put fungus there eventually.I think 50mm pipe is too wide a diameter. For most species an OD of 25mm is too small and you'll get traffic jams. Somewhere in the middle, trial and error.

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Leafcutter
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Re: Tubing Diameter

Post by Leafcutter » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:21 am

I've always used 40mm OD 34mm ID for GroPod connectors and 34mm OD 28mm ID tubing for between. Doesn't seem to cause an issue with flow of workers with leaves, but I have had fungus in the tubes before. The tubing between the GroPods is now ventilated with micro holes to prevent the ants from growing fungus in the tubes. The thinking is that the extra ventilation in the tubes will make the conditions for fungus less favourable and hopefully less likely to grow.

Atta cephalotes (2019)
Camponotus detritus (2018)
Camponotus maculatus (2018)

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Tubing Diameter

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:53 pm

I like the holes in the tubing idea, makes sense. You are using 3mm thick walls, the 2nn thick walled pipe is a lot cheaper to buy.

earthtiger
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Re: Tubing Diameter

Post by earthtiger » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:45 am

Leafcutter wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:21 am
The tubing between the GroPods is now ventilated with micro holes to prevent the ants from growing fungus in the tubes.
The ants are smart => they will put substrate in the holes to optimize the climate in the tubes!

In a german leaf cutting ants group someone has a runway which is actively ventilated by a small fan which he turns on from time to time.

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Re: Tubing Diameter

Post by Leafcutter » Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:41 am

earthtiger wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:45 am
Leafcutter wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:21 am
The tubing between the GroPods is now ventilated with micro holes to prevent the ants from growing fungus in the tubes.
The ants are smart => they will put substrate in the holes to optimize the climate in the tubes!

In a german leaf cutting ants group someone has a runway which is actively ventilated by a small fan which he turns on from time to time.
One French keeper spoke to me about using an air pump on the tubing, I haven't tried it yet but I will at some point.

I would go as far as to say the ants can sometimes make their own issues, especially by blocking up tubes with fungus and then causing the fungus gardens themselves to deplete due to the impaired flow of leaves.

Atta cephalotes (2019)
Camponotus detritus (2018)
Camponotus maculatus (2018)

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Tubing Diameter

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:35 pm

I actually believe the act of building fungus in the tubes is an indication that all is not well in the nest chamber. Unless there is no space and they are utilising space in the tubes, one of the diagnostic tools I use when contacted by keepers worldwide for advice is this behaviour. If there is still space in the nest chamber and they are building in the tubes then you need to ascertain what is wrong with the nest chamber. Its going to be either temperature (probably to hot) bright light, dessication or dump in the nest. Often its because the substrate at the bottom of the fungus has become foul smelling. I do not believe that the ants ever do someothing to their detriment. Everything they do is an effort to maintain perfect environmental parameters, often in the face of impossible conditions.
I would definitely NOT introduce air flow into the tubes. One of the most bizarre ideas I have heard. There is nothing more dessicating or disruptive to the still, humid air the ants require in the fungal chamber than moving, untreated air!! Everything the ants do in blocking up ventillation holes etc is designed to slow air movement. Moving air is the last thing the ants need to cope with!

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Re: Tubing Diameter

Post by Leafcutter » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:15 pm

It was actually Julien that mentioned this to me, and theoretically it does make some sense, but not connected up to the fungus chamber tubes for obvious reason. This would only be for a long run way and away from the gardens themselves, so shouldn't affect the humidity in the nest area. Like I said I haven't tried it yet and so I don't know if it would work practically.

Atta cephalotes (2019)
Camponotus detritus (2018)
Camponotus maculatus (2018)

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