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Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:24 pm
by Arrowing
Hi all
Im starting this journal a bit in advance (to get some opinions before i screw up)

I ordered a complete starterset ( ... -3646.html) and expect it to arrive any day now :D
Reason: i'm clumpsy :lol: and this is complete and everything is expandable :D

I will put this entire setup in an aquarium (120×40×15cm) and fill it up with 10cm water
Reason: to ensure they stay in their cubes

Heating will be done by a 60w heating lamp ( ... oductImage)
Controlled by a thermostat ( ... z7EALw_wcB) which according to its discription should keep the temperature more steady then most regular thermostats
Reason: setup will be in my living room so i dont want to hide it in a closet or foam box

In the beginning i will put a small plastic container on top of the fungus so the ants can arrange their own humidity and enlarge the container as the fungus grows, hopefully big enough so i can display them without container (thats the goal)

I will post some pictures once everything is up and running and when i pick up the colony :)

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:11 pm
by Acromyrmexbob
Nice to start this journal.
A few points about your post. Firstly Antstore manufacture very high quality housing. There is no need to keep them within another tank to stop them escaping. They will not escape from these providing they are set up according to Antstores instructions.
Your intended heating method is a big no no!!! Heat lamps give out a dry heat. They dessicate the fungus and reduce humidity in the space they heat. Also if your air is warmer than the water in your setup then there will be no evaporation so your setup will be dry which will kill your ants quickly. You need to ensure that you provide wet heat to your setup. So any heat source has to travel through water. The ideal heating method is to heat water to a few degrees above your required temperature to provide the correct airtemperature and also high humidity. You need to get a humidity meter and have the probe right in where the fungus is. This humidity within the nest should be over 85%, ideally over 90%. If your nest area humidity is at this level, and your temperature is steady at around 24C/26C then leaf cutters are easy to keep. Out with these ranges and you will struggle with them!

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:51 pm
by Andyj
I began with a heat mat 3 or four inches under the fungus with a promotional stat under nest area but this would cause way to much heat under the fungus that would cause a difference in temps to cause humidity inside the nest container. I had an incubator set up but later i moved the heat mat to the side as to not provide heat from the bottom , it worked just fine If you can provide an ambient heat around the fungus rather than directly to the fungus i think this would be a better solution. I thought about a heat lamp which may have worked in my set up perhaps with a small pc fan to distribute the heat. You are going the aquarium method so the heat from the water should give you the required temps depending on your ambient temps without a heat lamp ?

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:42 pm
by Arrowing
Hi, all its been a week (work) so ill post a bigger update today as this project evolves.

First of all thanks all for your advice, i will start with the lamp (also used by Antstore).

Today i unpacked my delivery and assembled the setup, the only thing missing in the pictures is the anti escape aquarium (120×40×15cm) as it is still under construction. Should be ready soon.

At the moment i am testing the electric system. Hygro/thermometer and heating/thermostat are doing well!
I have everything redundant: 1x analogue thermo/hygrometer 1x independant digital thermo/hygrometer and the thermometer from my thermostat i think thats sufficient :D my living room has a constant 22-23°C air temperature aswell ;)
The lamp is giving minimum warmt and i will monitor the temperature (spiking?dropping?) And humidity (dropping?) the next days at the moment it is at 80% and 24.8°C tomorrow i will try to get and maintain it at 90%
I will add the soil and granulates tomorrow and then i will humidify them and the real test begins :) i am very satisfied with the quality and looks of the setup at this moment
I also gathered oak and chessnut branches and put them in a vase (8days ago) but they whitered after 3 days :cry: any tips on keeping branches fresh??? I know from the past that it works fine with willow

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:52 am
by Acromyrmexbob
Your setup looks great. Really nice layout. Antstore setups are very clean and neat! I used one in Paris when I was setting up a display in a medical
lab, the customer had bought a few units and wanted me to incorporate them.
The way your setup is laid out with the heat lamp may cause some issues with condensation. The central chamber (nest?) will receive predominantly more heat than the outer two. This will cause the dump and the feeding chamber to condense badly. Whilst the feeding chamber will not be adversely affected by the condensation other than a reduction in viewing, the dump chamber really needs to be dry. If your room temperature is 22-23C then you really dont need that much heat so perhaps you could fix this by moving the lamp halfway between the nest and the dump tank.
As soon as you add soil the humidity will spike. However a word of caution about humidity meters. If you buy 10 they will all read differently. The ones sold to pet keepers are low end, inaccurate. I am curious that you have what appears to be a completely dry setup but your meter is reading 82%. It is unlikely that your room or any part of your house is 82% humidiity. So maybe watch out for the readings and how much store you put on them.
Nice to see this update, cant wait to see where this goes. Good one!

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:57 pm
by Arrowing
Thank you for your advice it's well noted!
I'm super enthousiastic about this final setup. :D :D :D

Wich hygrometer do you recommend? we are indeed in doubt about the correct readings the hygrometer gives... :evil:
And it wasn't that cheap (exoterra combometer, 30€) so were gonna replace it in the near future.
We are sure that the thermostat is working fine and accurate (temp was set at 25° and it was between 24,7° and 24,9° the last 20 times i checked ) :lol: also not spiking!
Ofcourse the ants will arrange most of the humidity themselves (according to what i read) and i'm planning on testing it regularly (grapes vs dried rosepetals)
Also i will spray the fresh leaves with water before i will add them (saw this tip on youtube) and will put an extra drinking through.

The finishig touch will be the ants roaming around :lol:
Also i will add 10cm of water as the ultimate protection (better safe then sorry)

Instead of changing the heating position could i just keep the dumping cube open?
I will have anti escape oil on the edge and water in the aquarium.

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:21 pm
by Arrowing
This atternoon when i finished setting everything up i added 15millimeter of (tap)water
Now 6hrs later is noticed a light haze on the lower part of the cube so humidity is rising! (Digital Hygrometer says 99% but its probably wrong)
The analog hygrometer detects 85-90% (hard to read accurate) wich is 5-10% higher then this morning.
I added another digital thermo/hygrometer (outside sensor from my weatherstation) and it stabilises at 24,8°c and 86% humidity ;)

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:58 pm
by Arrowing
Hi all
This morning we picked up our colony of Acromyrmex Octospinosus!
They are so cute! :D
We received them in a smal plastic box, with plaster bottom (see pictures) we decided to keep them in there
The fungus looks healthy (please correct me when wrong)
The leaves are privet (from the same bush as they are used to get their leaves from)
The green gelly is a home made receipe from the seller (they are used to get this and is 100% bio/fresh/veggie/bit sugar)
We also see the queen on the bottom of the box nurturing the fungus.
After 2 hours we noticed that they already had cut from the blackberry leave and we see the ants walking up and down from their nestbox with the gelly substance, they really seem to love it (and it starts to appear in the fungus!) 4 to 5 ants are continuosly picking up the gelly. Really nice to see them recover from the trip so fast!
They leave their privet untouched for now
The sensor for the thermostat is in the nestbox about2cm away from the fungus an reads 25,1°C (set at 25°C)

The bad quality pics is due to the fact that the nestcube is a bit hazy also the nestbox is hazy so its doubletrouble for my camera to focus :cry:

Since the colony is very small we deceided to disconnect the garbage cube until they need it, also we decided to feed them in the nestcube (not their nestbox (as it shows on the pics)) so the distance is smaller for now, they are sl fun to watch! :D

A question; do i have to cover the nestbox or can i leave it like this? (see picture) (they never have direct sunlight!)

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:24 am
by Arrowing
During the night they piled up stones on top of their nestbox any ideas why they are doing this?
The biggest workers are still playing "the Hulk" with the stones
A few are still feeding on the gelly they leave the leaves untouched at the moment

Re: Acromyrmex Octospinosus (Arrowing)

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:23 pm
by Acromyrmexbob
Those are some really nice posts!!
The set up you have looks amazing, so beautiful.
Okay so the reason the ants are piling up stones is to cut down the light entering the nest chamber. Although the light does not harm them, they would rather be in darkness.
If your humidity in the nest chamber is perfect then I would take the lid off the small container and have them like that. The humidity inside the smaller container will be different (probably a lot lower) than the humidity in the nest chamber where you are measuring. To prevent this take away the lid and everything will be the same.
Hygrometers are a difficult topic. I wuld say you are doing the right thing. Take each reading with a pinch of salt and get a couple more to compare. Take an average of them all!
Really interesting post. Where did you get your ants? The container is an Ikea product, I have seen a few using it. Looks a little like Origin Ants from Belgium?