Rays Atta Build

Post your builds, private or commercial set ups. This is where we will document the creation of housing or the planning and construction of projects from scratch. This differs from the Journal Section because this section does not concentrate on the Ants or the other animals that are being kept, this section focuses on the progress of the build.
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Docxx
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Rays Atta Build

Post by Docxx » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:03 pm

Pretty quiet on this forum but I thought I would share my plans for an Atta Setup I plan on building over the next couple of months. I looked at nearly all the different designs and setups but decided the moat around the top would suit me. I was planning on using Hygrostats and Foggers etc but realized that would be way to expensive when I could achieve the same result with a moat and water heater.

I've made a quick design which I attached. I'm pretty confident in my glass cutting abilities. The entire thing will be made of glass apart from the Acrylic tubes and connections. 2 holes in the top, one for an adjustable vent and one for the water heater. I'm unsure if I need a water filter but I can add one if I need too. There will be 2 holes for the ants which will be connected to the acrylic tubes with Cable Glands. The tubes will be 25mm outside and 21mm inside.

I will also be making a small hole at the rear of the garden for the humidity/temp monitoring stuff. Unsure how I'll get the probes through while making it escape proof but I'll think of something lol

The medium at the bottom will either be PoP, Hydrostone or Grout. Not decided yet.

Thanks for reading, I'll keep this updated :)
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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:58 pm

Hi, you are quite right, it is very quiet on the board!! Thats mainly because most people seem to favour the facebook type post these days. Really strange because it is impossible to get a proper conversation going there. Your design looks great! Its the basic design I use when setting up commercial displays. I do not think you will have many problems. Only thing is to watch how you heat it. If this is in a cool area it can be a challenge to get an even temperature throughout the substrate.
Let me know how you get on. Is it Atta or Acromyrmex you are going for. That looks like an Atta set up.

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Docxx
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Docxx » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:41 pm

Thanks, I prefer forums than Facebook because its easier to find things and its all in the right place. Its a shame because this Forum was quite busy just a couple of months ago. I've found it an invaluable source of information. I joined a Leaf Cutter group on facebook but even that doesn't seem very active.

The setup is designed for Atta, How would you go about heating it? I was thinking the Water heater would be enough and I could just adjust it accordingly. It will be in a well heated room with the rest of my inverts, an oil heater with a thermostat keeps it at the temp I need.

No building taking place until next month, just collecting the materials and practicing cutting a square hole into glass for the moat, its not easy lol

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Leafcutter
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Leafcutter » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:53 pm

Ray,

That looks like a good start, heating with a water heater will work well, a column in the middle of the tank filled with water with the heater will do the trick for heat. As you are keeping them in an already heated room, even temperature distribution shouldn't be too much of a problem.

In terms of the glass cutting, I would skip trying to cut a square bore in a glass sheet and contact a local glass specialist. They would be able to use a waterjet cutter to cut out the square 100x better and the finish quality is excellent. Otherwise you could make it with strips of glass bonded together, or make an acrylic version, which would be easier to fabricate. Obviously this would add to the cost considerably, when I had my personal glass tanks, I had the glass cut to size and polished, in my opinion it is more aesthetically pleasing.

Atta cephalotes (2018)
Camponotus fulvopilosus (2015)
Camponotus rufoglaucus zanzibaricus (2018)
Messor barbarus (2018)

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Docxx
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Docxx » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:54 am

Wouldn't a heater in the moat maintain the temperature just as well as a central column? Just don't want to add another 'water feature' to the enclosure, more potential for things to go wrong. I think I'll try it with the moat and see if I can achieve the required temps/humidity, if not then I can add a central column. This would be without the ants of course.

With regards to the glass, I have already inquired about the glass with a square hole and they quoted me £60 to get it done. I'm the sort of person who would rather try myself before giving up and paying. I've got some free glass from my local glaziers to practice on and they gave me some advice so I've been practicing. I'm confident I can do it myself to a high standard. I just want to start building it now, but I gotta wait lol

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Docxx
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Docxx » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:36 pm

The edges need sanding down which I can do with a Dremel or by hand but I finally managed to cut a square hole in some glass. This is just Practice to improve my glass cutting :)
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Docxx
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Docxx » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:37 pm

Update on the build. Finally started it, managed to source a good supply of glass for a damn good price and they gave me loads of off cuts for free. Managed to cut it all with minimal issue. I kinda realized that 600x600x420mm was probably a little bit big about halfway through the build but i'd rather go to big than too small. Managed to cut a good square hole out of the glass and it required minimal sanding, didnt need to be perfect afterall.

Gonna be away for a couple of week so next step is to make sure there are no leaks when I add water to the moat. Sort out a lid with ventilation and then to test the Water heater and see if I can get to the required Humidity/temps.

Pictures attached

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Docxx
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Docxx » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:04 pm

Build is now pretty much done. Had some problems getting the humidity right, it increased to 93% then dropped to 85% overnight. Got some advice from Sean at Britishants and decreased the temp from 25 to 24(ish) which raised the humidity by about 4 - 5%. I wanted to get it to high 90s without adding more heat so I did some research and found a little trick they use for Cannabis farms, they basically use Aquarium air stones in bottles of water. I adapted this idea and put 2 air stones in my moat which took my humidity to High 90s within a couple hours. Amazing what you can find on the internet.

I enclosed the Enclosure in MDF sheets, they're attached with velcro so easily removed. I did this so I can make the enclosure dark and also to insulate a little bit to reduce the amount of energy i need for heat. I have Red Transparent Acrylic cut to size coming for the front.

I also had a spare LED light strip so I made a little light canopy. Controlled with a remote, I can also change the colour.

The feeding enclosure has an open top, I plan on using PTFE to prevent escapes.

Appreciate any advice or Criticism :)
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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Rays Atta Build

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:46 pm

Been a long time, feel out of the loop with your situation. How are you getting on with this. Do you still have your colony?

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