Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

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.
Kalidas
Pupa
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:06 pm

Okay so first Earth Tiger that looks AMAZING! Like wow just amazing, I love it!

Yeah I figured they might cut up the plaster I just know it's a common material that even scientists use in labs.
Like example in this; Transitioning from unstable to stable colony growth
in the desert leafcutter ant Acromyrmex versicolor
Rebecca M. Clark & Jennifer H. Fewell study they used plaster of Paris.

Yeah I figured adding the holes ahead of time would be better.... My problem is I don't know how to do that :D I can figure out how to make a mould (I actually can do some minor sculpting and modeling work I play 40k and have made my own custom models and kit bashes using greenstuff so I have experience with minor modeling work).

So you think cement would be better than plaster?

And yeah I know there are probably way better and easier ways to do what I'm achieving. Like the design that Watch Tiger cam up with... Holy cow that's AWESOME. But I am enjoying the learning and hopefully it will all work out well. I will start the final tests tonight when the silicone cures fully.

Kalidas
Pupa
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:16 pm

But seriously EarthTiger I may "steal" this idea lol. Wouldn't be hard to change my current design as at all just cut the back end of the bricks off leaving only the front "chamber" looking part. Have that natural look I want without pretty much any of the down sides!

Well there would be one down side. With the cases I am using I don't think I could ever open them up if I need to

UNLESS I put the cases upside down and use the "bottom" as a "lid"

Kalidas
Pupa
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:24 pm

Or just cut out enough of the top to fit like tweezers and add a small mesh screen

earthtiger
Larva
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:36 am

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by earthtiger » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:24 pm

Acromyrmexbob wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:39 pm

Nice setup, colonies looks great in there!!
Thanks for the compliment!

BTW, this is the second fungus chamber. They started to build up a fungus in it from the 1st of October on. This photos was taken on the 5th of November => the fungus is just a bit more than one month old. The tank as 50 x 30 cm and is 35 cm high. …and in the meantime (today) already remarkable bigger! :-)

Kalidas wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:06 pm
Okay so first Earth Tiger that looks AMAZING! Like wow just amazing, I love it!
You are flattering me! ;-)

Kalidas wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:16 pm
But seriously EarthTiger I may "steal" this idea lol.
Feel free too! If you need any additional information or photos, please let me know!
Kalidas wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:16 pm
Wouldn't be hard to change my current design as at all just cut the back end of the bricks off leaving only the front "chamber" looking part. Have that natural look I want without pretty much any of the down sides!
Yep, shouldn’t be much work to change it that way.

Here are some more photos, which are showing the "mehtod":

Image

Image

Image

Image

Kalidas
Pupa
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:38 pm

I mean it won't be as nice or as big as yours but I could easily carve the bricks in half or more and just press them up against the case(I do really like the cases I found because they stack and that is nice for the water system I have)

I may still keep a thin bottom layer just to make sure there isn't a direct path to the hole into the water, but it could be super thin like less than half an inch.

But not back or top just the clear box, and a nice pile of substrate. Would give the girls tons more room to build

earthtiger
Larva
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Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:36 am

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by earthtiger » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:56 am

Kalidas wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:38 pm
I do really like the cases I found because they stack and that is nice for the water system I have
I only had to water my colonies in the beginning, first weeks. After they have been established, I now have the problem to get the extra water out of the fungus chambers that the fungus does not drown. :-(

Kalidas
Pupa
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:03 am

Ooooh, gotta be careful of that...

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Acromyrmexbob
Site Admin
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:25 pm

Once the fungus and workers build up then the leaves they carry into the fungus chamber, which are around 97% water, create all of the humidity you need. Also if the humidity is too low the workers carry lots of cut leaves and stack them around to give off their water and increase humidity. So yes, an established colony with access to hydrated vegetation will maintain the humidity in their nest tanks and this can lead to excess water. The secret is to ensure that water containing air (humid air) does not condense its water onto a cool surface. So the best way to do this is to put your nest tank into a larger tank and heat that, thereby ensuring that the walls of the nest tank are warmer than the air inside the nest. With this setup, all of the water stays as humid air and does not condense.

Kalidas
Pupa
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:35 pm

That's good to know! So really it's just that first like 6 months to a year that's hard?

Good advice I may have to try that in the future. My ultimate goal is to use multiple of these naturalesque Formicariums stored in an aquarium stand and have them attach to an aquarium as an outworld.

I think I could put the cases in smaller aquariums underneath and do that.

Kalidas
Pupa
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:51 pm

Okay so this has been a lot more difficult than expected. Everytime I have filled the bottom tank with water there was ALWAYS a leak. So I would have to reapply the silicone and wait another 24 hours etc... Finally got so annoyed I did this

Image

I just piled on the silicone lol. I think the problem I am having is because I applied no silicone inside the tank and I really should have. I mean that's my mess up, lesson learned.

So finally the leak stopped so now we can move onto Beta testing. This is Beta Test 1

Image

The air stone had some how got flipped upside down so now the bubbles push up and out, other than that it's working very well. The humidity levels started at 50%.

Image

It's hard to see but it says 70%, this was almost instant, turned everything on and the humidity jumped 20%

The downside is testing had to stop because there was yet again another leak, but this time around the sides and not at the hole where the wires and tubing go through. So I had to stop it all(it's was a very small leak luckily)and add more silicone again. When I had checked and pulled the plug the humidity had reached 85% in about an hour and was still going up.

So it's looking good, real good. And I learned valuable lessons in proper sealing of liquids

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