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
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:06 am

I legit was considering this idea actually lol, it would make EVERYTHING so much easier. Just drill some ventilation holes and leave them alone and allow for free movement of the vapors.

Maybe add a little sponge as a "stopper" at the top to trap the vapors?

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:12 am

I would definately go down this route.

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:32 pm

Acromyrmexbob wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:12 am
I would definately go down this route.
Yeah I tried it last night, the humidity went up to the normal levels I have been seeing (around 75-80% stabilizing around 72%) but it shot up a lot quicker like it got up to that 75% in about thirty minutes instead of an hour or two.

Would you think drilling tiny ventilation holes into the chamber itself leading into the holes that once housed the sponges would help? My only concern is if the ants start digging around there and make those holes bigger and find the water I may lose some ants.

Also is my idea of using some kind of adhesive to stick substrate to the chamber a decent idea? Not just for looks but to also hold onto moisture better inside the chamber?

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:09 am

My advice......
Firstly dont worry about losing ants in water. You will but it is inconsequential, you wont lose enough to trouble the colony. Secondly I would not stick your substrate. Bad idea. Infact the best way is to give the ants the substrate to use. You can only guess at the levels and suitability of the nest for the ants. You cant predict airflow, pockets of dead air etc. The ants can and when they have access to loose substrate they will use this to restrict and direct airflow, thus greatly enhancing the work you are doing. The best setups are where the ants get to engineer their own space and make it perfect. If you deny them this they will either land lucky because you have got everything right, of be subjected to sub-optimal conditions in which case you risk losing them. The ants are their own best keepers!

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:54 am

Okay good advice I will just put a small pile of substrate in the main chamber and let the ants do what they want. Really my idea was to stick a little AND add loose substrate using both

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:47 pm

So finally got the rest of the stuff needed to create the final design.

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Here it is for the most part

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The bricks were not a perfect fit so I had to shave a lot off

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There was a break, hopefully I can just use an adhesive and fix it.

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The holes to the water tank.

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The bottom of the formicarium housing unit.

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And this is where I will fit the cord and tubing for the aquarium heater and air stone. I will also need to use silicone (that I got yesterday) to fill it in and around edges to keep all the water in. I hope to start testing soon.

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:56 pm

I think next time I do this (assuming this first one works well) I will just make a mould and use plaster of Paris for the nest part. Avoid having to grind down the bricks and lining the holes up perfectly etc... I would still need to drill holes for the water vapors to travel into the chamber but that's a given no matter what.

earthtiger
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by earthtiger » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:15 pm

Not sure if plaster of Paris will stand the humidity (and ants) for a longer period.

...here are two photos, how I tried to create a natural looking mushroom chamber for my Atta cephalotes:

Image

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:37 pm

Plaster of paris is excavated by the ants, they can cut it easily. They will use the white crumbs they remove to 'plaster' the walls and front with this material (did you see what I did there!! :lol: )
Better use concrete and other material and create the holes before you pour the cement so they are part of the mould. Again I would say there are easier ways to achieve all of this but I am enjoying your exploration of what works and what doesn't. You will emerge from this, whether it works or not, with a far better understanding of controlling environmental parameters in housing for sensitive species such as leaf cutters.

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:39 pm

here are two photos, how I tried to create a natural looking mushroom chamber for my Atta cephalotes
Nice setup, colonies looks great in there!!

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