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.
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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:59 pm

One day, when you are a lot older, you will have developed, built and tested hundreds of designs and may even eventually get a colony of ants!!! :twisted: I think the development of this idea is giving you as much pleasure as the ants themselves will when you get them. Or maybe youll get the ants and decide you enjoyed your setup before the ants came!! One way or another, you are carrying out this development with a fair amount of dedication and resolve. Impressive stuff! As far as your siliconing skills are concerned, from one who ran an aquarium manufacturing business for 25 years....... forget it!!

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:54 pm

Thanks for the words of encouragement, and yeah it has been pretty fun trying to figure this all out. To be honest I am already getting older lol, I'm 30 now.

And yeah my silicone skills leave much to be desired. I actually scraped the entire thing and removed all the silicone. Corrected the air stone so it wouldn't be upside down and applied the silicone to the inside! I think that will do a LOT to stop the leaks

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:47 am

Acromyrmexbob wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:59 pm
Not sure how to tag people so I am just gonna quote you lol,sorry

So I am thinking of using earthtiger's idea and remove most of the brick leaving only the front "cavern" like arches and the bottom (mostly as a merrier between the ants and the water.

Also to make sure I can still access the ants if needed I will flip the case upside down so what would normally be the base of the case will become a sort of "lid".

The plus side to this is the water reservoir at the bottom will no longer need silicone to work, esspecially since I had drilled a hole and made a cut near the lid and just slipped the cord and tube and it's so close to the top I don't need to worry about filling it. Downside is the holes I had drilled I to the case will need to be either filled or I will need to just buy a new case.

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:04 pm

So I went ahead and did it.

Image
This was last night after I made the adjustments to the water tank and nest box on top. It actually all came together VERY well.

Image

This was taken shorty after losing everything up

Image

So I did my best to copy EarthTiger. When I was cutting the bricks the top(what used to actually be the bottom) broke so the top part doesn't fit very well and I had to grind a lot out of it to get that rounded shape.

Image

Top view, you can still see the square shape of the brick

Really this is just another test, I think after this I will just not do firebrick (even though it's a great material and it VERY poreous) but I think using a mould and making my own from scratch is best.

I do think Acromyrmexbobis right that those humidity guages are off. Because when I checked this morning it said the humidity was a bit above 80%(like 82% maybe) but there was condensation inside the box so it's gotta be higher than that.

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:40 pm

Remember the condensation rule!! Condensation happens when humidity in the air changes to liquid water on a cool surface. So condensation reduces humidity, it is a sign of lowering humidity, not high humidity. So perhaps 82% is not that far away. 82% would be okay, btw, the ants would cope with that fine.

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:19 pm

Oh good to know thanks.

Well there's no condensation at all where the bricks are at. So that little "window" where you look into the nest chamber totally condensation free.

The gauge stayed very constant for days never dropping the humidity below that 82% mark and occasionally getting up to the high 80s and the heat stayed well with the range of 24 to 26c.

So I guess my next big question is; is using plaster really that bad of an idea? Like would they just tear it up entirely or just cut pieces off but mostly the structure will be fine? If not what's a better alternative? Grout maybe?

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Acromyrmexbob
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:39 pm

Clay balls are widely used. Plaster gets messy and smelly (which equates to toxic!) and they will tear it up and make a mess with the pieces. Not a great idea.

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:49 pm

Sorry if I didn't make myself more clear, I meant the nest structures. Like right now I have that firebrick giving it that "nest" shape (like I had said I'm gonna be using EarthTigers ideas and just making a kind of cavern frame) to give it that natural look instead of the orginal idea of carving out the bricks.

So I will be getting rid of those firebricks and replacing them with something else. First idea was plaster of Paris. But if that is just a terrible idea there are other options. Like grout(I actually have grout already) or hydrostone,or something else...

Clay balls could be great substrate so that sounds pretty good

earthtiger
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by earthtiger » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:57 pm

I use flex tile adhesive and pigments to colour it.

Kalidas
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Re: Naturalesque Leaf Cutter Formicarium

Post by Kalidas » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:43 am

earthtiger wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:57 pm
I use flex tile adhesive and pigments to colour it.
Luckily I got some pretty good answers already.

Gonna use Hydrostone (gypsum cement), its apparently tough enough to hold up to even Leaf Cutters and is very water absorbent.

As for looks I was told that coating the hydrostone in resin and sprinkling sand on the resin works great

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