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 My Ant Formicarium Build Journal

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T.C.
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PostSubject: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   2/1/2017, 6:28 pm

Hello everyone, this is the start of my formicarium building thread for my future ant colony. I am going to need a few new formicariums for my upcoming colonies. Since I am buying, I figure I should try making one or two in a effort to save money.



This one I am building will more than likely be for my Camponotous Pennsylvanicus colony. I am almost 100% winging this thing, so I hope it turns out alright. I have gotten a few things so far. I bought the container I am going to build it in and cut a hole in the top. I got a few pieces of glass cut 4 by 6.I am also using grout to build it.







TEST:

In a effort to see how the sanded tunnels look, I decided to run a little test. In the top of a muffin package, I made just a small tunnel molding with clay, I coated it with vegetable oil and and poured sand on top. I then poured the grout over the top of that. I apologize for the pour quality photos. The room I was doing it in is rather dark.

(Waiting for it to dry)







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Insect Rod
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   2/1/2017, 8:57 pm

Good luck with your new ant habitat. Back down in the woods we have in a few certain places a species of the red wood ant lives, i`m not sure of the species name at this moment but they are a lot larger than fire ants and seem to live in mostly rotten wood.
This group looks to be very interesting and social to me, I hope to take a closer look at them.
Insect rod
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   2/2/2017, 9:39 am

I was down that way a few years back. I am not sure but I believe what I seen a lot of was Camponotus chromaiodes. That may be what you are seeing but I am not sure on that.
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   2/11/2017, 12:06 pm

Well I have decided to make this formicarium my "light up ant tunnel" formicarium. I want to make it so the tunnels are going to be light up. This really isn't done, and not many people attempt it because ants are sensitive to light. However they often can adapt to such things. So I would like to attempt it.



Supplies I am using to build this.



Modeling Clay

Sanded Grout ( Coffee color )

Mini Helmet Display Case

8 pieces of glass ( 4'' by 6'' )

Vinyl Tubing ( roughly 7/16" x 5/16" )

16 (Grade N52) Neodymium Disc Magnets ( 1.26'' diameter x 1/16'' thick )

Lighting ( Not sure on this yet. I will either use a strand of lights or a bright led. Doesn't need to be decided until I am nearing the end. )

Ventilation, (window screen)

Formicarium Hydration Supplies, ( sponge's, sand, perilite, etc. )

Out-world accessories, (sand, fake plants, rocks, etc.)

Other accessories that will be used. ( tools, Paint, glue, etc. )
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   2/24/2017, 10:22 pm

Well, I am about a quarter way into this thing. I have finished two of the three molds I need to make this.




Be careful if you cut polycarbonate with a chop saw, and see to it has a fine blade. The ones with the big teeth will send it flying.



I left the wrap on so the grout and clay  won't  leave behind any scratches or smudges.


The image is fairly self explanatory of how every thing will work. I put the nails on the backs of the magnets because their pull is so strong I was afraid when I took off the glass it would take the magnets in the mold with it.



After I poured in the grout, I just placed the piece of polycarbonate on top and smushed it down.



After it dried, I did some carving, fixed a few mistakes, drilled the holes that lead to the sponge for hydration and put the polycarbonate sheet on both sides.

I made the third one not too long ago.


I am now setting it up for the next steps. Making it all come together into one mold.
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   2/25/2017, 9:40 am

Very interesting and cool!

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My interests in order, greatest-least: Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Homoptera, Orthoptera, Odonata, Mantodea, Thysanoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Phasmatodea, Diptera, Blattodea.

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Salmon
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   2/25/2017, 4:34 pm

Nice design.

I have a tip for anyone who builds a grout formicarium: don't make it in a brownie pan that's only slightly larger than your glass. The edges will crack.
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   3/5/2017, 12:33 pm

I just took one of the molds out, and I needed an emergency nest for one of my colonies as the other one was growing mold. So I just was using two molds, and since this is a test and trial kind of thing, it isn't a big deal. So here is the next steps I did.
Sorry for the really bad pictures.




From here I poured the mold. The idea with the sponge was to absorb water so this thing dried quicker. It worked out really well in the end. The hole is where the lighting system will go.

After it dried, I spent an hour getting it out of the container, making the top even, filling in holes and did some sanding.




I still have a lot of work to do, and in the second picture holes I filled in were still wet. So it looks bad in the second picture, but it will look better.... I hope.
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   3/5/2017, 4:00 pm

Keep up the good work.
Insect Rod
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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   3/9/2017, 12:35 pm

Getting closer to finishing it.



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PostSubject: Re: My Ant Formicarium Build Journal   5/16/2017, 1:21 pm



Got the lights in it!
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