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06/15/2014 6:31 PM
This post will cover briefly (I will add to this later somehow) the amazing success of the Growth Chambers product over the past year since the release. The addition of the water towers not only made them easier to manage but it adds a humidity control device sized specifically for the container. Here are some photos of the Growth Chamber in action:
Above is a Brachymyrmex sp. colony and a pair of Prenolepis imparis founding queens recently introduced. At this time the Prenolepis imparis have 7 workers and a batch of growing eggs and larvae as well. Small species thrive in the setups. Many of them alter their habitats by using the loose substrate provided to them to build walls and in some cases tunnels in and out of the dishes. This allows them to design their own habitat to suit their needs, a huge bonus for any captive ant colony in my opinion.
The last photo above is of a Solenopsis invicta queen. The substrate used here was a type of sand per request. Substrate is typically our own combination of researched and tested materials but we are willing to try others as well. This queen has grown into a colony since. A pair of Prenolepis imparis queens also has successfully founded a colony in a sand substrate Growth Chamber. It is not as important what the top layer is, however. What is underneath ("the dirt" of our habitats) is what we feel is one of the most important findings that we use throughout our ant habitats.
06/16/2014 10:50 PM
Here are a couple of photos of founding colonies/queens taken recently. The first is a Prenolepis imparis pair of queens with their army of eight workers and eggs. The second is a Camponotus snellingi queen finally settling down inside a Growth Chamber with wood bits.
Here are some of our previous photos (wanted to bring them over to this thread for comparison purposes).
The colony in the red colored nest above was moved into a Nucleus habitat and is on display at the "teach me" store in Raleigh, North Carolina. We are still working on adding ant-related things to the exhibit but here is a photo of the original setup. The colony is on the second cycle of pupae since arriving there, and the Camponotus chromaiodes queen in her Devolve Chamber has 10 pupae and counting.
06/17/2014 12:34 PM
06/18/2014 3:06 PM
06/20/2014 6:33 PM
06/20/2014 10:31 PM
anthony2 wrote:Got mine!
Yes, you did!! Looks like you will be needing them from the photos I am seeing on Facebook.
There are now three packages available that enter the purchaser into the contest for the free custom formicarium (custom as in you tell me how to build it!).
1. Growth Chamber Package
2. Haven Package
3. Nucleus Package
These can all be found on the website under Special Offers.
06/22/2014 10:02 AM
Test tubes seem to provide an optimal humidity level for ants when done properly. We have done our best with Growth Chambers to equal this and add other features you cannot have in a test tube setup to bring you a great experience for founding your queens. Feeding your ants is much less frequent in founding stages so mold is not as much of an issue, but feeding in the Growth Chamber is easier to it is more common as well. That said, be careful! Spilling foods, not using feeding dishes, and not removing trash quickly will leave your Growth Chamber a mess. The materials in the Growth Chamber do not mold, so you can clean them, but moving colonies out is not necessary. Use feeding dishes, feed smaller amounts of food so you don't spill, and remove and clean up trash quickly. Don't leave it for days and days (I am guilty of this to). You will end up with a colony a year old and potentially lose all of their second brood to mold if you are not careful. This goes in test tubes setups, formicaria, anywhere. Much easier to control in a Growth Chamber, so take advantage of that.
Moving on to formicaria, if you want to keep a founding queen in one (I have several queens still going from founding in a formicaria) block the bottom vents. This holds the moisture in better. Believe it or not those little vents on the bottom are the key to the hydration system (hopefully I didn't give too much away there but customers need to know this). With them, water leaves out the bottom more quickly. Now when you start having workers and food present in the formicarium, open them up if you think you need to.
This was an unintentional design with our formicaria early on. It works well and mold seldom is a problem for ant keepers compared to other formicaria out there. Sure some still had issues but they could be resolved thankfully due to the synergistic effects of the formicaria materials and design. Now moving on to the Nucleus/Magnest age...
Water towers go against the principal of not overhydrating your nest. It keeps the levels of humidity optimal for mold growth, thus we combined the use of them and removable faces (magnets!) so you can quickly brush out the food when mold starts to show up (also dead workers etc.). Don't take my word alone for this, it works! Think about it...removing moldy food from your formicaria before it causes a problem, and right underneath the nose of your colonies workers. Doing their job for them, huh? Maybe they will get the hint, who knows?
Seriously, just wanted to really point out how the progression of the formicarium design is working with other features. Use them. I am not saying run out and replace all of your old formicaria, I still use plenty of nests without water towers (Growth Chambers to). I check my nests more often than most, however. Do what you need to do for you!
06/23/2014 9:42 AM
On display at the "teach me" store in Raleigh, NC we have a couple of colonies now. Previously it was just the one colony and a founding queen but she now has workers so it is official!
These photos are in order of oldest to newest, with the most recent showing five workers. 5-6 more to come soon based on her pupae count, so a foraging area will be added for them that will be plugged so they can dig their way out for the first time when searching for food.
The photos below were taken last Friday and are of a Formica subserica colony in a Nucleus formicarium at the store. The first photo is the very first day of the exhibit and the last two are front of back of just a few days ago. They have doubled in size and are loaded with brood right now as well. Foraging activity is extremely fast for this colony. They come up and grab food and take it down below within seconds. We had considered adding an additional foraging area but this activity makes it unnecessary at this point.
06/23/2014 4:42 PM
06/23/2014 5:20 PM
06/23/2014 5:40 PM
Forum Overlord,and Basic English Cop/Enforcer/Police.
anthony2 wrote:Keep us posted
06/23/2014 7:24 PM
antdude wrote:anthony2 wrote:Keep us postedJournal's in the forum thread post's title? No punctuation in your post?
06/24/2014 12:20 AM
mordam wrote:antdude wrote:anthony2 wrote:Keep us postedJournal's in the forum thread post's title? No punctuation in your post?I had to read that about ten times before I understood what you were referencing.
06/24/2014 3:24 AM
06/24/2014 8:09 AM
anthony2 wrote:Really, 4 posts over a missing period?
That is just sad.
................... There you go.
06/24/2014 10:54 AM
antdude wrote:anthony2 wrote:Really, 4 posts over a missing period?
That is just sad.
................... There you go.Yep! If you posted it, then this would not have happened.
06/24/2014 10:56 AM
06/26/2014 7:23 PM
06/27/2014 3:18 PM
06/30/2014 8:20 AM
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