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By number6
#3507
if im honest im hooked on that antcam lol :)
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By Leafcutter
#3622
Episode XXXVIII

Gave the ants a mixture of rose leaves, rose petals, bramble leaves and privet leaves today and the privet was the first to go! What a surprise :D. The ants will not have any leaves now until Sunday unfortunately, so I've given them an extra batch to keep them going. The live feed will be constantly running 24hrs until Sunday so keep watching :D.
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By Leafcutter
#3730
Soldier Update 11

SHOCKING is one way to describe it, the other is "HOW DID I MANAGE TO RAISE THE COLONY TO THIS SIZE!". Wow just wow, I can't believe it but there must be thousands of workers now. Giving the ants leaves had become so difficult without a moat/PTFE barrier that I had to act fast. There I was with the vacuum and frantically putting PTFE around the edges of the foraging area. I made a mess of the PTFE but the ants are being repelled so that's a positive. I was met by a swarm of ants, stridulation, vacuum noise and rustling could be heard. I won't make this a novel don't worry :D. As soon as the PTFE layer was on a crazy swarm of ants came and tried to attack my hand and escape from the tank.

This is the point where I say... I need a moat!

The joys of keeping Attas :D.

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The pictures don't show the amount of workers well enough, but honestly, there are soooo many!
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By Leafcutter
#3760
Soldier Update 12

Fungus garden 3 being worked on :). Sorry for the bad picture quality as it's so hard to get the DSLR into the incubator to take pictures of the spheres at the back.

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By Leafcutter
#4119
Soldier Update 13

Pictures only for today, not the finest I must say, but pictures nonetheless:

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By Leafcutter
#4233
They are certainly not suitable for the standard ant set ups. If you have a look through my journal from the start, you will see what I'm currently housing them in :).
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By Leafcutter
#5166
Minim Update 39

Fungus garden 3 is now pretty much filling the sphere. The ants have seemed to stop taking privet so often, I'm going to try and give a different variety now.
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By Leafcutter
#5849
Nile Antboy wrote:that prity cool are they hard to keep


The only hard part is keeping up with their requirements, after that they pretty much thrive in the correct conditions.
By boscott
#5865
I'm in awe of your setup! Two questions, how did you make the clean looking holes in the baubles and do you do tea and biscuit mornings at yours as I'd love to eyeball them! X


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By Leafcutter
#5873
boscott wrote:I'm in awe of your setup! Two questions, how did you make the clean looking holes in the baubles and do you do tea and biscuit mornings at yours as I'd love to eyeball them! X


It wasn't easy to make the clean cuts in the spheres. I cracked about 3 when trying to drill them. I used a 34mm holesaw on a pillar drill (one of those large industrial kinds), to cut the holes. I had to mark the centre point on each carefully and made a jig to hold the sphere in place. Took ages to get it right but it worked in the end. I'm now thinking of ditching the sphere idea and moving onto hatch-ling boxes and cylinders (more efficient when it comes to space).

I'd do a "Coffee & Danish Morning" but I'm really busy at the moment and have no time to be showing people around lol.
By boscott
#5874
Thanks, I've found drilling Perspex and acrylic a bore! Burning doesn't give a clean finish either but with more practise I'm sure I'll concur it! X


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By Leafcutter
#5875
boscott wrote:Thanks, I've found drilling Perspex and acrylic a bore! Burning doesn't give a clean finish either but with more practise I'm sure I'll concur it! X


When it comes to flat acrylic/polycarbonate, I just use the laser cutter as it produces very clean edges. The spheres though, were not as clean but still look great.
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By Leafcutter
#6954
Minim Update 40

Fungus garden 4 now in the works:

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And some new additions of cylinders to make feeding leaves easier :).
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By Leafcutter
#6964
Fungus garden 5 now being built in the new cylinder, check the antcam for live movements :)
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By Leafcutter
#7033
Indeed, they are fabulous creatures but their upkeep is horrendously annoying for me at the moment: escapees now and again, chewing at things, making it difficult for me to add leaves without escapees. Looks like my original set up is not as good as I thought :D. Will be upgrading their set up by next year, they'll be massive by then ;).
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By Leafcutter
#9311
Things have settled down a bit with this colony. I went out today to grab some Spotted Laurel to freeze. Gave them a few leaves and they seem even more enthusiastic about cutting it than privet! :o. Aucuba variegata japonica is the Latin for Spotted Laurel, this is the only variegated leaf type that my colony has taken. Variegated privet has been a definite no no.
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By Daubz1977
#9331
Just read this whole journal mate and it sounds like they are frustrating but good fun to keep, its going to be even harder to wait until Wednesday now, im really looking forward to getting started with my attas even though it means me putting other species i wanted to get this year on hold. Looks like you have done a brilliant job with them because ive done a lot of research recently and apparently only 10% of captive atta colonies make it to the level you have yours, which does worry me a bit.
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By Leafcutter
#9334
Daubz1977 wrote:Just read this whole journal mate and it sounds like they are frustrating but good fun to keep, its going to be even harder to wait until Wednesday now, im really looking forward to getting started with my attas even though it means me putting other species i wanted to get this year on hold. Looks like you have done a brilliant job with them because ive done a lot of research recently and apparently only 10% of captive atta colonies make it to the level you have yours, which does worry me a bit.


The most important part I would say is in the design stages of building a setup for them. You really need to think about every detail, silicone, rubber seals, anything soft that they can chew. Whilst my setup now is okay, it's not a good as I imagined it to be. Once you keep Atta cephalotes, you get to understand their needs and you'll actually find they need less care than most typical ant species. All you need to do is add leaves if the setup is good because humidity builds up itself and they become really easy to keep until the great escape :D.

That 10% figure sounds strangely low but I understand they require patience and lots of leaves :). Is your colony coming next Wednesday?
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By Daubz1977
#9335
Yes mate i cant wait, im really excited but also a little bit scared. Ive gone for seperate pods so i can keep adding to it and because i am keeping them in my loft im going to have metres of tubing and several outworlds to feed them from so i can keep them guessing by feeding them in different places... once the colonys bigger
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By formica123
#9336
Daubz1977 wrote:Yes mate i cant wait, im really excited but also a little bit scared. Ive gone for seperate pods so i can keep adding to it and because i am keeping them in my loft im going to have metres of tubing and several outworlds to feed them from so i can keep them guessing by feeding them in different places... once the colonys bigger

Do a thread your setup mate would love to seeit
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By Leafcutter
#9337
Daubz1977 wrote:Yes mate i cant wait, im really excited but also a little bit scared. Ive gone for separate pods so i can keep adding to it and because i am keeping them in my loft im going to have metres of tubing and several outworlds to feed them from so i can keep them guessing by feeding them in different places... once the colonys bigger


The early stages are the most difficult as the Queen is subject to stress, but I'm sure you'll be able to manage. A tip for when the colony is settled in is to get some fresh chemical-free privet and chop it up into small fragments and scatter them on top of the fungus directly. I'd only do this if the workers aren't cutting leaves as that tends to be the issue in a small colony, and also make sure the leaves are not too far away from the fungus garden itself.
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By Daubz1977
#9338
Leafcutter wrote:
Daubz1977 wrote:Yes mate i cant wait, im really excited but also a little bit scared. Ive gone for separate pods so i can keep adding to it and because i am keeping them in my loft im going to have metres of tubing and several outworlds to feed them from so i can keep them guessing by feeding them in different places... once the colonys bigger


The early stages are the most difficult as the Queen is subject to stress, but I'm sure you'll be able to manage. A tip for when the colony is settled in is to get some fresh chemical-free privet and chop it up into small fragments and scatter them on top of the fungus directly. I'd only do this if the workers aren't cutting leaves as that tends to be the issue in a small colony, and also make sure the leaves are not too far away from the fungus garden itself.


Thanks for the tip mate. I will document my setup in my journal formica but my setup will grow with my colony.
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