A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

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Theantguy13
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:51 pm
Location: Riverside county CA

A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

Post: # 21646Post Theantguy13
Wed May 24, 2017 11:34 am

Ok so just so you guys know, I'm 14 so I know I most likely need adult supervision for this. Another thing is I don't need answers in a rush because I don't need it immediately.

Ok so the rant starts...
Let's see, I guess to start off I'll mention that I already have an AntsCanada Omni-Nest large that came with my "All you need" kit.
I also have the E-Book so if there's an answer in there to one of my questions, just mention which page its on.

OK so last year I got into ant keeping and I was catching tons and tons of queens (mostly solenopsis).
My problem was, I had more queens than formicaria and outworlds. Now I was only planning to keep 3 of my queens and release the rest, but that is still 2 more queens than ant farms (1 more if you count the small little test tube adapter thing {the one that has 4 holes and removable cover, forgot the name} that comes with the kit) and that means that I needed 1 or 2 more formicariums(formicaria) and 1 or 2 more outworld(s).
Now don't get me wrong, I love the AntsCanada shop formicaria. But as a 14 yr old... as you might guess, I can't really afford them in bulk.

Now this doesn't apply at this moment, because unfortunately 1 of the 3 queens was infertile, and the other 2 died :( .
But I'm getting into the situation right now because I got my hands on 1 (maybe 2, not sure yet) queen(s) already.

This gives me two options at this point,
1. become a GAN farmer with my parent's partnership (I might still do this so If you need queens be sure to keep an eye out for me, I Live in Moreno Valley {riverside county, CA})
2. start making my own (grout) formicariums and outworlds

Now here are my questions,
1. Is grout too dangerous to handle at my age?
2. Should I get a paint mask (a filter to block out dust and toxins)?
3. Are artificial plants and rocks from craft stores ok?
4. How much grout should I use for a formicarium (optimal thickness)?
5. Where can I get containers that are cheap but great for formicarium/outworlds?
6. How can I earn money (other than GAN) to help me pay for these?

Finally, a few notes.
I don't need info on how to make outworlds, mikey has a video on that.

Also If you are an ant keeper near me PM me if you are interested in queens so that when, I'm pretty sure I want to at this point, I become a GAN farmer I can sell them fast because I get so many solenopsis queens.
Proud owner of 3 beautiful cats, a loving Siberian husky, and a varying amount of ants.

My ant queens still founding a colony:
Solenopsis Molesta
My ant colonies:
Solenopsis Xyloni

idahoantgirl
Posts: 760
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

Post: # 21671Post idahoantgirl
Wed May 24, 2017 8:06 pm

Theantguy13 wrote:
Wed May 24, 2017 11:34 am
Ok so just so you guys know, I'm 14 so I know I most likely need adult supervision for this. Another thing is I don't need answers in a rush because I don't need it immediately.

Ok so the rant starts...
Let's see, I guess to start off I'll mention that I already have an AntsCanada Omni-Nest large that came with my "All you need" kit.
I also have the E-Book so if there's an answer in there to one of my questions, just mention which page its on.

OK so last year I got into ant keeping and I was catching tons and tons of queens (mostly solenopsis).
My problem was, I had more queens than formicaria and outworlds. Now I was only planning to keep 3 of my queens and release the rest, but that is still 2 more queens than ant farms (1 more if you count the small little test tube adapter thing {the one that has 4 holes and removable cover, forgot the name} that comes with the kit) and that means that I needed 1 or 2 more formicariums(formicaria) and 1 or 2 more outworld(s).
Now don't get me wrong, I love the AntsCanada shop formicaria. But as a 14 yr old... as you might guess, I can't really afford them in bulk.

Now this doesn't apply at this moment, because unfortunately 1 of the 3 queens was infertile, and the other 2 died :( .
But I'm getting into the situation right now because I got my hands on 1 (maybe 2, not sure yet) queen(s) already.

This gives me two options at this point,
1. become a GAN farmer with my parent's partnership (I might still do this so If you need queens be sure to keep an eye out for me, I Live in Moreno Valley {riverside county, CA})
2. start making my own (grout) formicariums and outworlds

Now here are my questions,
1. Is grout too dangerous to handle at my age?
2. Should I get a paint mask (a filter to block out dust and toxins)?
3. Are artificial plants and rocks from craft stores ok?
4. How much grout should I use for a formicarium (optimal thickness)?
5. Where can I get containers that are cheap but great for formicarium/outworlds?
6. How can I earn money (other than GAN) to help me pay for these?

Finally, a few notes.
I don't need info on how to make outworlds, mikey has a video on that.

Also If you are an ant keeper near me PM me if you are interested in queens so that when, I'm pretty sure I want to at this point, I become a GAN farmer I can sell them fast because I get so many solenopsis queens.
Grout is not at all dangerous. It's just cement stuff! You can do it no prob. You probably would want to use some sort of mask just so it doesn't irritate your throat. Artificial plants and rocks are great. I'm not sure how much grout to use... I made an outworld out of a Tupperware container and I just barely skimmed the floor of it with grout (1/4 in). This didn't really turn out. the thinness of the grout coupled with the flexibility of the plastic container cracked the grout . Its ok, but not ideal. I think a plain Tupperware container is fine as long as you have grout thick enough.
Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

User avatar
Theantguy13
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:51 pm
Location: Riverside county CA

Re: A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

Post: # 21679Post Theantguy13
Wed May 24, 2017 8:40 pm

Thanks!
that answered most of my questions, so it helped a lot.
The only reason I thought grout might be dangerous is because I heard that if too much dust rises, it can cause a throat problem and lung issues.
Anyway, now I just need to find out if I can join the GAN project :D
Proud owner of 3 beautiful cats, a loving Siberian husky, and a varying amount of ants.

My ant queens still founding a colony:
Solenopsis Molesta
My ant colonies:
Solenopsis Xyloni

adagna
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:40 pm

Re: A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

Post: # 25648Post adagna
Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:58 pm

The small amount of grout you will be working with is nothing to worry about so long as you don't go out of your way to make unnecessary dust. If you are at all worried about it just do the project outside. I have done many many tile and concrete jobs over the years and concrete dust has always been the last thing on my mind. The real thing you should worry about is wearing gloves, as the lye in the concrete can really dry your hands out and cause cracking and bleeding if you are sensitive. I always wear gloves when working with any concrete products because I have very sensitive skin.

I haven't yet made any grout outworlds but I am planning to when my queens I just captured start to get the colonies going. Of the videos I have watched on grout formicaria construction they seem to vary in thickness from 2-3" plus or minus. Basically enough to have a decent tunnel and room depth with enough material to keep the strength of the grout/concrete at adequate levels. I have seen one that added two layers, the one closest to the tunnels had Perilite or vericulite mixed into unsanded grout to help with the distribution of water through the grout to give better gradiants of moisture though the nesting area, then the outer later was just sanded grout mixed with extra sand to give it more strength and was just there as a "foundation". That is likely the way I will attempt my formicaria down the road. I plan on making one for each queen that ends up being fertilized and then sell those colonies with the formicarium already included in the price.

AntsArizona
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:55 am
Location: Arizona

Re: A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

Post: # 27717Post AntsArizona
Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:54 am

I recently made my first outworlds using grout and items from a craft store. It was real fun to make and easy to do. I used grout from home depot which came in a box ($10). I cut open the top of the bag within the box enough to get a scooper in. The scoop I used looks like a standard scoop, kinda like the ones in baby formula canisters but bigger. I used a plastic dixie cup i had around the house to put a couple scoops in and used a popsicle stick to stir the mix with water. *** Go easy on the water *** I added too much the first time and it was super watery and had to keep adding grout mix until it thickened up. 2nd attempt, I just used a splash of water at a time as I stirred. ( Also, I didn't wear a mask or anything. I didn't let the powder splash or anything so barely anything came up but its optional to you)

As far as the container, I went to Michaels and used a "Mini Helmet Display Case." It looks like this one.
https://www.michaels.com/studio-decor-baseball-display-case/10417977.html but the cheaper kind near the toys section. They had like 3 sizes. The baseball Cube size is like $6, the medium is $10, the large Football one was like $25. I was also thinking of going to the Container Store which sells clear Plastic Shoe Boxes for $15.

Items I also bought were Sand, fake trees and I used Styrofoam to mold rock sculptures which I then covered in grout. If you have Instagram, I recently started mine and uploaded pictures there (AntsArizona). Have fun and show us your completed Outworlds!!! Good Luck!

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ACaseoftheMondays
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:54 am
Location: Northern Colorado

Re: A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

Post: # 27719Post ACaseoftheMondays
Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:11 am

Looks like there are already great answers to your questions here. As far as containers, you definitely want to be using something that is slightly tapered and larger at the opening. After your grout hardens, you will have to get it out, and I find that square containers are sometimes a big pain, and tend to break.

Here is a thread I made a couple weeks ago on how I made my grout formicaria for pretty cheap: http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?t=3807. The instructions are linked on the second page. (or here: https://www.reddit.com/r/ants/comments/6nwvu2/easy_and_fun_to_make_formicaria/)

Definitely check out the links at the bottom of those instructions, as her stuff is very helpful to understand the processes involved in making a grout formicarium. (Those links also here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDIJzYrMI7Q and here: http://www.formiculture.com/index.php/topic/2298-how-to-make-a-picture-frame-grout-formicarium-with-advanced-hydration/#entry28868
Founding:
Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis
Solenopsis Molesta
Formica Argentea
Lasius Flavus
Colonies:
Tetramorium sp.E

Delphie
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:40 am
Location: BC, Canada

Re: A few questions about making a home-made grout outworld

Post: # 30867Post Delphie
Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:09 pm

Success can depend on the size of the colony inhabitants. Be prepared to see a bit of shrinkage in the grout as it dries. I moved an Aphenogaster colony into a grout and frame nest and it took them half a day to decide that it sucked. They moved bag and baggage into the grout outworld (a thing of beauty), crawl down between the plastic and the grout, and set up housekeeping under the outworld. Very frustrating!

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