Southeast asian paludarium

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MikeCzajson
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Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:10 am

Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62681Post MikeCzajson
Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:32 am

Hello everyone :D I'm new here and in ant keeping world. I need to ask you a question for which answer I couldn't find anywhere else. I'm planning to build a paludarium for Chinese water dragons that will be bioactive. For now it's just a dream I hope to realize in next few years, but the solid research need to be done ASAP. So of course there will be a lot of live plants both on land and in the water, fishes, earthworms, spirngtails and perhaps even some silverfish. I found a way for minerals to come back to the ground from water without causing a flood. But I also want dead matter from the ground 'recycled' and used by the water organisms, but how to do it ? Of course springtails, earthworms and maybe silverfish will eat dead leaves and water dragons poop but it still remains on the ground. The question how to do it was killing me until I saw a video of AntsCanada in which he created the fire ants paludarium. It showed how fire ants throw their dead in the water - that's it, I need ants in there. But not every ant species is good. I need an ant that won't hurt water dragons (won't sting, spray acid or try to bite them), doesn't build too large nest (paludarium dimensions will be 400x200x250cm in which water part will be about 400x60-80cm), won't invade my house if escaped, eats poop or/and death and alive insects etc and dump their dead into the water. Would be great if it also come from somewhere around south - Southeast Asia as the rest of organisms in paludarium. Please forgive me for my bad English and help me with my problem, than you :D

Hawkeye
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Location: Almelo

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62686Post Hawkeye
Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:25 am

That is one huge tank you're planning on building. My guess is that at some point any ant colony will drop their dead in the water, as the graveyard takes up valuable space. (Provided the dead ants don't serve as food for fungi or 'farmed' spring tails.) In your tank however there is an abundance of space, so it might take a long time for the colony to grow to a big enough size. If the tank is indeed to be 4 meter long?

As for getting the dead plant matter and waste to 'cycle' I think you've overcomplicated things. Springtails and such will break it down into nutrients for your plants, which makes your plants grow, which in turn offers more food for your ants in the form of nectar from flowers, or honeydew from aphids.

In the water you might want to add some omnivorous fish and/or shrimp to break eat dead ants/plant matter. Bacteria will then process their waste into nitrate/nitrite and eventually nitrogen provided you have a good filtration system with enough biological filtration medium.

You might want to check out my thread or YouTube clips as I've been planning a paludarium with Asian aquatic species as well.

Hawkeye
Posts: 878
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62688Post Hawkeye
Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:51 am

MikeCzajson wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:32 am
Hello everyone :D I'm new here and in ant keeping world. I need to ask you a question for which answer I couldn't find anywhere else. I'm planning to build a paludarium for Chinese water dragons that will be bioactive. For now it's just a dream I hope to realize in next few years, but the solid research need to be done ASAP. So of course there will be a lot of live plants both on land and in the water, fishes, earthworms, spirngtails and perhaps even some silverfish. I found a way for minerals to come back to the ground from water without causing a flood. But I also want dead matter from the ground 'recycled' and used by the water organisms, but how to do it ? Of course springtails, earthworms and maybe silverfish will eat dead leaves and water dragons poop but it still remains on the ground. The question how to do it was killing me until I saw a video of AntsCanada in which he created the fire ants paludarium. It showed how fire ants throw their dead in the water - that's it, I need ants in there. But not every ant species is good. I need an ant that won't hurt water dragons (won't sting, spray acid or try to bite them), doesn't build too large nest (paludarium dimensions will be 400x200x250cm in which water part will be about 400x60-80cm), won't invade my house if escaped, eats poop or/and death and alive insects etc and dump their dead into the water. Would be great if it also come from somewhere around south - Southeast Asia as the rest of organisms in paludarium. Please forgive me for my bad English and help me with my problem, than you :D
I've done a bit of quick reading up on those Chinese water dragons. They need high temperatures and humidity (80%) so if you want to keep any ants in there, they would have to be tropical and used to those conditions. Seeing as your dragons eat insects however, they are more likely to become the predator rather than fall prey to the ants. So I wouldn't worry too much about that, however, that does lead me to believe you might have to invest some time in the ant colony first, to let it grow to a sufficient size to be able to sustain the losses of being preyed on by the dragons.
Are you planning on sectioning of your tank with a (buried) divider to create a wet and a dry section? Or do you simply plan on using a sloped layer of sand/substrate where the dry part will be the part raised above the water? In the latter case, I assume the plant nutrients will naturally flow back into the water anyway, thus eliminating the need for ants. Mind you, you would need a good amount of plants/rocks and wood to keep the soil together and prevent is from levelling out into the water.

MikeCzajson
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:10 am

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62691Post MikeCzajson
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:13 am

There'll be a dry part and water part. I won't put dragons in there right away as it'll be built, first I'm planning to let both land and aquatic plants to grow as well as the ant colony. My vision is a tank in which both water and land parts have some sort of symbiotic relationship. In water I will put shrimps, snails, clams and fish. I want matter to circle between water and land, plants and animals. The tank will be huge that's why I started my research so early before building so I can pick every life form very carefully for my dream tank. I don't think dragons would prey on ants smaller than 1.5 cm, also I'm not scared that dragons would become food for ants. I fear the ants will spray acid into dragons eyes or sting them.

Hawkeye
Posts: 878
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62694Post Hawkeye
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:28 am

MikeCzajson wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:13 am
There'll be a dry part and water part. I won't put dragons in there right away as it'll be built, first I'm planning to let both land and aquatic plants to grow as well as the ant colony. My vision is a tank in which both water and land parts have some sort of symbiotic relationship. In water I will put shrimps, snails, clams and fish. I want matter to circle between water and land, plants and animals. The tank will be huge that's why I started my research so early before building so I can pick every life form very carefully for my dream tank. I don't think dragons would prey on ants smaller than 1.5 cm, also I'm not scared that dragons would become food for ants. I fear the ants will spray acid into dragons eyes or sting them.
Unless the dragons disturb the nest, they should be fine then. You will need a very good filter pomp though

MikeCzajson
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:10 am

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62696Post MikeCzajson
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:36 am

So does any of you know a perfect species of ant for me ? I need an ant that :
- has no stinger
- doesn't spray acid
- live in tropical climate (best from Southeast Asia)
- colony doesn't grow to millions, few thousand will be perfect, maybe up to 50000
- will eat water dragons excrement
- isn't an invasive species, won't colonize my house if escaped
- does throw their dead in water
- worker are not too big so it won't attract dragons
- underground nesting would be perfect

Hawkeye
Posts: 878
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62698Post Hawkeye
Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:26 pm

MikeCzajson wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:36 am
So does any of you know a perfect species of ant for me ? I need an ant that :
- has no stinger
- doesn't spray acid
- live in tropical climate (best from Southeast Asia)
- colony doesn't grow to millions, few thousand will be perfect, maybe up to 50000
- will eat water dragons excrement
- isn't an invasive species, won't colonize my house if escaped
- does throw their dead in water
- worker are not too big so it won't attract dragons
- underground nesting would be perfect
I don't think any ant will eat the dragons droppings, the Spring tails will do that. And the only ant I can think of without stingers or acid are trapjaw ants, but I might be wrong on that. Pretty sure they can't climb smooth surfaces, so they won't escape

MikeCzajson
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:10 am

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62725Post MikeCzajson
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:47 am

I thought of trap jaws but as far as I know they unfortunately do have strong stingers.

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antnest8
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Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62726Post antnest8
Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:03 am

Several smaller species in the formicadia group might work. Or carpender ants. I know that carpender ants have formic acid but formic acid might not be strong enough to hurt water dragons. Also they are large so water dragons might eat them, and Carpender ants are usually not very agressive. They also are not super great with escaping and slow growing enough that they most likely won't take over the terrarium. The biggest problem is that you will need to find a mature colony because carpender ants are to slow growing. Maybe if you start one now it could work because you said that it might take several years. The only problem is carpenders have a possibility to nest in the house if escaped.

MikeCzajson
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:10 am

Re: Southeast asian paludarium

Post: # 62730Post MikeCzajson
Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:26 am

After fast research I'm Keen to Japanese carpenter ant bit here's what worries me. Dragons need humidity at level of 80-90% and the ants need 50-60%. Won't too high humidity level hurt or kill the colony ?

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