Creating an Island for Ants (Paludarium)


May the Titans, our Asian marauder ants rest
in peace, and hopefully as well to the Dragon’s spirit and the conclusion this curse. AC Family, we have finally come to the end
of this epic ant story. In order that we may start a new one. AC Family, welcome to El Dragon Island. Please subscribe to my channel, and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! Here we are stand, AC Family, like celestial
creators at the genesis of our newly created and uninhabited island known as El Dragon. A massive dragon skull adorned one of the
island’s rock shelves, placed there to commemorate and appease the dragon whose spirit lead to
the ultimate demise of the Garden of Eden, which once lay where this island now stands. Let’s hope this monument and us naming the
island after him are enough to ensure the Dragon’s curse doesn’t carry on to these new
lands. The island itself is very dragon-like. El Dragon’s waters are pure, fast flowing,
and awaiting to be given its fertile sands to be the bed from which new life awakens. Soon these waters will be teaming with life. I am super excited today because for the very
first time on this channel, we will be creating a paludarium, a part land, part water vivarium
containing various originating creatures which will all be interdependent on each other,
including our brand new Polyrhachis ant colony which you saw from our video two weeks ago. And AC Family, I have some really exciting
news about these new ants of ours! After consulting with friend and ant taxonomist
David General from the University of Philippines Los Banos, I was finally able to get a complete
species ID and profile on these gorgeous ants. Turns out these ants are the species Polyrhachis
semiinermis. What was super cool was that like most Polyrhachis,
their feeding ecology is currently unknown to biologists. They are greatly unstudied and he suggested
we create a set-up that would maximize chances for observation of behavior. And AC Family, we had the perfect home for
exactly that! With this new island here, we were going to
get a God’s eye peek into a world of ants like no other human has before. Now are you ready for the coolest revelation
on these ants? Dave informed me that these Polyrhachis happen
to be weaver ants. Yes! They are a species of ant that use the silk
webbing capabilities of their larvae like glue, to build nests within the leaves of
plants and similar environments. El Dragon Island therefore with its lush tropical
plant life and sticks was the perfect home for these ants. So the time has come. Let’s stock this island with life. First, we needed to make this paludarium viable
by working from the ground up, the lowest ground point, that is. The waters required a bed of substrate in
order to sustain its needed life forms. I had some newly washed aquarium sand for
this. So, I went in, and gave El Dragon Island’s
turbulent waters some earth. Like a thick cloud of soot, the waters carried
and blew the black sands around the entire paludarium. Now I designed this paludarium to be an island
surrounded by a moving river. I personally hate having still water in a
setup, not only because it festers much more quickly, but it also creates an ideal location
for mosquitoes to lay eggs, so a submergable filter installed at the back helped create
that awesome water current. I also wanted El Dragon Island to be protected
from any creatures from the outside coming in, just in case those wild unwelcome Pharaoh
ants or crazy ants decide to make a comeback and deem this island their newest conquest. After all, history does tend to repeat itself. Moving waters meant a much more difficult
crossing for outside intruders. Now about this water, I had to ensure it was
biologically ready to sustain creatures. You see, we can’t just use ordinary tap water
and expect life to thrive in it. If we did, aquatic animals added would die,
not only due to the tap water’s chlorine, but also due to the lack of necessary microorganisms
which help keep any aquatic community healthy. So a couple weeks ago, I had to take aquarium
water from my other larger biologically established aquarium. This ensured El Dragon’s starting waters contained
some pioneering beneficial bacteria needed to properly sustain life. So I had to wait a couple weeks to build up
these beneficial bacterial colonies, before I could ever consider adding anything inside
it. This is what aquarium enthusiasts refer to
as tank cycling. Now that El Dragon’s waters had its microorganisms,
it was ready to house our first set of inhabitants. Let’s meet our new aquatic creatures, shall
we? Now I decided that since the main inhabitants
of El Dragon were endemic to Asia, I wanted this paludarium to be an Asian biotope, basically
incorporating species of plants and animals that were also native to Asia. Here is our first species. Presenting java moss, belonging to the Hypnaceae
family of mosses. It is native to Southeast Asia and grows well
in aquariums. It attaches to rocks, roots, and driftwood
quite well, and also offers a great home for aquatic microorganisms and creatures. But you will also see what I intend for its
biological role to be in the river of El Dragon soon. Next, I would like you to meet our newest
friends. Shrimp! These here are Caridina multidentata, Amano
shrimp, native to Japan and Taiwan. These shrimp feed on soft algae and decaying
plant matter. They will help keep the waters of El Dragon
clean and free of most algae. Next, we have these beautiful shrimp known
as Cherry Shrimp, Neocaridina davidi, from Taiwan. These shrimp are omnivorous and will also
feed on various microogranisms, decaying organic matter, and algae. They’re all quite cute aren’t they? Finally, I have some interesting colour forms
of these cherry shrimp including two Golden Back Yellow shrimp, and an orange and blue
shrimp. This multi-coloured colony of shrimp will
be amazing first additions to our aquatic portion of this paludarium, and make great
inhabitants to El Dragon’s River. Hey, AC family, what should we call the river
surrounding El Dragon, and what should we name this new colony of shrimp? Leave your name suggestions for both in the
comments fo us to vote on in a future video! Now let’s have a look at El Dragon’s river
world after our java moss, shrimp, and other additions were installed. Wow! AC Family, take a look at that! I’ve added some java fern and hairgrass, native
to Southeast Asia, as well as some gravel. A carbon dioxide diffuser was also installed
to support our plantlife. Now look at how cool this entire system works! So we have an area of fast current here, then
the river goes from turbulent to a more steady stream here at this slot. The shrimp love hanging out in this area. Around the corner, we come to clumps of java
moss, which are amazing because they act as natural filters, sifting debris and dirt carried
by our river current through this area. The dirt actually nourishes the moss, and
our shrimp are there to pick at anything organic. The water continues forth into a pool where
our filter blows it around again in a continual cycle around El Dragon Island. Isn’t that just amazing? In no time, El Dragon’s river went from slightly
cloudy to crytal clear. It will soon be established enough to house
other aquatic creatures. But for now let’s move up on land. El Dragon Island was designed to be an Asian
biotope but it is not a true Asian biotope because it harbours a few plants from South
America, namely these tillandsias, spanish moss, and this moonlight caladium. I chose these for humidity, size, and suitability
as a home to our Polyrhachis ants. Here I have some asian pothos. These plants grow out of three small aquariums
full of dirt which make up El Dragon Island. My hope is that our ants move into these plants. Let’s cross our fingers, AC Family! Let’s do it. It was time to set our Polyrhachis ants free
onto El Dragon and see how they like this brand new island home we made for them. Ah I am so excited! Here we go! Placing the test tube inside and removing
the cotton blocker. Let’s watch! The ants immediately began to explore! Look at how excited they are! They climbed the plants and driftwood, and
explored curiously around El Dragon Island. And look, it seemed our island was definitely
working at keeping the ants contained. This was so awesome! And now it was time to give our new El Dragon
inhabitants a house warming gift. I placed drops of honey at two spots on the
driftwood and in no time the ants came around to drink. And wow! This was my first time to have a real good
look at them, unobstructed. These ants were absolutely stunning! Look at them! And omg, look at this! Even the queen came out to feed on the tasty
honey drop! Wow! This queen wasn’t like most queens who sit
around in protective cover, waiting for her workers to bring her food. No, she was hands-on with her army. Risking her life out in the open, she was
brave enough to feed with her pack. Isn’t this just incredible? And that’s not all, AC Family, check this
out! I placed a crushed cockroach leg onto one
of the plant leaves, and look! A worker came around and puked something out
before diving into the cockroach leg! What on earth was this dark drop she puked
up? Could she have emptied out the contents of
her social stomach so she could fill it up with this fresher meat? Was this some kind of solid waste pellet like
those regurgitated by owls? Woah! Like a hungry lioness tearing meat off a carcass,
I could literally see the ant tearing the cockroach flesh off the leg piece and eating! What we were witnessing here was the feeding
ecology that Dave was talking about that was formerly unknown to biologists. Can you believe that here was something biologists
haven’t had the opportunity to observe or study much, and AC Family, together we are
the first to witness the beauty of these Polyrhachis ants feeding. What a awe-inspiring moment and sight. All this nourishment will be stored inside
their social stomachs to be brought back to the queen and the brood, and grow their colony. And just when I thought things couldn’t get
better, literally 5 hours after moving in, I checked the test tube and the ants had all
moved out. My heart jumped into my throat! Where did they go? My eyes scanned El Dragon and deep into a
little pocket of leaf folliage, I saw them. They had carried all brood into this pocket. AC Family, our Polyrhachis ants have elected
this spot a suitable location to build their new home. This was just magical! It was amazing to be able to witness El Dragon
sustaining life. I even spotted a snail that must have come
with the soil and was able to swim across. I’ve spent several nights watching the river
currents bringing debris to nourish our mosses and little bits of matter for our eager shrimp
to pick at and eat. One night, I managed to catch the shrimp eating
the leftover cockroach parts of our ants. The ants must have cast it into the water
when they were done feeding from it, and well it seems, one ant’s garbage is another shrimp’s
treasure. It was apparent that all life forms on El
Dragon Island were living cooperatively, in perfect harmony and interdependence. It was all just beautiful to behold. El Dragon Island was well on the way to blossoming
into an awesome community…. until I saw it. Something crawling on the glass that filled
me with great concern. Oh no! Wild pharaoh ant scouts were checking out
this new island of ours. It didn’t seem they could get across, just
yet. AC Family, this is not good. We can’t have what happened to the Titans
and our Jawbreakers, happen to our new Polyrhachis ants. It was only a matter of time before these
scouts will go back to their main colony and let them know of our lush island. The time has come, AC Family, for the release
of some special guardians. We needed to add a colony of beasts into the
waters of El Dragon to protect our island inhabitants… and I knew the perfect creatures
for the job. Oh boy, AC Family. El Dragon Island has been off to a great start
but we must make sure we protect it at this early stage so these wild pharaoh ants don’t
kill our Polyrhachis ants. Tune in next week to see what special guardians
I add to these waters, and AC Family, I know you will love them! You won’t want to miss next week’s episode,
so do remember to subscribe if you haven’t yet and join the AC Family, and hit that LIKE
button every time, even now. By the way, AC Family, give yourselves a huge
pat on the back! Thanks to you, last week’s video Trended at
#2 in the US! That’s a record for us! I feel we’re like a powerful, growing and
unstoppable ant colony just conquering the Youtube space! Thank you so much for the support, guys, and
showing the world how awesome ants are! It’s inspiring to know that people really
appreciate nature. AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would just like to watch some extended play footage of our new Polyrhachis
ants eating to the sounds of some relaxing music. The footage is actually valuable to biologists
researching this largely unstudied ant species! Alright and now it’s time for the AC Question
of the Week. Last Week we asked: Name any of the creatures
we found while digging into the Garden of Eden. Congratulations to Sam Ras who correctly answered: Earthworms. We also accepted springtails, snails, and
black crazy ants. Congratulations Sam, you just won a free ebook
handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What did we observe
in these Polyrhachis ants that was previously largely
unknown to biologists? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free ebook handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

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