Project Nucleus: How I Create Mini Planets Within Glass

Project Nucleus: How I Create Mini Planets Within Glass


Before we begin today’s episode, I wanted
to let everyone know that AntsCanada.com is having its big AC annual holidays Promo: the
20-20-20 sale. That’s 20% off all Hybrid Series ant farms
and gear packs from now until January 2020, plus a free copy of our newly updated “Ultimate
Ant Keeping Handbook,” right now at AntsCanada.com. Click the link in the description to get your
AC ant farm today! And now enjoy today’s ant episode! After a long and successful day, I looked
down at the clippings and dead tree I had collected from our projects. Ordinarily, I would throw these away, but
suddenly an awesome idea came to me, an idea that I felt could completely change and affect
the lives of every creature and terrarium in the entire AC Antiverse! AC Family, it was time to embark on a new
and exciting biological engineering project! Last week, we had two major maintenance operations
for two of our beloved kingdoms in the AC Antiverse. First, the mystical double floating island
of Avista, home to the Big-Headed ants, you named the Bobbleheads, underwent a serious
makeover, receiving a new island to their open-air ant archipelago. The Red Banyon tree, the Great Tree of Wisdom,
also needed trimming, so I snipped around their sacred tree, which resulted in this
gorgeous well-manicured main island. We replaced a dead tree with a new one, and
gave them a superworm as house warming gift. East of Avista, stands the Canopy of Vortexia. Our tree-top forest home to our aggressive
Weaver Ant Colony, The Emerald Empire. The territories also needed maintenance as
one of the trees had seriously overgrown. It was a scary operation to snip away at the
overgrown leaves and perform general maintenance with weaver ants wanting to attack me the
whole time, but the biggest thing that came out of this was that I also took the opportunity,
to improve the biological profile of Vortexia’s soil life, through the addition of roaches,
superworms and other creatures, and then sealing the entire thing up! It resulted in a clean, healthy, and bioactive
environment, where creatures could eat decaying materials, reproduce on their own, and be
hunted, all inside the Canopy of Vortexia. It was the epic creation of an entire, contained
ecosystem, and the way I saw it, like the creation of a mini-planet within glass. And this gave me an idea. This week, our journey towards creating the
ultimate homes for our ants and other creatures continues, as we launch a super cool, biological
engineering project, I call Project Nucleus, and AC Family, I think you guys will totally
dig it, no pun intended! So sit back, relax and enjoy this week’s
info-packed episode, as I show you how life of a successful vivarium begins, and how I
plan to create mini-planets within glass. In the past few weeks, my recent projects
of making more bioactive terrariums have been undeniably successful, bioactive, basically
meaning throwing in a bunch of different organisms with different purposes into a single enclosed
environment, resulting in a healthier and more dynamic life for our ant colonies, as
well as the fellow tenants living with them. In the case of the Dark Knights a few weeks
back, for instance, a new life with bagworms, millipedes, jumping spider, springtails, isopods,
worms, and who knows what else came with the layer of leaf litter and plants I threw into
their new home, which by the way needs a new name so VOTE here, AC Council, meant that
the ants could truly live like they did in the wild, defending their territory, with prey at their disposal, and home bioactively cleaned by creatures
that would eat their poop and garbage, converting it to fertilizer for the plants
which would go on to produce oxygen for the system, and so on. The partnerships of these various creatures
made for a very self-sustaining, biodynamic world! I thoroughly loved this streak of successfully
creating these super-bioactive terrariums on steroids, which ultimately gave me the
idea to start Project Nucleus. So, what is Project Nucleus, you ask. Well, it goes like this. So you may or may not know, every time I start
building a new terrarium, I either recycle aged terrarium soil or collect leaf litter
from my neighborhood and add it to the soil. I do this because soil creatures, like springtails,
mites, worms, millipedes, and isopods are needed to help breakdown organic waste in
the terrarium. Wilted leaves from plants, exoskeletons and
other wastes from the prey, as well as ant excrement are all broken down by these soil-residing
organisms. Without them, the entire terrarium may rot,
fungus take over, and just lead to a gross terrarium mess. Plus these soil creatures are the missing
link between organic waste and plant life, because soil creature poop from organic waste
contains a tonne of amazing nutrients for plants. The problem with using new soil to create
new terrariums is that they contain only a few of these creatures. It would take some time for a new terrarium
to develop the populations of soil biota, so as a general rule, the older the soil,
the more lush and abundant the soil life is. Now to better understand what I’m talking
about, and appreciate how cool of an undertaking Project Nucleus is, let’s take a look at one
of the amazing ant kingdoms in the AC Antiverse, on which a lot of you have been patiently
waiting for an update. Welcome everyone to the home of the Golden
Empire. This colony of Yellow Crazy Ants, scientifically
known as Anoplolepis gracillipes is one of the OG ant colonies of this channel. They were once a massive glorious colony of
millions but were unexpectedly hit by a lethal plague of blood-sucking mites earlier this
year, which reduced them to several hundreds. I rescued a small population and put them
into quarantine where I treated their vampiric body mites with predatory Hypoapsis mites
harvested from rhino beetles, of all places. And lucky for me, I was able to recover at
least 5 of the 7 queens and rid the colony of the vampiric mites. To rehabilitate them, I transferred them,
into this Hybrid Nest + Ant Tower setup. We even documented the cured Golden Empire
workers, transferring their brood into their new home. What a trip and triumphant day that was! During the mass emmigration, we also noticed
that the Hypoaspis mites were still living with the Golden Empire, assumingly protecting
the colony from future bad mite attacks. You can watch all of this here, by the way. So it was clear that these relationships with
smaller organisms like the Hypoaspis mites were extremely important for the ants’ well-being. And AC Family, you’re about to see how much
these relationships have evolved since they moved in a few months ago, and how it has
helped the Golden Empire flourish! Look! I’m happy to announce that the Golden Empire
is doing great. Here are the queens, who prefer to hang out
in their Hybrid Nest, which has become the main mothernest of the colony. They’ve been laying lots of eggs. Look at those egg batches being carried around
by caring workers. I estimate the colony is well over a thousand
workers now and is about to get even bigger. But what’s more amazing is this, guys! Other creatures are also living in the Hybrid
Nest, in cooperation with the colony. Here are springtails, known in the Antiverse
as the Springcleaners, which help eat decaying material, ant poop, and mold. We also have beneficial mites eating up the
same stuff. But check this out! For the first time on the channel, we get
a glimpse at a species of symbiotic isopods that live with the ants! Isn’t that amazing? The ants don’t attack these isopods, which
are actually crustaceans, who thrive off the garbage left behind by the ants, mold that
might be growing around the premises, and possibly their poop. It’s possible these isopods were living with
the Golden Empire the whole time since the beginning, back when they were still residing
in the Hacienda Del Dorado, but we’ve only been able to see them now due to visual access
of the Hybrid Nest. And that’s not all, guys. I even discovered there are silverfish-type
insects, living with the ants! I don’t know what species these little turbo
guys are, but I am pretty sure, they also have a key role at eating up dead insects
leftovers, ant poop, and fungi. So, guys check out the beauty of how this
all works. The Golden Empire has a system. So like humans, the colony produces garbage,
and like humans, the ants keep the garbage in piles and bury it. They’ve chosen designated areas of the Hybrid
Nest as garbage rooms. They also delegate certain areas for bathrooms. It’s essential especially in an underground,
moist environment for the colony to be as clean and systematic with their waste management
as possible so all hell doesn’t break loose and the colony dies from unsanitation. So once these garbage and bathroom spots get
too soiled and littered, the colony then buries these areas up, and that’s when the clean-up
team of soil creatures take over and work their magic. They’re small enough to fit into the tight
spaces of the buried chambers where they proceed to eat up the garbage and ant poop, and keeping
dangerous fungus that grows on the garbage and poop under control. A lot of you ask how I clean my ant farms,
and well, now you know. I kinda don’t need to, because the ant farms
bioactively clean themselves. The lifeforms take care of the maintenance
like they would in the wild. I just add water and watch it all happen! There’s even a whole other decomposition process
happening at the microbial level. If we were to take a look at a sample of this
ant nest material under a microscope, we’d find a whole other world of bacteria and colonies
of unicellular organisms also busy eating and decomposing organic matter. So as you can see, there’s quite the system
happening here. It’s mutualistic symbiosis at its finest,
which basically means there’s a cooperation between all parties for the benefit of all. It’s amazing to be able to see all of this
in the Hybrid Nest, because you can’t really see it happening in a terrarium, but I assure
you, this is what’s going on underground in all our terrariums, perhaps with different
sets of soil creatures unique to each terrarium. And look, the creatures even migrate and travel
through the tubes to and from the colony’s neighbouring satellite nests. Speaking of which, let’s cover up their Hybrid
Nest and briefly take a look at the Golden Empire’s satellite nest in the large Ant Tower
shall we? As you can see, this is the popular hangout
for the Springcleaners! A tonne of Springtails for some reason love
this place, and seem to be quite busy at the moment working on a leftover superworm. Now wanna see something cool: see this little
contraption with a switch? I turn it on and a light beneath the Ant Tower
illuminates from inside. For those of you who are new to ants, ants
are naturally photophobic which means they don’t like light in their nests, but it is
said that ants cannot see red light, so keeping the ants under red film and lighting them
up with red light, causes the ants to feel like they are shrouded in darkness. And peeling off this red film reveals ants
congregating in one of their chambers. Check out all the tunnels they’ve created
down to the bottom of the Ant Tower! Springtails can be seen frequenting all areas. Now, AC Family, after seeing all of this,
it’s now time to talk about my idea, Project Nucleus! Rich bioactive ant homes like the Golden Empire’s
here don’t happen overnight. The creatures are few at first, usually coming
in with plants, rocks, and soil that you first place into the terrariums and it takes months
to create populations as rich as the one we see here in the Golden Empire, and a good
year for it to really be established. And as you know AC Family, we are always creating
new worlds and vivariums on this channel, and it would be very beneficial to have a
constant supply of soil creatures, to help speed up the bioactivation process in newly
created terrariums. And so, my idea. AC Family, I present to you Project Nucleus. In this glass enclosure, I plan on creating
what shall become the Nucleus of the AC Antiverse, the creational furnace from which shall be
born epic populations of soil biota for future terrariums we make from here on in. If we could create a place where we could
culture soil creatures, a place with aged soil and an established soil ecosystem, then
when creating a new terrarium or ant home, we could simply scoop up a bit of the medium
from the Nucleus, to place into our new terrarium, and thereby help populate the new terrarium’s
soil with its team of soil creatures. One scoop of medium from the Nucleus, would
be enough to bioactivate any terrarium much more quickly than if it were just created
from scratch. Plus the medium produced by the AC Nucleus
would be super rich in nutrients for plants. My plan was for the Nucleus to be a place
where I could take leaf clippings, decaying material or waste, or even dead creatures
from other kingdoms of our Antiverse, and have them feed our Nuclear soil creatures
to be processed back into the soil. Essentially, we’d be creating a composter,
just amped up with a tonne of soil creatures. And so to build this AC Nucleus, we will be
needing various materials. So here we go. First, we need this glass tank, our Nuclear
furnace of soil life culture. Through the glass we’ll be able to see the
activities as well as the progress of the Nuclear inhabitants in real-time. Next, I’ll be adding activated carbon, to
keep the growing medium purified from harmful metals and chemicals which could poison the
populations of creatures living in here. Now, let’s move on to my worst fear in life,
ahem… Worms! I had to face these vile-looking creatures
once more. I began to use my trowel to scoop up earth
from the bag and I was immediately repulsed by these squirming African Nightcrawlers seething
from within the soils. As a scoleciphobe, it was disgusting to see
the worms squirming, but I knew I had to do this because earthworms are good for composting. They breakdown organic wastes and turn them
into valuable compost or black soil, which are great for plants! Plus, populating a new terrarium with its
starting team of earthworms is always a good thing. I placed the soil into the glass enclosure. As time passed, I forced myself to really
look at the worms. Some worms fell and I had to pick them up. Ugh! I had to coach my mind that the worms were
friends and harmless. Mind over matter. Mind over matter. I filled up the tank and pressed the medium
down a bit as I went along. When I had filled it to as much as I could,
I decided to actually pick the worms up and hold them in my hand. Not so bad, huh? Next, I added leaf litter collected from outside. I knew it contained lots of different soil
creatures that would be the forefathers, foremothers, and forehamaphrodites to bring our AC Nucleus
to life. I immediately saw that I’d scooped up lots
of millipedes. I couldn’t touch them, as this species produces
cyanide, so bad for the eyes and enough to make a human sick, but they would be great
at eating up decaying material. And Oh! Look! These millipedes immediately began mating. Wasting no time, I see. Also, I had a handful of leaf clippings from
Selva de Fuego maintenance. I cut these up so they could break down much
more quickly and placed them into the Nucleus, as well. Then I placed filter foam to cover everything
up, to ensure no mischievous fly could enter and lay their eggs inside the tank. We wouldn’t want to repeat the maggot episode
hehe… right? The filter foam also helps keep all Nuclear
inhabitants inside, while allowing the entire system to breathe. After adding all of the components, our AC
Nucleus was complete. Two days later, the Nucleus was already a
happening place. Millipedes were still mating, and I suspect
we’re about to get a booming population of them soon. I was surprised to see another species of
millipede had dug a burrow into the soils. Also, earthworms were seen everywhere! They created a network of burrows. And Oh! I could see worm casts. I also saw that they had dragged pieces of
the leaves into the soils for further feeding. Good job, earthworms! Such hard-working creatures. Not scary or disgusting at all… Sorta. I could also see several awesome mites already
starting to populate the soils. Springtails frolicked their new territories,
as well. And look! A bagworm was crawling along the top with
its constructed home made of debris. I didn’t even know we put a bagworm in there! I’m not sure what else we’ll be finding in
this increasingly bioactive chamber we call the AC Nucleus, but I can’t wait to see how
this soil ecosystem evolves over time, and eventually use it to help speed up the bioactivation
process of the terrariums we make in the future. In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about all
this focus lately on bioactive setups for the ants and other creatures of the Ant Room,
and I feel AC Family that the AC Antiverse is approaching a new age, where more focus
is placed on creating more hollistic setups for the lifeforms we care for. Before, I used to create homes that would
usually focus most on one creature, one star on a stage, whether it be an ant colony in
an ant farm, or a tarantula in an enclosure. But I’m realizing more and more, after all
these years of keeping ants, that this isn’t the best way to house these creatures nor
appreciate them to the fullest. In order to properly and naturalistically
house them and watch them at their fullest potential, you need to do more than just decorate
their home in a naturalistic way. The key here is remembering the context, in
which the creatures live in nature. The ant colonies we care for and love, are
actually part of an interconnected food web, a piece in a puzzle and to properly house
them and witness them in their truest and greatest form, you need to include all pieces
of the puzzle. This to me means then that there should be
a focus on developing the necessary associated animals like soil creatures in their soils,
as we saw with the Golden Empire, prey creatures living in the territories as we’ve established
with Vortexia, and allow the system to develop a collective biological profile of its own
in an enclosed space, like we did with the Dark Knight’s new vivarium. I caught some surviving darkling beetles,
superworm survivors, mating within Olympus this week. Usually, I’d fish these out and place them
in my superworm bin, but this time, I decided I’d keep them in there. Also, as you can probably imagine, I’m running
out of room in the AC Antiverse, and while our future giant two-story ant room in my
new house is currently being built, I feel this merging of creatures to share a space,
may be a great solution to my now overcrowded ant room. A few months ago, I tried placing one of our
vampire crabs into the Selva de Fuego. Now hold on, before you freak out, normally
I’d never consider this because, in my mind, the Fire Ants as we know are savages, but
I also knew the crab occupies an entirely different niche, and can get away by retreating
underwater, and turns out AC Family, after 8 weeks, the crab is still alive and happy
in the Selva de Fuego. The Fire ants surprisingly don’t bother it,
and the crab goes about its daily activities picking up garbage and dead ants the fire
ants dump into the river, sleeping within the shadowy wet caves behind
the falls, and picking off organic waste and algae off
the rocks. Pretty awesome right? I’ve gone ahead and placed a few crabs into
the Hacienda Del Dorado, as well, where it now resides with a few microfrogs, shrimp,
rasbora fish, and trap-jaw ants. So as you can see, this new era for our Antiverse
and philosophy are both exciting and much more beneficial to the creatures we care for. It means a more deliberate structuring of
their worlds, so that the worlds can feed and sustain themselves, thereby minimizing
my interaction with them for the most part anyway. I realized recently, that as an ant keeper,
caregiver of life forms, and your Creator of Worlds, I’m not keeping individual creatures
in inanimate setups, but rather I’m keeping biodynamic superorganisms. The Selva de Fuego, the Hacienda Del Dorado,
Vortexia, Avista, Olympus… These are all superorganisms, composed of
a multitude of living components that all depend on each other for survival… Little dynamic planets of life in our ever-expanding
AC Antiverse. AC Family, I’ve learned it’s the difference
between just keeping pets and creating planets within glass. Speaking of making new terrariums, it just
so happens, another beast has been waiting in the shadows for you all to meet her. Yes, we have a new addition to our ever growing
AC Antiverse, and she’s one of the most dangerous animals to ever reside in the Ant Room. AC Family, I can’t wait to show her to you. AC Family, did you enjoy today’s episode? What do you think of Project Nucleus? Let me know in the comments. Next week, we meet our newest addition to
the Antiverse, so you know what to do! Smash that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON
for notifications now, so you don’t miss out on who our new dangerous but beautiful beast
is, and don’t forget to hit the LIKE button every single time, including now! It would really help a lot! If you’re new to the channel, and want to
catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore, feel free to binge watch this complete story line
playlist here, which traces the origins of all the ant colonies of the ant room, so you
can follow their stories and better appreciate how these ant kingdoms came to be, and why
we love them so much! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you’d like a clue as to who our newest beast is. Maybe you might be able to figure it out,
so go check it out! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week we asked: Name one of the bioactive creatures found
in Vortexia. Congratulations to Tan Grace Lin who correctly
answered: Millipedes Congratulations, Tan Grace Lin, you just won
a free e-book handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What is mutualistic symbiosis? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book 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, and
SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Roly Polies Came From the Sea to Conquer the Earth | Deep Look

Roly Polies Came From the Sea to Conquer the Earth | Deep Look


Pill bugs…… roly polies….. potato bugs… whatever you want to call them, somehow there’s something less creepy about these guys than other insects. More loveable, or something. Maybe it’s because they’re not insects
at all. Pill bugs are actually crustaceans. They’re more closely related to shrimp and
lobsters than crickets or beetles. Pill bugs even taste like shellfish, if you
cook them right. Some adventurous foragers call them wood shrimp. As early as 300 million years ago, some intrepid
ancestor crawled out of the ocean, sensing there might be more to eat, or less competition,
on dry land.” But unlike lobsters, pillbugs can roll up
into a perfect little ball for protection. If you look closely you can see the evidence
of where these guys came from. Like their ocean-dwelling cousins, pill bugs
still use gills to breathe. True insects — like this cricket — use a
totally different system. See those tiny holes on this cricket’s abdomen? They’re called spiracles. They lead to a series of tubes that bring
fresh air directly to the insect’s cells. But pill bugs don’t have any of that. To survive on land, they had to adapt. Their gills, called pleopods, are modified
to work in air. Folds in the pleopod gills developed into
hollow branched structures, almost like tiny lungs. In a way, the pillbug is only halfway to becoming
a true land animal. Because… they’re still gills. They need to be kept moist in order to work. Which is why you usually find pill bugs in
moist places, like under damp, rotting logs. They can’t venture too far away. Sure, pill bugs look like the most ordinary
of bugs. But they’re much more than that: evidence
that over evolutionary time, species make big, life-changing leaps. And those stories are written on their bodies. Hey, while we’re on the subject of oddball
crustaceans… check out this episode about mantis shrimp. Their eyes see colors we can’t even
comprehend. Their punch is faster than Muhammad Ali’s. And while we have you: Subscribe. OK? Thank you! And see you next time.