My Failed Biological Experiment

Now, sometimes things go perfectly as planned,
or even better than we anticipated, but as you know, in the Antiverse, sometimes things
go wrong. Completely wrong, and disaster strikes, disrupting
all carefully made plans. AC Family, brace yourselves. I have some news. It’s about the Fire Nation. I regret to announce that disaster has hit
the Selva de Fuego, and we’ve got some serious problems to fix immediately! Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! The Fire Nation, they’re ravenous, dangerous,
they kill and eat every living thing in their path, my fingers and arms included when I
am working around their kingdom, the Selva de Fuego here. But it looks like I’m scheduled to pay these
territories a visit, as I have some major repairs to do to resolve what has turned out
to be a failed experiment. I’ll explain everything, but wait until you
see the adjustments and living additions I end up pulling off, to help save the Selva
de Fuego! So first, thing’s first. What happened here? It was time to assess the damage. AC Family, three major problems! First, there’s been some critical damage. If you saw last week’s episode, I mentioned
that our refugium has sprung a leak somewhere, assumingly from a crack that may have happened
at the bottom of the refugium as a result of the weight of the water and gravel layer
it supported, and this leak went on to ultimately cause a massive flood in the land area. I connected the outflow tube from the filter
to the waterfall so that the river water could continue to cycle around as normal. But check out the ground! Completely water logged, and of course, the
refugium still supporting the cleaner plant life, was completely drained of water. This was alarming to me at first, because
had the Fire Nation’s queen, who we call Queen Solis, failed to surface and drowned as the
flood happened, then it meant certain death for the entire ant colony, because Queen Solis
is the colony’s only egg-laying queen! But I was relieved a bit, when some of you
brought up a very good point, that these ants naturally deal with flash floods in their
natural habitat, and we’ve even seen them do it in the past, so there was no need to
fear. And low and behold, I eventually spotted this
structure. A tall ant hill of soil which they’ve built
above the flood’s water level, ending just below this bromeliad which formed a botanical
crown at the apex of their majestic saving hill. For sure, Queen Solis and all her young were
tucked away, dry and safe, inside this ant hill refuge. I can’t believe the ants built this entire
soil castle, as the flood was happening! If you think about it, that would be like
a city of humans constructing a fortified building while a giant flood was occurring. It’s amazing that the Fire Nation was able
to execute all this right in the nick of time. Alright, so thankfully it seemed the colony
was dealing with the flood well, but here was our second problem. You might recall from a past video that this
refugium was a separate body of water which we placed into the Selva de Fuego to act as
a living space for some beneficial clean up plants and a couple alien shrimp. This all-female and pregnant team of alien
shrimp, was tagged as “alien”, because we weren’t sure where they were from, nor their
species ID. But these aliens had a dual purpose, as parts
of a grand biological experiment of ours: 1) They were supposed to release their newborn
shrimplets in the refugium, and these baby shrimplets were to gradually be sucked into
the waterfall, to fall into the river and act as living food for our school of guppies,
called the Guppy Gang. There was also a pregnant alien shrimp placed
directly into the river. And 2) This entire population of shrimp in
the Selva de Fuego was to join our Corydoras catfish, the White Tigers, as additional clean
up crew for the waters. It was a biological experiment for which we
had high hopes, and it has been two months since we initiated the setup. But now with this flood, I had no idea where
the shrimp were, nor if they even had babies as planned. Had the two shrimp in the refugium died when
all the water drained? What happened to that one shrimp we put in
the river? So many questions, and I will get to their
answers in a bit. Because I want to let you know about our third
problem. The school of gregarious guppies which lived
in the river, who were supposed to prey on the shrimplet babeis, had completely vanished. That’s right! The Guppy Gang was nowhere to be seen. In fact, while I was away on a trip two months
ago, my helper who cares for all the ant colonies began to notice that the Guppy Gang members
were mysteriously disappearing one by one. She said she saw no evidence of a dead guppy
body floating anywhere. They just kind of disappeared until there
was none left. And so here we are now, a flood, no shrimp,
and no guppies. So what I needed to do first, was examine
the river for answers. The first thing I noticed was the Fire Nation,
taking advantage of all the plant cover on the water’s surface, like an effective wharf
of sorts, for easy water travel. It seems the ants here are trying to collect
one of the White Tiger’s food pellets that got trapped on a frogbit, and didn’t make
it to the bottom. Look at them getting at the fish pellet. Now you gotta remember that this river water
is moving, so navigating around these wetlands can be quite tricky. The ants move around cautiously, but some
take a leap of faith to float using the river’s current to nearby frogbit. Such funny ants. Their best bet to safety, however, I think,
is to stick to the main path leading to their nest. Now despite how the prolific floating plant
life has proven beneficial to the ants, it has completely overtaken the surface of the
water over time, and their roots completely obscured a great deal of the water space. I tried to look inside. The White Tigers seem to have done well in
this crowded root forest, but what I was interested to know was if our alien shrimp which was
placed in this river was still alive somewhere here. Could the two alien shrimp placed in the refugium
possibly still be alive, too, maybe having migrated to the river prior to the flood? I think once we cleared all these floating
plants, we might be able to solve the mystery of what has become of our failed experiment. So, AC Family I went in! I worked quickly! I removed a lot of the water lettuce and frogbit. All of these floating plants were initially
installed to help clean the river of its toxic nitrogenous compounds caused by ant garbage
and from waste produced by the fish, but because we were now down some 7 guppies, there was
less of a need for them to be around to clean up. I was more than happy to clean the area up,
mostly of the large water lettuce and frogbit. And while I was at it, I also decided to give
this overbearing arrow plant a good trimming, as the sudden abundance of water from the
flood caused it to really undergo a growth spurt! I snipped away until finally, the Selva de
Fuego looked like this. Ahhh much better. Look at how clear that water looks now. And with the removal of the plants from the
water’s surface, more light was able to reach the bottom of the river, which helped me spot
this. Aha! An alien shrimp was alive! I wonder if the other two were alive. I looked around and spotted another deep inside
the rock cave. Wow! She was a big one, and I recognized her as
one of the alien shrimp from the refugium! Amazing! This means she managed to squeeze through
one of the tubes leading into the waterfall and into the river. I wonder if her refugium-mate also followed
her into the river! Looking around, and yup! I spotted the third and final alien shrimp,
and look, she’s got a lot of eggs. This had to be a second batch of eggs from
the ones she was carrying when we first got her! OK so all three alien shrimp were alive, but
I didn’t see any shrimplets around. What did this mean? Alright AC Family, are you ready for what
I deduced might have happened? So, in the last video featuring these shrimp,
many of you posted some possible species ID, and based on your comments and more research,
the best ID I decided on was the genus Macrobrachium, freshwater shrimps characterized by the extreme
enlargement of the second pair of pereiopods. In other words, these shrimp have elongated
clawed arms. I found out that Macrobrachium shrimp exist
in the waters of many countries around the world from the Indo-Pacific region, to Africa,
Asia, to the Americas, and more. But, AC Family get this, I also found out
that many Macrobrachium require brackish water for the proper development of their shrimplets,
meaning they need some saltwater in order for their babies to develop. This could be a reason why there were no baby
shrimplets seen swimming around anywhere, which after two months, one would expect to
see after placing three pregnant shrimps carrying babies so developed and ready to emerge, they
even had eyes! Another possibility is that these Macrobrachium
shrimp are a species that doesn’t need brackish water for the development of their shrimplets,
and while I was away, perhaps the shrimp did release their shrimplets into the water as
planned, and the guppies ate them all. But at some point, I suppose the Macrobrachium
shrimp in the refugium decided to ditch the refugium, and migrate into the River, where
they, get this – ate the Guppy Gang! AC Family, turns out many Macrobrachium shrimp
are very avid predators! OMG! Could these alien shrimp really be our Guppy
Gang murderers? It would explain the guppies disappearing
one by one with no trace of a floating body anywhere! What do you guys think? For now, it seems to be the most likely scenario. But what I found interesting is that they
didn’t seem to touch or prey on the White Tigers. Hmmm… My guess was that perhaps the hard armoured
skin of our school of Corydoras catfish made them a difficult prey for the Macrobrachium
shrimp. Thank goodness! So, now I had to decided what we were going
to do from here. Should I get rid of the shrimp entirely and
add more guppies? Well, actually, the reason I added guppies
to the Selva de Fuego in the first place was because I was hoping they would eat some Fire
Nation workers and act as a form of natural population control. But over the several months that the Selva
de Fuego has existed, I’ve found that the guppies don’t care much for the fire ants. So in effect, they were just creatures of
beauty for the river, with no purpose in the system, and incidentally high producers of
waste and toxic nitrogenous compounds. So although it was super sad that the Guppy
Gang was no longer around, their absence eliminates a lot of the biowaste production, and well,
ideally, we only want creatures in the Selva de Fuego that somehow contribute to the overall
well-being of the entire system and of the capital organisms of the kingdom – the ants! Sadly, aesthetic beauty is not going to keep
the system going, so I’ve decided not to add more guppies to the river to replace the Guppy
Gang. Sorry, Guppy Gang fans. We need to think of the Selva de Fuego as
a whole. So what did I want to do? Well, since the Macrobrachium shrimp seemed
to be doing well in the River at the moment in harmony with the White Tigers, and they
seemed to be doing their job well at keeping the river clean of debris and dead ants, I
decided to give them a second chance at breeding. I don’t know if their first round of babies
were eaten or if they simply didn’t develop due to needing brackish water, but I decided
perhaps having a colony of shrimp around in these waters might prove helpful. I decided to add two male and one more female
Macrobrachium shrimp. Take a look at those super long arms of the
males! The alpha males of this species have the longest
arms, and from what I’ve read, their social hierarchy is pretty interesting. Apparently, there is only one alpha male in
a group who possesses the longest arms, and once that male dies or gets defeated in a
battle by challenging males, the new alpha male’s arms and body grow in size! If the Macrobrachium shrimp do end up breeding
and more shrimp start inhabitting the river, we’ll be able to witness this neat social
structure a lot better. But hey, if this is a species that requires
brackish water to proliferate, then I suppose we can wait until these shrimp all die out
naturally, and decide what we want to put into the River then. But for now, we could not add anymore fish
as they would surely fall prey to the shrimp, except… for more White Tigers. I also wanted to increase the numbers of White
Tigers from 4 to 10 because Corydoras usually live in huge shoals of hundreds of members. They’ve proven great at eating dead ants in
the water, and also have proven to be able to survive living around these Macrobrachium
shrimp, so why not increase the White Tiger team, too? Alright, AC Family, shall we? I think our females seem interested at their
new guests. So first, after temperature and drip acclimating
the shrimp, I added the new shrimp into the river. The younger male began to wander off and explore
his new home. And the alpha male, who by the way seemed
to only have one long arm, made his way straight for the cave, and surprisingly, the female
who was in there formerly decided to stay out of his way. The new young female decided to simply explore
the entanglement of saggitaria leaves. It was so interesting to watch the new shrimp
exploring their new surroundings. But what truly interested me the most was
this one-armed alpha male who clearly seemed to be looking for something, or perhaps someone? Could he smell that there were egg-cradling
females around? I watched him carefully as he snooped around
seemingly with intent. He actually had quite a nice dark blue colour
to his shell! The other male was already starting to feed
on dead ants on the river bottom which was a great sign! This younger male allegedly will maintain
the length of his arms until he becomes the alpha male shrimp, but until then he will
stay away from the current one armed alpha male. Oops! Seems he’s even willing to give way to White
Tigers! Speaking of which, it’s time to add the second
batch installment of White Tigers. I released them into their new watery domain,
and to my surprise instantly started to eat decaying ants! Perfect! With the addition of the new shrimp and the
White Tigers, there was one last thing left to fix, or simply make an adjustment to. I decided to keep the refugium, but instead
turn it into nest box for the Fire Nation! I filled it with soil, and added some nerve
plants, and so AC Family, today the Selva de Fuego looks like this. Ahhhhh it was all just so pleasing to the
eyes now. The refugium turned nest area, was surprisingly
a hit! The Fire Nation excitedly explored the new
digging medium. They climbed the new nerve plants with jubilee
and enthusiasm, and this new deep and elevated nesting area became the newest talk of the
kingdom. I am happy I decided to keep the container
in the territories because it offered the ants a lot of digging space while also keeping
the soil from being dumped into the river, all hidden nicely behind the rockscape of
the river’s waterfall. And about the river, have a look. It looked a lot better now without all that
plant clutter, and was super calming to the eyes. Look at how beautiful that looks! Ah… More light could illuminate the river and
better display its inhabitants, so we can observe them much more effectively. It was nice to see the larger grouping of
White Tigers in the waters. And AC Family, you won’t believe what I spotted
beneath the waterfall. Have a look! It looks like our one-armed alpha male has
found love. Do you see her there in the shadows? The female shrimp stood facing her new suitor. They sat in a loving engagement, face to face,
touching each other lovingly with their antennae, and when the one-armed alpha male had the
guts to advance closer, she played hard to get and slipped away! Haha. How cute. And hey, she’s also got a batch of eggs on
the way! See them there? Man, I truly hope this Macrobrachium species
is not the kind that needs brackish water for their shrimplets to develop, because I
would love for a big colony of Macrobrachium shrimp to establish in these waters. They’d be entertaining to watch and best of
all help keep the river clean. I was totally happy with the Selva De Fuego’s
current state. It seems we managed to solve some mysteries
and make yet another set of improvements to these constantly developing lands. It has been three weeks now since the refugium
was found empty and the flood had consumed the lands. The soil was no longer water logged, as the
flood waters had evaporated and been sucked up by the plants over time. The fire ants could now expand again from
just the ant hill and start digging their nest tunnels all around the territories once
more, and even in their new high grounds. To celebrate the new Selva de Fuego, I placed
in a roach, which the Fire Nation didn’t take long to find. They rushed in to collect our gift. The thing I learned from all of this, from
our failed biological experiment plus plumbing malfunction, is that sometimes growth or improvement
requires some kind mishap, some kind of failure. For instance, if it weren’t for our failed
biological experiment, we would not have created this much more functional space, this new
nest box, which to be fair, the Fire Nation needed, more than a venue for cleaner plants. The river profile was much better now, too,
with it’s clearer surface, its greater team of river cleaners, and elimination of members
that were not the greatest contributors to the entire system. With more water surface, it seems the river
has also become an even more effective trap for visiting insects, like this poor male
Black Panther alate! Yikes! There’s truly no hope for anything ending
up in these hostile Fire Nation stomping grounds. I realized through all this, that the process
of trial and error is necessary to evolution and improvement. It’s how we learn. To be completely honest, AC Family, what we’ve
done so far with the Selva de Fuego here has been largely unchartered territory in the
hobby. Not a lot of people have made this foray into
paludarial ant farms, complete with water creatures, flowing river, rain system, etc. We’re among the first in the world to try
ideas like this, and isn’t it quite exciting that together we’re on the leading edge of
ant vivarium discovery? Of course, we’re bound to make mistakes, because
we don’t have an instructions manual to follow that someone before us has written. Instead, we are writing the instructions manual,
as we go along. Indeed we’ve had many challenges with this
setup already, but I believe, failure is all part of the success process, and there’s no
denying that thanks to many small but ambitious experiments, the Selva de Fuego here is still
one the baddest ant setups in the Antiverse for one of the baddest ant colonies in the
world! Alright AC Family, do you like the look of
the new Selva de Fuego? I’m not certain how this new setup will fair,
but I will surely keep you updated on the progress of its inhabitants. Don’t you wonder if these shrimp will end
up breeding? Don’t you want to see how complex shrimp society
is and how they will end up contributing to the system? I know I do! So hit that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON
now so you don’t miss out on their continuing story, and hit the LIKE button every single
time, including now. If you’re new to the channel, and want to
catch up on all your AntsCanada lore, click this playlist here to watch all the stories
of the ants of the Antiverse from the very beginning so you can better appreciate the
journey the ants, as well as we watching them have been on. Trust me! It’s crazy! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would just like to watch extended play footage of the new Selva de
Fuego. It is super calming and satisfying to the
eyes so do check it out. And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last Week we asked: Which was your favourite ant colony and why? There was no real one correct answer but congratulations
to Henry Maravilla who correctly answered: My favorite colony in the ‘Antiverse’
is definitely the ‘Dark Knights’; I find it fascinating how they can
make genetic copies of themselves, to mate, without inbreeding; it
just shows how different ants are compared to us, humans. Congratulations Henry, you just won a free
Hybrid Nest 2.0 premium ant farm from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: Why is the death of the Guppy Gang
ultimately beneficial for the Selva de Fuego and inhabitants? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could win a free e-book handbook from our shop. Hope you can subscribe to my 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!