The Fire Nation came pouring out of the tube and onto the wooden limb.
It wasn't long before it was clear that the ants have claimed the Selva de Fuego home.
But then I noticed something.
There were some ants that had fallen into the water.
A lot of ants, actually.
More than I was comfortable seeing, and it didn't look like they were dealing too well
The gang of guppies swarmed ominously beneath them, seeming very interested in these isolated
and helpless ants floating at the mercy of the river's currents.
Suddenly, I grew fearful and began to question my choices.
It looked to me as though these fire ants weren't as apt to deal with this river as
proficiently as I had anticipated.
It had only been a few minutes and there were already tonnes of ants fallen helplessly into
the river, which to me meant many, many more would soon join them the more time went on.
The ants were now shipping in the brood.
Things were getting serious!
I even thought I caught the guppies taking test bites at the fallen ants.
Suddenly the worst case scenario came to me and hit me like a knife to the heart!
What if the queen were to lose her footing here and also fall into the water and be eaten!
That would be the permanent demise of the Fire Nation.
My heart raced.
I had to think fast!
I began to panic, as the impending feeling of having made a big miscalculation grew within
AC Family, I can't help but feel like I screwed this time!
I think creating this Amazon River world was one huge mistake!
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Welcome to the AC Family.
As the fire ants rushed about, I had to remain calm so I could think about this logically
and tackle each problem separately.
First, I had to address all the ants falling into the water.
Many of you guys said it, just move the tube to the ground.
How silly of me!
I carefully moved the bridge tube away from the water so the ants could have direct access
to the soils.
Now to address the ants that seemed to be drowning in the River.
They needed a life saver of some kind, and it just so happened that we had the perfect
rafts for them to climb on.
I pushed over some of the frog bit so these fallen ants could climb aboard and dry off.
Suddenly, things didn't seem as dire anymore.
What a relief!
I think the thing that worried me most about all of this was the fact that in a previous
video, these fire ants showed perfect mastery on a thin tight rope we made them walk to
get to food.
Remember that video?
This is why it shocked me to see so many ants falling off this much thicker and seemingly
easily grippable branch.
But then again, on the tight rope the ants were much more calm and traveling in generally
a single file, unlike the huge mad column here, which now understandably could lead
to some ants slipping off amidst all that hustle and bustle.
But in addition to that, I think the fact that I wasn't seeing the ants forming their
triumphant body rafts right away, also scared me a bit.
Should I now expect helpless drowned ants to be a common sight in the Selva de Fuego?
If so, I wasn't prepared for that, and I didn't plan for our River to be able to sustain masses
of drowned ants long term.
Anyway, after these minor changes to our master fire ant emmigration plan, it did seem things
The ants didn't hesitate to begin digging out their subterranean super base in the virgin
soils of the Selva de Fuego.
The fish were seemingly unphased by the ants that could be seen in full view to their side.
But I did notice the Ram Cichlids seeming particularly curious and loving just watching
It appears we aren't the only ones, AC Family, who love ant watching.
Speaking of the Rams, if our newly betrothed breeding pair were awkward at first, that
was now all done, because the two were completely bonded now, and inseparably in love.
But it wasn't all warm and fuzzy in our river world, as I watched our gang of guppies completely
chastising the ants that were taking refuge on the frog bit.
These guppies are such bullies!
One of the things that really impressed me though, was how the fire ants of the Fire
Nation seemed to be learning how to manage life on these life-saving, floating islands
of frog bit.
Watch this, AC Family.
Check out these incredible frog bit-stranded ants collectively swimming their frog bit
to a nearby branch.
The currents moved the frog bit around, but you could clearly see that all the ants had
one common goal in mind - to get to the wood.
A few of the ants are unlucky enough to lose their grip and get carried away by the swirling
Come on ladies, you can do it!
The currents help move the frog bit along.
Ahhhh so close, yet so far.
By night, the situation in the Selva de Fuego definitely seemed a lot more stable.
I did notice the guppies, who initially appeared to threaten the fire ants, had finally grown
bored of terrorizing them.
And as for the ants, it was amazing to observe them now impressively proficient at finding
various ways to make it to dry land.
Any ants stranded on frog bit islands were now very effective at synchronized paddling
to nearby wood.
The ants even cooperatively formed bridges on the water's surface using their own bodies
to gain access to other frog bit islands.
From there, ants found neat stair cases to dry land, like these natural ropes of Spanish
Even though the ant colony had been moving in for almost 12 hours now, there was still
a lot of the colony left to move out.
The Fire Nation was truly a massive kingdom!
I didn't even know if the queen had moved in yet.
She usually doesn't move out until a certain percentage of the ant colony is moved out,
perhaps because she needs to be absolutely sure the new home is secure and safe, complete
with her necessary royal interior preparations.
She is after all a VIP and needs to have all her diva requirements met before her grand
And also perhaps because she needs the majority of the ant colony to be around her at all
It's unclear whether she decides when it's OK for her to move out or when the colony
decides for her.
I guess that's something we'll never know.
Meanwhile, at ground level, the construction of nests were well under way.
I was amazed to see the ants building ant hills right up to the edge.
They towered high like great forts situated at the water's edge.
How they even managed to pull off attaching sections of soil vertically to the glass was
Talk about incredible architects wouldn't you say?
What's amazing about all this, is that had this been humans, it would have been a huge
architectural operation, with several teams over-looking different aspects of the construction
following a master blueprint.
But with these fire ants, there are no job-specific teams, no master blue print, but just one
huge colony all working together following some collective intelligence, which will ultimately
result in a massive, complex underground sanctuary.
Can you believe it?
The Fire Nation just astounds me!
I wonder where they're going to choose to setup their garbage site.
Let's hope not in the water!
I was relieved to note that our barrier of fluon was working at keeping the ants inside
Thank goodness I didn't have to worry about the ants escaping, for now anyway.
The Fire Nation was at this point busy transporting the brood, these young fire ants were the
lucky ones to emerge from their pupae as the future first generation of Selva de Fuegans.
It was so satisfying to see that this entire emmigration operation seemed to be under control
and running smoothly now.
And then I saw this.
AC Family, this kind of caught me off guard.
Oh boy, the alates are coming.
I completely forgot it was the season.
So the reason this was an area of concern, was because the Fire Nation was now starting
to produce the young queens and males with wings for this year's nuptial flights, and
I didn't exactly have a plan for dealing with that yet, but I think we have some time to
formulate a contigency plan of some kind.
By morning, our fish were waking up to greet the new day.
Peeking into the Hybrid Nests, I was happy to discover that almost all of the colony
had moved out overnight and most certainly so did the Fire Nation queen.
And so AC Family, later that night after disconnecting their evacuated old home, I could officially
announce that the Fire Nation had completely moved in to their new territories - this massive
jungle river paludarium known as the Selva de Fuego, a replication of the fire ant motherland,
we know as the Amazon River Jungle.
The day before, I was worried this jungle river habitat was unsuitable for the Fire
Nation, that the River would end up killing the colony, but now 36 hrs later, I was surprised
to note that the surface of our river was crystal clear and free of ants, and our river
floor, also fire ant body-free!
This to me meant, the fire ants had learned over this short period of time, how to live
around this moving body of water.
I knew they would figure it out!
I loved watching the ants living in the Selva de Fuego.
They began establishing clear trails, busy ant highways across the soils to other entrances
It was amazing to see that the Fire Nation had claimed these territory theirs!
And so did the fish!
I caught the Ram Cichlids fully defending the best section of the river with clear view
of the ants.
It seems the cichlids were unwilling to share this prime area for ant watching!
So now, AC Family, are you ready for this?
A final surprise that I think you guys might like a lot!
So, we had the plants, we had the river, we had the aquatic animals, and we had the ants,
but there was one final touch that I had planned to make this a true Amazon Rain Forest, and
oh, AC Family, sit back.
At every 7 o clock, right on the dot, something amazing starts to happen over head in the
Selva de Fuego.
Something great and life-giving.
Using some tubing and an automatic timer, I figured out a way to recreate a mini rain
shower for one minute within the Selva de Fuego every morning and night.
It took a lot of testing and adjusting, but eventually, I managed to get the drops to
fall perfectly and evenly like rain.
Now I didn't have to worry about watering the jungle, as it had its own storm system.
As the life-giving rain drops fell hitting the plants and soils, it seemed as though
it was a celebratory heavenly sign for all the inhabitants of the rainforest that they
had been blessed with a new, perfectly self-functioning home to call their own.
After the rains, as is our AC tradition, I offered the Fire Nation a house warming gift.
I gave them on behalf of we the AC Family, a mighty cockroach feast on a stick for our
beloved ants to enjoy, who were now super hungry from the great move.
They came swarming to the feast.
Watching the ants come pouring out of their underground castles was amazing!
It's moments like these, that ant keepers live for!
I cherished the sight, triumphant and awe-inspiring!
The one thing I learned from this whole experience was that, one cannot completely predict how
nature will unfold, no matter how thoroughly you think you have all bases covered, and
all blue prints drawn up.
I discovered on this day that with nature, there was no perfect contingency plan, as
it clearly has a mind of its own.
One can only guide life in a certain direction, like physically cutting out a river, but life
will always inevitably flow freely like water, undominated as it so chooses along the path
of least resistance.
AC Family, I was happy to say this Selva de Fuego project was an utter success...
That was until, I noticed the next morning, the fire ants had been busy cutting out their
own path of resistance.
The fluon barriers I had placed to ensure the ants remained secure inside the Selva
de Fuego had weak spots.
Over night, the ants had figured out that the corners were easier to cling on to despite
the fluon barrier.
So far, it looked like they hadn't yet figured a way to cross the upside down lip.
But that's not all!
What I spotted next, caused me great concern.
The rains overnight had naturally cued some guests to emerge from the nests, and there
seen on one of the frog bit islands were full grown male and female alates.
We didn't have the time I thought we had to prepare.
The fire ants were now starting to have mating flights!
What was going to do keep all these fire ants inside?
It was then that a tiny movement in the corner caught my eye.
A tiny spider was lassoing some of the ants that managed to get too close.
At first, I asked myself, how on Earth did a spider get in here?
It must have come in with the plants.
But what was more important, was that it was at that very moment, that a crazy idea came
to me, which would offer a great solution to both my fire ant escape problems.
Oh boy, this was about to get interesting.
AC Family, just when I thought things were all settled, it seems the adventure has just
Tune in next week, when we add a team of special guests to the Selva de Fuego to deal with
escaping ants and flying alates!
Trust me on this guys, you won't want to miss next week's crazy, action-packed episode,
so hit that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON now so you don't miss out on this mind-blowing
Also, do remember to hit the LIKE button every single time, including now!
AC Inner Colony I have left a hidden cookie for you here, to watch full footage of the
Fire Nation enjoying and devouring our great house warming gift.
You won't want to miss out on what's there!
Also, I wanted to quickly address our completely failed attempt at live streaming the Hacienda
Del Dorado this week.
For those who don't know, I had scheduled an interactive live stream where you could
feed the ants yourselves with Superchats.
I was completely surprised to see how many of you came to support by sending in Superchats
to feed the ants.
In the short time we live streamed, over 60 of you sent in your Superchats which was completely
unexpected and those with Superchats of over $30 got their names on personalized flags
which skewered giant roaches.
The full list of SUPER CHAT supporters is in the description box!
Thank you guys so much!
Needless to say, the Golden Empire had a complete and utter feast and loved it, but the only
thing was, due to slow internet connection in my part of the world, the live stream continually
kept cutting off and every time I tried to reconnect to the stream, all of you received
Live notifications to your devices, emails, and home feeds, and when I learned this, I
I sincerely apologize to all those who not only were looking forward to the live stream,
but also to the hundreds of thousands, possibly even over a million people out there who received
a barrage of notifications from me every time I reconnected to the LIVE.
Someone mentioned it was around 9 notifications!
It seemed we lost some subscribers due to the annoying notifications, but I promise,
it won't happen again.
I have contacted the Youtube support team who will hopefully help us avoid future complications
The great thing, though is that now I know that an interactive live stream like this
is possible, and I have already begun brainstorming an automatic feeding system so you guys at
home can feed the ants yourselves from the comfort of your own home or mobile device,
during an ant live stream!
Isn't 2018 technology just amazing?
Alright and before proceeding to the AC Question of the week, I just wanted to plug my new
daily vlogging channel, for those of you curious about what I do between these weekly ant videos.
I upload daily life vlogs of my travels around the world, and it also includes a lot of biology
Alright and now it's time for the AC Question of the Week!
Last week, we asked:
What did all the plants and animals living in the Selva de Fuego have in common?
Congratulations to Aaronn Carrington who correctly answered:
All plants in water and on land are native to the
South American Amazon.
Congratulations Aaronn you just won a free e-book handbook from our shop.
In this week's AC Question of the Week, we ask:
Why does the Fire Nation queen take her time when
moving out of an old nest and into a new one?
Leave your answer in the comments section and you could win a free ant t-shirt from
Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we upload every Saturday at 8AM EST.
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It's ant love forever!