Creating a Second Giant Ecosystem Vivarium

AntsCanada
5 May 202438:33

Summary

TLDRThe video script details the ambitious project of expanding Pantdora, a 1,000-gallon cloud rainforest vivarium, into a larger ecological system. The creator explores various biomes, including tropical caves, swamps, lowland rainforests, treetop canopies, and grassy plains, in Borneo and Australia, to gather inspiration for the new vivarium. The script highlights the biodiversity and unique challenges of each ecosystem, such as the cave's reliance on roaches, the swamp's need for extensive maintenance, the lowland rainforest's diverse flora and fauna, the canopy's potential for arboreal species, and the grassland's requirement for ample sunlight. The creator also discusses the impact of the hot season on Pantdora's ecosystem and the introduction of new species like crickets and coconut rhino beetles. The video ends with a call to action for viewers to vote on their preferred biome for the new vivarium, emphasizing the importance of understanding the interconnectedness of ecosystems.

Takeaways

  • 🌳 The Pantdora vivarium is a 1,000-gallon cloud rainforest ecosystem designed to study a wild ecosystem's workings, particularly a montane jungle.
  • 🔬 The creator is considering an ecological extension to Pantdora, connected by a glass bridge, and is researching different biomes for this extension.
  • 🐾 A visit to various biomes, including a tropical cave, swamp, lowland rainforest, tree top canopy, and grassy plains, was undertaken to observe life forms for the new vivarium.
  • 🕳️ Gomantong Caves in Borneo inspired ideas for a cave ecosystem vivarium with swiftlets, bats, and a rich nutrient environment from guano.
  • 🌿 The Pantdora ecosystem is affected by seasonal changes, with the hot season causing challenges such as drying vegetation and reduced cricket breeding.
  • 🦗 The introduction of a new generation of crickets into Pantdora helped to control overgrown vegetation and provided food for predators.
  • 🦎 The swamps of Borneo, with their unique challenges and inhabitants like crocodiles and dwarf caiman, were considered for a swamp ecosystem vivarium.
  • 🌱 The lowland rainforest of Borneo, with its rich biodiversity, was explored for ideas on creating a warmer, less humid vivarium environment.
  • 🌴 The treetop canopy of the rainforest was considered for a vivarium that could house creatures like weaver ants and dormice, providing a safe space from ground-dwelling predators.
  • 🌾 Grasslands, with their unique flora and fauna, were contemplated for a vivarium that would require significant light and continuous grass planting.
  • ✋ The community is encouraged to vote on their preferred biome for the second vivarium, contributing to the decision-making process for this biological project.

Q & A

  • What is the primary purpose of Pantdora, the cloud rainforest vivarium?

    -The primary purpose of Pantdora is to observe and study the workings of a wild ecosystem, particularly that of a lush and humid montane jungle, and document its epic stories along the way.

  • Why does the creator consider expanding Pantdora with a second vivarium?

    -The creator considers expanding Pantdora to better understand the relationship between different ecosystems, where flora and fauna can migrate, seek refuge, and establish new populations if needed.

  • What are the challenges of creating a cave ecosystem vivarium?

    -Challenges include replicating the cave's cooler and super humid environment, creating natural rock formations, and sourcing bioilluminescent creatures. Additionally, connecting the vivarium to the outside for bats to roost naturally would be complex.

  • What is a 'refugium' in the context of an ecosystem?

    -A refugium is an area where animals can seek refuge, hide away, and/or breed, protected from unfavorable conditions or predators. It provides a safe space for prey animals to thrive.

  • How does the heat affect Pantdora's ecosystem?

    -The heat causes the vegetation to dry up, reduces the abundance of mosses, and leads to animals going into estivation. It also affects the breeding cycles of crickets, which are a food source for predators in the ecosystem.

  • What are some of the considerations for creating a swamp ecosystem vivarium?

    -Considerations include the need for above-average maintenance such as filters, possible fertilizers, and CO2 canisters. Additionally, the vivarium would require a substantial amount of light and space to mimic the self-regulating conditions of a wild swamp.

  • Why is incorporating marmosets into a lowland rainforest vivarium a significant idea?

    -Marmosets are significant frugivores, meaning they eat fruit and assist in the distribution of seeds of plants and trees, which is crucial for a vivarium aiming to mimic a natural ecosystem.

  • What is the role of weaver ants in a potential canopy vivarium?

    -Weaver ants create leaf basket nests in trees using silk produced by their larvae. They would contribute to the biodiversity of the canopy vivarium and could descend into the main vivarium to forage.

  • How does the creator envision the use of a glass bridge in the vivarium?

    -The creator imagines cutting an opening along the top of Pantdora and creating a glass bridge that connects to an upper Canopy Vivarium. This would allow for the observation of creatures moving between the two ecosystems.

  • What are the challenges of creating a grassland vivarium?

    -The main challenge is providing sufficient light, as most grasses require full sunlight. Additionally, there would be a need to continually plant new grasses as the mature ones are consumed.

  • How does the creator plan to involve the audience in deciding the next vivarium biome?

    -The creator has set up polls on the community tab of his YouTube page where viewers can vote for their favorite biome option. He also encourages comments and upvotes on those comments to gather more opinions.

Outlines

00:00

🌿 Introduction to Pantdora and Exploration of New Biomes

The video introduces Pantdora, a 1,000-gallon cloud rainforest vivarium, designed to replicate a montane jungle ecosystem. The creator discusses plans to expand Pantdora by adding a second vivarium connected by a glass bridge. The episode documents the creator's research journey, visiting various biomes to understand the life within them and decide on the type of biome for the new vivarium. The video also invites viewers to subscribe to the channel and join the AC Family.

05:02

🐾 Borneo's Biodiversity and Gomantong Cave Exploration

The creator's search for the next vivarium begins in Borneo, known for its immense biodiversity. Borneo's rainforest is highlighted as being older than the Amazon and Congo. The Gomantong Caves are explored, revealing a rich ecosystem with swiftlets, bats, insects, and various creatures. The cave's conditions, such as humidity and temperature, are discussed as a potential model for a cave ecosystem vivarium. The harsh realities of nature are also depicted, such as a fallen baby swiftlet becoming food for predators.

10:04

🦀 Designing a Cave Ecosystem Vivarium and Addressing Pantdora's Heat Issue

The creator contemplates the design of a cave ecosystem vivarium, considering features like skylights, rock formations, and water features. Potential inhabitants range from crabs and centipedes to ant species. The idea of connecting the vivarium to the outside to attract bats is also entertained. The video then addresses Pantdora's struggle with heat, causing vegetation to dry up and affecting the ecosystem's balance. The creator adds a new generation of crickets to Pantdora as a temporary solution.

15:05

🌱 Pantdora's Revival with Crickets and the Swamp Biome Consideration

The introduction of crickets into Pantdora helps control overgrown vegetation and ensures a future generation. The decaying cricket carcasses attract roaches and other creatures, illustrating the circle of life within the ecosystem. The video then shifts to the swamps of Borneo's Kinabatangan River, where the creator experiences a nerve-racking boat ride and contemplates the challenges of replicating a swamp ecosystem in a vivarium, including the need for extensive maintenance and the dominance of a keystone species like the dwarf caiman.

20:08

🐉 Exploring the Lowland Rainforest and Considering a Canopy Vivarium

The creator explores the lowland rainforests of Borneo, noting the ancient and diverse ecosystem filled with various creatures, including sun skinks, insects, and mammals. The idea of incorporating a stingless bee hive into a vivarium is considered, along with the potential inclusion of marmosets. The video transitions to the rainforest canopy, where the creator imagines a canopy vivarium with a glass bridge connecting to Pantdora, providing a safe space for insects and arboreal creatures.

25:13

🌾 Grassland Biome Exploration and Final Thoughts on Vivarium Expansion

The video concludes with the creator's visit to a grassland in Sydney, Australia, and the consideration of a grassland vivarium. Challenges such as mimicking full sunlight and continuous planting are acknowledged. The creator reflects on the importance of understanding the relationships between different ecosystems and invites viewers to vote on their preferred biome for the second vivarium. The video ends with a call to action for viewers to participate in the decision-making process through voting and commenting.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Vivarium

A vivarium is a structure or container that houses living organisms, typically simulating a natural habitat to study or observe their behavior. In the video, the main theme revolves around the creation and expansion of a vivarium named Pantdora, which is a cloud rainforest ecosystem within glass. The speaker discusses plans to extend Pantdora by adding a second vivarium, exploring different biomes to decide on the type of ecosystem to replicate.

💡Biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life in a particular ecosystem, including the number of different species of plants, animals, and microorganisms, as well as genetic diversity within species. The video emphasizes the immense biodiversity found in the Bornean Rainforest, which is crucial for the speaker's study and serves as an inspiration for the Pantdora vivarium's design.

💡Ecosystem

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment, interacting as a system. The video's central theme is the creation of an ecosystem vivarium to observe and study natural processes. The speaker explores various ecosystems, such as caves, swamps, and rainforests, to inform the design of the second vivarium.

💡Swiftlets

Swiftlets are small birds known for creating edible nests using their saliva, which is a key ingredient in bird's nest soup. In the video, the speaker describes observing swiftlets in Gomantong Caves and their role in the cave ecosystem, highlighting the interdependence between the birds, their nests, and the larger cave environment.

💡Guano

Guano refers to the excrement of animals, particularly bats and birds, which can accumulate in caves and other habitats. In the context of the video, guano from swiftlets in the cave is described as super rich in nutrients, contributing to the cave's ecosystem by providing nourishment for other organisms, such as roaches.

💡Roaches

Roaches are insects that are often associated with being pests, but they also play a significant role in ecosystems as decomposers. The video script mentions roaches in the context of a cave ecosystem, where they feed on the guano and dead matter, illustrating their importance in nutrient cycling and maintaining the cave's ecological balance.

💡Estivation

Estivation is a state of summer dormancy observed in some animals, during which metabolic activities significantly decrease, allowing them to survive hot and dry conditions. In the video, the speaker notes that due to the heat, many animals in Pantdora have gone into estivation, demonstrating how seasonal changes affect the behavior and survival strategies of organisms within the vivarium.

💡

💡Crocodilians

Crocodilians are a group of large aquatic reptiles that include crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials. The video discusses the possibility of including dwarf caimans in a swamp vivarium, highlighting their status as keystone species and the challenges of housing them due to their predatory nature and the need for a large, natural habitat.

💡Marmosets

Marmosets are small New World monkeys known for their small size and distinctive facial features. The speaker contemplates introducing captive-bred marmosets into the vivarium to observe their behavior and ecological role as frugivores, which would contribute to seed distribution and add a unique element to the Pantdora ecosystem.

💡Canopy Vivarium

A canopy vivarium is a type of enclosed ecosystem that simulates the upper levels of a forest, where the majority of the tree species' foliage and a significant amount of animal life are found. The video explores the idea of creating a canopy vivarium connected to Pantdora via a glass bridge, which would house creatures that inhabit the treetops, such as ants and possibly marmosets.

💡Grassland Ecosystem

A grassland ecosystem is characterized by its vegetation, which is dominated by grasses and lacks the extensive tree cover found in forests. The video considers the creation of a grassland vivarium to study the interactions between grasses, animals like reptiles and insects, and the challenges of replicating the full sunlight and continuous grass growth required in such an environment.

Highlights

Pantdora is a 1,000-gallon vivarium designed to replicate a tropical montane jungle ecosystem within glass.

The creator is considering an ecological extension to Pantdora, connected by a glass bridge, to expand the ecosystem.

Research involves visiting various biomes to understand the life within them for the design of the second vivarium.

The Bornean Rainforest, over twice as old as the Amazon, offers immense biodiversity for study.

Gomantong Caves in Borneo provide insights into cave ecosystems, with unique creatures like swiftlets and centipedes.

Swiftlet nests, a key ingredient in bird's nest soup, are now illegal to collect due to population decline.

Guano from swiftlet droppings is nutrient-rich and plays a crucial role in the cave ecosystem.

The concept of a cave vivarium is considered, with potential to house crabs, centipedes, and possibly bats.

Pantdora's heat is causing challenges, with high temperatures affecting the ecosystem's natural cycles.

The introduction of a new generation of crickets helps address the issue of predator food scarcity due to the heat.

The swamps of the Kinabatangan River in Borneo are explored as a potential model for a swamp vivarium.

A dwarf caiman, a keystone species, is considered for a swamp vivarium but would dominate the ecosystem.

Lowland rainforests of Borneo are home to a vast array of species, including unique insects and mammals.

The idea of incorporating marmosets, small monkeys, into the vivarium is contemplated for their ecological roles.

The treetop canopy of Pantdora shows signs of life with carpenter ants foraging for honeydew from mealybugs.

A canopy vivarium is proposed, which would house creatures like weaver ants and dormice in a simulated treetop environment.

The grasslands are considered as a potential biome for the vivarium, offering a unique environment for grass-loving creatures.

Viewer input is requested to vote on the community tab of the YouTube page to decide the type of the second vivarium.

Transcripts

00:00

This is Pantdora, my 1,000 gallon cloud rainforest vivarium, a tropical ecosystem within glass.

00:09

Its purpose is to observe and study the workings of a wild ecosystem, particularly that of

00:15

a lush and humid montane jungle, documenting its epic stories along the way.

00:21

But Pantdora is about to get a whole lot bigger!

00:25

The idea of creating a second giant vivarium, an ecological extension to Pantdora, connected

00:31

by a glass bridge, has been creeping into my consciousness.

00:36

And so, I’ve begun the research, by visiting different biomes: a tropical cave, a misty

00:43

swamp, a lowland rainforest, a tree top canopy, and grassy plains, to find out what kinds

00:49

of life exist in each, and decide what biome type and beasts, I’d like to house in our

00:55

second giant ecosystem vivarium.

00:59

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 5 of my Ecosystem Vivarium Series, where we attempt to recreate

01:06

a slice of Mother Nature within glass, here on the AntsCanada Ant Channel.

01:17

Please SUBSCRIBE to the channel, and hit the BELL ICON.

01:24

Welcome to the AC Family!

01:27

Enjoy!

01:28

I began my search for our next vivarium by flying to the tropical Southeast Asian island

01:33

of Borneo.

01:35

Of all the natural spaces I’ve ever visited in the world, Borneo has by far, proven to

01:41

be one of the most biodiverse and mind-blowing, as you, too are about to discover.

01:48

Now when most people think of tropical rainforests, the Amazon basin or the African Congo are

01:54

usually the first to come to mind, but few people know that the Bornean Rainforest is

02:00

over twice as old as the Amazon, and over 150 million years older than the Congo.

02:06

As one of the world’s last great bastions of biodiversity, with over 400,000 sq km of

02:12

rainforest divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei on the third largest island on

02:19

the planet, the number of unique species of plants, trees, mammals, reptiles, insects

02:25

and birds in Borneo is immense, and it was here where I decided to begin my study for

02:32

our next ecosystem vivarium.

02:37

After flying over acres of cloud rainforest, much like our Pantdora, we landed in Sandakan,

02:43

Malaysia, to enter the famous Gomantong Caves, and check out all the crazy things I spotted.

02:49

The moment I entered the cave entrance, all I could smell was the sharp stench of ammonia.

02:55

The swiftlets which were flying all around above, were pooping onto the floor, which

03:00

was rotting and the smell made me dizzy.

03:03

In this cave, swiftlets, a type of bird, were creating their signature saliva nests, the

03:10

main constituent in bird’s nest soup, which as I learned from our guide, was now illegal

03:15

to collect in this cave, due to its negative impact to the swiftlet populations.

03:20

Anyway, see all those little droplets falling from above?

03:24

That’s swiftlet poop, and as it rots on the cave floor, it turns black, forming this

03:30

guano which happens to be super rich in nutrients!

03:34

I also spotted a little shallow stream with tiny land crabs and a giant millipede.

03:41

On the cave walls, I spotted this huge 5-inch centipede that apparently preyed on swiftlet

03:47

babies!

03:49

Up high at this skylight opening, an orangutan was on the move.

03:54

We’d be going up there soon!

03:56

Of course, there were also a tonne of sleeping bats everywhere.

04:01

As I looked closer at the swiftlet guano, I could see tonnes of roaches eating up edibles

04:06

from the guano, and in fact, in these caves, roaches were rampant!

04:12

They were literally everywhere!

04:13

It blew my mind how roach-infested the caves were.

04:17

I learned pretty quickly not to grab the wooden handrails in the dark.

04:21

It made me realize how important roaches were in this particular cave ecosystem.

04:27

Now, AC Family, brace yourselves because what I spotted next broke my heart.

04:33

A baby swiftlet had just fallen from a nest above.

04:37

It struggled to move in the guano.

04:39

Sadly, according to the guide, as much as every part of me wanted to help it, the best

04:45

course of action was to not interfere with nature and leave it be, as this baby bird

04:52

would become essential food for predatory animals.

04:55

It was a stark reminder that not all aspects of nature are beautiful and heart-warming;

05:01

it sometimes can be harsh.

05:07

But walking through Gomantong gave me a pretty good idea of how I might want to design and

05:13

build a cave ecosystem vivarium if we ever went that route.

05:17

The cave environment was cooler, super humid, with some water trickling around everywhere,

05:23

a tonne of insects and predators, and not too many plants.

05:27

If we were to create a cave ecosystem vivarium, I would want it to have one or two skylights,

05:33

to allow some light to enter the habitat, lots of cool rock formations, stalactites,

05:39

stalagmites, possibly even limestone or crystal formations, even a water feature of some sort,

05:45

but nothing too crazy.

05:47

If we were to add plants, they would probably have to be at the cave openings if ever, but

05:52

for me, the true beauty of caves, is the hardscape, i.e. the formations of the rocks and all the

05:59

neat spaces and niches the animals living in the cave could occupy.

06:02

I imagined the incredible cave ambiance possibilities in my mind.

06:07

Can you guys imagine a cave ecosystem within a massive tank?

06:12

In terms of creatures, we could house some pretty neat animals.

06:15

Crabs, giant centipedes, cave-dwelling newts and toads would work; I know a handful of

06:21

ant species that would also love a cave environment.

06:24

I would also love to find a whipspider, famous cave-dwelling arachnids!

06:30

There are other bioilluminescent creatures that inhabit caves, but realistically, I don’t

06:35

know where to source them, but wouldn’t that be neat to see these?

06:38

Now, let’s talk mammals, I feel a cave would make an excellent natural habitat for mice.

06:46

Now, about bats, obviously, a vivarium enclosed by glass is not enough space for bats, but

06:54

there are bats in my area, a tonne of them, in fact.

06:58

I see them swarming above my pool every dusk, as they hunt for insects.

07:03

I wonder if there was a way to connect a cave vivarium to the outside of my home through

07:08

a window and somehow get the bats to come into our cave to sleep during the day.

07:13

Wouldn’t that juat be epic?

07:16

Just day dreaming out loud now.

07:18

Anyway, what I did like about the cave concept was that it could also provide a “refugium”

07:23

for prey insects.

07:24

What’s a refugium?

07:26

Well, it’s like an area that animals could seek refuge, hide away, and/or breed protected

07:32

from unfavourable conditions or from predators.

07:35

A cave with an abundance of secret crevices and tunnels would be a perfect refugium for

07:41

prey animals like roaches and crickets, that could hide from predators and keep proliferating

07:47

in a cooler space, because guys, before we continue on, there’s a serious issue I need

07:54

to address about Pantdora.

07:57

It’s been hot, scorching hot in my area, and Pantdora’s ambient temperatures are

08:07

designed to be 3 or 4 degrees Celsius lower than outside temperatures where I live.

08:12

By the way, in case you’re new, I’m now living in the Southeast Asian tropics where

08:17

it’s currently the hottest month of our year.

08:20

Have a look at the tropical forest in my yard.

08:23

This past week, it got to a whopping 47 degrees Celsius, which is 116.6 F. Super hot and it

08:32

has lead to much of the vegetation drying up.

08:35

This forest at every other part of the year is lush, green, and dense, but every summer

08:41

time, it turns into a dried up, dead, and sparse woodland.

08:50

This here is usually a trickling creek, but now, it’s a dried up pathway of clay.

08:56

Even the bamboo has shed its leaves to self-preserve amidst the heat.

09:00

In the same way that winter is the ‘dead’ season in temperate regions, where I am from,

09:05

the summers are the most unfavourable time for life.

09:10

It hadn’t rained in my area for what has seemed like months now, but I knew the Rainy

09:15

Season was just a few weeks away and with it would come cooler temperatures again in

09:21

the Ant Room.

09:22

The Ant Room is actually equipped with climate control, and I could very easily set the Ant

09:27

Room to be any stable temperature I want, but I haven’t been doing this, because this

09:32

would be just me affecting the ecosystem in a way that didn’t follow the natural flow

09:37

of the seasons, and I wanted to see how the seasons affected things.

09:42

So far, I’ve noticed that some of our asparagus ferns have dried up, the mosses weren’t

09:47

as abundant, and a lot of the animals have gone into estivation, hiding deep underground

09:53

to escape the heat, while others like our once abundant crickets have stopped breeding

09:59

all together and have since disappeared from our rainforest.

10:03

This was a concern because a lot of our predators depended on the continuous swarms of crickets

10:08

for food.

10:10

And so, as a temporary solution to the heat, I decided to add a new generation of crickets.

10:18

Sadly, due to the heat, some crickets had died during transport, but the crickets that

10:26

did survive immediately began to integrate into Pantdora.

10:31

They swept across the forest floor, and began munching on vegetation, ferns, dead mosses,

10:42

and decaying materials.

10:43

With the crickets being absent in the rainforest for some time, the plants had greatly overgrown

10:49

so I was happy to see them doing their great work at feeding on the veg.

10:54

Gravid females immediately began to lay their eggs into the soft soils.

10:58

But as for the dead crickets, the stench of the carcasses brought some other creatures

11:04

out of hiding: Roaches!

11:08

Just like we saw in Gomantong, the roaches had come to do their handy work and feast!

11:14

They were not about to allow these decaying crickets go to waste, nor allow the soil creatures

11:18

to take them.

11:22

Gnome ants also appeared on the scene to feed on the crickets but it looked like they were

11:26

going to wait to simply collect the leftover body parts discarded by the roaches.

11:34

The roaches themselves were so savage as they devoured the dead crickets cum gusto.

11:40

Some roaches were so eager, they began to squabble and fight over the dead crickets,

11:45

like hungry, flesh-drunken hyenas over wildebeest cadavers.

12:20

What a sight to behold!

12:26

In the night, the female crickets continued to lay their eggs into the soft, fertile soils

12:31

of Pantdora.

12:32

I was happy to know this ensured a future generation of crickets to come, but this was

12:37

just a temporary solution that still didn’t address the main problem: the heat which was

12:44

affecting the crickets’ breeding cycles.

12:46

This is what I mean when I said having a cooler cave vivarium attached to Pantdora, would

12:51

prove to be a well-needed refugium for the crickets.

12:55

Suddenly, I spotted someone emerging for the hunt.

13:04

In the shadows behind the rock wall, I spotted Lady Deathstrike, a huntsman spider that I

13:10

recently discovered was not dead like I had initially thought, but that’s one long and

13:16

crazy story I covered in the last episode.

13:18

She sat still, over the waters of our blackwater pond, in which the guppies were swimming around

13:25

feeding on suspended edibles in the waters.

13:28

Now speaking of blackwater, it’s time to cover the next possible biome for our giant

13:34

vivarium.

13:39

Continuing on our trek in Borneo, I embarked on a private guided trip through the swamps

13:44

of the Kinabatangan River.

13:46

Let me tell you, this was probably one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life,

13:52

because these waters were apparently infested with crocodiles.

13:58

Why our boat was so close to the water, I don’t know, but anyway, I immediately noticed

14:03

the lush jungle that was literally growing on all sides of the river, inside the water,

14:10

which by the way was super murky, kind of like Pantdora’s Aqua Noctis.

14:15

Check out the sounds of this Bornean Swamp!

14:29

We spotted long-tailed macaque monkeys in the trees, and check out how beautiful the

14:34

new morning sun looked across the waters.

14:37

For awhile, I almost forgot there were crocs in these waters, and sat back to enjoy the

14:42

swampy ambiance.

14:44

Come enjoy it with me!

14:48

Eventually, a huge mist covered the river which apparently made things a bit dangerous

14:55

for us, so we turned on the motor and moved on to another location.

14:59

That was when we turned into an inlet which suddenly made me feel like we were in prehistoric

15:04

times.

15:05

It was literally like we had entered Jurassic Park, and it was super spooky!

15:10

The whole time, I made sure to look around for crocs!

15:14

We were also told that this was the elusive Pygmy Elephant territory and spotting them

15:19

was like spotting a unicorn, so I looked out for them, as well.

15:23

But suddenly, we hit a clogging of dead leaves and branches, and my heart began to race.

15:47

Somehow I felt getting stuck made us an easy target for giant crocodiles, and it worried

15:53

me greatly.

16:03

Eventually, we managed to push through the clogging and entered the most incredible inlet,

16:17

where once again, there was this amazing degree of tranquillity and a hybrid feeling of eerie

16:23

placidity that was both calming and spooky all at once.

16:40

I studied the landscape and assessed how I might be able to replicate such an awesome

16:45

environment like this in a giant vivarium.

16:48

I asked to look at the floating plant life, and I spotted massive floating islands of

16:53

hyacinth and moss.

16:55

Some of these floating islands were pretty thick and were ideal habitat for amphibians

17:00

like these cool frogs.

17:02

Heading back, I was sad that the team and I didn’t spot any pygmy elephants on this

17:06

day, but I was kind of glad we didn’t spot any crocs, as some guy had apparently lost

17:12

an arm the week before while doing his laundry in the river.

17:16

I was quite happy to head back to our camp!

17:19

So, let’s talk about swamps!

17:22

I’ve had lots of experience with creating aquatic systems in the past, but I knew if

17:27

we chose to do something that was largely aquatic, it would require above average maintenance,

17:33

i.e. filters, possibly fertilizers and CO2 canisters, which is kind of against the concept

17:40

of creating an ecosystem, but even in a massive tank, it still isn’t enough space to create

17:46

the self-regulating conditions of a wild swamp.

17:50

In the wild, for instance, naturally dissolved CO2 which is needed by the aquatic plants,

17:56

comes from ancient decayed vegetation deep in the ground.

18:00

There was no way to provide such a system in a tank, other than through CO2 canisters.

18:05

Plus an entire swamp is essentially its own filter, which in a tank would have to substituted

18:11

by way of an actual external filter or sump, plus water changes, especially when adding

18:18

aquatic animals.

18:20

So, maintenance and human interferance in a swamp vivarium would be quite high.

18:26

Let’s talk creatures.

18:28

Obviously, not many ants can survive in this swamp environment, so no ants, nor can it

18:34

really act as a refugium for terrestrial prey insects.

18:37

A swamp ecosystem would be mostly fish, aquatic snails, aquatic insects, pretty much the things

18:44

in Aqua Noctis now, and perhaps just like in the Kinabatangan River, crocodilians.

18:52

Guys, this is a dwarf caiman, and though they are called “dwarf”, make no mistake, there

18:59

is nothing dwarf about them, as they grow to up to 5 or 6 feet in length at full size.

19:06

But, as a baby, a dwarf caiman could be housed in our swamp ecosystem.

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They grow about 4 or 5 inches per year, which means we could house a baby caiman for a while

19:18

in the vivarium, before it would need to be relocated to my 60 foot outdoor pond and sunken

19:24

garden.

19:25

One thing to consider though is that a caiman feeds on insects, fish, amphibians, and anything

19:31

else it can fit into its mouth.

19:33

It’s actually considered to be what is called a “keystone species”, which means it has

19:39

a disproportionately large effect on its natural environment relative to its abundance, and

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in the case of our vivarium, it would mean that no other creature would be able to share

19:49

the tank with it for very long.

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Maybe some fish that it deems too small to eat, and perhaps some snails, but it would

19:57

pretty much gobble up any frog, newt, or fish large enough to eat.

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If ever, Pantdora might act as a refugium for the caiman’s prey.

20:08

But if we didn’t house a dwarf caiman, we could possibly go with aquaphilic lizards

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like chinese water dragons which are super cute, aquatic snakes that prey on fish and

20:19

frogs, or even turtles as an alternative.

20:22

Oh and, by the way, a snapping turtle is pretty much in the same boat as a caiman, I’m afraid.

20:28

So what do you guys think about a swamp ecosystem vivarium?

20:46

I spotted Smaug and Daenerys, our two sun skinks basking together atop the rock wall.

20:52

I watched as Smaug descended into the lowlands to hunt for the new crickets that had been

20:58

released into Pantdora.

21:05

Daenerys watched quietly from above.

21:07

Unlike much of the other hibernating Pantdoran creatures, these sun skinks loved the heat.

21:12

In fact, their species was pretty versatile, inhabiting both montane cloud rainforests

21:18

like Pantdora, as well as the hotter lowland rainforests, which brings me now to our third

21:24

possible biome for vivarium.

21:30

Exploring the lowland rainforests of Borneo was something I was excited about again because

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it was an ancient natural space, 140 million years old ancient, making the lowland Bornean

21:42

rainforest one of the oldest in the world!

21:45

The lowland Bornean rainforest is home to over 15,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000

21:52

species of trees, 221 species of terrestrial animals, and 420 species of birds.

21:58

But the forest was full of danger.

22:02

Check out this Nibong palm tree covered in spines that if spiked, cause a human to go

22:07

numb and the only way to heal from it is through surgery.

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I had to be careful in these unfriendly wild forests!

22:15

I immediately spotted sun skinks in the leaf litter, little Smaugs and Dens running around.

22:21

The insects were mindblowing!

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There were a tonne of ants, including this giant forest ant.

22:28

Look at how huge it was!

22:30

On a tree, these cool lantern bugs were hanging out trying to blend in.

22:35

We also came across this cool trail of termites swarming in broad daylight.

22:40

At first, I thought the termites were foraging for food, but as I looked closer, they were

22:45

carrying little babies which probably meant they were relocating nests, or perhaps a nomadic

22:51

species of termite?

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I didn’t know.

22:54

We used a black light to spot a huge forest scorpion hiding in a log.

23:00

In this murky pond, I spotted a mudskipper trying to hide from my camera.

23:04

The forest was also full of mushrooms for days!

23:08

Now this was super cool!

23:10

Looking into this telescope, I spotted the entrance to a hive of stingless bees.

23:16

Yup, bees that lack a stinger.

23:19

In Southeast Asia and parts of South America, there exist species of bees that don’t have

23:26

stingers, and to me seem more like flying ants.

23:29

I actually just installed a few stingless bee hives this week on my own property for

23:34

the pollination of my fruits and veggies, but also for their delicious honey.

23:39

The locals allowed me to sample the honey harvested from these stingless bees, and I

23:44

find it tastes tangy and is more syrupy than traditional honeybee honey.

23:49

The stingless bees themselves are top pollinators in the rainforests in which they live.

23:54

I’ve been flirting with the idea of adding a stingless bee hive into a vivarium, but

24:00

it would necessarily mean we would need to connect a tube from the vivarium to the outside

24:06

of my home for the bees to forage.

24:09

In the rainforest, we also spotted a variety of neat agamid lizards, a tonne of snakes

24:15

like this tree viper.

24:16

We also ran into this huge water monitor.

24:19

Hi, buddy!

24:20

And came across some very interesting mammals like this flying lemur, and this Sun Bear.

24:27

But perhaps the most interesting encounter in the Bornean Lowland Rainforest were these

24:33

- Orangutan!

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I literally froze and hid in a little corner when I spotted this fellow moving around in

24:40

the branches, but our tour guide mentioned the Orangutan here don’t really fear people,

24:46

which was interesting.

24:47

In fact, along our trail we spotted this fellow munching nonchalantly on some fruit.

24:53

I thought based on its appearance that it was a female, but apparently it was male,

24:59

just not an alpha male, which grows that signature huge “alpha face” we all know that results

25:05

from alpha hormones.

25:07

It was unreal to be just a few steps away from such an incredible animal, but I didn’t

25:13

even see it as an animal, because it was so human-like.

25:17

And then the unthinkable, the orangutan crawled down and headed our way and our guide told

25:24

our caravan to just remain calm and stand back.

25:28

What a crazy experience!

25:30

Orangutans, the world’s largest arboreal animals, which were at one point widespread

25:36

throughout Southeast Asia and China, were now critically endangered, only found on the

25:41

two islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

25:44

Their decline in numbers have been due to a drastic loss of habitat.

25:47

I truly hoped local conservation efforts would eventually help the orangutan populations

25:53

bounce back, because they were such beautiful great apes.

26:00

Primates were chilling everywhere, including this male proboscis monkey, named after its

26:05

huge nose.

26:06

Cool right?

26:07

So, if we were to recreate a lowland rainforest, I think it would essentially be like a warmer

26:13

and less humid Pantdora, less mosses and more plant-life, and more flora and fauna that

26:20

prefer warmer and drier conditions.

26:22

Now, one idea that I’ve been contemplating is the incorporation of primates.

26:27

A breeder of marmosets, a type of tiny monkey, has been offering a pair to me.

26:34

These marmosets are not wild-caught but are captive-bred pets, and I have been researching

26:39

their care for years now.

26:40

The minimum enclosure size requirement for a pair of marmosets is allegedly 6 ft tall

26:46

by 3 ft deep by 6 ft wide.

26:49

This already means that Pantdora is larger than the minimum required space for a pair

26:54

of marmosets, but you guys already know, we don’t do ‘minimum’ here on this channel.

27:00

Behold my giant three story aviary, which currently houses a variety of song birds and

27:06

the space is naturally landscaped with trees, vines, and branches.

27:11

So, one option I could do is house a pair of marmosets in my giant three story home

27:16

aviary full-time, and on the days I film, release them for playtime into our vivarium,

27:24

kind of like an ecosystem event, where a pair of marmosets descend into our plot of lowland

27:29

rainforest to interact with the ecosystem and do their thing.

27:34

This of course would require me to tame the marmosets to come down to me when it is time

27:38

for vivarium playtime.

27:40

We’ll see.

27:41

Primates are an important player in ecosystems, as they are significant frugivores, which

27:47

means they eat fruit and thereby assist in the distribution of seeds of plants and trees.

27:52

They also eat plenty of insects and small creatures and I think it might be interesting

27:57

to learn more about them.

27:59

Anyway, let me know what you guys think?

28:04

The vines of Pantdora have begun to bloom so beautifully and the stunning look of their

28:09

dainty buds and tendrils made the canopy of Pantdora look awesome!

28:16

It was then that I spotted, a movement in the canopy’s ferns.

28:21

It was a carpenter ant!

28:23

Awesome!

28:24

The carpenter ants which usually forage at night had decided to wake up early to forage

28:30

the canopy for food.

28:31

The carpenter ants were on a very special mission here.

28:35

They were licking up sweet honeydew extruded by the mealybugs which were squirting it everywhere.

28:40

It’s no wonder in Australia, these ants are known as sugar ants, as they definitely

28:47

have a sweet tooth!

28:48

Carpenter ants, belong to a very widespread and diverse genus of ant called Camponotus,

28:53

and these ants here are a species of tropical carpenter ant that I introduced into Pantdora

28:59

some time ago.

29:00

I was happy to see them still around and doing well.

29:04

It seems these carpenter ants have formed a truce with the usually war-thirsty acrobat

29:09

ants, the Cremato Blasters, which were also foraging the ferns for the exact same reason.

29:15

I was also quite happy and amazed at how much life and action was going on in the Pantdoran

29:21

canopy.

29:22

Which brings me now to our fourth biome.

29:27

From the lowland rainforest, we climbed a cool set of stairs to this awesome walkway

29:33

up high in the rainforest canopy, and you would think that there wouldn’t be much

29:37

action up here, but I was surprised by some of the creatures we spotted up in the treetops.

29:44

First of all the craziest massive leaves were all around us.

29:47

We spotted some wild figs, yes, the fruit found on charcuterie boards paired with wine.

29:54

I spotted some cool ants like this spiny ant, and check this out!

29:59

A giant centipede that at first I found cool, but it suddenly jumped at my face, and thus

30:07

was born a newfound personal phobia of centipedes!

30:10

There were a tonne of spiders up here including this beautiful jumping spider, and this which

30:18

looks like an ant, but is actually a beetle mimicking an ant.

30:23

Spending time up in the canopy got my imagination going.

30:27

Imagine if we could cut an opening along the top of Pantdora and then create a glass bridge

30:33

up through that glass floor piece which would be removed, ascending up to the second floor

30:39

of the Ant Room into a large vivarium with a variety of bonsai trees or shrubs with broad

30:45

leaves or that bear fruit.

30:47

Our vines and branches could wind up the glass bridge from Pantdora to this upper Canopy

30:52

Vivarium where creatures and perhaps even marmosets could enjoy being in the treetops.

30:58

It would also act as a refugium for some insects, like our late Stanley the bush cricket, or

31:04

our late Green Reaper, the praying mantis, both of whom I still suspect were killed by

31:10

our male sun skink Smaug.

31:12

A canopy vivarium would create an effective safe space from our mostly ground-dwelling

31:17

reptilian apex predators.

31:20

Possible fauna we could house in a canopy vivarium are some of my favourite ants, weaver

31:26

ants, which create their awesome leaf basket nests in trees, using silk produced by their

31:32

larvae.

31:33

I believe weaver ants would do amazing in a tree top canopy vivarium, and would simply

31:38

descend into Pantdora to forage.

31:42

Another creature I’ve been thinking of incorporating, is a dormouse, known in the pet trade as a

31:47

microsquirrel.

31:49

These arboreal rodents might also be a neat addition, as they forage the tree tops and

31:54

grounds for seeds, nuts, grains, fruit, insects, and other such edibles.

32:00

They form nests up high in trees, which would be so neat to observe in a canopy vivarium.

32:05

So, what do you guys think of a Canopy Ecosystem Vivarium?

32:11

The death of Rocksteady, our late male rhino beetle was a sad loss for those of us following

32:19

Pantdora’s story.

32:21

But, I promised that I had a surprise for you guys, and here they were.

32:30

One, two, and three.

32:41

The hot season has caused an abundance of these coconut rhino beetles in my area, a

32:47

different species from what Rocksteady was, with smaller horns and a more indented exoskeleton,

32:53

but all three coconut rhino beetles that I managed to find were males.

32:58

I was still in the process of looking for a female so we could really appreciate their

33:02

rhino beetle behaviours and hopefully catch the males wrestling for territory and breeding

33:08

rites.

33:09

The rhino beetles immediately took to ground and burrowed.

33:13

Though nobody could replace our Rocksteady, these coconut rhino beetles were an interesting

33:18

new addition to our rainforest.

33:21

But as I looked towards the back of Pantdora, I noticed a large grass plant had sprung out

33:27

from the ground.

33:28

I was pretty sure this was from one of the seeds collected when the Terra Raiders, our

33:33

marauder ants were still around.

33:35

They have since disappeared from our rainforest due to either the heat or mites.

33:41

But speaking of grasses, this brings me now to our fifth and final possible biome for

33:47

an ecosystem vivarium.

33:52

I believe most of us have been to some kind of grassland or open field and know what it’s

33:58

like.

33:59

It’s full of tonnes of life, including reptiles like snakes, lizards, and even tortoises,

34:04

amphibians, mammals like moles and rodents, as well as insects.