Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hambase Alpha restoration

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hambase Delta

This is my design for a new habitat based around the largest transparent acrylic drybox that I am aware of. At the time Hambase Alpha was built, the case it uses was the largest available, but since then I've discovered a yet larger one, seen here.

As you can see, there is roughly twice the interior space as Hambase Alpha, but no wheel. This is because Delta is not intended to be a standalone habitat. It will be the first habitat designed around modularity, using the gate valve and flexible tube joining system described here. This will allow me to connect it to Hambase Alpha, as seen in the diagram below:

This will satisfy the two main requests I've had from people following this project: More living space for the hambros, and multiple habitats connected by tubes. The resulting pair of connected habitats will have a running wheel, two water bottles, a considerably improved electric heater pad which covers nearly the whole floorspace of Hambase Delta's floor 1, three different 'rooms' to occupy, more room for food, in all ways ideal conditions for very long underwater stays. Hypothetically once I've proven the linking tunnel system it will be possible to connect any number of habitats. I just don't have the money for that. Or even for 2. I have so far received $30 in donations towards this, which is enough to buy one ballast pod without weights and a water bottle.

If I can eventually managed to built this 2 hab assembly, I am satisfied with it. It has everything I think is necessary for safety, comfort and ample living space for long periods, it realizes the Hampture concept without sacrificing or compromising anything and it's a complete demonstration of a generalized modular habitat system that anyone interested in doing so can replicate for their own use. I would, when this is complete, point a webcam at it and livestream the hambros going about their undersea lives 24/7 like I did last year. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Introducing Cousteau and Nemo

Bought some new ham hams today. Got two this time. More than one because a solitary ham would be lonely, but not three because Hambase was a bit crowded with 3 occupants, and the larger habitat I have planned won't be ready for a long time unless donations pick up. Was going to name them Demon Semen and Fart Tornado but figured that would not go over well. Other possible names included McNugget and Sodomite. I am not good at naming animals.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Habitat refurbishing

As you'll recall, the heaters in Hambase Alpha broke toward the end of it's use. The problem was I had exposed connectors on the outside of the hull that the USB cords plugged into to supply power. Water got into the space inside the connectors and rusted them to the point that power was no longer being delivered (It isn't salt water, so there wasn't a significant short and the heaters worked fine until rust set in)

Since I had a bunch more heater pads laying around (these are cheap) I decided to finally get around to adding a pair of them to Hamlab. I never left a hamster in this habitat for any length of time before because it didn't have heaters. I didn't bother adding any because why have any of them live here when they could enjoy the more spacious, wheel equipped Hambase? But with Hambase undergoing refurbishment, I'd like to have one hab fully equipped to support a hamsternaut comfortably. I plan to buy a new set of hambros soon. This won't hold three or even two, it's just enough space for one of them, for durations of 1-3 days (as there is no wheel) this should at least get me back into the business of underwater hamster shenanigans, and motivate me to fix up Hambase Alpha faster.

What it needs is to have the two little heating pads (like those in Hamlab) removed, and replaced with a Reptitherm 110v heater pad that covers nearly the whole floor. This way, three hams don't have to fight over two small heating pads, each only big enough for one of them. Even when the heaters in Hambase worked, that was a problem.  Sufficient, even heating is an absolute priority for submerged small animal habitats. They aren't big animals, they lose heat easily and have fast metabolisms. They originally lived in deserts, so they need to be kept warm. Even with an aquarium water heater, the temp your fish like is still uncomfortably cold to a small mammal. Anyone working on their own such habs should take note, if it hasn't got a heater, it isn't fit for occupation for longer than a few minutes. If it hasn't got a wheel, a few days is the maximum 'mission duration' I recommend, as they need the exercise+stimulation.