^ The donation button in the top right helps me buy parts for new, larger habitats and to keep this stream going.
Q: What in god's name is going on here? A: This is an underwater colony for hamsters. The beginnings of one, anyway.
Q: How does the hamster breathe? A: Fresh air is continuously supplied by an aquarium pump.
Q: What if there's a power outage? A: The aquarium pump has 14 hours of battery backup. I regularly monitor the colony via this stream to make sure everything's in working order.
Q: What if the pump has a mechanical failure? A: There is a backup pump.
Q: The habitat looks very small A: It's identical in size to the Habitrail Ovo habitat they live in on land. Dwarf hamsters are small, and provided a wheel to exercise on they don't need a lot of space. Even so, I am hard at work on "Mega hab", with roughly 3 times the interior volume. It's been slow going due to the expense.
Q: What if the habitat leaks?? A: Then air will bubble out, but water will not enter. The habitats are positive pressure. That means the compressed air sent down by the pump builds up until it's slightly greater than the outside water pressure, and then bubbles out through the seal. This equilibrium is maintained as long as the pump continues operating, and as a result the habitat is very fault tolerant when it comes to flooding. Each new habitat undergoes prolonged testing without occupants to ensure reliability, and each air hose is fitted with a one way valve so that they do not lose pressure in the event of a double pump failure.
Q: Isn't it cold underwater? A: There's a large resistive heating pad in the habitat, supplied power from the surface by wire.
Q: I just logged in to look and the hamster isn't moving!! Is it okay?? A: Yes, hamsters are crepuscular. This means they are active mainly during sunup and sundown. They sleep the rest of the time, although they will periodically leave the nest to eat, drink and run on the wheel. Stick around and watch for a while, you'll see this.
Q: Okay, but what's the point of this? A: The spectacle. A design exercise. Entertainment. The hamster is comfortable and safe, let out to play once a week while I clean/restock the habitat, and as best I can tell it makes no difference to the little dude that it lives underwater. I've also built a solar powered diving helmet based on lessons I learned from this project, and have developed ideas for how to improve future human scale underwater habitats.
Q: I see a second habitat to the right of the main one. What's it for? A: That's greenhab. It grows plants. You can see videos of it on the Hampture youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/anonbutt). It's not interesting enough for the stream, I'd have to zoom out a bit, giving a worse view of the hamster.
Q: Alright, this seems cool. Do you need any help? A: It's fine as is, but if you'd like to see more/larger habitats, more fish, plants and rocks, you can donate using the instructions supplied earlier. This really helps, as even small underwater living structures are surprisingly expensive to build.
Q: What's in store for the future? A: I'm working on Mega Hab, a 3x larger habitat intended to be placed in a lake or pond. Perhaps someday I can link several of those with clear tubing to form an interconnected city.