This formicarium has a hybrid frame with two hydration chambers on each middle side. The multiple length-sized chambers allow colonies to have different options of space. In addition, it is modular and expandable.
The texturized interior provides an ideal substrate and enables ants to use all the available space to cling on to walls easily. This formicarium is perfect for colonies in need of ample space.
Each chamber or section measures 24 mm depth by 16 mm wide, and length varies; it can house a great diversity of species.
Includes pre-cut high light transmission red film and black plastic film.
Combined with an outworld area, you have a modest-sized setup.
Specifications and Instructions
Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 3 cm +/- 3%
Features on each side an opening to insert tubing; two opposite sides can line up to perfectly match our outside world hole openings. Tubing outside diameter options are: 9.5 mm (3/8″) or 12.7 mm(1/2″).
Clear glass, with exceptional clarity, mounted with Neodymium magnets, 2 mm thick.
The frame is 3D printed using PLA pro plastic (sturdier than the more common PLA plastic).
The water chambers are made with a unique formulation of porous grout to ensure water transport; inside walls have multiple layers composed of sanded grout and mineral additives.
Weight: 332 grams.
Before introducing any species, please fill up the water chamber with distilled water to its max capacity; we recommend introducing ants 24 hours after hydration.
NOTE > For high humidity species, the substrate hydration process can be kick-started and sped up by adding, 24 hours before use, 1 to 5 ml of distilled water throughout the bottom of a few internal chambers, put glass back in place and fill water chambers.
Avoid intense vibrations or impacts as this can crack the substrate and glass.
Hydration Chamber Instructions
- Always use distilled water; this helps diminish mineral build-up.
- It is ideal to wait at least 24 to 48 hours after the water chambers empty before adding more water.
- When adding more water, only fill the chamber to a % similar to the relative humidity % your species requires (it is rare to need a complete fill).
- If the water chambers are empty and there are water droplets on the glass or the substrate looks wet, do not add more water.
- Adding too much water can result in a saturated substrate, these causes mould outbreaks; such water will look for ways to escape and evaporate.
The front glass has been carefully paired with the unit to ensure a perfect seal with magnetic force. The glass is waterproof, and the plastic frame around it is close to being waterproof, meaning containing humidity inside is straightforward. However, the substrate is only water-resistant, meaning water does not quickly go through it but gets absorbed within the material. The water chamber uses porous plaster to transfer humidity to the inside walls of the nest, similar to cotton inside a founding test tube, with the difference that we can control the amount of liquid on the other side.
OK, so how do we do it? Measuring how much water goes in and how often is the best and most common method:
Due to absorption, water slowly distributes to the rest of the inside walls. How quickly the water dissipates is an indicator of how dry the nest is; rarely should you need to keep the water chamber filled to maximum capacity, as this would only be ideal for very high humidity species.
Once a week, adding water quarter to halfway capacity keeps inside humidity around 40% to 60%, depending on temperature and external moisture. Each water chamber distributes humidity to its corresponding section, which creates a gradient in humidity; the water may disappear from the chamber, but it is now stored within the nest’s walls and will slowly evaporate as it is sealed inside by the plastic frame and glass. If you overfill, the nest walls will become soaked, and the water will look for ways to evaporate and most possibly leak through the glass or crevices in the plastic frame, as well as increasing the possibility of a mould outbreak and or mineral build-up.
We suggest observing the glass and substrate surfaces for condensation; having some minor condensation early in the mornings is typical (or with any drop in temperature), but if it is always there, or it takes longer to disappear as the day warms up, this means you need to add less water or less often. On the contrary, if you never see condensation even with quick reductions in temperature, then you may need to add more water, or more often.
You can test humidity quickly with a tiny piece of ice against the glass, do it on an empty chamber, pay attention to the times it takes to see condensation form and use that time as a reference.
All of our grout formulations are mould resistant, but any leftover food or organic materials and excess humidity can result in mould. Always use feeding dishes and liquid feeding trays, clean up as often as possible, keep humidity to the minimum needs and ensure your colony has a small tight space, so they keep it clean.
How to clean
Cleaning your formicarium is very easy. First, remove the front glass with a gentle pull to detach the magnets and gently remove all the dry debris; apply slight pressure to avoid cracking or dislodging the substrate.
Once done, we recommend using 3% USP hydrogen peroxide and a very soft brush to clean the grout on the walls; you can find peroxide at any pharmacy. The mildly abrasive properties of hydrogen peroxide act as a gentle, non-toxic bleach. If you have any complications removing stains, you can let it sit submerged in a 50/50% solution of distilled water and hydrogen peroxide for 10 to 20 minutes. Once done, rinse with distilled water and let it air dry for at least 24 hours without the front glass before it is ready for its subsequent use.
Do not use any soaps or acids like vinegar to clean your formicarium as such acids eat away the lime, calcium and other minerals in the substrate, they could also leave toxic residues within the porous surface.