This founding formicarium is just like one of the big city apartments you would find for a human, small and cozy with tiny rooms minus the outrageous rent cost!
This formicarium has been made with small to medium founding queens in mind, it features the following benefits:
At its core center it has a small chamber with a low height, ants like small cozy places, this chamber also has substrate making cocoon spinning much easier and bringing other benefits and as well as carrying humidity to the environment.
The 2 chambers can be used one after the other, providing a smaller starting space and later when needed, be able to expand gradually, keeping the formicarium space as small as needed increases growth rate.
Ant species like Prenolepis imparis likes to rest against hard moist substrate, the wall next to the water chamber has the most humidity, the rest of the chamber has humidity gradient that lowers as you go further from the water chamber wall.
The entrance chamber, does not have substrate making this chamber drier, this is ideal as colonies will be able to use both areas according to their needs and if by chance food is brought into this first chamber it will be hard to mold.
The water chamber allows to control the humidity depending on frequency and quantity of water added. This means the formicarium can fit dry to humid species. ** The unit is very efficient at retaining humidity and needs very little water on a planned schedule. (see instructions below).
The unit includes a 4 cm vinyl tube that has a polyester fiber plug, this allows to provide ventilation into the unit, please see photos for reference as it can be used in 3 different positions. The plug can be removed and substituted for cotton, or you can plug the entrance with the material of your choice.
You have the option to add-on a pre-cut high light transmission red film for just $0.50 more.
Combined with a small foraging area the apartment is a very small efficient way of starting an ant colony without spending much money.
Before introducing any species, please fill-up the water chamber with distilled water from 50 to 75% of its capacity; we recommend introducing ants 24 hours after the first initial hydration.
Please read water chamber instructions below for further information on humidity control.
Photos illustrate the 3 main ways the hose and ventilation plug can be used, for example you can bypass the frontal chamber or you can create a small tiny chamber on the tubing itself.
Heating cables or heating mats are both acceptable ways to add warmth to your colony, we recommend passing the heating cable on top of the glass towards the front chamber or on the side same towards the front chamber only using a "U" shape against the wall. If using a mat then only place the front of the formicarium on top of it. If the water chamber or central chamber are directly heated humidity build up will occur fairly quickly, we also recommend using a temperature probe to control the heating element temperature.
Avoid intense vibrations or impacts as this can crack the grout and glass.
Hydration Chamber Instructions
This formicarium needs very little water under normal conditions. For example, house with an average temperature of 20 Celsius and a relative humidity of 40% would require to fill the water chamber to around 20% capacity once a week.
Please use distilled water or highly purified water to avoid mineral build up or introducing organic materials that can cause mold, fungi or bacterial growth.
Small vermiculite or perlite chunks can be added to fill the water chamber to 75% capacity when dry and before introducing any species, in use this allows to spread humidity longer without having to add much water, once more little goes a long way. (keep in mind doing this won't allow you to know how much water remains absorbed in the vermiculite thus humidity can only be controlled by recording the water dosage and frequency).
Even when the water chamber looks dry, the substrate still retains humidity, it is wise and recommended to only refill the water chamber after 24 to 48 hours of observing the chamber emptying out, if the water chamber remains dry for long and the environment humidity is low the internal chamber will dry up eventually.
We suggest observing the glass and grout surfaces for condensation, having some condensation early in the mornings is normal (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 and less often. On the contrary, if you never see condensation even with quick reductions in temperature then you may need to add more water and more often.