This formicarium features a plastic/grout hybrid frame and two innovative hydration chambers located in the middle section on each side; the multi-sized chambers allow colonies to have different options of space, it is modular and expandable, the texturized interior provides an ideal substrate and allows ants to use all the available space as they can cling on to walls easily.
This nest is ideal for big colonies in need of ample space. Chambers are 24 mm in depth and 16 mm in width, combined with the multiple lengths this formicarium can house a big diversity of species.
You have the option to add-on a pre-cut high light transmission red film, the option with the included outside world is bottom sanded with a small round copper mesh ventilation lid.
Specifications and Instructions
Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 3 cm +/- 3%
Features on each side a hole for tubing, two opposite sides can line up to match our outside world hole openings perfectly. Tubing outside diameter options are: 9.5 mm (3/8") or 12.7 mm(1/2").
Conservation clear glass (2 mm thick) with 99% UV protection and exceptional clarity mounted with Neodymium magnets.
The frame is 3D printed using ABS plastic (sturdier than the more common PLA plastic, can tolerate hot water and does not degrade in the presence of humidity and organic matter)
The water chambers are made with a special formulation of porous grout to ensure water transport; inside walls have multiple layers composed of sanded grout and mineral additives.
Weight: 332 grams, with Outside world: 525 +/- 3%
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.
Avoid intense vibrations or impacts as this can crack the grout and glass.
Hydration Chamber Instructions
The front glass has been carefully paired with the unit to ensure a perfect seal using magnetic force. Glass is waterproof, and the plastic frame around it is close to being waterproof, this means containing humidity is very easy. The grout mix on the inside, is only water-resistant meaning water does not easily go through it but it does get absorbed within the material. The water chamber uses porous grout to transfer humidity to the inside walls of the nest, similar to cotton inside a founding test tube but we are capable of controlling the amount of liquid on the other side.
OK, so how do we do it? There are two combined methods to control humidity inside the formicarium; 1. Dosing the water and frequency (the common method) 2. Controlling the gap between the glass and frame (delicate adjustment).
When water is added to the chamber it is expected for it to slowly absorb into the rest of the inside walls. How quickly the water disappears is an indicator of how dry the nest is, rarely should you need to keep the water chamber filled all the way up as this would only be ideal for high humidity species. Watering the chamber quarter to halfway once a week seems to keep the inside humidity around 40% to 60%, but this also depends on temperature and external humidity. The water chamber slowly distributes the liquid thru the entire nest, this creates a gradient in humidity, the water may disappear from the chamber but it is now stored within the walls of the nest and will slowly evaporate as it is sealed inside by the frame and glass. If you overfill the nest the walls will become soaked and a mould outbreak can easily happen.
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, you can test this easily with a tiny piece of ice against the glass, do it on an empty chamber or right in front of the water chamber internal glass, pay attention to the times it takes to see condensation form and use that time as a reference.
The second method relies on calibrating the gap between the front glass and the frame, doing this allows for more air exchange and less humidity as it escapes easily. The glass sits perfectly flush against the frame so by adding 1 little piece of paper next to each magnet, in between the glass and frame we are adding a small gap that will increase air-flow and evaporation (the average printer paper measures 0.2 mm in thickness). This method is considered advanced but the unit has the precision to achieve such delicate calibration.
All of our grout formulations are MOLD resistant, BUT > any leftover food or organic materials as well as excess humidity can result in mold, the key is to provide foods that can not be dragged into the inside, 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 to ensure they keep it clean.