Specifications and Instructions
Dimensions: 25 x 75 x 24 mm +/- 3%
Features a hole on the front to fit approximately 9.5 mm (3/8-inch) tubing.
Optical glass (1 mm thick) with exceptional transparency mounted with Neodymium magnets, the rear glass is mounted with aquarium-safe silicone.
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 chamber is made with a special formulation of porous grout to ensure water transport; inside walls have two layers composed of sanded grout and mineral additives.
Weight: 30 grams +/- 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.
This nest should stand with the glass on a vertical position; we do not recommend laying it flat as this will reduce the efficiency of the hydration system.
Avoid intense vibrations or impacts as this can crack the grout and glass.
This unit is an ideal first formicarium for a new colony coming out of their test tube. One of the most common mistakes we encounter is moving into a formicarium to early. Still, this unit allows us to make that gradual step, avoiding stressing your new colony with an oversized formicarium.
Alternatively, it could be used as a founding chamber for bigger species like Camponotus, once the first workers arrive; connect it to a small outworld and you have an easy small set-up.
This double glass design features a plastic/grout hybrid frame and an innovative hydration chamber system; the hexagonal pattern used is by far one of the most space-efficient shapes found in nature, allowing us to hold a significant amount of ants in a tiny space while having an incredible view. Each hexagon can hold 12 to 32 mid-sized ant species if they get very close and tight.
The inside walls have a very texturized surface that ants love, having a glass on the front and back on makes it so easy to observe, learn and photograph.
You have the option to add-on a pre-cut high light transmission red film.
Hydration Chamber Instructions
The front glass has been carefully paired with the unit to ensure a perfect seal using magnetic force. The rear glass is sealed with silicone to prevent humidity from escaping. Glass is waterproof, and the plastic frame around it is close to being waterproof, this means containing humidity is very easy. Grout, on the other hand, is only water-resistant meaning water does not easily go through it but it does get absorbed in it. The water chamber uses porous grout to transfer humidity to the inside walls of the nest, similar to cotton inside a founding test tube.
OK, so how do we do it? There are two combined methods to control humidity inside the formicarium.
First, rarely should you need to keep the water chamber filled all the way up as this would only be ideal for really high humidity species. Watering the chamber quarter to halfway once a week seems to keep the inside humidity around 40% to 50%, but this also depends on temperature and external humidity. 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 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. You can add 1 little piece of paper in between the glass and frame next to each magnet, the average printer paper measures 0.2 mm so keep this in mind. For example, if the outside air is always at 60% relative humidity, and you are raising a species that needs 50% humidity then you would benefit from having two pieces of paper on all 4 corners (0.4 mm of clearance) allowing lots of air exchange, you would need to add very little water to the chamber in this case.
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.
How to clean
Cleaning your formicarium is very easy. 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 the interior grout.
Once done, we recommend using 3% USP hydrogen peroxide and a very soft brush to clean the grout on the walls; it can be purchased at any pharmacy. The mildly abrasive properties of hydrogen peroxide act as a gentle non-toxic bleach. If you have any hard to remove stains, you can also let it sit submerged in a 50/50% solution of distilled water and hydrogen peroxide for 10 to 20 minutes, once done and ready rinse with distilled water and let it air dry for at least 24 hours without the front glass before it is ready for its next use.
Do not use any soaps or acids like vinegar to clean your grout formicarium as such acids eat away the lime, calcium and other minerals in the grout, they could also leave toxic residues within the porous grout.
The design corresponds to our second generation of "Hybrid" formicariums, an external layer printed with a sturdy frame of ABS plastic sealed with conservation clear glass, an internal layer made of grout, sand and mineral additives. Paired with a watering chamber specially designed to distribute moisture evenly through the chambers.
The exterior layer is very water-resistant and very efficient at retaining humidity, due to the slow evaporation the inner layer maintains very constant levels of humidity, it needs very little water and controlling the dosage of water and frequency determines the overall inner relative humidity of the nest, very little water is needed.
The inner cavity has a sandy and rugged texture, as this provides a better grip for ants with the substrate, similar to the one found on our grout inserts and the most high-quality formicariums on the market.