(Ant Farm, Ant Nest or Ant Housing)
Before using your ant formicarium, read the "Ant Formicarium Hydration Guide" and the "Hybrid Formicaria Gen & Class" explanation page. You will learn the basics of water transport in air and porous substrates and the hybrid concept in our formicaria.
One of the biggest challenges of the ant-keeping hobby is understanding formicarium hydration. In a nest, the hydration mechanisms help us control proper moisture levels in the air and walls, not necessarily for ant-drinking purposes. In nature, Ants mainly acquire clean, pure water from early morning condensation or rain. In the ant-keeping hobby, this translates to the outworld environment in the form of liquid feeders filled with fresh, pure water.
Tips: If it looks wet, it is too humid. Distilled water is essential to reduce any mineral buildup from happening over time.
What is a formicarium (ant farm)?
A formicarium, also known as an ant farm, ant habitat, ant nest or ant housing, is an enclosed area for keeping and raising queen ants or ant colonies for observation or research. This means a formicarium falls under the category of a vivarium, which is used to observe and study a living being. The classic ant farm concept was born in the 60s, with a sandwich of glass panels filled with sand for ants to dig and forage above ground in one compact setup. In the ant-keeping hobby, the formicarium area is assigned for nesting or direct housing ants, while the outworld area is for foraging. Nowadays, we have much more specialized equipment.
Our formicaria are designed and made in Canada. Such features a hybrid concept, which means each formicarium has a mix of materials like plastic, mineral substrate, glass, adhesives and powerful magnets; while using each material's advantages. The ants are mainly in contact with an absorbent substrate layer; such helps distribute and retain humidity for extended periods. As a result, they require very little water to stay hydrated.
When choosing a formicarium, select the ant housing that is the right size for your ant colony. An ant formicarium that is too large for your colony can stress your tiny companions, or they will start using the extra space to store their waste and possibly have a mould outbreak. It is better to gradually increase nest space and expand the area instead of starting with the biggest formicarium. Keep in mind that having a modular format also allows removing, replacing, or maintaining only the areas that need it.
Ant nests come in all shapes and sizes with different features that might be ideal for certain species. We suggest you research the requirements of the species you'd like to house in your formicarium first and shop for their home once you've decided on the colony. For example, some ant species need a lot of humidity and such may be hard to obtain inside a test tube setup; using a founding nest with the capacity to have a wet substrate may be ideal.
TIP: If you are looking for the most cost-efficient and straightforward formicarium for a small ant colony? Look at the "Test tube for array formicarium" or any test tube-based design. It is small and simple, including a tubing adapter and accessories that connect it to other hardware. Best of all, interconnecting our test tube setups is easy and can be done with adapters or test tube ports. Easy gradual expandability is key in ant keeping.
Funny fact; formicarium in the plural form is formicaria. Many people, including us, used to think it is formicariums, with an "s" at the ending.