Ant terrarium confusion

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TheAntQueen
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:18 am
Location: Britain

Ant terrarium confusion

Post: # 62826Post TheAntQueen
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:38 am

Hi ant community!
I need some help with my colony of Ants! As I'm new to ant keeping I'm not sure what to do with my brand new colony of ants. This is my second time trying to have a colony and so far I'm getting further than I've ever gotten before with my queen actually having ants (which my previous Queen never had although she always had larvae).
My plan is that when they grow to around 40 ants, I want to move them into a terrarium but I keep hearing about putting ants into a formacarium. Also, what important thing would I need to know about making a terrarium?
I'm so excited and nervous for my ants!
Ant love!

Hawkeye
Posts: 1053
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Ant terrarium confusion

Post: # 62873Post Hawkeye
Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:20 pm

TheAntQueen wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:38 am
Hi ant community!
I need some help with my colony of Ants! As I'm new to ant keeping I'm not sure what to do with my brand new colony of ants. This is my second time trying to have a colony and so far I'm getting further than I've ever gotten before with my queen actually having ants (which my previous Queen never had although she always had larvae).
My plan is that when they grow to around 40 ants, I want to move them into a terrarium but I keep hearing about putting ants into a formacarium. Also, what important thing would I need to know about making a terrarium?
I'm so excited and nervous for my ants!
Ant love!
There are some obvious advantages to using a formicarium of course. First of all you're able to see the ants and track their progress a lot better. Next to that, it is easier to connect multiple formicaria or different outworlds together if you ever need to expand.

It is however perfectly fine to house your ants in a terrarium as well, which should provide a more natural surrounding for them. How you set up your terrarium depends on the species of ant you have. A leafcutter ant colony (to pick an obvious example) will have very specific needs compared to say a pavement ant colony.

A couple of things you need to take into account is (nest) humidity, temperature, size, access to water, access to food, a barrier to prevent escapes and beneficial secondary species like springtails and earthworms for example.

I recommend you build your formicarium up in different layers, starting with hydro pellets or pebbles, covered with a layer of root fabric. On top of that a mixture of charcoal, cocoa fibers / moss and finally your soil composition. That way excess water can settle at the bottom of the tank, without flooding the nest. This should also allow you to have a humidity gradient in the soil, and have a visual clue (provided the hydro pellets layer stays visible) as to how moist your formicarium is.

I would, of course, recommend some plants, (drift) wood and rocks, to make the surface interesting for the ants and pleasing to look at. This will also allow you to easily offer up food at different locations, to help keep the colony active.

You might actually find it helpful to have a look at my design thread or the youtube clips I made, in which I explain how I plan to build my huge paludarium.

TheAntQueen
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:18 am
Location: Britain

Re: Ant terrarium confusion

Post: # 62894Post TheAntQueen
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:07 pm

Thanks so much for that!
You have answered all my worries and it was really helpful!
My colony is Lasius Niger so I don't think they are really fussy.
In terms of water, what is best recommended to giving ants there water in a terrarium (as I think that's what I will go with) or is just watering the terrarium enough?
Also, do I have to use charcoal and moss for the mixture and where could I get springtails or would they just come with soil?

Hawkeye
Posts: 1053
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Ant terrarium confusion

Post: # 62901Post Hawkeye
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:21 pm

TheAntQueen wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:07 pm
Thanks so much for that!
You have answered all my worries and it was really helpful!
My colony is Lasius Niger so I don't think they are really fussy.
In terms of water, what is best recommended to giving ants there water in a terrarium (as I think that's what I will go with) or is just watering the terrarium enough?
Also, do I have to use charcoal and moss for the mixture and where could I get springtails or would they just come with soil?
Haha I am not telling you what you should do, just recommending you do some things.
The charcoal and moss or cocoa fibres mixture is apparently a very good breeding ground for the springtails. The moss or fibres will be able to soak up moisture and slowly release it, helping you with the humidity of the soil and the charcoal can actually absorb potentially harmful substances. It is up to you if you use it or not. Then again it is easy enough to get, just break down some pieces next time you have a bbq.
You can probably get springtails at your local pet store, if not they can tell you where to get them the easiest.

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