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making a formicarium with a bottom that can just have water
Hi I'm making a formicarium out of grout but i plan on the bottom under the grout to be filled with small rock,sand, maybe activated charcoal and water like a well. It will be like in nature..... like a well. I plan on having a chamber at the bottom of the grout nest close to the water. I'm thinking that chamber will be where the most humidity is the highest. Will be a big micro (small chambers and tunnels) for my monomorium ants.
Hi! I had a similar design to my Camponotus grout nest, I used aquarium gravel at the bottom. However, because I did a DIY nest there was a few gaps that the smaller workers eventually found and around 6 escaped. My grout nest was glued in place with some room for me to reach around to get to the bottom gravel layer where these workers had died. They're bodies, mixed with the water layer, would've caused some mold issues that I was able to stop by digging out this bottom gravel layer after drying it out and closing the gaps they escaped from. Now, I'm just using a cotton roll in the gravel's place instead to provide hydration until I figure out if I'll replace all the gravel after hibernation.
I think it's a good idea to have a bottom water layer, just be mindful of how long the water will sit against the nest medium which could erode quickly and if this layer is accessible by escaped ants. I would advise sanitizing the hardscape of your nest and any gravel you use with either a vinegar (50/50 with hot water) or hydrogen peroxide soak and rinse and soak after with water.
I designed this nest for a Camponotus colony, so I wanted ventilation gaps to be present around the chambers. I'd be more worried about gaps with tiny ants, good luck!
Nordic Ant's plaster cup design could be an inspiration, like ponerinecat mentioned:
Keeping- Camponotus pennsylvanicus