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AntsUtah's Formicariums

formicariums nest hobby lobby perfect cast

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#1 Online AntsUtah - Posted January 7 2021 - 7:24 PM

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*If you are interested in a custom-made formicarium of almost any design, please contact me via personal messenger. I'd love to work something out with you, and make a nest for your ants that will not only look good, but will allow your ants to thrive.

 

I don't want to overload the "Pictures of formicarium's and outworlds" thread, so I am starting this one for all my past, present and future formicarium's.

 

I finally got some Hobby Lobby Perfect Cast, and I decided to make some mini hearth type formicarium's. I used a base layer over the water tower, and coated it with sand. Then I used some wet sand to form the mold for the future chambers. One of the formicarium's had stalactites and the other had some red lava rock I found. Finally I took them out and washed them and then drilled the entrance and nestmate holes. One of the formicarium's cracked along the layer line, where the two sets of Perfect cast met, as it was weakened by the loose sand. I had to epoxy it together and it still functions fine, but it's aesthetically less pleasing. Overall I'm pleased with how these turned out and I will be making some more of these with the following exceptions: applying the second layer of perfect cast sooner to allow it to fully adhere to the base layer, and use larger sand grains for a more rugged look.

 

Sorry about the pictures and lighting, using my iPhone.

Attached Files


Edited by AntsUtah, September 18 2021 - 9:45 PM.

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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 8 2021 - 3:25 AM

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Perfect Cast is where it’s at!
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#3 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted January 8 2021 - 7:52 AM

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i love that lighting system. i would literally buy the formicarium for just that. it lets you see your ants much better.


Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

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#4 Offline FSTP - Posted January 8 2021 - 8:21 AM

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looks great! if you cast them in one pour, you won't get that demarcation between the two separate pours.  You can see how I did it in one pour in my mini hearth style building journal. 



#5 Online AntsUtah - Posted January 8 2021 - 12:58 PM

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Yeah, I was just trying to have a flat bottom for the chambers, by the way, I really like your formicarium's.

 

looks great! if you cast them in one pour, you won't get that demarcation between the two separate pours.  You can see how I did it in one pour in my mini hearth style building journal. 


Edited by AntsUtah, August 20 2021 - 1:43 PM.

Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

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#6 Online AntsUtah - Posted January 8 2021 - 1:06 PM

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Here's some more I made a while back, I still have the crematogaster colony shown and I sold the tetramorium colony.

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#7 Online AntsUtah - Posted January 9 2021 - 1:50 PM

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I made this "all in one" several months ago with Plaster of Paris, I like to call it "The Arch":

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#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 9 2021 - 2:56 PM

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I really like the all in one and the wood one. Crematogaster would love the wood. Nice work!
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#9 Online AntsUtah - Posted February 1 2021 - 5:55 PM

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Some more perfect cast nests:

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#10 Offline antsandmore - Posted February 1 2021 - 5:59 PM

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i love that lighting system. i would literally buy the formicarium for just that. it lets you see your ants much better.

its basically THA, but with its own lighting system. looks like it, must be as good as it.


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Ants I am keeping:

  • Crematogaster colony, queen and 100+(?) workers
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#11 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 1 2021 - 6:09 PM

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Ants would love those. I assume they have water towers? Why does the second one have that outcropping up above?

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#12 Online AntsUtah - Posted February 1 2021 - 7:05 PM

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Ants would love those. I assume they have water towers? Why does the second one have that outcropping up above?

Yeah those darker sections are water towers in the floor, I've put them in their containers and I'll show them again when they have ants. On the second one I was experimenting with 2 layers. albeit a small one.

 

 

i love that lighting system. i would literally buy the formicarium for just that. it lets you see your ants much better.

its basically THA, but with its own lighting system. looks like it, must be as good as it.

 

The 'lighting system' is just an iPhone under the water tower, which you can already do with normal THA. But thanks anyways

 

Here's some more images at different angles, you can see the second level on the second nest broke when I was smashing taking it out.I have some more wood nests that I have been working on, but my Dremel lost its cord so I'll need to figure something out.

Attached Files


Edited by AntsUtah, February 1 2021 - 7:21 PM.

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#13 Offline antsandmore - Posted February 1 2021 - 7:13 PM

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for some reason the broken nest looks more naturalistic and cooler, i would probably choose that over others if they were for sale. Keep at it! i hope I can build formicariums myself.


Ants I am keeping:

  • Crematogaster colony, queen and 100+(?) workers
  • (my signature was seriously outdated)

#14 Online AntsUtah - Posted February 1 2021 - 7:25 PM

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for some reason the broken nest looks more naturalistic and cooler, i would probably choose that over others if they were for sale. Keep at it! i hope I can build formicariums myself.

Thanks for the kind words, I find that making formicariums is kind of an art form. I'm not very good but then you look at things like foranto and THA and it's amazing. I find making these just for fun and to be aesthetically pleasing is quite satisfying. 


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#15 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 1 2021 - 7:46 PM

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I agree completely. Did you mold with sand or clay?

Edited by ANTdrew, February 1 2021 - 7:47 PM.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#16 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted February 2 2021 - 7:54 AM

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have you tested any of these yet with ants?


Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

My Journals

General Journal

Camponotus novaeboracensis Journal

My Shop Here

Attention Ant-Keepers in South Dakota! Join the SoDak(Society Of Dakotan Ant Keepers)

Learn about our website AntsDakota, and help us develop and publish it

Join ouDiscord, where you can discuss your anting ideas in peace, and learn more about AntsDakota.com


#17 Online AntsUtah - Posted February 2 2021 - 2:02 PM

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I agree completely. Did you mold with sand or clay?

I usually use clay but lately I've found sand as another viable option with these nests.

have you tested any of these yet with ants?

Not the new perfect cast nests. The others I have, I'm waiting to take my colonies out of hibernation still...


Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

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#18 Online AntsUtah - Posted May 31 2021 - 6:17 PM

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Here's a followup to some the nests on this thread:

 

The petri nests:

 

Monomorium:

 

Attached File  IMG-0857 (2).jpg   455.82KB   1 downloads

 

 

Formica:

It's hard to see but you can make out the queen and a few pupae

 

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The arch nest 

Crematogaster:

 

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The perfect cast nest

Crematogaster:

 

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And here's some foranto stlye nests I was working on last year, they still need some work:

 

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#19 Online AntsUtah - Posted June 21 2021 - 6:02 PM

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I finished this hobby lobby perfect cast formicarium today. I made it specifically for Pogonomyrmex and Formica species. Unfortunately I did not get many images of the construction process, but you can still see the end result:

 

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This was the one image I took of the nest before the last layer of perfect cast was applied:

 

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#20 Online AntsUtah - Posted June 21 2021 - 7:04 PM

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Recently I made a natural setup for my large Tapinoma sessile colony. These ants are often underrated in my opinion, not just due to their bad rep as a house pest, but also because these ants are often considered to be on par with Tetramorium for how boring they are as a species. Well I decided to see for myself whether or not Tapinoma make a keepable and interesting species, and if it's worth it in the long run, we'll just have to see. 
 
The natural setup has a standard terrarium drainage layer, sand and gravel with a barrier, in this case window screen, on top. I don't really care if the ants venture in to the drainage layer, it should'nt harm them, as it should never be full. I placed two stones into the terrarium to force the ants to build at least somewhat close to the glass, I'm also heating one side, so we will see if the queens chambers are ever visible. On top of the drainage layer I placed some horticultural charcoal. I used 3 parts clay/natural soil (bio-active), to one part sterile sand, to one part bio-earth to create the main substrate, and topped it off with granulated sand and gravel. I purposely kept this setup pretty stark to allow the ants to be the main point of interest. Any plants or decorations I put in will probably all be buried eventually anyways. Finnaly, I placed a large amount of vaseline to the rim of the glass bowl.
 
Here's the completed setup, and after a few days of quarantine, I moved the ants in:
 

 

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This was when I placed their test tubes in:

 

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And just a few day later, you can see all the material being dug up:

 

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Edited by AntsUtah, October 29 2021 - 3:46 PM.

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