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Dome formicarium tutorial - using the individual layer method

formicarium diy tutorial dome adobe clay perfect cast

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#1 Offline UtahAnts - Posted June 24 2023 - 9:12 PM


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Here's a picture heavy tutorial for the dome formicarium going over the 2 main phases. This is the third version of previous formicariums based around clear cloche domes as seen on this thread here. This particular design, the V3, featues individualy cast layers which were then coated with an adobe material. In previous builds I have cast all the levels with sand in one continous pouring session. This method offers a more stress-free, albiet time consuming, alternative.


Shout out to ben for printing the bases for me - he designed the base with a couple inital specs from me in no time at all. Fantastic quality.


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Phase 1

Making, connecting, and cementing the levels.


1. Gather initial materials. Notice the clump of non-toxic modeling clay to create the levels. The cup has had some holes drilled into it to allow for tubing to pass through each level. 


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2. Create a clay mold to cast the levels. I tried to keep my design simple so that I would be able to easily replicate each level.


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3. Cast the levels and allow to dry. I added some pebbles to the top and bottom of some of the levels, but it really didn't make a difference in the end.
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4. Connect each level with tubing. If tubing is not being used, glue/epoxy would also work just fine. I used chopsticks cut down the middle to keep the levels upright while cementing took place in the step 6.
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5. Create the water tower and prep the base by inserting all the necessary tubing.


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6. Cement the layer tower to the base.


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Phase 2

Prepping the base and coating the levels with perfect cast mixed with clay and sand.


1. Sift the clay and mix in sand for desired ratio. I prefer 3:1 clay to sand.


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2. Mix the casting material and the sand/clay.
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3. Apply the adobe in batches to each layer. Use a cotton ball once the adobe is recently dried to smooth the layer.


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Let the adobe dry for a day and then wash off any residue. Ants can be housed once the nest has dried (about a day later).
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Top view
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These formicariums are very fun to make, hopefully this gives you some ideas for your own builds!


Edit: Forgot to link the journal showing this formicarium in action! - https://www.formicul...xicanus-colony/

Edited by UtahAnts, July 23 2023 - 3:35 PM.

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Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras


Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

DIY Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Honeypot Ant Journal --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here

#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 25 2023 - 2:28 AM


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Have you considered using air drying clay for your layers? They sell some that already has the adobe color to it at our beloved Hobby Lobby.
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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 UtahAnts - Posted June 25 2023 - 9:18 AM


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That's a great idea, I'l look into that. Any brands you'd suggest or will hobby lobby generally carry non-toxic clay?

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras


Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

DIY Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Honeypot Ant Journal --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here

#4 Offline cokski - Posted March 19 2024 - 8:15 AM


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can you make me one, i will pay you

#5 Offline GOCAMPONOTUS - Posted March 19 2024 - 3:14 PM


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Why are you so desperate? Just try diy first.

Currently keeping: 2 C.vicinus colonies.2 C.sansabeanus. 1 C.leavissimus. 2 C.Ca02. 1 V.pergandei. 4 T.immigrans.1 F.pacifica. 1 C.hyatti

1 M.ergatognya





Trying to get my hands on :C.modoc,A.vercicolor, and Any Honeypots




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: formicarium, diy, tutorial, dome, adobe, clay, perfect cast

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