Setting up your Formicarium
In this section I will guide you through how to setup your formicarium to make it ready for ants.
Aside from what came in your kit you will need the following:
- 1 Cup of water (2 cups with the larger kits)
- Paper Towels
- Small mixing container
- Packing Peanuts from the shipping box
- Mixing stick or fork
First remove the water sponge from its holder. Then using a small piece of paper towel and a q-tip, cover the nest entrance hole so no grout gets in there. (a wad of paper towel works fine on the larger units). If your setup has an expanding plug you can leave that in place.
Next put the grout powder in a container (manufacturer suggests using a face mask while mixing as it is a very fine powder). Add about 1/4 cup of your water and stir it up and add more water if needed to achieve the consistency of creamy peanut butter or thick cake batter. If you make it too runny don't worry as it will thicken up but it will take longer. Set aside a few minutes while you do the next part.
Put the brackets (if included) in place to keep the nest parts tight up against the acrylic then place the packing peanuts around the whole void area until you reach the height desired. Remember you need at least 1 inch around the whole top to smear on your insect barrier solution.
Next you will start pouring the grout over the peanuts. I usually use the end of my mixing stick or fork and work it around the outer edges so you cannot see any of the peanuts from the outside. I keep adding until I have covered the all the plastic parts. I even slowly edge the grout right to the acrylic on top of the nest pieces to look more natural. Work slowly around the expansion plug area and when done work the plug up and down to ensure it moves freely then remove it completely. Do not worry if you splash or get some grout on the acrylic as it easily wipes off with your finger. Do not clean the plastic/acrylic with paper towels as it could cause small scratches.
Work the surface of the grout and make your "ground" area as you like. You can make small ledges and grooves. Even use a small rock to push some grout up to make a mini hill. Now take your plastic plants and push them into the grout at the desired locations, same with the little rocks and pebbles and finally sprinkle with the sand if desired. You can now remove the paper towel and q-tip from the nest entrance and smooth the grout around the hole to look like a natural ant hole.
If you are happy with your setup then you will want to prop the front of the habitat so it is up about an inch or so. This is very important as we want the grout to dry and not allow any liquid to work its way down the front of the nest. The water will work its way down and to the back of the habitat area. Leave to dry at least overnight and preferably 24 hours. Clean the acrylic with your finger and a soft cloth. The mixing container and utensils will easily be cleaned with warm water.
I like to add a twig or two from my yard but just make sure it is free of any pesticides!
That is it! Your habitat is ready for ants!
Video Coming Soon!