3. Select the Formikarium material
An important role is played by the material from which the formicarium will be made - after all, the level of moisture, heat distribution and natural ventilation directly depend on it.
Now let's look at the types of formicaria.
3.1 Gypsum is a classic option.
It absorbs well and distributes moisture and heat through the nest. Suitable for many species. Some species (Reapers and Pheidoles) can gnaw on soft plaster and keep them more secure.
3.2 Acrylic is an easy-care material, formicaria of various shapes and sizes can be made. The only serious drawback is that it is difficult to maintain constant humidity, you need to moisturize every few days.
3.3 Foam concrete is a good alternative to plaster. It absorbs moisture slightly less, conducts heat poorly. It is great for large ants.
3.4 Aerated concrete - similar to foam concrete in properties, but more durable. Good barrier for biting species.
3.5 Wood is a good material for dry-loving species. The tree bends and deteriorates when exposed to moisture, so it should always be dry in formicaria.
3.6 Cork is a good option for woody species. It combines the properties of a massive and hard socket. Ants can build their own tunnels.
3.7 Gel - totally unsuitable for ants. A gel cannot be a complete feed and rubbish is formed when feeding. As a result, the formicaria become contaminated and impossible to see behind the ants, and the ants die.
You can combine different materials - such as wood and plaster - to create a gradient environment. All hard formicaria can be painted with water-based acrylic paint.
3.8 Sand is the easiest option. you can mix several types / colors of sand and get a beautiful pattern. Landslides happen, be careful when observing. Suitable for desert species.
3.9 Clay is a more practical but dirtier option as well. It keeps its shape well, but it gets dirty, making it very difficult to observe the ant's life. Suitable for tropical ants.
3.10 Earth / Chernozy is the middle option between clay and sand. In general, it rarely crumbles, but it stains the glass. Mold also grows on it, and the mites hide easily. Good for Atta ants and tropical ants.
Various stones and decorations can be added to the substrate.