The Chinese Alternative

We were tipped off recently that there is a great deal to be had on formicariums from China. 

All residing on TaoBao.com, the ebay equivalent in China, we were intrigued to see what China had to offer.

After entering 蚂蚁巢 into the search bar and selecting "shops" we were presented with a plethora of options. Several stores and products are available at absurd prices. Formicarium with outworlds and top down nests are available for as little as US$5. 

Great accessories are available that we'd never seen before. Things like this refillable glass test tube or miniature founding formicarium that would be great to help you get your new colonies started.

Even simple things like these PVA tube plugs are a great alternative to cotton. Liquid feeders are available and come in many different styles and sizes. Check out some below.

There's plenty of simple acrylic formicariums available. Some are huge while most are more typically sized. They all have one thing in common though, the price. They're unbelievably cheap. The formicarium below left is only US$10. The formicarium below right is US$4.

This particular nest below for Oecophylla sp. was something that we've never seen before, costing just US$20.

 

We found a unique formicarium store that was selling some great products such as the two below.

The formicarium and nest below has been carved out of natural rock. Perfect for any species that love moist rock hard nests. 

Natural sand/dirt setups are even showcased. This example below seems to have a separate outworld to the right of the nesting area.

We've seen some bizarre creations such as this formicarium. Just US$9.

Unfortunately we've also seen some knockoffs. Below you can see a version of Tarheel Ants' Inception Chamber. They look subpar but cost only US$10.

You really should check it out. Just be warned though that there are a few caveats. 

Quality is always questionable when it's coming from China. Not necessarily a certainty, but it's a risk nonetheless.

Shipping costs could be a problem when you're air freighting large heavy formicariums. If you're outside of the US though, where most of the popular equipment is coming from, then it might be the same cost to ship from China as from the US.  

Shipping damage is always a risk regardless of where or who you purchase from. But it becomes more of a factor if the product isn't properly packaged.

When you buy from quality retailers you know that you're going to get a quality product and great service.  If you're prepared to take a risk though it might just be worth it.

 
 
 
 

Brendon Cameron