Aquascaping inspiring Formiscaping?

James Findley from  The Green Machine Ltd

James Findley from The Green Machine Ltd

We all know that we can buy formicariums that are already decorated or finished with rocks, sand, branches, etc. But does that take all the fun out of ant keeping? Is it too hard to create a world for our ants to live in? Maybe we just need some inspiration.

We've got a long history in the aquarium industry. We've created a countless number of tanks, and we find this part the most enjoyable. The process that is involved in decorating the tank is called aquascaping.

Almost becoming an independent industry, aquascaping involves creating a world for your pets to inhabit, with hobbyists spending large amounts of time setting out and planning the layouts. The Japanese are the masters of this trade, their minimalist approach and knowledge of harmony with nature proves extremely useful. Legends like Takashi Amano have created thousands of unbelievable fish tanks. The tanks pictured below are a testament to their ability to create a miniature world inside a glass box. It's these tanks, that with some imagination could easily be used to house ants instead of fish, that inspired us to think about aquascaping as inspiration for formiscaping.

The Green Machine Ltd create fantastic aquascapes. In the video below you can see James Findley creating a tank from start to finish that could easily be adapted for ants. The shallow tank is perfect for an outworld as it gives you a great view of your ants. As long as you can create an appropriate escape prevention barrier then this style is fantastic.

Or this great video below that demonstrates a slightly smaller but equally great aquascape.


Open top formicariums enable the viewer to see inside without any obstruction.

Further to this, if you're able to create a formicarium where the material you use protrudes out of the top, it creates a seamless cross-over between the inhabitants and the environment. 

The challenge again lies in escape prevention. We certainly wouldn't suggest housing our Myrmecia's in an open top style such as the one shown to the right. But smaller less aggressive ants would be perfect.

A specific style of aquascaping called "hardscaping" utilises mostly rocks and sand and is a great realistic style that could easily lend itself to antscaping. Some of the examples we've found are shown below.

Alternatively you could use something that is slightly more natural with some large deadwoods such as the images below.

There are a number of great examples that we've left out, but we think we've shown what can be created if given the right inspiration. The most important thing to note is that most of the tanks shown above are utilising dead materials, something that ant keepers are sometimes restricted to. To prove that a beutiful outworld can be created using these materials is promising. We'll be working on a new formicarium using the shallow tank design for one of our lucky colonies.

Hang-on. These are fishtanks not formicariums. Are we on the right track? Have we gone mad? Let us know what you think below.


Brendon Cameron