Formicarium of the 2/4
Here at Gamergate we've decided to feature unique formicariums from around the world in our Formicarium of the 1/4 feature. Each quarter throughout the year we'll feature a formicarium that we think has excelled in form and function. Hopefully this will help propel the industry forward in formicarium design and construction.
The first formicarium that we've chosen to feature is a fantastic Bullant formicarium from Steve Tuohey in Australia.
Gamergate: Hi Steve, thanks for agreeing to showcase your formicarium and taking the time to answer some of our questions.
Steve: No worries, thanks for your interest.
G: First off, what species are you housing in your formicarium?
S: Myrmecia vindex.
G: We're very lucky to have access to such a great Genus of ant here in Australia. We're huge fans of our world famous Bullants. Next up, what's the size of the formicarium and the nest area?
S: This formicarium consists of an aquarium tank approximately 90cm long, 45cm wide and 60cm high and a Hebel stone (a.k.a Ytong) nest at one end approximately 45cm high x 45cm wide.
G: That's a fairly large formicarium in comparison to most others that we see. How long did it take to build?
S: Approximately 3 - 4 weekends. Most of the time was spent hand carving the Hebel stone and creating tunnels with chisels, files and a cordless drill.
G: We know the pain of carving tunnels by hand. Our CNC machinery has definitely helped to solve that. What are some of the materials you've utilised to build your formicarium?
S: The nest is constructed from Hebel stone (a.k.a Ytong). I've used styrofoam to create a false bottom underneath red desert sand. The natural pigment red ochre was used to paint the Hebel. Natural sticks, grasses, driftwood, rocks etc. used for decoration. A metal flyscreen mesh and plywood lid seals the ants in.
G: Ytong has definitely been a godsend for ant keepers. Being such a light weight material along with easy cutting and carving properties makes this product perfect. Don't forget that it looks great and has terrific hydration properties as well. It's good to see people utilising natural pigments and decorations for their outworlds. How are you hydrating the nest?
S: A rubber tube feeds a sealed off chamber at one side of the nest, allowing water delivery via a funnel from above.
G: That's great. Sometimes the simplest methods are the best. No need to complicate matters. Any secret recipes you're feeding these gals, or just the basics?
S: Diet consists of small dishes of honey water, sliced apple, crickets and mealworms placed into the outworld foraging area.
G: Nice! We find that all of our Myrmecia's love honey water! How successful has this formicarium been?
S: I would rate it as successful. The colony of approximately 100 that was introduced lived in the nest for approximately 3 years, produced numerous generations and alates before the Queen died and the colony inevitably dwindled away.
G: Sounds like a success to us. Thanks again Steve for your time. We'll be interested to see what you come up with next.
Well, that's it for our first instalment of Formicarium of the 1/4. We'd like to thank Steve once more for taking the time to answer our questions. We'll leave you with this video of Steve's formicarium from his youTube channel.
If you think your formicarium has what it takes to be featured on Gamergate or know of someone else's that does, let us know here.
In an unfortunate case of bad timing, a live TV interview in Australia has been interrupted by a mating swarm of ants during their nuptial flight.