Myrmecia formicarium (Stage 2)
We knocked up this little formicarium for stage 2 of our lucky Myrmecia queens.
First off we set out the chamber design by using modelling clay. In the photo below you can see that we've placed the clay on top of a water tower from Tarheel Ants for hydration. We've also looped the clay up and over the edges to help support it. The clay is also pressed against the container side to enable us to see inside after we remove it from the mould. We always try to push some indents into the slay to give it a more natural look.
Next off we inserted a small aluminium tube that will be used to fill the water tower. We then oiled the entire inside of the container and also the clay. This will enable us to remove the chamber from the mould once the first layer has set.
We were then ready to pour the first layer of grout. When we're mixing the grout we like to mix in some perlite to enable the water to soak in. The consistence we use is similar to a cake mix. In the photo below you can see the results from our first pour of our grey grout.
Once the first pour had set we removed the mould from the container and removed the clay from inside the chamber. We then replace the mould and prepared for the second pour. Again we mixed the grout with the same mix and consistency, but this time we chose brown grout to represent the top layer of earth. Check out the photos below for the results. You can also see the aluminium tube exiting at the back of the formicarium to fill the water tower inside.
Now we are ready to apply the decoration to the top of the final grout layer. We have chosen a moss mat that has a mix of short green moss and brown pieces of dirt/sand. We find that our Myrmecia's all love it. It gives them a natural footing whilst also have enough bits and pieces for them to pick up and move around as they would in the wild. The final photos can be found below.