A fish tank can provide a suitable medium to build an ant farm as it can help create a natural environment when you fill it with natural elements.
How to Make an Ant Farm With a Fish Tank? You can make an ant farm with a fish tank by selecting and cleaning a glass or plastic tank. Moreover, you have to add a mixture of soil and dirt into the tank’s base that has to be moist. Add some plantations, small stones, and flowers to make it natural. Furthermore, put feeding and water trays, and apply some repellants on its boundary to keep ants inside.
Ants can survive for almost 120 to 160 days when you take care of them and provide good nutrition and a comfortable environment.
However, this time duration can increase to years if you add a queen in the tank as it ensures the continuity of life in the formicarium.
Building a formicarium and collecting the raw material for creating a new house for your ants is fun.
You need a fish tank, repellants, shovel, small feeding trays, soil mixture, and lighting or plantations to build a suitable habitat for an ant farm.
Choose a fish tank
You have to start preparing a formicarium by selecting a suitable tank for them, as it needs to be transparent to observe tunnels and insects crawling inside it.
A glass aquarium can be a good option as the glass surface is slightly slippery and keeps them inside the aquarium. In addition, a plastic container of ideal size can also be used to keep ants inside.
You have to carefully check the conditions of the fish tank, as old and used ones can be leaky or have larger holes or openings in the walls.
These insects can easily get through these holes and move out of the container. So, it is better to check the presence of holes before shifting pet ants in it.
The sides of an aquarium have to be around 0.7 to 1.2 inches, as excessive thickness can reduce the inner space.
Furthermore, the colony members need ample space for expansion as they multiply quickly. Therefore, you have to relocate the insects to another formicarium after some time if their size is small.
It is better to consider the ant species that will be farmed within the tank, as a few larger insects cannot survive in a small space.
Clean the tank
You have to ensure that the fish tank is clean before adding a colony of ants into it, as a dirty one can affect the lifespan of your pets.
Use soap and water mixture to prepare a cleaning solution and wash all the sides and bottom of the container thoroughly, as it can help remove all the stains and dirt.
Moreover, the cultures of bacteria and fungi get removed by the cleaning procedures and reduce the risk of infection.
Avoid using toxic chemicals and cleaners for washing as they can interfere with the colony later, and a soapy solution is enough to get rid of dirt and germs.
Let it dry for a few hours before adding soil until all the moisture drops evaporate and it becomes completely dry; otherwise, the material can stick to the container.
Furthermore, a plexiglass cover needs to be put over the tank to cover the upper open surface, as these insects can crawl upward and move out of the container.
Add sand and dirt
It is the right time to fill the tank when it gets completely dry, but you have to consider the composition of the sand and soil mixture and the thickness of the layer.
Many people use sand to fill the bottom of the aquarium to provide a living platform for these insects, but it cannot hold moisture for a long time and gets dry.
Moreover, you cannot observe the tunnels or intricate structures formed by these insects while moving deep toward the bottom.
Accordingly, you can use a mixture of sand and soil by keeping the ratio of sand to only 30 to 40%, as it will be a perfect balance and form a suitable platform.
In addition, this soil mixture needs to be moist as these insects like to dwell in the soil, which is only possible when the soil is slightly wet.
It does not need to be extra wet that it creates a mess, and you cannot observe the movement of these ants inside the tank, so you have to keep it a little bit moist.
Furthermore, the soil depth has to be around 1 to 1.5 feet; if the tank height is 3 feet, you have to fill it with about 50% of the container and leave space on the top for movement.
Add small stones and plants to the fish tank
Adding elements like artificial plants and small stones over the soil bed can make the formicarium attractive for ants.
It gives a natural touch to the fish tank; it feels like they live on the ground and are not artificially farmed. Moreover, it can make your ant farm stand out and look appealing.
Moreover, place some twigs and attractive lights to add height to the plain soil base, adding to the formicarium’s beauty and increasing visibility during the dark.
These elements can add life to a boring medium, and you can see your pets climbing on the twigs and coming in and out of the leaves shade.
Furthermore, small stones and plants like figs can provide a shady area where they can hide whenever they like to move aside.
Introduce ants in the fish tank
You can add an ant colony in the fish tank after preparing a suitable medium for them to facilitate their growth and survival.
The ant colony can be purchased online or through reliable platforms; otherwise, you can collect them from the garden.
Take a small plastic container and a shovel to collect ants from the soil.
It is better to wear gloves to protect your hands when collecting the insects, as they can bite you and cause a painful sensation.
After collecting around 20 to 100 ants, you can directly transfer the soil into the tank. You have to add a queen in it if you want to keep your farm running for years.
Furthermore, a queen can reproduce, produce new eggs, and maintain the continuity of life inside the formicarium.
Put water and food trays
Some people create small lakes within the base material that can be a mixture of soil and sand or cement, as it looks attractive to ants and makes them feel at home.
However, avoid designing a large lake as these tiny insects can fall into the lake and drown deep in the water. It is better to keep the lake size small or place some trays or bowls filled with water.
In addition, you have to add a feeding tray to feed these insects that can hold a chunk of fruit or a liquid honey and sugar syrup.
A small cup can also be a good option for an ant farm inside a fish tank for holding water that needs to be cleaned and refilled after a few days as the water evaporates.
Use repellants on top of the tank
There is a risk of losing ants if the upper surface of the tank is open, as they can crawl up and move out of it. You can seal the tank with a glass cover as it restricts insects from leaving it.
In addition, you can use repellants to keep them away from the border, as a Vaseline layer on its boundary to keep them inside.
Rubbing a baby powder on ant farm tank edges and dropping a few alcohol drops can also help you avoid losing insects in your absence.
Furthermore, the essential oils are excellent as ants do not like their smell, so you can apply the oil on all the possible escape routes.