Carebara diversa nesting, housing, formicarium

Note: For the housing of newly mated queens, click here.

For beginners, I’d advice autoclave aerated concrete (AAC or Ytong) as your first formicarium material.

Chambers should be as deep as possible, as this species enjoy “hanging” their lavae from the ceiling.

Note: chambers in the pics below are not as deep as I’d ideally like.

Hydration wells must be deep and can be stuffed with cotton wool in order to retain humidity.

When do your ants require a proper formicarium? You know they need a proper formicarium when the colony starts to bite at the water chamber cotton wool. This would be the case at around 100-200 workers.

Of course this is moot if they are already housed in a soil nest or a suitably sized founding chamber.

When well fed, colonies grow exponentially.

Here’s my colony’s growth between Jan 2018 and March 2018:

You should connect the formicarium to a suitably sized outworld. The substrate for the outworld would ideally be a media that retains humidity reasonably well. Eg, burnt soil, reptisand. For discussion on substrate, click here.

My preference for barriers for the outworld is – combination of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and baby powder (coated using rubbing alcohol).

See pics below.

Plaster outworld lined with sand and a test tube in the middle for hydration, works fine too. See below:

If space is no constraint for you, consider building a larger outworld from the onset. Eg, a 2/3/4 ft length aquarium. Larger setups should contain egg crate bottoms serves as drains to prevent flooding and water reservoirs to retain humidity. Mites and unwanted pests will fester below too.

By the way, contrary to the pictures above, I would actually discourage live plants in any carebara diversa outworld for practical reasons.

First, the ants are likely to move the substrate around in a manner that may completely cover up your plants. Second, it makes cleaning a lot more difficult. Third, plants are likely to require more hydration than your ants will need, meaning that if you want to keep your ants happy, the plants will likely eventually dry out. Or, your ants will be “swimming” in an overly moist environment.

General Note: My setups are merely practical based upon my limited experience. I acknowledge that are far from aesthetic. Please feel free to create something suitably aesthetic for your own purposes.

Semi natural setup. Note, the ants obviously ended up nesting under the log!!!