According to thinkgeek.com, ant gel farms were created "based on a 2003 NASA Space Shuttle experiment to study animal life in space and test how ants successfully tunnel in microgravity." It has since become a favourite home science project, as it has many advantages over the traditional ant farm. Over time, the gel is consumed and will need to be replenished in order to keep the farm going.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Replacement ant gel kit
- Distilled water
- Microwave-proof bowl
- Microwave oven
Order a package of ant farm replacement gel. Several sources are listed in the reference section including antgel.com and sciencetoys.com.
Prepare according to package directions. Depending on the type you order, you will either have semi-solid chunks of gel that will need to be melted in the microwave, or a powder that will need to be reconstituted with boiling distilled water, similar to making gelatin. Read and follow the instructions carefully for the best results.
Pour gel into prepared ant farm, tapping the sides to get rid of bubbles.
Let it cool completely. The ants could be injured if added before the gel is completely cooled.
Click on the link for the "Original Patent for Ant Gel" (see resources). Read it thoroughly and decide if it is something within your capabilities. It does not provide step-by-step instructions so you would have to have some knowledge of chemistry in order to know where to begin. This is a really complex project and not something just anyone should try, but if you have a science background, it could be a rewarding project.
Click on "Forum on Making Ant Gel From Scratch" link (see resources) to find others working on this project. You might be able to find some good tips or resources.
Locate sources for the necessary chemicals and equipment. This could be extremely difficult, as they are not the most common ingredients.
Make the ant gel from scratch according to your determined method.
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