Ant farm gel provides a transparent habitat for ants and an alternative to traditional, dirt-based farms. Its transparency allows ant enthusiasts to watch everything the ants do on top of the medium and deep inside it from all sides. The gel even comes in different colours for dramatic effect. The gel sold in stores along with the casing and lids is patented and contains preservatives and fungicides. You can make something similar to it at home using separately purchased ingredients.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Shatterproof aquarium
- Wooden spoon
- Potassium sorbate
- Sodium benzoate
- Tea tree oil
- Food colouring (optional)
Select a 1-liter aquarium or container made of shatterproof, transparent material. The narrower the vessel, the better, because you'll be filling it with hot liquid that needs to cool quickly.
Pour a litre of water into a stockpot and bring to a near boil. Weigh the following quantities of ingredients: 25 grams potassium sorbate, 27 grams sodium benzoate, 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Add the ingredients to the water and stir, mixing thoroughly. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the burner.
Fill the sink with ice water. Immerse the container or aquarium in the cold water. Pour the hot mixture in the container. Add 3 drops of tea tree oil as an antifungal and stir. Allow the mixture to gel, adding more ice to the sink if necessary.
Tips and warnings
- Add a few drops of food colouring to add colour to the transparent gel. If you don't want to use chemical preservatives, you can use fruit fly growing medium instead to create the gel. Follow the packaging instructions.
- Do not use this mixture if you're raising a species of small ants. They are more likely than larger ants to drown in the water the gel releases.
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