I never had one and I want to put it on a shelf in my living room as decoration. But I really want it because I want an ant farm.
This model is supposedly no work. The gel is both food and water. Other opinions I’d like from those who had ant farms at more appropriate ages:
How long do the ants live?
Do they escape?
Will there ever be a time when there are mostly only ants and no gel?
They look so cool in the picture I’m thinking of getting two to flank the couch. You don’t think I’m crazy, do you?
Oh wait! It seems you have to order ants separately. And it’s too cold to ship. Dang!
I had this one. Kept it on my desk in my office at work. Worked great, and I think the ants lasted about 4 months. When you order them (I think the first batch is free) they come in a little plastic test tube thing that contains about 12 ants. As I said, I think they lasted about 4 months, and when they died, I just bought more, and poured 'em in. They picked up right where the other ants left off. Also, if the ants die down in the little chambers they create, the live ants go down and grab the corpses and bring 'em to the surface. Getting the dead ones out was a breeze.
It has a tight-fitting lid, and you only have to open it for a second and close it every few days to replenish the oxygen.
Oh, and you’ll be surprised how much work those guys can get done overnight.
We had one for a while. Be sure to buy the kind that comes with a frame with a light in it so you can enjoy the eerie glow! (We didn’t. :()
It was really cool, and pretty easy. The tube of ants came with about 30 ants in it, but some die on the way. The trouble with this was that you have to dump the ants in very fast and will wind up with dead ants in there right away. The live ants will carry the dead ones to a corner and cover them up, but it looks kinda gross and eventually I think some mold started to grow in there or something.
They will happily excavate tunnels and work away. The only real problem is that they will also chew on the lid’s foam seal and a couple either got through or got stuck in the corners so we had to figure out how to seal it up and watch a couple of ants struggle and die. When you open the lid to give them air, they will notice right away and will all race to the top and try to get out, so you can only open and close it very fast. Once one gets out it’s impossible to put it back in, so it’s dead.
On the whole they were pretty amazing and fun. I don’t think it’s a kids-only thing at all, so go for it.
I think, if you’d like to keep a population of invertebrates and watch their interesting lives, there are better ways to go about it. Here is one approach: a self-contained freshwater ecosystem, including cherry shrimp. It’s a great intro to the planted tank idea, and tremendously rewarding to set up and watch, and has almost no upkeep once its settled.
This is the benefit of having young kids around. You can always enjoy what you want with fear. I have made ant farms from clear containers. It is very interesting to watch. We added bugs and other stuff to see what they did. This professionally made system should be fine. I soon discovered that ants can escape from the smallest opening. And they don’t stay close to home either. They branch out in all directions.
I want the cherrywood donut with the magentically suspended flying saucer in the middle. Except I want it 12 feet wide, and instead of the flying saucer, I want pajamas interwoven with the magnetic material.
The first sentence “Setting up a planted fish tank is littered with pitfalls” is enough for me to say “thanks, but no thanks.” The beauty of these particular ant farms is the only thing you gotta do is give them air every now and then. You don’t even have to feed or water them, much less watch out for pitfalls.
Every now and then me and my son plan a terrarium with an animal in it and then we argue over who is going to maintain it. Since we are lazy people, we know not to really do this if we don’t want to kill some poor, defenseless tarantula or anole.
It’s not the funeral costs so much as making all those tiny coffins that’s the bitch.
My kids are 24 but I gotta tell you, you never get rid of the fear. . …