[Beginner, Australia] Advice for first species to start with

Questions from those who are just starting or considering getting into the ant keeping hobby. If you’re intimidated or confused by the in-depth posts of the other sections of this forum, feel free to post here, and we'll start from square one!

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Abadayos
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:19 pm

[Beginner, Australia] Advice for first species to start with

Post: # 55123Post Abadayos
Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:46 pm

Good afternoon everyone.

I have been interested in ants since I got my first old school and farm way back when I was 7 years old and had different colonies in that over 6 or so years (well...only workers because I didn't understand it all too much back then). Since that time, now 28 years ago since my first time, life took over and work. Now that it's started to settle down I'm wanting a pet (or pets) and ants are the ones I want, mainly due to space and a deep fascination with them.

So my question is, being based in south eastern Australia, which of these 3 species would be the best for my first colony after a 15 or so hiatus:

- Pheidole sp. (Big Head Ants)
- Aphaenogaster Longiceps (Funnel Ant)
- Iridomyrmex Bicknelli (Trail Ant)

I've looked at the Ant Wiki (and wikipedia) to determine the approximate size of these ants and their behaviors but being a beginner, it's like reading a physics technical manual in a foreign language. Here is what I guess I'm looking for and hopefully these options suit:

- Decent growth speed but not insane, something to be able to ease me into the hobby but not bore me (I've got a long attention span but I think you know what I mean)
- build nests underground
- multi-queen colonies (mainly as a fail safe I guess though I understand colony needs to be developed before they get to this stage)
- If they have majors and super majors. I THINK the Big Head Ants have majors and from what I've read that supports it

If any fellow Aussies or others that are familiar with else species could point me in the right direction I would be very appreciative. Also I'm going to look around here for pointers etc.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to joining you all in this amazing hobby...it's been way too long

Abadayos
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: [Beginner, Australia] Advice for first species to start with

Post: # 55124Post Abadayos
Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:59 am

Seems I can't edit this but another option I have just stumbled upon is Camponotus Consobrinus or banded sugar ants, I have memories of digging these nests up in my back yard when I was a kid so it could also be something to look into but still unsure how they are for beginners and apparently they hibernate also, even in Australia so that is something I'll have to consider if true

Again thank you very much for any input or suggestions that you may have regarding any of my questions

Loclan48
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:47 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Re: [Beginner, Australia] Advice for first species to start with

Post: # 55138Post Loclan48
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:01 pm

Hi, Im about to get my first ant colony Iridomyrmex sp (meat ants) in about a week and a half and I don't know what temperature I should try to keep the outward and test tube setup.

Please help me I've been looking everywhere for the answer but Can't find it!

qanddstairs
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:56 am
Location: Canada

Re: [Beginner, Australia] Advice for first species to start with

Post: # 55139Post qanddstairs
Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:00 am

How Much would it cost if i start with a small setup approx. and what precautions to take

harvesterant
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Re: [Beginner, Australia] Advice for first species to start with

Post: # 55676Post harvesterant
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:26 am

The price depends on what you want. Below, there is a link to a small ac ant tower, but it is quite expensive for its size, like most other formicaria out there. If you do not want to spend that money, you could always use a plastic container or a jam jar. Just keep in mind that if not done well, ants can easily escape from a plastic container. The jam jar idea is similar to the ant tower, except without the special features designed for ants. There are also other setups you could use, but some will require you to purchase an additional outworld.

https://www.AntsCanada.com/shop/ant-tower-small/

Out of precautions, be careful not to underfeed or overfeed the ants, both of which could harm or potentially even kill your colony. Overfeeding can cause rotting of food, while underfeeding can cause hunger or death of ants from starvation. If you capture or buy a queen, do not release it into the formicarium instantly. Let it lay eggs, and then let the eggs hatch into workers. Remember to keep the test tube with the queen in the dark (or any other container you may have caught your queen in) and remember to check if the queen is semi or fully claustral. To do so, you need to identify the queen's species. If the queen is semi claustral, remember to feed it. If it is fully claustral, you only have to feed it as soon as the first worker ants appear. Remember that in order for it to survive and lay eggs, the queen should be kept in the dark, you should check on it regularily, but not constantly to not over stress it.

Do not overwater your ants but keep in mind that they need to drink. Remember to provide your ants with proteins and sugars. Sugars can be taken from sugar and water solutions, or honey if your ants like it. Do not let you ants escape, and make sure that you do not have to feed them live insects wile the colony is small. For more tips:

https://www.AntsCanada.com/ant-care/

harvesterant
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Re: [Beginner, Australia] Advice for first species to start with

Post: # 55680Post harvesterant
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:42 am

About the price, it could cost 5$ for you own setup (jam jar) or maybe 40$ for a larger one

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