I am new and I need help.

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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I am new and I need help.

Post: # 54043Post DerServy
Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:10 am

Hello there,

I am planning to get my own ant colony.

But I have a few questions.
First, do I need to wet sand nests? I was planning to get this: https://www.antstore.net/shop/de/Ameisen-Starter-Sets-Ameisenfarmen-antfarm/Starter-Sets---S/Ameisen-Starter-Set-S---30x20---Combi-5158.html
But just because I've heard that too large ant nests can be bad, especially when my colony is just 20 workers or so.
I'd actually like to buy the AC Starter Set, but I think its too large. And I dont want them to put their waste in their nest, just because its too large. So please help me. And I think that sand nests are good, because they can dig as much sas they need. But correct me if I am wrong.

Secondly, how often do I have to wet my nest? I mean is there an indicator or something?

I am planning to get Lausius niger, since they should be easy to keep alive.
Thank you in advance for all the replies :)

PS: Sorry, it may be that this post is in the wrong subforum, but I have never had a strength for that.

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Location: Turin

Re: I am new and I need help.

Post: # 54191Post UnrealSparks
Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:12 pm

Hello DerServy!!

I think the formicarium in the link you provided should be pretty good. I actually raised two of my colonies in a similar setup and I can tell you it worked very well! :D

As you said the good thing about sand nests is that the ants can dig the nest they prefer and expand it when they feel the need. One of the two colonies I raised in there went from 25-30 workers (May 2018) to 250-300 workers (November 2018) and is now hibernating. I used to pour about 5 ml of water in a section of the nest (on top of the sandwich), not all of it, to keep a moisture gradient, once a day in summer and once every three days now in winter.

I'd also recommend putting a test tube filled with fresh water in the arena, so if for any reason the nest gets too dry you'll see a good amount of them moving in it to drink. If you see this it means you need to water the nest more often.

And a tip I can give you about past experiences is that once you'll be preparing the setup, when you'll have to water the nest for the first time before letting the ants in, don't put too much water... about 10 ml on top of the nest and in the entrances should be enough. The nest doesn't have to be "muddy"! :lol:
I know the sand will look unstable, but after some weeks of watering it should become more compact.

If you have any more question don't mind asking! ;)

PS: don't worry about the subforum, maybe you could have started the topic in the Formicariums and Ant Nests section, but here is fine too. :)
Keeping the following species:

- Messor Barbarus
- Pheidole Pallidula
- Camponotus Barbaricus
- Lasius Niger
- Lasius Flavus
- Lasius Emarginatus

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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: I am new and I need help.

Post: # 54689Post Hunter36o
Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:20 am

Hey hey people!
I actually have that exact enclosure from the same store. Came in perfect Nik, no issues with delivery and no damage even to packaging so they do provide a good service.

I actually stole the sand for a different enclosure and the one thing I noticed is you will have to water the sand maybe twice a week to keep it just soft enough for the ants to change their nest layout as they see fit, if you don't it hardens in a few days and will make is harder for the ants to renovate.

I will also admit I never used the supplements supplied with the formicarium because it is much better to have fresh foods for any pets.

I got the AC starter kit also xD. The test tube portals are ideal for a small colony of 20 because the AC test tubes provide loads of space compared to the average tube and the portal acts as a perfect mini outworks for forging.

For testing purposes I also got one of those cheap beats off of wish.com and let me tell you, they are way better then I expected and there is a wide range of sizes to choose from. I only attached one test tube to it the other day and I have not exposed the test tube to light so they can just get a feel for the new area before I force a move. I will (if I can remember to do so) add a new Google drive file with all set up varieties for ants and feeders to show all beginner type set ups.
Old fish tanks once cleaned properly are also ideal. A small goldfish bowl is good. Then you can dig up soil from your garden, add it to a bucket with boiling water and leave to sit maybe topping up once with a fresh kettle of boiling water, this will sterilise the soil and kill off any parasites and that living in the soil. Cheap yet a very effective set up. Also you do not have to add soil.

You and anyone else can message me for substrate ideas as I have been doing a hella tone of research on different subs for different style enclosures and the best thing for native creatures is native (treated) soils. Coco brick is an easier options but you have to buy it.
Officially caring for 5 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
1x Myrmica Rubra with one worker

3 Lasius Niger colonies will be on sale AFTER hibernation.

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