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TheFishBoy's Tetramorium Journal

tetramorium first timer new colony

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#1 Offline TheFishBoy - Posted March 27 2019 - 1:03 PM

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A few weeks ago towards the beginning of March I had received three colonies from a friend of mine who has been keeping ants for several years. I had always wanted to do so and he had some spare test tube colonies he was encouraging me to try my hands out on. A tetramorium species, a Lasius Neoniger, and a Formica species. The Lasius Neoniger and Formica species had a few nanitic workers and a small section of eggs. The Tetramorium species on the other hand had about 20-30 workers and quite a bit of brood. I'll be starting seperate journals for the lasius and formica species as they develop

 

Obviously being new there are many mistakes I have already made and probably plenty I will make. The purpose of this journal is to document them as well as possibly receive feedback to help better my care for my ants. 

 

I had kept the tetramorium colony in the test tube for about a week before I began feeling like they should be fed. There was sand in the testtube that my friend had put in to make it a little more comfortable for the ants. I had tried to apply honey to the side and with a combination of likely too much honey and the honey combining with the sand it became a sticky mess. I have no idea to what degree the ants were eating from the honey but later the testtube would become cloudy and after posting on the antkeeper's facebook page it was recommended I move them out of the testtube due to it being likely moldy. 

 

I had bought a small formicarium set up via formica-antfarms for when they got big enough but feeling danger regarding the health of my ants and the mold I decided to move them in about a week ago. I hooked up the testtube to the formicarium and using my office light set them up overnight to move. Turns out it took longer than I had anticipated. It was recommended that I slowly move the light closer to the testtube every few hours. After a few days they moved in. I quickly got rid of the old testtube and set up the formicarium to a small outworld and water setup. 

 

the ants rarely ventured out in the beginning and still don't seem very interested in venturing out. Certain activities I have witnessed included: 1 account of a single worker investigating the water testtube setup and several accounts of ants investigating the outworld set up. I decided to feed them with various protein sources as an experiment. Bloodworm soup was recommended and boiled chicken. Out of the two boiled chicken seems to be their favorite. I am currently experimenting with boiled egg which I have witnessed a few ants going towards but it doesn't seem to be as effective as chicken.

 

It could also be that I am just straight up overfeeding my ants and it may be hard to accurate readings on what they like.

 

I had a negative encounter with honey with a couple of workers drowning in it. Through the recommendations of folks on the Antkeeping discord channel I decided to make sugar water at 1:3 sugar to water ratio and soak it in a cotton ball and leave it accessable in the outworld. I have yet to witness ants interacting with it

 

one particular thing to notice is that most activity involved my ants collecting bits of pebbles from the outworld and blocking up the entrance to the formicarium. this made me quite nervous but from what I've been told this is to help control humidity within the nest and make the ants feel safer so I have nothing to worry about for the mean time. 

 

current population stands near 20-30 workers, a large amount of brood and eggs, limited eating. 


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#2 Offline TheFishBoy - Posted March 27 2019 - 1:07 PM

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#3 Offline TheFishBoy - Posted March 27 2019 - 1:08 PM

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#4 Offline TheFishBoy - Posted March 28 2019 - 10:01 AM

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update:

 

I removed the egg and replaced it with boiled chicken and the response from my ants seems to be that they really love chicken. I also bought a heating pad for my ants as an experiment and they pretty much right away moved brood and larvae over to the heated side of the formicarium



#5 Online ANTdrew - Posted March 28 2019 - 11:26 AM

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Welcome and good luck with your new Tetramorium. It's a really fun species to keep that grows like crazy. I think you should see them start eating more now that you have given them some heat. I notice that mine don't eat much unless they are above 75 degrees. They like chicken, but if you want to see a big feeding response and optimal growth, I advise getting them some feeder insects like crickets, mealworms, or dubia roaches. Keep them really warm and well fed with insects, and their population will sky-rocket fast. They really love Sunburst Ant Nectar, too.


Edited by ANTdrew, March 28 2019 - 11:26 AM.

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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#6 Offline Rstheant - Posted March 28 2019 - 6:27 PM

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Mine all died next year. I’m not too interested in this species, no offense to ANTdrew and other Tetramorium fans. They are excellent starter colonies, except they grow a bit TOO fast. By no means am I discouraging you to keep this species, this is my opinion. Hope yours do well!!

#7 Offline TheFishBoy - Posted March 29 2019 - 10:38 PM

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Update:

 

When I got the heating pad for my formicarium the ants all jumped to the heated side pretty quickly. However now it seems that they are changing where they hold their brood rather sporadically. I know ants can self-regulate heat but I do wonder whether or not the pad is either too warm, or too cold, or if I'm not watering the formicarium enough. etc. I keep trying out small variations to see how the ants react. 



#8 Offline TheFishBoy - Posted March 30 2019 - 2:32 PM

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update

 

condensation on the glass of my tiny formicarium is so great that I cannot tell whether or not my ants are even in there let alone whether or not they're liking the heat

 

I've been trying to find ways to deal with the condensation and find out whether or not the condensation itself is a bad thing



#9 Online ANTdrew - Posted March 30 2019 - 4:49 PM

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Condensation is a problem, especially for tiny ants like Tetramorium. It also freaks them out, so that may explain why they’re moving the brood around so much. Make sure that you’re only heating a small part of the formicarium and make sure the heat pad is as far away from the water in your nest as possible. I’m not sure where you’re located, but maybe it will be warm enough soon to ditch artificial heat?

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#10 Offline TheFishBoy - Posted April 10 2019 - 8:18 PM

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update:

 

Condensation has no longer been a problem since I adjusted the heating pad to not be directly under the watering section of the formicarium. 

 

My ants have recently begun to get more active. There is a fairly decent size of brood

 

yoFtTUb.jpg

 

I recently started doing the hikari bloodworm method and they've been inlove with it so far and eating like champs something I'm really happy about. 


Edited by TheFishBoy, April 10 2019 - 8:21 PM.

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