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Starting Off With Ants (Aus)

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#1 Offline HexusPridox - Posted December 22 2021 - 2:34 AM

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Hello everyone! This is my first post here so I apologize if I get it wrong but I've exhausted most other options.

 

A while back I came into possession of a few spare fish tanks and I thought about what I could do with them. After watching a few things of AntsCanada, I eventually went ahead and bought both a Lasius Hybrid Starter Kit and a Large Ant Tower (with a few connectors and such). I'm in Australia though and doing some digging I eventually found a seller not to far from me for various ant species/food/supplies. Problem is I have no idea which one I'm really going for. The seller is QueenOfAnts, if that helps with advice.

 

After speaking via email to the seller, I ended up being torn on either Pheidole or Iridomyrex that they have in stock. Upon further inquiries I found out that the former species may not work well in an enclosure as they'll escape easily. Nevertheless I ended up getting everything and setting it up in preparation, though the outworld has a little gap in the bottom of it so the sand provided just poured out. I ended up switching to some clay ball substrate I still had left over from my fish tanks and hopefully that works.

 

With regards to the fish tanks, I eventually did a stupid and ended up combining two 30L tanks vertically and drilling a hole into the side of it to mount some of the AntsCanada brackets. The work is disgusting to look at but it does the job.. hopefully. I will eventually get a lid made up at my work to cover up the top but my main issue is trying to put plants and such into the tank. I expect to fill it up about 50% of a sand/soil mixture (with a clay bottom, filter medium and charcoal), but after looking around and getting nowhere I have no idea what plants would work in such a space or what would work for the species I'm looking at.

 

Lastly, I still have an abundance of fish food (flakes, dried shrimp, etc) so I'm curious to know if such foods could work for ants?

 

Thank you for any help/advice in advance as I look forwards to getting into ant keeping somewhat down the line. Sorry for the massive post as well, but I wanted to make sure I covered most bases.


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#2 Offline PaigeX - Posted December 22 2021 - 6:10 AM

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Hello and welcome! Great to see another new aussie ant keeper!

 

I've got a few things from Queenofants my self and love their ants. 

I do think that Iridomyrmex Bicknelli is the best way to go for your first ant keeping. Pheidole is cool if you later want different sized workers.
 

As with the outworld your gonna wanna seal up that gab or you will lose ants through it. Use blu tack if you want to remove it at a later date. Use Selley's "all plastic" super glue from Bunnings or Coles (yes I found it in Coles) for a permit fix. If the gab is too big use Gorilla "super glue Precise Gel" instead. Silicon does not stick well to plastic I've found but If you do use Silicon, use aquarium safe silicon. Its at Bunnings and you need to look VERY good to find it. Don't use any other kind of silicon for your ants.

 

It has been found that some ants will eat fish food and dried shrimp so you can give it to them as a treat and see if they consume it. If you have any isopods and add them into the fish tank dirt/leaf litter, they will eat the fish food and dried shrimp.

 

Here are some Aussie sites so you can shop around for the best price.

https://www.antsonline.com.au/

https://www.antshopa...rm-formicarium        Iridomyrmex Bicknelli is on sale for $35 here. (cheaper on antsonline but are private sellers)

https://www.antseverything.com.au/

https://www.queenofa...mall-sized-ants

 

As for stopping escapees, get some Fluon. Its the best so far. Have a search on youtube about how to apply it.

This is what I bought, its the best for the amount given. https://www.ebay.com...tm/282250737288

Remember! Fluon is toxic to ants until it dries, so blow some air on it to get it to dry fast. Apply little amounts. don't need a huge amount.

 

Also last thing, I have a small starting Iridomyrmex Bicknelli colony I've been trying to give away but no one has wanted it so far. If you decide to go for Iridomyrmex Bicknelli you can have it. If your a minor please make sure to get your parents permission before sharing your address.

 

I hope all goes well for you and happy holidays! Also I will say that antscanada is very expensive.


Edited by PaigeX, December 22 2021 - 6:21 AM.

  • Ecthelion and HexusPridox like this

Favourite Genus: Polyrhachis 

Most Favourite I'm keeping: Polyrhachis sp (so many sp), Colobopsis macrocephala, Dolichoderus scrobiculatus
Smaller ones: Carebara sp, Cardiocondyla sp, Stigmacros sp, Pheidole sp
 
Current Journals: Main   Myrmecia nigrocincta
My YouTube channel: Australian Polyrhachis

My Instagram: australian_polyrhachis

 

May God Bless you.


#3 Offline HexusPridox - Posted January 10 2022 - 11:11 AM

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Well things went a little awry since I posted here. The AntsCanada enclosure I had ended up taking a fall from the table (lesson learned leaving things in the way of young kids) so its no longer viable. To top it off the combined tanks whilst originally working well have now developed a lot of white fluff throughout the soil which is odd considering I only gave it a little bit of water when I put the fern in. I've got a set of UV lights to help try and mitigate it but so far nothings really happened so part of me is calling it a write off for the time being which sucks since if that's all messed up then I have to find a way to dispose not just the tanks but the soil as well. Any help in trying to mitigate this would be appreciated!

 

Nevertheless, I ended up attempting to contact QueenOfAnts once more but I haven't heard anything back (probably still starting back up I guess) so I've come here for assistance. Whilst the Iridomyrmex are an interesting species I can't get over the uniqueness of Pheidole, so I'm leaning more towards them. The only issue will be now trying to find a suitable nest and outworld to suit them. I did do some digging of QOA and found a few things that seem good, but I'm not going to buy on a hunch and would prefer to get advice from people with way more experience with myself so I'm all ears on what to aim for!

 

Once again, I thank everyone for any advice/help in advance!


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#4 Online Leptomyrmx - Posted January 10 2022 - 3:01 PM

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Well things went a little awry since I posted here. The AntsCanada enclosure I had ended up taking a fall from the table (lesson learned leaving things in the way of young kids) so its no longer viable. To top it off the combined tanks whilst originally working well have now developed a lot of white fluff throughout the soil which is odd considering I only gave it a little bit of water when I put the fern in. I've got a set of UV lights to help try and mitigate it but so far nothings really happened so part of me is calling it a write off for the time being which sucks since if that's all messed up then I have to find a way to dispose not just the tanks but the soil as well. Any help in trying to mitigate this would be appreciated!

 

Nevertheless, I ended up attempting to contact QueenOfAnts once more but I haven't heard anything back (probably still starting back up I guess) so I've come here for assistance. Whilst the Iridomyrmex are an interesting species I can't get over the uniqueness of Pheidole, so I'm leaning more towards them. The only issue will be now trying to find a suitable nest and outworld to suit them. I did do some digging of QOA and found a few things that seem good, but I'm not going to buy on a hunch and would prefer to get advice from people with way more experience with myself so I'm all ears on what to aim for!

 

Once again, I thank everyone for any advice/help in advance!

Hello! For some advice on formicariums, I can recommend the Ants Australia brand, they're sold on Ant Keeping Depot. I'd go for a founding nest and a small or medium outworld. As for advice on Pheidole vs. Iridomyrmex, they both have their pros and cons. Iridomyrmex grow a little faster than Pheidole, but they move faster making them harder to contain. Hope this was helpful, good luck with your colony!


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My Ants:

Colonies: Camponotus humilior 1w, Opisthopsis rufithorax 11w, Aphaenogaster longiceps ~5w, Pheidole sp. ~235w ~15m, Iridomyrmex sp. 2q 1w, Brachyponera lutea 6w, Crematogaster sp. ~20w, Podomyrma sp. 1w

Queens: Polyrhachis cf. robinsoni, Polyrhachis (Campomyrma) sp. (likely infertile)

Previously Kept: Colobopsis gasseri, Technomyrmex sp., Rhytidoponera victorae, Nylanderia cf. rosae, Myrmecia brevinoda/forficata, Polyrhachis australis, Solenopsis/Monomorium

Key: Q = Queen, W = Worker, M = Major

Youtube Channel: Ants of Sydney - YouTube

Patreon (for YouTube channel): https://www.patreon.com/antsofsydney


#5 Offline JCRHJM - Posted January 10 2022 - 4:33 PM

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As for nests I would recommend the ant shop australia acrylic formicariums, I have used them and their ventilation will be able to keep the smallest of ants in/out plus the expansion gates are very useful. Queen of ants also has a similar product, personally I would recommend pheidole as even with fluon iridomyrmex can be hard to contain plus the polymorphic workers of pheidole definitely give the colony more character, but both ants are good species. 


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#6 Offline PaigeX - Posted January 10 2022 - 5:20 PM

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Well things went a little awry since I posted here. The AntsCanada enclosure I had ended up taking a fall from the table (lesson learned leaving things in the way of young kids) so its no longer viable. To top it off the combined tanks whilst originally working well have now developed a lot of white fluff throughout the soil which is odd considering I only gave it a little bit of water when I put the fern in. I've got a set of UV lights to help try and mitigate it but so far nothings really happened so part of me is calling it a write off for the time being which sucks since if that's all messed up then I have to find a way to dispose not just the tanks but the soil as well. Any help in trying to mitigate this would be appreciated!

 

Nevertheless, I ended up attempting to contact QueenOfAnts once more but I haven't heard anything back (probably still starting back up I guess) so I've come here for assistance. Whilst the Iridomyrmex are an interesting species I can't get over the uniqueness of Pheidole, so I'm leaning more towards them. The only issue will be now trying to find a suitable nest and outworld to suit them. I did do some digging of QOA and found a few things that seem good, but I'm not going to buy on a hunch and would prefer to get advice from people with way more experience with myself so I'm all ears on what to aim for!

 

Once again, I thank everyone for any advice/help in advance!

My Iridomyrmex are able to climb on fluon.
Also 
If you want I can send you a small culture of springtails that should help with the fluffy mould outbreak. Or you can buy some from ebay to put into the natural setting. Springtails eat mould, fungus and decaying matter. They are a great clean up crew and a crew to control mould outbreaks. 
I also agree with JCRHJM with the nest choice, AusShop Australia and Queenofants have good nests/outworlds.

With Ant Keeping Depot you get less nest sizes for your money.  


Edited by PaigeX, January 10 2022 - 5:21 PM.

  • Antkeeper01 likes this

Favourite Genus: Polyrhachis 

Most Favourite I'm keeping: Polyrhachis sp (so many sp), Colobopsis macrocephala, Dolichoderus scrobiculatus
Smaller ones: Carebara sp, Cardiocondyla sp, Stigmacros sp, Pheidole sp
 
Current Journals: Main   Myrmecia nigrocincta
My YouTube channel: Australian Polyrhachis

My Instagram: australian_polyrhachis

 

May God Bless you.


#7 Offline HexusPridox - Posted January 11 2022 - 10:57 AM

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As for nests I would recommend the ant shop australia acrylic formicariums, I have used them and their ventilation will be able to keep the smallest of ants in/out plus the expansion gates are very useful. Queen of ants also has a similar product, personally I would recommend pheidole as even with fluon iridomyrmex can be hard to contain plus the polymorphic workers of pheidole definitely give the colony more character, but both ants are good species. 

 

Is there any difference between the acrylic over the ytong nests? I will aim towards the Pheidole species when I finally nail down what I'm buying to replace the Antscanda stuff.

 

 

Well things went a little awry since I posted here. The AntsCanada enclosure I had ended up taking a fall from the table (lesson learned leaving things in the way of young kids) so its no longer viable. To top it off the combined tanks whilst originally working well have now developed a lot of white fluff throughout the soil which is odd considering I only gave it a little bit of water when I put the fern in. I've got a set of UV lights to help try and mitigate it but so far nothings really happened so part of me is calling it a write off for the time being which sucks since if that's all messed up then I have to find a way to dispose not just the tanks but the soil as well. Any help in trying to mitigate this would be appreciated!

 

Nevertheless, I ended up attempting to contact QueenOfAnts once more but I haven't heard anything back (probably still starting back up I guess) so I've come here for assistance. Whilst the Iridomyrmex are an interesting species I can't get over the uniqueness of Pheidole, so I'm leaning more towards them. The only issue will be now trying to find a suitable nest and outworld to suit them. I did do some digging of QOA and found a few things that seem good, but I'm not going to buy on a hunch and would prefer to get advice from people with way more experience with myself so I'm all ears on what to aim for!

 

Once again, I thank everyone for any advice/help in advance!

My Iridomyrmex are able to climb on fluon.
Also 
If you want I can send you a small culture of springtails that should help with the fluffy mould outbreak. Or you can buy some from ebay to put into the natural setting. Springtails eat mould, fungus and decaying matter. They are a great clean up crew and a crew to control mould outbreaks. 
I also agree with JCRHJM with the nest choice, AusShop Australia and Queenofants have good nests/outworlds.

With Ant Keeping Depot you get less nest sizes for your money.  

 

 

I would love the springtails if you're alright with that. I'd have to cover up the natural enclosure though wouldn't I to stop them escaping? I'm still waiting for a time I can get my lid printed out. I have dug around at the various options for enclosures but with the sizes I'm a little confused since the tiniest that QOA sells doesn't seem all that bigger over the test tube enclosure they would start off in? Is there a recommended size for migration from the tube to a nest and even past that before they go into their natural enclosure? I'll try and get some pictures of the current setup tonight and post them here if that helps out!

 

I can't thank you all enough for the advice!


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#8 Offline SolenopsisKeeper- - Posted January 11 2022 - 12:49 PM

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Well things went a little awry since I posted here. The AntsCanada enclosure I had ended up taking a fall from the table (lesson learned leaving things in the way of young kids) so its no longer viable. To top it off the combined tanks whilst originally working well have now developed a lot of white fluff throughout the soil which is odd considering I only gave it a little bit of water when I put the fern in. I've got a set of UV lights to help try and mitigate it but so far nothings really happened so part of me is calling it a write off for the time being which sucks since if that's all messed up then I have to find a way to dispose not just the tanks but the soil as well. Any help in trying to mitigate this would be appreciated!
 
Nevertheless, I ended up attempting to contact QueenOfAnts once more but I haven't heard anything back (probably still starting back up I guess) so I've come here for assistance. Whilst the Iridomyrmex are an interesting species I can't get over the uniqueness of Pheidole, so I'm leaning more towards them. The only issue will be now trying to find a suitable nest and outworld to suit them. I did do some digging of QOA and found a few things that seem good, but I'm not going to buy on a hunch and would prefer to get advice from people with way more experience with myself so I'm all ears on what to aim for!
 
Once again, I thank everyone for any advice/help in advance!

Hello! For some advice on formicariums, I can recommend the Ants Australia brand, they're sold on Ant Keeping Depot. I'd go for a founding nest and a small or medium outworld. As for advice on Pheidole vs. Iridomyrmex, they both have their pros and cons. Iridomyrmex grow a little faster than Pheidole, but they move faster making them harder to contain. Hope this was helpful, good luck with your colony!


They are very pricy…

#9 Offline PaigeX - Posted January 11 2022 - 5:31 PM

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As for nests I would recommend the ant shop australia acrylic formicariums, I have used them and their ventilation will be able to keep the smallest of ants in/out plus the expansion gates are very useful. Queen of ants also has a similar product, personally I would recommend pheidole as even with fluon iridomyrmex can be hard to contain plus the polymorphic workers of pheidole definitely give the colony more character, but both ants are good species. 

 

Is there any difference between the acrylic over the ytong nests? I will aim towards the Pheidole species when I finally nail down what I'm buying to replace the Antscanda stuff.

 

 

Well things went a little awry since I posted here. The AntsCanada enclosure I had ended up taking a fall from the table (lesson learned leaving things in the way of young kids) so its no longer viable. To top it off the combined tanks whilst originally working well have now developed a lot of white fluff throughout the soil which is odd considering I only gave it a little bit of water when I put the fern in. I've got a set of UV lights to help try and mitigate it but so far nothings really happened so part of me is calling it a write off for the time being which sucks since if that's all messed up then I have to find a way to dispose not just the tanks but the soil as well. Any help in trying to mitigate this would be appreciated!

 

Nevertheless, I ended up attempting to contact QueenOfAnts once more but I haven't heard anything back (probably still starting back up I guess) so I've come here for assistance. Whilst the Iridomyrmex are an interesting species I can't get over the uniqueness of Pheidole, so I'm leaning more towards them. The only issue will be now trying to find a suitable nest and outworld to suit them. I did do some digging of QOA and found a few things that seem good, but I'm not going to buy on a hunch and would prefer to get advice from people with way more experience with myself so I'm all ears on what to aim for!

 

Once again, I thank everyone for any advice/help in advance!

My Iridomyrmex are able to climb on fluon.
Also 
If you want I can send you a small culture of springtails that should help with the fluffy mould outbreak. Or you can buy some from ebay to put into the natural setting. Springtails eat mould, fungus and decaying matter. They are a great clean up crew and a crew to control mould outbreaks. 
I also agree with JCRHJM with the nest choice, AusShop Australia and Queenofants have good nests/outworlds.

With Ant Keeping Depot you get less nest sizes for your money.  

 

 

I would love the springtails if you're alright with that. I'd have to cover up the natural enclosure though wouldn't I to stop them escaping? I'm still waiting for a time I can get my lid printed out. I have dug around at the various options for enclosures but with the sizes I'm a little confused since the tiniest that QOA sells doesn't seem all that bigger over the test tube enclosure they would start off in? Is there a recommended size for migration from the tube to a nest and even past that before they go into their natural enclosure? I'll try and get some pictures of the current setup tonight and post them here if that helps out!

 

I can't thank you all enough for the advice!

 

normally springtails will stay where its wet and moist and very few will climb out. They can't live without moisture.
And yea, the ant shops don't have a good price for size of outworlds. You will get better value for your money if you just bought a plastic container and used that.
Normally its best to wait until you have 8-30 ants in the test tube before you move them to a nest.


Edited by PaigeX, January 12 2022 - 5:51 AM.

  • SolenopsisKeeper- likes this

Favourite Genus: Polyrhachis 

Most Favourite I'm keeping: Polyrhachis sp (so many sp), Colobopsis macrocephala, Dolichoderus scrobiculatus
Smaller ones: Carebara sp, Cardiocondyla sp, Stigmacros sp, Pheidole sp
 
Current Journals: Main   Myrmecia nigrocincta
My YouTube channel: Australian Polyrhachis

My Instagram: australian_polyrhachis

 

May God Bless you.


#10 Offline PaigeX - Posted January 12 2022 - 5:52 AM

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I just checked my spring tails and I have hardly any left. not sure if they are all under the charcoal or they had a die out. was not very happy with it. might take another month to get the numbers back up. So you will have to buy the springtails from Ebay. I'm very sorry about that.


Edited by PaigeX, January 12 2022 - 5:56 AM.

  • SolenopsisKeeper- likes this

Favourite Genus: Polyrhachis 

Most Favourite I'm keeping: Polyrhachis sp (so many sp), Colobopsis macrocephala, Dolichoderus scrobiculatus
Smaller ones: Carebara sp, Cardiocondyla sp, Stigmacros sp, Pheidole sp
 
Current Journals: Main   Myrmecia nigrocincta
My YouTube channel: Australian Polyrhachis

My Instagram: australian_polyrhachis

 

May God Bless you.


#11 Offline HexusPridox - Posted January 12 2022 - 10:48 AM

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I just checked my spring tails and I have hardly any left. not sure if they are all under the charcoal or they had a die out. was not very happy with it. might take another month to get the numbers back up. So you will have to buy the springtails from Ebay. I'm very sorry about that.

 

Its fine, these things happen. I'll look into purchasing some in the coming days!


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#12 Offline JCRHJM - Posted January 12 2022 - 4:09 PM

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Also good ventilation helps with preventing mould outbreaks though the holes have to be small enough to prevent escapes/intruders


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