Hello! I just recently found this forum and thought I'd write in with some questions, so that I can get started with a farm!
I've always been fascinated by ants and their way of life, and I had never even considered the possibility of actually keeping ants as pets. I did make "improvised" ant farms in jars etc. when I was little, but never anything too professional.
I'm planning on starting a Messor Barbarus farm if possible, since it looks like a good beginner species whilst still being more interesting than your normal Lasius Niger. I've been researching pretty much non-stop the last few days, but I still feel like getting a few things confirmed, just to be on the safe side.
First off, I'm planning on getting an aquarium and building a Ytong nest within it. I have a general idea of how to do it, but I'd like to know if that's a good idea with this species? Also I wouldn't mind some tips (Perhaps photos) of how to do it, since I wanna do it right.
Second, how long should the queen be in the test-tube? I wont have any money till the 20th to start building the nest, so will the queen be able to survive that long in the test-tube? I could possible put her in a small arena, but I'd rather not if it isn't necessary.
Third, I'd like to know how I should heat up the formicarium once I get to that. I'm planning on buying a daylight and a nightlight bulb and simply having two lamps shining down in the formicarium, (One at a time, of course) but will this be enough to heat it? I'd say my room is about 22-24 degrees warm at day, and perhaps a few degrees less at night at pretty much all times (it might be a bit colder in the winter, depending on how much I fire up the radiator). I was also thinking of buying a heat mat for the test-tube so that the queen wont be too cold. Is that a good idea?
I think that's all my questions for now.
Thanks in advance!