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By Jim

I am new to ant keeping and new to the forum.

I am hoping to start an ant colony in the next week or so.

However I am unsure of what species is best. I have been looking at fire ants as i like the size the colonies grow to but need a little more information about them.

for example do fire ants need to be hibernated?

furthermore where is best to purchase formicariums. I would be looking for a beginners set up with an outworld already created. I have been looking at but the outworlds do not look natural.

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By AntKeeper101
im new aswell im not to sure if they need to be hibernated but remember fire ants Can get really big in just a month and can take a lot of space and money(Nests,Foods if you dont have them etc) if you´re willing to do that then great my post has worked.
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By Bhu Yonten
Hey Jim Welcome to the Forum.
As a beginner in ant keeping i would recommend Lasius niger and Lasius flavus as they are much more forgiving.
But if you still want a aggressive species Myrmica cf. rubra (european fire ant) is the perfect one for you but you still need to hibernate.The best thing to do is to catch a queen of your own so you can release her if you don't want to continue with the hobby.I wouldn't start with the hobby now maybe next year in spring.And as for the setup you dont need much at the start as you might only have a queen so a test tube setup is sufficient till they have about 40-50 workers.But if you are choosing the Myrmica rubra then you need a outworld as the queen is semi claustral and needs to forage for food. For the outworld you can use small cheap bins 2 liters is enough.And about the naturalistic setup..the ants dont really care they just need a clean,humid,warm and dark place.And if you want a good looking formicarium you can always build your own out of plaster or ytong yourself much cheaper than buying ready made nests and the antscanda ones are a to expensive for what they are. Here is a photo of a cheap and ideal formicarium. and you can find very cheap plastic testubes in aliexpress.
But after the colony is big you can move them into a very good looking setup like
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By Serafine
Imo the best beginner species is Formica fusca.
They are as resilient as Lasius niger but about twice as large (bigger workers up to 8mm), not all that aggressive, very active during the day (which makes them a species that is easy to observe), loves to walk around (lots of tubing is perfect for them), and doesn't grow to the ridiculous size Lasius niger colonies can do.
Formica fusca tops out at around 5000-6000 workers (even with multiple queens they rarely get any bigger) instead of Lasius niger which can grow up to massive 50000 workers or Lasius flavus which can grow to over 250000 workers. Even adult Formica fusca colonies stay very manageable (they just need a good amount of tubing and some interconnected outworlds because they really love to run around) compared to the sprawling chaos huge Lasius niger colonies can become.

And I wouldn't recommend fire ants (Solenopsis geminata or invicta) - they can grow to over 100.000 workers within a year, are born escape artists and deliver a very painful sting.
That is unless you're talking about european fire ants (Myrmica rubra), while these can sting it's not that painful and they are actually decent pet ants. Just remember that they need it very moist (best to keep them in a test tube while the colony is small, they usually dig into the cotton) and that they are semi-claustral, which means the queen does forage and needs food (sugars and dead insects like fruit flies) while she raises her first workers.

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