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I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

This is a discussion on I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse within the North American Newts (Notophthalmus & Taricha) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Im not sure what i have done wrong. In the past 3 days i have lost 13 efts. I knew ...

North American Newts (Notophthalmus & Taricha) While not closely related, these two genera are the true newts of North America.

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Old 10th October 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

Im not sure what i have done wrong. In the past 3 days i have lost 13 efts. I knew they wouldnt all make it, but night before last there were 7 dead, today i came home from a horrible day at work to find 6 more dead. Their bodies were all dried out and dark. Their habitat was moist though. They had springtails, isopods and a dish with blackworms and they were on dirt from the compost pile. I am so sad. I have put so much time and money into these guys. The two living ones that are left i have moved to a container with wet paper towels, a few leaves, and a dish with blackworms. Just in case it was something in the dirt or habitat container killing them so quickly out of nowhere. Im very sad becasue a few of them looked to be doing so well beforehand. Id really love any advice or tips. I was warned that the eft stage would be hard but i wasnt expecting them to be dropping like flies. I started out with over 60 eggs, and at this point Ill be lucky and happy if even one survives. Im so bummed out.

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Old 10th October 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Im in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

Sorry things aren't going your way, it's never nice losing animals, especially in numbers.
If it's any consolation, most successful Noto keepers seem to have a horror story or two from before they'd got things fully dialled in.
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Old 10th October 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Im in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

Do you have any pictures of the setup they were in?
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Old 10th October 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

I"m so sorry. It's a difficult species. You were really doing a lot of work for them.
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Old 10th October 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Do you have any pictures of the setup they were in?
No i dont have pics of the setup, i already broke it down and emptied it out so try to sterilize it. It was a large critter keeper. Plastic with a lid, the soil was from the compost pile. I dont use any chemicals in my yard. I cut a small tray out of a cheese and cracker snack pack for the water dish with the blackworms. I misted about every other night. They had a couple of oak leaves in there for cover. The same soil had been in there for about 2 months, it had a nice little population of springtails living in it, that i had added from a culture. Could it be i should have changed out the substrate? When i only had 5 in there they were doing well, as soon as i added more they started dieing off. Maybe i had too many on one space? i had a 20 gallon terrarium set up for them but i know it was way too big, and they really dont need that much space. I have organic top soil and play sand and am hoping to make my own substrate once i get some leaf litter from the woods at my moms. Has anyone made their own? I found the recipe for it here on caudata culture. I also have a whole new culture of springtails on the way. For now theres 2 on paper towels in a small critter keeper, and i still have 3 doing well living aquatic. After my massive die off terrestrially im too scared to move those 3 out of the tank where they look like they are doing good, they have fat bellies. Hopefully they dont drown. I cut up pieces of a small worm and put it in with them on the paper towels, and also found some very very small worms on some pumpkin in the compost pile and put those in there as well. Im not sure if they were white worms but their color was white. Ill move the leaves and check them tonight, i was worried maybe i was disturbing them too much and stressed them out? Im not sure, this has definetly been a learning process and im still learning.

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Old 10th October 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

I've had great numbers of casualties as well. Especially with the adults though. This is indeed a thing most people in the hobby will encounter once in a while, especially with noto's.
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Old 11th October 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Im definetly trying not to be too hard on myself since this is my first time raising them.

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Old 17th October 2016   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

A bit late, but I'm so sorry to hear about all these deaths. I certainly hope your survivors continue to do well.

My one thought was that you said you had blackworms in a dish, and soil as the substrate. Do you think it possible that any blackworms escaped, died in the dirt, and subsequently fouled the dirt? I have read of this happening and it has made me paranoid to use blackworms in a habitat with dirt - instead, I only use blackworms in an actual aquarium OR in a terrarium with no dirt, just leaves and damp paper towels.

It also may be nothing that you did wrong or could have prevented. This is a notoriously difficult species and even very experienced keepers have had issues with them.

Best of luck!

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Old 17th October 2016   #9 (permalink)
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A bit late, but I'm so sorry to hear about all these deaths. I certainly hope your survivors continue to do well.

My one thought was that you said you had blackworms in a dish, and soil as the substrate. Do you think it possible that any blackworms escaped, died in the dirt, and subsequently fouled the dirt? I have read of this happening and it has made me paranoid to use blackworms in a habitat with dirt - instead, I only use blackworms in an actual aquarium OR in a terrarium with no dirt, just leaves and damp paper towels.

It also may be nothing that you did wrong or could have prevented. This is a notoriously difficult species and even very experienced keepers have had issues with them.

Best of luck!

HJ
I dont know why I didnt think of that! Yes i think theres a good chance that is what happened. When i cleaned out the container there were some blackworms underneath the dish. I suspected it was something to do with the soil, and that very well may have been it! So far the others are still alive, and eating springtails. Havent had success getting them to eat anything else though.

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Old 18th October 2016   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

They are VERY hard to raise, so just know that you're not alone. I start out each season with hundreds of larvae, thinking that this will be the year I populate the world with Notos, and then... I'm lucky if I have a few survive to adulthood. This year I raised 4 efts

ETA: forgot to mention, I would get them started on tiny, cut earthworms as soon as possible. They will grow much better for you on those. Since you don't have a ton of animals to feed, it should be easy to just dig up what you need. I usually add the worms and spray the enclosure right before lights out.
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Old 18th October 2016   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for your reply Erin. I have tried putting small peices of earthworms in there right in frknt of their face and then replacing the leaf. but that was before i was visibly seeing them eat. I will definetly try them again!! How often should i be changing the paper towels out? I was just changing them every 4 days or longer if they dont look too nasty.

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Old 18th October 2016   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

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How often should i be changing the paper towels out? I was just changing them every 4 days or longer if they dont look too nasty.

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I change out paper towels every 7 days or less, depending on how many newts I have in the tub. Regardless of the population of the container, I strongly recommend changing them no less than once a week.

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Old 19th October 2016   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

[QUOTE=jewett;472090]A bit late, but I'm so sorry to hear about all these deaths. I certainly hope your survivors continue to do well.

My one thought was that you said you had blackworms in a dish, and soil as the substrate. Do you think it possible that any blackworms escaped, died in the dirt, and subsequently fouled the dirt? I have read of this happening and it has made me paranoid to use blackworms in a habitat with dirt - instead, I only use blackworms in an actual aquarium OR in a terrarium with no dirt, just leaves and damp paper towels.

I think the springtails might have helped clear the residue?, I could be wrong.
There could be a few factors,gtting the soil correct for newts is always a big issue.Maybe it was too acidic or maybe a few dry areas such as cork bark or stacked slate might have allowed the animals to dry out if they required it. Not criticising as i have only ever had one Noto and that was over 18 years ago and he escaped.
Ive learned from experience that there is multiple factors with the substrate that play a big role. I keep all 5 species of Tylototriton on wet kitchenpaper during the winter and stones ,bogwood and water in the spring and summer .And my Triturus are in the shed in soil wood and moss with zero maintainance.
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Old 2nd January 2017   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm in mourning. N.v.v. apocalypse

I have been raising Notos for a while now and had established a pretty large colony. As mentioned above they are a lot more susceptible to bacterial infections (i.e red leg, bloat). I would be careful with using soil from your composter, the additional organic matter may contribute to this but I'm not certain. I do find keeping them around 12-18C is their optimal temperature range, and don't experience as many random deaths within this range. I think this year the random death total was about 6 of my animals, and 3 that I had given to local hobbyists. They are one of my most active newt colonies, and a pleasure to watch. A little more trouble than some other newt species / not the kind where you'd only get a pair, but definitely entertaining and beautiful. v
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Old 3rd January 2017   #15 (permalink)
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Wanted to give you guys an update. Things havent gone great but its not all bad. I had to move homes and i lost a few babies because of that. I guess the stress of being moved, plus i had to completely break down both the adults and babies tanks to move them and then rebuild them again and it took some time. BUT, i do still have 8 i think that are doing okay. They are being raised aquatically but there is plenty of land for them. There are blackworms living in the water, and lots of live plants. I offer bloodworms in the water but they never seem to get eaten. Ive been feeding springtails still and cut up earthworms. Ive only seen 2 of them eat the worm bits but i do see others eat the springtails. The "land areas" are stacked rocks on each side of the tank with a few leaves on top for cover. Ive found this is the best way for me to raise them since they can choose if they want to be wet or dry. The ones that like to stay wet look like mini adults. The ones that stay near the top are orange-ish. They are still very small though, and im hoping that since some of them have finally started accepting worm bits that they will grow a bit quicker now. I dont disturb them at all except to feed, and even then i dont move their rocks or leaves, i just place the food and then close the tank. Maybe over time they will be like my adults and come running at the first sign of forceps

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