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How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

This is a discussion on How to keep Pseudotriton ruber within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Hello all, I have been reading around the forum for a while now looking for information on how to keep ...

Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.

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Old 14th July 2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

Hello all,

I have been reading around the forum for a while now looking for information on how to keep P. ruber. When I first got into Caudates it was this species that I wanted to keep. But I guess I couldn't find them available at all and the set up requirements were a bit too tough for at the time, but not sure about that one.
So, after a few years, I come back here to ask, how do you keep Pseudotriton ruber in captivity?

So far I have read that they are mostly aquatic, cold loving species.
What I really want to know,
How large an aquarium would you keep them in,
How cold does the tank have to be?
What techniques do you employ to make a tank cold?
Most of my vivariums usually stay in the mid 70's to low 80's. Are my temperatures really too high?



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Old 14th July 2008   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

This is not a species commonly kept in captivity. You'll probably find very little information on it.

And yes, those temperatures are REALLY high. This species and other similar species are rarely active (and can die) at temperatures over 60F.



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Old 15th July 2008   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

I keep my community tank of P.ruber directly in front of the air conditioner. The temp there rarely gets over 63F (much colder in the winter). In the wild they live in cool micro habitats. Mine seem to be doing great feeding on chopped nightcrawlers. I keep them in a half land/half water set up with a maximum water depth of 2 inches. The substrate on the land is a 2 inch thick peice of pillow foam covered in a layer of live moss with plenty of areas for them all to hide. When I feed them they take the worms in the water, but I have seen them eat woodlice in the land area.

It is very dangerous to keep this species too warm, you'd be best off to have maximum temps of 65F.



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Old 15th July 2008   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

Keeping it close to the AC seems like an unstable method of cooling one's tank. It is for me anyway, as my AC is directly next to my radiator.
Isn't there some techy way to keep your tank cool all the time?



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Old 15th July 2008   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

A terrestrial tank? Not really. Keep it in the fridge.



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Old 15th July 2008   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

Quote:
Originally Posted by tindomul1of9 View Post
Keeping it close to the AC seems like an unstable method of cooling one's tank. It is for me anyway, as my AC is directly next to my radiator.
Isn't there some techy way to keep your tank cool all the time?
It has seemed like a pretty stable cooling method for me. I keep the a/c on in the heat of summer and leave the window cracked open all winter.

How does having the radiator next to the a/c not work for you? Do you keep them both running at once? If you keep them in front of the a/c when it's on then just move it to a cool area of the house during the months the radiator would be hot, or is this situation more complicated than I've come to understand? Do you have a cool basement?



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Old 15th July 2008   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

No I have an apartment. The entire apartments gets really hot in the winter, and if I keep it next to the window, it will boil with sunlight alone, radiators right below the windows and next to AC. Bad engineering I guess, or too good engineering. I don't know. My average apt, temperature is 83, summer and winter. With the AC or radiator on.
I guess I'll just have to forget about plethodons for a while huh?
I thought maybe there were keepers who used some kind of cooling system. Maybe no one has invented it yet? :)

Thanks for the all the help and Ideas though.

Hmmm, I wonder, if I used an external canister filter and found some way to chill the filter so as to chill the water?????? Any ideas?



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Old 16th July 2008   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

With that low of a water level, you wouldn't be able to use a canister filter. There are lots of threads on cooling and home-made chiller units. Try doing a forum search.



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Old 16th July 2008   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

Quote:
Originally Posted by tindomul1of9 View Post
I guess I'll just have to forget about plethodons for a while huh?
I thought maybe there were keepers who used some kind of cooling system. Maybe no one has invented it yet? :)

Thanks for the all the help and Ideas though.

Hmmm, I wonder, if I used an external canister filter and found some way to chill the filter so as to chill the water?????? Any ideas?
The cooling system I use is called an 'air conditioned newt room' but I have more newts than your average pet store and would like to see them live for many years to come. You could spend a few hundred to a thousand dollars on an aquarium chiller.

Using a canister filter by itself will generate some heat (all electric filters do to an extent), you might be able to do something though. If you can't keep the tank under the mid 60's you should probably not keep this species, or keep it in a terrarium set in the fridge. You could also get a cooler and keep bottles of ice in it for a place to set up a tank, just a thought, though it might be more of a hassle than it's worth to you.



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Old 16th July 2008   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

There is a techy way to cool salamanders that I dreamed up utilizing thermoelectric cooling units. These are most commonly found (and easily obtained) in the plug-in coolers made by Igloo. These devices have the ability to function with proportional temperature controls so that temp is held constant rather than cycling on and off.

The result is a fairly inexpensive unit (~$200) that takes a fair amount of electrical DIY work, but it is very versatile and depending on insulation of the enclosure can drop down close to freezing. They also make a great transportation container since they operate on 12VDC and can plug into a car's cigarette lighter. With two controlling rheostats and a photosensor relay you can make the temp automatically change with your lighting cycle.

One of the best ways to cool a semiaquatic enclosure is via a standard aquarium chiller running on a sump containing the majority of the water in your system. A small amount of this cold water is then circulated up into the animal's tank providing a naturalistic thermal gradient where the coldest areas are the water and the warmest areas are the driest. This prevents the chiller from short cycling due to rapid temp changes in an inordinately small quantity of water. The downside to this system is a substantially higher electric bill and a high setup cost for the chiller.

I've cared for P. ruber at the Toledo Zoo for going on 7 years now and they are very hardy animals so long as their temperature requirements are met. They spend about half their time out of the water I'd say. Target temp range would be around 55F in the winter and 65-70F in the summer. They would survive mid 70s for a while but probably would not thrive for more than a few days over 80F. I have found them in Kentucky on dry sand under a piece of tin before, so they certainly do not spend all of their time in icy cold springs in the wild.

There is a great paper published on thermal tolerances in a variety of plethodontids (though not Pseudotriton) which is a very good read and allows for some extrapolation to other species. It also provides great information on thermal preferences for an array of species even when acclimated to different temperature regimes.

Role of Temperature and Water in the Ecology of Lungless Salamanders James R. Spotila Ecological Monographs, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Winter, 1972), pp. 95-125

A quick google scholar search for "salamander thermal maximum" locates a variety of other studies.

If you're seriously interested in the thermoelectric system I can point you to more relevant resources. I'm not aware of anyone else having used thermoelectrics to cool animal enclosures, but there might be someone out there who has perfected it to a much greater extent than I have.

-Tim



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Old 16th July 2008   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaysie View Post
With that low of a water level, you wouldn't be able to use a canister filter. There are lots of threads on cooling and home-made chiller units. Try doing a forum search.
How low of a water level are we talking? I have consistently used an external canister filter (ZooMed 501) to filter water that is only 3 inches deep. In anycase, I can't think of a way to cool the canister without drilling holes through a fridge and putting the tank right next to a fridge. Neither of which I will be doing.



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Old 24th July 2008   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

Another article that may come in handy is written by Henk Wallays: The importance of a correct temperature (curvature) in the salamander and newt hobby.

The page is translated from Dutch to English via Google Translate, but it should make sense: http://www.google.com/translate?u=ht...F8&sl=nl&tl=en



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Old 24th July 2008   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

There is an excellent report on captiuve breeding...in german..

Voitel, S. (2007). Nachzucht von Pseudotriton ruber (Somini, 1802). Amphibia 6(1):25-29.



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Old 26th July 2008   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to keep Pseudotriton ruber

Serge,

Is there a source for that article/journal online? From what I can find it's not readily available in the U.S. or university library systems.

I'd be very interested in reading it.
Thanks,

Tim



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