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Land loving newts

This is a discussion on Land loving newts within the Newt and Salamander Help forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; Hi everyone. I have two youngish Chinese fire belly newts. In their tank they have about five inches of water ...

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Old 30th March 2015   #1 (permalink)
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Question Land loving newts

Hi everyone. I have two youngish Chinese fire belly newts. In their tank they have about five inches of water full of floating hornwart, a rock bridge that's submerged, a couple rooted plants and a floating log. The adventurous newt has embraced the plants and now spends more time in the water than on land, but the other one hasn't adapted yet. It seems a bit mean to me to just take the log out and force him in. Sometimes he'll dip his tail or head in for a while, but then come back out when he's done shortly after. Should I give him more time, or is it necessary to kind of force him to adapt? Also, what kinds of changes should I expect their skin to go through as they're adapting? Thanks



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Old 30th March 2015   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Land loving newts

As long as he's healthy and feeding it would be best if you gave him a bit of a push. For it to work, you need to be sure the conditions in the water are perfect, meaning no fish or warer currents, plenty of floating vegetation, ammonia and nitrite are zero and nitrate below 40ppm. If the other newt spends all its time in there it should be fine but its better to test it if you can.
All you need to do is remove anywhere that the newt can get completely dry. You could give him some extra islands if you want, but make sure they are just below the surface, rather than above it. If everything goes to plan he will begin using the water to get from island to island and eventually start submerging and looking for food on the bottom.
Once he starts going into aquatic mode you should notice his skin becoming smooth and quite shiny and his tail getting deeper to aid swimming.
Hope this helps. :)



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Old 30th March 2015   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Land loving newts

Thanks for your reply! I feel like I would hate it if someone forced me into the water! lol But I'll try removing the log. That's the first thing they had in their tank so he (she?) basically grew up on it and that's where I would feel them and everything, so he's probably quite attached to it. When I was adding all of the plants and hadn't put the log back in yet, he climbed up the side of the tank to get away! He's so funny :) The newt who is adapting to the water will have patches of shiny skin for a little while after he gets out of the water, and then they go away. Is that normal? I read their skin traps air bubbles as they adapt which is makes it shiny. Seems possible to me!



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Old 30th March 2015   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Land loving newts

Yes, there's nothing you can do about him climbing the sides apart from making sure he can't escape and dry out. Once he settles down in the water that kind of behaviour should mostly stop. Terrestrially adapted newts get quite a rough waxy skin that does often look silvery when wet, but the first time they shed in the water it will become smoother.
Once settled and happy it's actually quite rare for them to come onto land, I haven't seen my firebellies out the water for years. It could be some time before yours settle down though, just keep a close eye on water quality and they should start behaving more naturally as they adapt to your tank.



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Default Re: Land loving newts

Thanks for the info! :)



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