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New owner, need some feeding and general advice

This is a discussion on New owner, need some feeding and general advice within the Newt and Salamander Help forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; So, to cut a long story short I was handed a tank of red bellied newts by someone who needed ...

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Old 18th April 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Question New owner, need some feeding and general advice

So, to cut a long story short I was handed a tank of red bellied newts by someone who needed to get rid of them, and I've never owned amphibians before (had fish though).

I have four newts, currently in a 64litre tank with a mild filter and some floating bark and plastic plants. I'm planning to move them to a longer tank with sand substrate, live plants and a bigger piece of cork. My current questions are:

1. I was reading newts do not like bright lights, which contradicts the live planting advice I've read. Are there plants which don't need an over tank light? What's the best thing to do here?

2. I have some driftwood for the tank with long thin branches sticking out. I'm worried the newts are going to swim into them face first and injure themselves, is that actually likely? I spent an hour sanding any vaguely pointy bits off the body in a fit of paranoia

3. There are no suppliers of live earthworms near me, but they did have dried earthworms- would those be ok? Otherwise I'll have to order live ones online weekly

4. Currently I'm feeding them live blood worms. They don't eat them immediately, but they do stalk them around the tank and are definitely eating them. I can't tell if the little one is eating though, should I take it out the tank and feed him/her in a tub? She's the one who likes to escape so I'm not sure how that will work

Any other advice welcome



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Old 18th April 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

Hi, welcome to the site. :)
In answer to your questions;

1. They should be fine with bright lights as long as there are hides, plants and other shaded areas. There are plants that do well in low light, Java ferns and Anubias for example, but my newt tanks are brightly lit and I've had no issues.

2. Without actually seeing it, the driftwood should be fine, aquatic newts are quite gentle swimmers and don't often crash into things.

3.I get my worms from here. Buy fishing worms - Bucket of Worms You could also try good quality pellets.

4. If the little one isn't eating it might be better to separate it for a while until it puts some weight on.

Could you post a picture of the newts? There are a number of different pet trade newts that have red bellies and some require different care to others. I can give much better advice if I can be sure what species they are.



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Old 18th April 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

Hello, your red-belly newts are most likely Chinese fire-bellied newts. Like Chinadog mentioned, there are many other newts in the pet-trade that have the false name "red-belly" and to make things slightly confusing, there's a newt on the pacific northwest (California specifically) that truly have the name Red-bellied newt. (Taricha rivularis) These articles may be very helpful to you, especially if you're trying to figure out what species it is: Caudata Culture Articles - Firebelly Caudata Culture Species Entry - Cynops orientalis - Chinese firebelly



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Old 18th April 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

Thanks for the advice :) My newts are mostly hiding but I took some bad cell phone pictures of the wee one (poor thing looks so skinny there) and one of the medium sized ones. Theres also a big one which is less black and more a dark grey/brown. (they came with the blue gravel, I'm getting rid of it)

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size. (edited a bunch of times to make the pictures a reasonable size, but they still don't seem to be working, hmmm)

I've had them just over a week, which I've spent going "I wonder if they're stressed, they're not swimming much." and "I wonder if they're stressed, they're moving a lot" XD



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Old 18th April 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

Can you post pics this way?

How to Post Pictures

Failing that, here's an article that should help identifying them.

Caudata Culture Articles - Firebelly



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Old 18th April 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

New owner, need some feeding and general advice-img_20160418_172030.jpg

New owner, need some feeding and general advice-img_20160418_172107-copy.jpg

I think that worked? It looks like they're Chinese fire bellies in any case. I put the little one in a tub with some bloodworms to see if she'd eat but I think I just stressed her out more, she's just climbing the sides. The other ones are eating fine, thank goodness. Will order earthworms and see if I have better luck with those. The wee one seems to still prefer the land, which might be part of the issue.



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Old 18th April 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

Yes, they are Chinese fire-bellies, fairly healthy looking ones at that, at least from the photos you provided



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Old 18th April 2016   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

Yes, they're Chinese firebellies. They aren't an aggressive species, so it may be less stressful to leave the small one with the others.
They're actually very easy to care for, just give them a tank with clean, cold water and loads of live plants to hang out in and they should settle down and de-stress. If you're running a filter, just be sure to diffuse any current from the outlet. Chinese firebellies hate moving water, it can sometimes be the reason they refuse to get wet.



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Old 19th April 2016   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner, need some feeding and general advice

One of my newts initially preferred land over water - I hand fed the newt worm bits and bloodworms with tweezers while he was out of the water. That way I knew how much he was eating. He eventually just went into the water of his own accord and is fine there now. Hopefully yours will accept food this way and take to the water soon.



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