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What in my water killed my Red Ruber Salamanders?

This is a discussion on What in my water killed my Red Ruber Salamanders? within the Newt and Salamander Help forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; Today I preformed a routine water change on my community of 4 Psuedotriton Ruber salamanders. I did everything exactly as ...

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Old 24th August 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy What in my water killed my Red Ruber Salamanders?

Today I preformed a routine water change on my community of 4 Psuedotriton Ruber salamanders. I did everything exactly as usual. The water has a pH of 8, is chlorine free, and was cool and clear. There was nothing noticeably different about it, yet when I returned from eating diner all but one salamander was dead. The surviving animal I found nearly dried out on the floor after it apparently escaped the enclosure. I was quite surprised to see it as the tank is glass, has nothing to climb on, and has a heavy lid. It's pretty amazing that it got out. I have had these salamanders for quite a while and none of them have ever once escaped, so I have to believe that it was associated with whatever was wrong. The other salamanders I found laying on their backs in the water, very dead. I wasn't away for very long, so whatever caused this killed them in less than an hour. I tested the water multiple times with aquarium test strips, but everything appears to be normal. The only thing I can think of is that I live in California where there is a bad drought, so maybe something toxic was stirred up in the bottom of the reservoir. Other than that, I know of nothing else that would have caused this. If you have any ideas, I would be very grateful as I don't know what to look for. I'm concerned about getting water for my other animals as well as the safety of drinking it myself.



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Old 24th August 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What in my water killed my Red Ruber Salamanders?

Hi, I am so sorry about the loss of your salamanders. That's so sad.

You note you have had them for a while and did nothing different so it is confusing as to what happened this time. All I can suggest is that as any water that comes from a reservoir would be chlorinated and as your reservoir is low they may be adding more chlorine at this time. Looking at the California water information page, it seems they use both chlorine and chloramines in your water (see link). Do you use a dechlorinating water conditioner when you do water changes? I know you tested the water with test strips, they aren't as accurate as liquid test kits, but you would think they would still show if you had any trace of chlorine. So as I said, it is confusing as to what happened differently to affect your newts so tragically this time.

https://www.calwater.com/help/water-quality/chlorine/

I hope your remaining newt recovers ok.



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Old 24th August 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What in my water killed my Red Ruber Salamanders?

In addition to what CatSpit said, are you sure that none of your water changing equipment could have been contaminated with anything? Such as any cleaning chemicals that could have come in contact with the water changing bucket or tubing?

Perhaps you could also call your local water treatment authority and ask if anything has changed in the last few days about how they process the water, or if any unusual levels of anything have been detected.

I am so sorry - it is always hard to lose an animal, but I think it is harder when it is so unexpected and multiple animals are involved. I certainly hope this is not repeated!

Best of luck,

HJ



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Old 25th August 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What in my water killed my Red Ruber Salamanders?

What percentage of water did you change? Often during real stormy weather or drought local water chemistry changes. Extra chemicals are added to make the water appropriate for consumption.

How much dechlorinator do you normally use? Do you use anything else to treat your water?

My guess is with smaller water changes, a little more dechlorinator, and some "poly filter" in the filter the tragedy could have been averted.



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