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Firebelly newts and hard water

This is a discussion on Firebelly newts and hard water within the Newt and Salamander Help forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; Hello everyone! I am considering getting a couple of firebelly newts. I have never had any amphibians before, and since ...

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Old 5th July 2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default Firebelly newts and hard water

Hello everyone!

I am considering getting a couple of firebelly newts. I have never had any amphibians before, and since I find them beautiful and often recommended for beginners, they are the perfect choice.

But! The water where I live is extremely hard (about 30 °dH). I have access to complete water analyses so I can tell exactly what and how much there is of everything in the water, if needed.

So the question is: Can the newts live in such hard water? And is the chinese (C. orientalis) or the japanese (C. pyrrhogaster) the one who tolerates hard water the best?

Kind regards
Freja Slot



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Old 5th July 2013   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

Hey Branzoo,

Water hardiness was also a worry for me when I purchased my newts; one thing I did was purchase Spring water. It actually took many of my worries about water maintenance.



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Old 6th July 2013   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

Thanks for the answer, but I was wondering if there was a cheaper solution? Spring Water is quite expensive here, and I don't think I can afford buying large amounts of it regularly...



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Old 6th July 2013   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

Another option would be to set up a reverse osmosis (RO) water purification system. But that is also costly, and a lot more complicated than buying water.

Are you sure that your water is 30 °dH (or is it 30 mg/L)? Does anyone keep an aquarium there? What do your local pet shops recommend?



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Old 6th July 2013   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

I think (and i only say this tentatively, don´t take me on my word) that the range of Hypselotriton falls at least partially within the range of extensive limestone formations, so it may be possible for them to tolerate significantly hard water. Personally i live in an area with ridiculously soft water so i can´t contribute any data.

Just to let you know, the chinese species are no longer classified in the genus Cynops. That one is reserved for the japanese species. The chinese ones are the genus Hypselotriton, now, although further splitting into two genera may happen in the future.

Also, i would like to bring to your attention that all the pet-shop Hypselotriton are wild-caught. Hundreds and hundreds of animals are collected and imported in crowded, inadequate conditions. Mortality is high and the survivors still have to go through the pet-shops, which generally offer terrible conditions themselves. By the time you acquire one of these animals, you are buying a very highly stressed animal that has been exposed to all sorts of things. Even healthy looking individuals can develop infections or stop eating.

The species themselves are easy to keep and very rewarding, but acquiring them through the wild-caught market is not your best option at all.
You may want to look at breeders, local or otherwise. Captive bred animals are a much, much better choice from a consumers point of view and they of course have no impact on wild populations. I strongly recommend that you consider all this before purchasing any animals.



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Old 6th July 2013   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

Thanks for the quick replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennewt View Post
Are you sure that your water is 30 °dH (or is it 30 mg/L)? Does anyone keep an aquarium there? What do your local pet shops recommend?
According to our commune's own site, the area close to the waterwork has a hardness of 30 °dH, but in the rest of the town it is "only" 21-25 °dH. I don't know of any aquarium-keepers in the area. Everyone I know with an aquarium lives further away from the waterwork. There are no pet shops in this extreme-hardness area, and the closest pet shop's recommendations I'm not sure whether I could fully trust. (They do, after all, keep 4-5 C. pyrrhogaster in a 17-20 litres tank with seemingly strong current) But I will still ask the next time I get the chance.

And Azhael: Are there a lot of wild-caught C. pyrrhogaster on the market as well, or is it just H. orientalis? Just asking out of curiosity, I will search for a Danish breeder no matter what.



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Old 6th July 2013   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

All asiatic species that are available at pet-shops are WC.
If you don´t have any luck finding danish breeders, don´t be afraid of looking into breeders from other european countries. Holland and Germany, for example, are hot spots for caudate breeders, it should be easy to find many species available. If you are looking for H.orientalis specifically i would recommend contacting Joost (a member of this forum). I know he had large quantities of CB H.orientalis at some point, he may still do.

Good luck!



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Old 6th July 2013   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

I thought I could contribute to this thread with my (limited) experience. Our water is pretty hard - not as hard as yours (19 dH) but here's what I can say about keeping newts in it:
I've had a group of Cynops pyrrhogaster for a while now and they are thriving. They've bred three times and I was able to raise their larvae without any problems (in the same water). I also raised Triturus marmoratus larvae without any trouble.
The problematic part for me has been growing aquatic plants but since I changed to Walstad type tanks (soil under sand for substrate), it's been ok and the tanks are quite lush. I am only growing several species of plants but it works.
Hope this helps.



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Old 7th July 2013   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

If you take a close look at an ice cube you will notice the center is cloudy white. As water freezes pure ice forms and the dissolved minerals gravitate toward the center where they concentrate and precipitate out as the last H2O freezes. Fill a glass with ice cubes and let it melt then examine the solids that settle onto the bottom of the glass.

While this may not be a practical method to soften large volumes of water it can be a useful way to obtain smaller quantities without having to spend any money. If you try this method, keep in mind that the container should be plastic, like a soda bottle and do not fill it all the way to the top since water expands as it freezes.

As the previous poster indicated, if you need large volumes of water look into a reverse osmosis (RO) system. It will pay for itself quickly. I installed one since this area of Texas has very hard water. Purified water is used not only for sensitive amphibians but also where water chemistry is important, such as topping off my reef tanks to replenish water lost due to evaporation and growing carnivorous plants which require mineral free water.



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Old 7th July 2013   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

One other thing I should have mentioned about RO water... you don't want to use pure RO water for amphibians. They do benefit from having some minerals in the water. You would just be diluting (mixing) your water with RO or distilled water. See:
Caudata Culture Articles - Bottled Water for Amphibians



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Old 7th July 2013   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

What is the exact reason newts can't live in hard water? Just wondering :)



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Old 7th July 2013   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

I´m not sure where you get that from, but that´s not correct. Many species actually require hard water (Neurergus spp., for example). Most, if not all newt species can adapt to different conditions of hardness and they can tolerate a wide spectrum. The main issue with water hardness, i think, is the shock when moving an animal from hard water to soft water or viceversa. This physiological shock can even be lethal. If they are allowed to adapt gradually, there is no problem.

Soft water can be a problem, but hard water is, in principle, not.



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Old 7th July 2013   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azhael View Post
Soft water can be a problem, but hard water is, in principle, not.
So if the pH is neither too high or too low, the chlorine has evaporated, the plants are able to grow in it and I make sure the firebelly newt gets a couple of days to slowly adjust to the new water, is there then any problem with hard water?



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Old 7th July 2013   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

If those other parametres are within range, as well as ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, in principle, the hardness shouldn´t be a problem.
You should ask whoever you acquire the newts from, what their water hardness is, and if they are too mismatched, take steps to slowly aclimate the newts from one to the other, over a period.

I doubt water hardness will be an issue provided all the other parametres are ok and the tank is fully cycled and stable.



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Old 8th July 2013   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Firebelly newts and hard water

My water hardness is literally off the charts. I mix 2 gallons of tap to 3 gallons of RO in a 5 gallon bucket. It gives me a hardness of about 160ppm, which is acceptable for my herd.



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