View Full Version : Firebelly Newt Not Eating?

1st May 2013, 21:32
I got two firebellys about three weeks ago. As expected they have really just wanted to be on land. The small one goes underwater occasionally but the big one never does. If I put him in the water he freaks out and swims up until he can grab onto something and get out. I had a small container which I put just enough tank water to cover the bottom in and when I put my newts in the small one didn't care and the big one freaked out and climbed up the side as fast as possible to a dry area. My water quality is good and was cycled with an old fish filter. I have been feeding frozen brine shrimp and some freeze dried freshwater shrimp occasionally. The small one was obviously hungry as I saw her walking on the bottom looking through the gravel (its too big to swallow) for food. I fed the tank a cube and she was very happy. There are still a decent amount of shrimp on the bottom for her to much tomorrow.

Ok the point is I have NEVER seen the big one eat or really go to the bottom of the tank at all. He sometimes just barely submerges himself while clinging onto something but that is it. I tried to put some freeze dried shrimp and some frozen brine shrimp in a pile on his log but he didn't touch them for days. I put some freeze dried on today, we will see I guess. Is it likely he is eating without me noticing? Should I be worried about anorexia or am I simply not feeding the right stuff? I always thought newts had to eat underwater, but Im guessing that is wrong. Should I be worried?

PS the frozen food is temporary until it rains here and I can pluck up some tasty worms.

2nd May 2013, 22:20
Some of this is addressed in these faq:
Caudata Culture - Frequently Asked Questions (http://www.caudata.org/cc/faq/faq.shtml)

Newts can certainly eat on land, but they need live, moving food, such as very small crickets, grubs, fruit flies, etc. You can also try wiggling a piece of chopped worm on a toothpick, this has saved many a life.

Bear in mind that your newts probably came from the wild and have never seen non-live food before. They don't recognize it as food. It's easier for them to learn in the water because they can smell it, as well as see it.

Don't leave shrimp in the water from one day to the next. As it begins to decay, it will produce ammonia in the water, and this can become toxic. Remove uneaten (non-live) food within a couple of hours of feeding.

3rd May 2013, 09:03
As well as that good advise from jennewt, can I also suggest that you don't move the animals around a lot. Changing them around into various containers, placing them into the water where they don't want to go,etc, is all very stressful, especially for wild-caught animals (making an assumption here that they are wild caught). It's a common mistake that new owners make, as you have to give these animals a lot of time to become acustomed to being captive pets.

You need to let your animals settle in for quite a while. It took four weeks for my first fire bellies (purchased as wild caught from an exotics shop when I didn't know better) to even think about getting in the water. Be patient.

Give them plenty of hiding places and real or fake plants in the water, and try to provide somewhere to hide on the land too. They will come out in their own time. Keep the enclosure quite dark, turn off any lights you have on as this will make them feel more at home.

Once you see them entering the water more and more start out with live bloodworm (from an aquatics shop or online supplier) and you should be able to easily switch to dead frozen bloodworm after they get the taste for them. Afterwards you can expand the frozen food diet. You can then start to use lightingif you want to as they will be happier by this point with their captive environment.

This is all advice for the one that won't eat by the way, you other one appears to have settled in well.

4th May 2013, 05:08
Thanks for all of the advice. FYI I don't take them out or anything very often. I just wanted to readjust the driftwood in the tank and was afraid of squishing one, so they went in the tub for a min.

Next time it rains I am picking up a bunch of worms (it rains a lot here), but even if I cut them up they will be HUGE in comparison. The circumference of a worm body is about as big as their heads. I also tried wiggling a moistened freeze dried shrimp on a stick and he didn't care at all... sigh. The good news is today I saw him go in the water to run away from my ominous shadow, while before the response was to blend in as well as possible. Of course he freaked out and came out of the water again though.

When the worm doesn't work what do I do? are there any other SMALL live foods that have good success?

4th May 2013, 07:43
Don't wait for it to rain. Dig up a few worms, and chop them up. Let the worm wiggle around in front of your newts.