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Old 16th May 2018   #1
Herpin Man
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Default How to streamline larva care?

I have a question for those who breed newts or other salamanders in large quantities- what are some of the ways that you have streamlined the more time consuming chores, such as feeding, preparing food items, changing water, etc.?
I have found that dealing with newt larva and their feeders is one of the more time consuming of my herp room tasks, and I am always looking for ways to be more efficient and save time.



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Old 16th May 2018   #2
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Default Re: How to streamline larva care?

I've tried a couple different techniques and here's what works best for me so far. It's not too time-consuming, and it keeps my lotls growing at a good pace and gives them nice healthy gills.

The moment the eggs hatch, I isolate the larvae in a plastic organizer (you know the ones that come with removable plastic dividers?) I buy those at the dollar store, one is enough to hold 36 larvae. Once a day, I use my "dirty" turkey baster to remove the waste, then use my "clean" turkey baster to add a mix of clean water, baby brine shrimp and conditioner.

I don't actually hatch brine shrimp every day, though. I strain 1/3 of the nauplii the first day, 1/2 of what's left the second day, and then whatever's left the third day.

Then I do a first cull, and move the ones I want to keep into small plastic containers in groups of ~12. I try to get groups of the same phenotype together, but sometimes I don't bother. I don't get any cannibalism either way - no missing limbs whatsoever. The containers I use are the smallest "omni box" sold at the dollar store (I don't remember what volume they hold off the top of my head - maybe 1 gal?). I put some enrichment in there, since they're starting to enjoy climbing and hiding. Typically I add a piece of driftwood and a piece of floating plant.

Now, if I had access to blackworms, that's what I would feed my larvae at this point. Since I don't, I keep them on a frozen brine shrimp / canned cyclops or frozen daphnia / frozen bloodworms rotation. I use this schedule for feeding and water changes:

Day 1
  • 8 am: feed
  • 8 pm: feed
Day 2
  • 8 am: move to a clean container
  • 8 pm: feed
Day 3
  • 8 am: feed
  • 8 pm: move to a clean container

This is when it gets really easy. I don't bother with water changes, I just grab each larva by hand and transfer it to a new container with clean dechlorinated water. They're easy to catch at this size, so it's fast. They get 12 hours to enjoy the clean water before I start feeding them again. I do this until they are ~2.5" long and look ready to switch to pellets.

After this, they get to live like grownups. I have an aquarium for the 2.5 to 4" babies, one for the 4" to 8" babies, one for the 8"+ females and one for the 8"+ males. Reserved lotls get put aside in 5 to 8 gal omni boxes and transfered to clean containers once a day. Easy peasy.



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Old 18th May 2018   #3
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Default Re: How to streamline larva care?

Raising a whole batch of newt eggs is easier than raising a whole batch of axolotl eggs for a number of reasons, firstly they produce fewer eggs, they have a slower growth rate, reach a smaller size and often spend a time terrestrial. This means they need less small aquatic food which is the most challenging part of raising larvae. Typically axolotl breeders rely on baby brine shrimp to raise large numbers as buying commercial daphnia is expensive, they haven't the skill/space/time to raise their own and are unable or unwilling to wild collect. This means they are stuck with daily water changes for a couple of months.
If you can provide a reliable source of daphnia you can dispense with daily water changes. Set your tanks/tubs up with aged water, add weed, various bugs such as moina, daphnia, hog lice, snails and blackworm. Put your eggs in , leave them alone, just check them a couple times a week and add daphnia and other live food if they are running short. Pull the biggest larvae out when you spot them so they don't canabalise the smallest. Make sure you can secure the tubs so they don't morph and bail or pull them all when they show signs of morphing. This is an easy and work shy method of raising newts, it's also highly effective , though be prepared for the smallest to be eaten by bigger siblings.



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Old 18th May 2018   #4
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Default Re: How to streamline larva care?

Forgot I posted this https://www.caudata.org/forum/showthread.php?t=107139
Daphnia raising thread https://www.caudata.org/forum/showthread.php?t=99830
Axolotl raising thread https://www.caudata.org/forum/showthread.php?t=88172



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