Advanced preparation for keeping Eastern Newts

JAK

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Back when I was in kindergarten my class raised a couple of red efts. At the end of that school year the teacher sat down with me and my mother and asked if I would like to keep the newts as pets. I remember really enjoying them and running about with a net to catch mosquitoes and flys to supplement their diet or fish flakes. I recall I even cultured some daphnea for them at one point. I don't remember just how long they lived but I'm sure they had passed on by the time I was in fourth grade. Even then I knew their lifespan should have been much longer.

Their short lives were undoubtedly the fault of my youth. I believe they remained in a 2 gallon tank, with a bubbler yet no filter their entire lives. They always seemed thinner than I would have liked, and it still bothers me that I failed them. Now, nearing my 30th birthday I find myself thinking it would be nice to have newts again, and care for them properly.

I picked up all the books on keeping newts and salamanders that I can find and have been reading extensively online. I joined an area herpetological society, and this forum so I might benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. I've located a source of captive bred Notophthalmus viridescens, it may even be the same breeder from all those years ago. So here I am over 20 years since I kept a newt and terrified I'll make some mistake. I intend to keep newts but I don't want to rush in and stumble into a simple mistake.

I wonder then, if there was one thing, you wish you knew when you were getting started; one bit of advice that would have prevented an early misstep, what would it be? Thanks for any pointers or advice, I really want to make sure I get everything right this time.
 

Jennewt

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Escape is one of the top killers of captive newts. Get a secure lid and close it compulsively. Notophthalmus are pond-type newts, so avoid anything that creates a current in the tank - having a bubbler but no filter isn't really so bad.

Have you read the FAQs and articles on Caudata Culture?
Caudata Culture Home Page

Bravo to you for being well prepared:)
 

Otterwoman

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I've had a tank of them for about ten years. I don't use a filter in any of my tanks, just a bubbler, but I do regular water changes, about 1/3 of the tank every 3 weeks. Use a lot of plants.
 

JAK

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From what I've read it sounds like I will need plants or some sort of filter coupled with regular water changes to maintain good water chemistry. I'm leaning towards using a bare bottom tank with benthic plants to provide hides and regulate the water quality. I figure that a bare bottom will make it much easier to spot clean and prevent the build up of any uneatin food or other debris. I wonder though, if without a substrate I should get a small sponge filter of some sort to provide a habitat for colonies of beneficial bacteria or would the leaves of the plants be enough for the bacteria to culture to a useful degree?

I hadn't worried about escape and had expected to use an aquarium style hood but now think I'll consider an other option. Potentially a hinged glass cover or fine mesh screen of the type used for various reptiles, but I'll have to see what is out there. Besides the three newt/salamander husbandry books I've already got I ordered two others last evening and I will see if they have recommendations that prove useful.

Oh! If I keep 3 newts in a 10 gallon tank should I try to locate an air pump meant for use with a 5 gallon tank so that it will not create any significant current or would one of the Tetra air pumps intended for 10 gallon tanks be alright?

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