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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?

Sent from my Z665C using Tapatalk
 
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