All around help on newt/salamander care required!

Shardas

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Hello!

I found this cute amphibian in my local pet store and manages to persuade my dad into buying one for me. The shop owner wasn't of much help in terms on how to care for it, only told me it's a salamander, and after some questions, to keep it in shallow water and to feed it small fish.

I THEN did research to figure out what species it was, only to find out it's not native in Singapore. In fact, Singapore does not have any sorts of newts or salamanders. That posed a problem (or not); I couldn't release it, and I really wanted to care for it.

So... most guides I've seen are quite extensive, but I understand little of it. I'm not much of an aquarium person (I go to my dad if I want to know anything marine-related), and I don't have a lot of time to dedicate myself to caring for it. I'm a full-time student studying Pharmaceutical Sciences in a polytechnic, and little savings. Much of my time is spent on projects and compounding drugs for prescription and studying.

Okay, bottom line is this. Can anyone tell me how to care for my little newt (at least I think it is a newt)? It's about 10cm long, 1cm fat, overall brown colour with yellow-orange underbelly. There's some mottling colours but they're not very distinct. Comparing images of larvae and adults, I concluded my new baby was a very young adult Californian newt (Could someone confirm for me?).

So far I have it in a round plastic container, no glass tanks because I don't have one. My dad suggested to put in with the guppies and the like. It's a custom tank big enough for an arowana (or dragon fish). I wasn't sure if it could survive there, so I'm just keeping it with me for now. I change the water daily (either early morning or evening/late night, depending on when I get home), it is unfiltered. The water is natural water that was dug from a well (technically for my dad's plant watering), but I read it needed water without chlorine, and that was the only alternative that didn't require some dechlorinating tablet. I keep the container on my shelf, where there isn't much light and heat.

Feeding wise, it seems somewhat enthusiastic chomping on live guppies (had to hold them by the tail when I saw how clumsily amusing it moved). It eats them once daily, refuses any more guppies and turns away. I'm feeding it my dad's guppies (well, the less pretty ones), so I'm looking for a cheaper alternative for food source.

I glanced at it when I was free, it just curls its tail and moves to a different spot every one in a while. It moves upwards and gulps air about every 5 minutes (it uses lungs, right?)

That's pretty much it for current situation. I'd like loads of advice on what to do, what I should feed it, should I change container, how to tell when it gets sick, everything you can think of. I really would like it to not just survive, but thrive and be happy.

I'm willing to take pictures and whatnot, let me know if you need more info. So sorry for being a total newbie at this! ^^"

Thanks!
 

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Azhael

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

It is a Pachytriton sp. I don´t dare guess the species, but the genus is very clear.
It is a wild-caught animal which means that it is vulnerable and highly stressed. Unfortunately it requires conditions that are not easy to provide in your country. It should be kept as cold as possible, ideally below 20ºC at all times.

Read this caresheet:

Caudata Culture Species Entry - Pachytriton - Paddletail
 

AeonMapa

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

You will need to get a 10 gallon fishtank asap. It should be nearly completely full, and you should also purchase a filter that will provide a current. Be careful about that container you are keeping your newt in, as it can easily escape so keep it covered at all times, same goes for the tank that you will house it in.

As a newt keeper you must be prepared to aquire and handle worms. Earthworms are the best staple food for these animals, and you can buy them in fishing stores, dig them up, or culture them quite easily at home. Stop feeding the guppies as soon as possible since they can contain disease and parasites, feeder fish are not suitable unless you breed them yourself. The tank should also contain some live plants, and places for the newt to hide. He can possibly reach double the size he is now so give him lots of room to swim as well. Please learn how to CYCLE A TANK if you don't know how yet.

I live in the Philippines, and like Azhael said, your biggest challenge will be keeping your newt cool. I achieve this by having two 2 litre bottles of water, which I freeze solid. I put one in the newt tank, and let it melt, remove it and put in in the freezer again. When the tank warms up a little bit I put the second bottle in. By the time you need to cool it again, the 1st bottle would have re-frozen.
 

Shardas

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

Will it be alright until the next weekend if I leave it as it is now? School is grabbing pretty much almost all of my time now, and weekends hold most of the free time I'd have. The guppies should be fine as my dad has long stopped buying guppies (like a year or two ago), and these are the remaining ones. They should tide over under the weekend, when I can go purchase earthworms, yes?

Question about the bottle cooling: What material is the bottle made of? I'll try to find them somewhere.

Told my dad about the info you guys gave me, he disapproved of it, saying it was so much problem for a small thing. Will I have to fork out a lot of money for it? I'm not sure about that as he bought me the newt at S$4. He's telling me to dump the poor thing into the (at least) 200L tank that we have. If I do that, his companions will be guppies, some neon fish, and an adult black dog shark (or sucker fish, the one that eats the dirt in the tank). Will he survive in that tank?
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

It is highly unlikely it will survive in that tank :(
How about advertising for re-homing ? Maybe someone local to you can provide it with the living conditions it requires.
 

Shardas

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

In Singapore? Uh, nope. My friends and relatives don't keep exotic pets, they keep the most generic of pets (dog/cat/rabbit/guinea pig...). I think the most exotic was chinchillas, but even that you could find relatively easily in pet shops.

So the best bet until I can get a new tank up and running would be to leave it as it is for now? Also, if I'm buying an entirely new tank, what kind of filter should I get? I should do some research on where to buy them before the weekend (and get it squeezed into my study time for several major tests). *stressstressstress*
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

A newt isn't just a small thing, it's an animal that's life depends on your care ;)
A ten gallon tank and a filter shouldn't cost too much. That's the bare minimum. Them plants and ornaments you can buy lantern. Keep the tank cool and clean and he'll be happy. For cooling Use plastic bottled water bottles, as glass might shatter.

For this little it of care you'll get a pet that can last ten or more years!
 

Shardas

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

Buy lantern? I'm confused with that sentence. Do you mean 'later'? I plan to buy those requirements, the more my dad disapproves, the more I want to do it! I'm worried about the earthworms part though; how long do they live without sustenance, and how much should I buy? I'm thinking of grabbing another newt or two off the fish shop if they still have them, then the tank wouldn't be so empty. I have to get a tank running first though.
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

Buying more of these newts is the worse thing you could do. Not only are you struggling to even begin to offer the necessary conditions for the one you already have, but also these are wild-caught and imported in terrible conditions. By purchasing more you support this market.
Finally, and very importantly, Pachytriton can be highly territorial and very agressive towards each other.
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

:eek: Alright, bad thinking on my part. It can have the tank all to itself then. :)
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

Yes I meant to say later :p A 10 gallon tank should be just fine for 1 paddletail newt. Your newt might be twice it's size when it grows up. If you can set up a small container (even gallon ice cream tub will work). fill it with dried leaves, and a little soil, you can keep the earthworms alive indefinitely. Just keep them moist and poke some hholes in the cover for air. :)
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

Okay! The more important question I think got lost in the previous posts: What kind of filter should I find? Layman terms are highly preferred too!
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

I would go for a small internal power filter, unlike most other newts Pachytriton should be fine with the water movement and maintenance is very simple. Most power filters say on the box what volume of water they will handle so just choose one to suit your tank size.
 
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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

Alright thanks! :) I shall grab the tank and filter (and decor if the shop sells them) tomorrow.

Do I feed my newt daily, or every 2-3 days? So far I've been feeding him either one fat guppy or two small guppies daily. He's quite enthusiastic about it, though I have to dangle it in front of him by the guppy's tail. Grabbing earthworms tomorrow as well.
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

How's everything?
 

Shardas

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

I've moved him to the tank (it's slightly under 20L, but he's alone anyway so...) :) He seems a lot happier, spent the first few hours exploring. I also changed his diet from then on, he started eating earthworms quite enthusiastically, but vomited out his third (haha, greedy one here). I've been putting a worm a day in the tank to see if he's hungry after that (now's the second day, so I'm not worried), but so far he's content, only nipping at the worm when it squirms near him. He likes to just stone in a particular spot and move slowly around.

I noticed he was climbing the walls and hanging off the plant just now; is that normal? It's the first time I've seen him do that, he usually just sinks and walks around. Oh, and any idea whether its male or female? I'd like to start choosing names. :)

And I've got some pics, though some aren't too good; the condensation on the walls of the tank made things a little tough in that area.
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

That looks much better :) Now it's important to make sure the water quality stays acceptable while the tank cycles, be careful not to overfeed him as this will pollute the water very quickly and do regular partial water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite levels down until beneficial bacteria colonise the inside surfaces in the tank. The live plants will help with water quality but it would be worth while buying test kits for ammonia and nitrite so you can keep an eye on things as the tank matures.
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

I usually fish the worm out if he makes no outward movements or interest in the worm, which gets to live another day haha. He's wary of worms now, I think he's still full... Dumped a worm in and he hunted it down and then turned away.

I'm now trying to figure out how to keep the bottle of ice from floating, grabbing marbles to sink it down so that it doesn't scare the newt and disturb the water.
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

I have no experience with this species but to me it looks like a female. The vent is more cone shaped and is rather small, generally characteristic of female newts.

Congrats! -Seth
 

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Re: All rounded help on newt/salamander care required!

Bad news :cry:: This morning I woke up and noticed it wasn't in the tank! I've had to go to school for 2 hours but I started searching once I came home. Searched every nook and cranny on the first floor of my house (the tank's in the living room/dining room.) with no results. Saw loads of dust bunnies and giant spider webs, but no newt. :( I'll be doing another search which would be my fifth time (flashlight and I are now best pals). I've put out some shallow container covers with water in them, but so far they're stagnant as well. All the doors to the room/kitchen/toilet are closed, but I checked them all anyway. Still a no.

I'm starting to worry it'll dehydrate soon.

Can newts climb stairs?
 
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