Alpine newt rearing journal

Axlnewts

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As I finally have some free time, I wanted to take the opportunity to document raising last years batch of Alpine newts (apuana subspecies). I hope it will be of help to anyone looking to raise their own as although it can be very challenging and time consuming I always find it to be a rewarding experience.

Background

I keep my current group of 6 alpines indoors year round as the temperature does not drop low enough to encourage them to breed. This prevents any surprises when I am unprepared to deal with them. However, in early 2019 I decided that I would purchase some eggs from several members of the forum in an attempt (probably unlikely?) to gain some level of genetic diversity in my group.

In total I purchased 3 batches of 20 eggs.

My group

The original adults live in a 200 liter aquarium. I also maintain several large escape proofed tubs in the garden of around 400 liters, which serve as daphnia cultures or an ideal place to provide a cooling period when required, though as mentioned this was not the case this year as I purchased eggs to raise. This didn't stop one of the males from trying though!



The set ups

The eggs would be raised in a variety of plastic tubs as pictured below, as well as in a breeder box in the adult aquarium, which I attempted to seal with foam to prevent baby brine shrimp or daphnia from escaping (this worked to some extent).


 

Chinadog

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Thanks for posting!
These kind of threads are my favourite, very much looking forward to seeing them develop and grow. :)
 

Axlnewts

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Eggs!

I received all batches of eggs in mid May, some more developed than others. I allocated them to their containers, trying to match the groups based on their stage of development.

At a temperature of around 15c indoors, it did not take long for the larvae to grow inside their eggs, and most were ready to hatch within a week.


 

Axlnewts

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Thanks for posting!
These kind of threads are my favourite, very much looking forward to seeing them develop and grow. :)
Cheers Chinadog!

I've really enjoyed reading your popei threads. You'll have to let me know when they lay eggs as they are next on my list to grow out, but seem to be very hard to come by these days.
 

Axlnewts

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Hatchlings

It wasn't long before I was coming home from work everyday to find several newly hatched larvae. I continued to reallocate them based on hatching date so that I could time the first feedings. Newly hatched larvae tend to lie on their side until they have partially used up their yolk sacs. This helps me determine when they are ready to start eating.




These guys will be hungry in a few days, so I've been culturing microworms and stocking up on brine shrimp eggs. Microworms can be extremely helpful as occasionally a BBS batch will fail to hatch in large enough numbers but microworms are so easy to have on hand as a backup during the crucial first week.

 

Chinadog

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Cheers Chinadog!

I've really enjoyed reading your popei threads. You'll have to let me know when they lay eggs as they are next on my list to grow out, but seem to be very hard to come by these days.
They are, I think us Cynops enthusiasts are getting quite rare these days.
They were laying eggs around Xmas time, but they seem capable of breeding almost any time of year so I'll keep you posted. :)
 

Axlnewts

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They are, I think us Cynops enthusiasts are getting quite rare these days.
They were laying eggs around Xmas time, but they seem capable of breeding almost any time of year so I'll keep you posted. :)
Appreciate it! I have too many empty tubs at the moment which need to be put to good use :)

Quite a surprise that popei in particular are less commonly kept given their much greater suitability to indoor temperatures.

For those raising them in warmer months, the Alpine larvae seem to do best below 22c. If the temps start climbing to 25c+, they'll begin floating at the surface looking sorry for themselves (add ice at this point!). This might be partly due to lower oxygen levels at higher temps, so increasing surface agitation may help.
 

Chinadog

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Appreciate it! I have too many empty tubs at the moment which need to be put to good use :)

Quite a surprise that popei in particular are less commonly kept given their much greater suitability to indoor temperatures.

For those raising them in warmer months, the Alpine larvae seem to do best below 22c. If the temps start climbing to 25c+, they'll begin floating at the surface looking sorry for themselves (add ice at this point!). This might be partly due to lower oxygen levels at higher temps, so increasing surface agitation may help.
They are out there I'm sure, but numbers have certainly dwindled. It's been a long time since any of the Japanese Cynops were imported in numbers and many people seem to move on from what are often seen as 'beginners species' or just can't be bothered with the tiny terrestrial juveniles.

Back to the Alpines, I found at higher temps an extra airstone would get them behaving normally again, at least with the strain I had. There were brief times the tanks got up around 27/8c with no losses. Certainly not recommended, but I think it's the Oxygen content that's important if struggling to keep things cool.
 

Axlnewts

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They are out there I'm sure, but numbers have certainly dwindled. It's been a long time since any of the Japanese Cynops were imported in numbers and many people seem to move on from what are often seen as 'beginners species' or just can't be bothered with the tiny terrestrial juveniles.

Back to the Alpines, I found at higher temps an extra airstone would get them behaving normally again, at least with the strain I had. There were brief times the tanks got up around 27/8c with no losses. Certainly not recommended, but I think it's the Oxygen content that's important if struggling to keep things cool.
Agreed on those temps, it's more my own paranoia that sometimes makes me forget these critters are pretty hardy.

Mine have all been fine despite the last couple of summers where there were a few prolonged spells of 30c+ heat in the UK.
 

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Yes, I once cut a holiday short by a few days one especially hot week because I was panicking about my Alpine newts. They were perfectly fine and dandy when we got back, unlike my partner who sulked for days...

Btw, what method do you use for micro worms? I've been raising them for years, but I still don't have a way I'm totally happy with.
 

Axlnewts

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Yes, I once cut a holiday short by a few days one especially hot week because I was panicking about my Alpine newts. They were perfectly fine and dandy when we got back, unlike my partner who sulked for days...

Btw, what method do you use for micro worms? I've been raising them for years, but I still don't have a way I'm totally happy with.
I have to admit I don't have a perfect way either. My methodology is to start about double the amount I realistically need using a few different mixtures. Quantity over quality!

I use the 750ml salad pots you can see in some of my images above, "borrowed" from my office canteen. About a week before I expect hatchlings i'll seed 4 pots, two using 1.5 slices of moistened white bread each and a pinch of yeast sprinkled on top. This is my preferred method as I can get the bread for free at the aforementioned canteen.

The problem with the bread cultures is that they can take a little while to get going, therefore, with the remaining 2 pots I use porridge oats mixed with water (I don't bother heating it up), again sprinkled with yeast and two tablespoons of microworms plopped on top. I'd estimate these brew about 30% faster than the bread mixtures so they cover the first few days while the bread catches up.

The bread cultures seem to last longer and smell slightly less (though I'm not overly bothered by the yeasty smell). The oats start up faster and produce a little more at their peak.

I've never needed a second batch as by then the larvae are on to bigger things.
 

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First bites

Now that I had dozens of hungry mouths to feed, the hard work begins! The micro foods I had available to me were microworms, baby brine shrimp, grindal worms and daphnia. As I work full time, my feeding routine would be microworms (grindal worms once the larvae were large enough) added every morning and baby brine shrimp in the evening, with daphnia left in all day. The microworms tend to survive about 12 to 24 hours in the water whereas the grindal worms could double that, reducing the amount of waste.

Every evening after work I would use a turkey baster to remove debris from the plastic tubs and lower the water level before adding BBS. This maximised the density of the food in each container allowing the larvae to feed efficiently before the BBS started dying off. I could then remove anything uneaten to prevent fouling before refilling with fresh water.

High food density is important as at this stage the larvae simply wait for their prey to come to them.




The larger larvae can be tempted by frozen bloodworms after the first week or so of microfoods. Wriggling the thawed worms with a chopstick or tongs can encourage them to eat.

 

Axlnewts

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Hunters

Huge growth over the next few weeks saw development of the front legs and a much more active hunting style. It's great fun to watch the little predators in action!




You can see the orange bellies full of brine shrimp and daphnia.
 
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    Great! I'll use some of those too. Thanks for the help. :)
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    So everywhere talks about testing your water parameters but I can't find what to do it there aren't right?! Like too low not too high, anybody any ideas?
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    It’s very dry in Colorado. I make sure to spritz every night so while I’m sleeping. I have a nifty hydrometer that I got from Walmart. It tells me blue, green, red; too little humid, good, too much respectively. It’s been helpful to me.
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    It tells me temperature AND humidity.
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    Where'd you get that? Or is it just a combo from petsmart or something?
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    I’m pretty sure I got it at a Walmart.
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  • jnerdx:
    I just looked it up to see if I can find it again. It’s actually a hyGROmeter and temperature. Which measures the dew point. Here is the difference between due point and humidity. https://www.weather.gov/arx/why_dewpoint_vs_humidityYou can calculate Th relative
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    the relative humidity using the dew point measurement.
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    Here is the product I purchased:
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    it has a stand. And I had a spare suction from my filter. So it’s on the wall of my Sal’s enclosure.
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    That’s a pic of it in the enclosure.
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    Nice! Also, from what I can see you have an amazing setup! What species?
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    S. S. Gigliolli
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    Ooo nice!
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    Thank you! I tried to share the video but unsuccessful. You can see it on my IG story @jnerdx
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    Cool! I just have a tiger and a long tail, who we are trying to find as he ESCAPED INTO MY ROOM!
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    Hey y'all, recently my juvenile axolotl's tail has been floating and can swim down but his tail lifts to an angle and I believe that it is stressing him out. He gets in between his plants to balance himself and I am cleaning out the bottom of the tank with my baster. I believe I overfed him and he also may have eaten many air bubbles. He's been like this for nearly 1 1/2 days.
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