Essential Newt and Salamander Keeping Equipment for New Hobbyists

jane1187

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Hello, I have been doing a lot of thinking after reading many posts raving about turkey basters. I thought to myself... why is it such an amazing thing to people reading these posts "Oh yeah a turkey baster, I'd never thought of that". it is mainly because in order to discover these useful objects you need to read many posts (which all newcomers should do) but this may take a long time before you discover useful equipment. Surely we want this amazing equipment from the get go?

I read a thread called the very useful equipment thread (http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-be...h-other-out-very-useful-equipment-thread.html). Whilst useful I thought it is only listing one or two pieces of people's favourite equipment and doesn't necessarily provide a comprehensive list for newcomers.

There are also many care sheets on caudata culture that mention useful equipment, but it is scattered throughout many caresheets.

So here is my idea. A thread (which maybe if it proves useful could become a sticky?) of the essential must-have equipment for any newt or salamander owner, whether it be axolotls or Tylototritons.

So here is my essential equipment list. I also urge other users and long-time hobbyists to add their essential equipment lists and explain why each piece of equipment is useful (photos would also be great). Here we go:

1) The turkey baster
- Raved about for a good reason!
- Useful for removing small debris and poop from small tanks
- Useful for when you don't want to siphon (see siphon later in thread)
- Useful for larvae set-ups as you can prevent them being sucked up as may happen with a siphon
- Useful for capturing very small larvae and eggs if you gently suck them up to transfer to other enclosures
- Relatively cheaply bought from cooking shops or online
- Mine has a removable rubber bulb for cleaning and can be put in the dishwasher if I want to give it a thorough clean


2) The tweasers/forceps
- Large tweasers are useful for catching crickets, placing food near the bottom of a tank without getting your hands wet, grabbing onto things in a tank to remove them, 'hand' feeding individual newts, and all manner of other uses
- Small tweasers allow for more delicate operations such as picking up small whiteworms and bloodworm, just as an example
- Ideally they need to have blunt, rounded ends for feeding because if the critter snaps for food you don't want pointed-end tweasers piercing the mouth of your critters.


3) The siphon
- Useful for removing uneaten food, poop and other gunk from a tank
- Can be used on bare-bottomed or gravel tanks
- Try to avoid siphon filters with any sort of mechanism within (you want ideally just a straight tube with more tube attached). Siphons with self-starting mechanisms or battery operated ones usually have some form of flaps or moving parts. This is so that if any small critters (like larvae) accidentally get sucked up they won't be harmed. If you only have a large axolotl or similar then you needn't worry but it is a problem when keeping small larvae.


4) The 'rod'
- Useful for moving plants, decorations or other items around a tank. This is a commercially available plant arranger (it has a fork on the end that is out of the photo for arranging plants) that also has an algae scraper attachment.
- If you don't want to purchase something like this, I used to use a plastic stick to do the same job before I bought it so you don't need any sort of fancy equipment.
- The algae scraper is useful for scraping off small areas of algae in between major tank clean-up operations. Also useful for dislodging gunk stuck to the bottom of bare-bottom tanks before siphoning or turkey-basting.


5) The old toothbrush
- useful for cleaning hard to reach places in a tank or on ornaments or equipment. Particularly useful for cleaning the 'teeth' of your tweasers when they get gunk trapped in them
- You can buy a cheap one or you can use an old one of your own but its best to let it stand in disinfectant before you use it.


6) The pots and containers
- My equipment of choice are small glass ramakins and old take-away tubs
- Both are inexpensive. You can get old take-away tubs from, well, take-away food or you can buy them in cheap home equipment stores. Ramakins for baking may be harder to come by but they can be bought in cooking shops or anywhere that sells cooking equipment. I actually get mine from eating 'Gu' brand desserts from the supermarket so technically they are free too.
- The take-awa tub is useful for washing soil off worms, collecting the water/gunk removed using a turkey baster, keeping larvae and eggs in while they are very small, etc
- The ramakin is useful for defrosting bloodworm and washing whiteworm before feeding


7) Miscellaneous equipment
- I use a pair of sharp scissors from a dissection kit for cutting up earthworms, but any pair of scissors will do
- A small teaspoon is useful for picking up larvae and eggs when you don't use a turkey baster. Also useful for mixing and spooning out the porridge oats I feed to my whiteworm. The spoon may also have a variety of other uses for other people


8) The bucket
- Probably the most important piece of equipment and probably should have been first on my list, but it is pretty obvious so I've shoved it at the end as an afterthought.
- This is a food-grade tub (an old mayonnaise tub) from my work in kitchens as a student, but readily available online too. It has a flat bottom so is perfect for storing the axolotl while his tank is being cleaned.
- You can use any bucket, it doesn't have to be food grade. I just find that food grade tubs tend to be white which is good for spotting accidentally siphoned larvae or whatever from the tank. Some also have measurements of volume etched into the side that DIY buckets sometimes don't have.
- It is often useful to keep more than one of these buckets. One can be filling with water while you carry the other to the tank, or one can hold the critters while you fill the tank with the other. Up to you. I personally keep three (one as a back-up!)


Well I hope this thread is useful to all newcomers and gives you an insight into what the long-time hobbyists are using after years of experimenting with different equipment.

Can I also point out that most of this equipment is FREE or cheap so don't worry about cost! Just get what you can and use what you need.
 
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ArdyBay

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Man, I never even thought of using a toothbrush.
Totally getting a spare.
Thanks! Haha
 

Molch

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haha, brilliant! You hit all the essentials. I got all of those :D

I wonder if the makers of turkey basters are even aware of this secret unplanned underground use of their equipment. If so, they should use it in marketing: "did you think you would use our phenomenal turkey baster only during thanksgiving? Think again! Now you can put it to good use year-round! All you need is some newts and a lot of worms to feed them - the more you feed, the more they'll..well, you'll figure out the rest!"
 

pygmycory

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You can actually buy turkey basters at the petstore where I work. They make them for Bettas. I doubt they're any different than the traditional ones as regards usefulness.
 

Lhagan

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I love the turkey baster concept. It will help me with my bloodworms.
That's why I came here. Looking for new ideas.
Thanks!
 
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    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
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