Fire bellies will not enter water

born2ride321

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So I recently bought 2 little fire bellies and have them in a 20 gallon tank thats about a third land area covered with moss and 2/3s water that is about maybe 4 inches deep. Water area has some drift wood and hornwort. In the month or two I've had them, I have NOT seen them enter the water by themselves. At all. If I place them gently in the water they swim to shore right away. Could the water be too hard for them? We live out in the county and have well water. I've been keeping up with the water changes religiously. Just doesn't seem normal for an aquatic animal. Thanks for any help. PS I'm pretty much a beginner....
 

stanleyc

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Are they eating well? And also, you said "little firebellies," how little are they? Juveniles often prefer to be terrestrial as far as I know, although even juveniles can be trained to be aquatic. After being moved into a new home, they will almost always stay on land for a while, but I don't know if 2 months is common, maybe someone else can help more.
 

Niels D

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If you think they aren't juvies anymore you should check the parameters, though hardness isn't as important as the amount of nitrates. When the animals have experienced some stress due to being moved, imported and such, they are more picky about water quality and will remain terrestrial if they find the water isn't suitable yet. H.orientalis resents a current as well, so be sure to check that as well.
 

Chinadog

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Did the newts come from a pet store? If they did they will be wild caught adults and extremely stressed. These types of aquatic newts become terrestrial as a reaction to the foul conditions they are kept in during the importation and at pet stores. They will only return to the water if the conditions you provide are optimal in every way. Give them a clean aquatic section that is stuffed with live plants, enough so that they can almost walk on top of them like a mat. Keep the temperature as stable as possible and make sure the ammonia and nitrite levels stay low, the plants will help but small frequent water changes may be needed until the tank cycles.

Once you are sure there are no issues with the water you can try reducing the land area until there's nowhere the newts can get completely dry, this should persuade them to return to the water and hopefully start adapting to captivity. The plants really are essential to begin with as their tail fins will be much reduced and they wont be very strong swimmers until they go back into aquatic mode. Hope this helps!
 

born2ride321

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Water changes keep nitrates down as well, correct? Yea they're from a pet store, a really good aquatics one though. They haven't been eating much either. Tried earthworms and they didn't seem interested. Maybe the pieces were too big? Chopping them up was really gross... I just measured Ichabod (aka Ickie) and his body is about and inch and a half long not including the tail.
Of more immediate concern though is Toothless... when I got him, it was always easy to tell him apart from Ickie because he has a bigger throat area right under his jaw. He would also sit with his mouth open to catch bugs or so I thought... today I found him underwater for the first time but he was having trouble moving because he couldn't lift his head up very well. I picked him up and it looks like there is this grayish growth in his mouth. He is really sluggish and it doesn't look like he will make it through the night :( any ideas as to what this is and how to treat it?? These little guys are tricky aren't they...
 

stanleyc

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So they're about 2 inches? I think they would be considered still juveniles then. They will tend to prefer land right now. But if the water quality is fine, no currents, and they're healthy, you can raise the water level little by little to get them to go in the water. Look up the threads in the fire-belly sub-forums about raising juveniles (efts) aquatic for the details before you do it.

Also, in that second picture, he/she looks a bit thin, I think I see the hip bone sticking out a bit. I would just focus on getting them a bit bigger and healthier first. Check out those threads before trying to get them into the water.

Good luck.
 

born2ride321

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They don't seem to be real interested in the worms I'm chopping up for them. Any other options that might tempt them to eat? I read dry food isn't good for them.
 

Azhael

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At 2 inches they can be sexually mature. If they come from a pet-shop, have that size and that coloration you can safely asume that they are definitely wild-caught.
They are not at all in good shape...i´m sorry to say. You need to make sure water conditions are optimal as has already been said. Follow that advice and they might have a chance...
You may want to try waxworms, they are excellent for getting a newt´s attention.
 

stanleyc

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Dry foods aren't really nutritious, nor will they get the newts' attention. You need something that's moving. Waxworms, as mentioned would work, Tubifex/black worms would work as well. Both of those you should be able to get at your local pet/aquarium store.
 

stanleyc

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It will take alot of patience, you can try putting them in basically just a pool of worms and just leave them alone with it.
 

AeonMapa

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Ok first of all you should separate toothless from Ichabod. You're describing that he has a growth on his mouth? It may be an infection that you don't want passed on. You said you have a 20 gallon tank? You might want to fill it up a little bit more than 4 inches, the more water there is the cleaner your water will be. Like the others have said put a lot and lot of lilve plants in there. Your newts are very stressed and need to be kept at temperatures below 20c if possible. Any updates?

It would be great of you could show us a picture of your aquarium so we can advise you better
 
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  • MVM1991:
    As long as its cleaned yeah! You can even make overhangs if you have enough pieces to make nice caves and platforms
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  • Mark.H:
    Ok, thanks!
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  • MVM1991:
    My pleasure! River rocks work well too, and go rather well with all kinda lung less salamanders,
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  • Mark.H:
    Great! I'll use some of those too. Thanks for the help. :)
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  • Tinky:
    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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    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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    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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    What would be the best thing to do ?
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