Firebellied Newt Setup Advice

AidanD

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I’m finally in the clear to get newts!!! Depending on what’s available, I’ll be getting anywhere from 2-5 juvenile C. orientalis, C. pyrrhogaster, or C. cyanurus. I’m in the process of researching care, so I have a few of questions:

• I plan on using a 20 gallon tall tank and want to use a filter. I’m leaning towards sponge filters, what brand would you suggest?
• I’d like to grow live plants, what kinds would you recommend?
• What lights would work best for these plants?
• Can you use aquarium plant fertilizer safely with newts?
• What kind of lid would work best? I need an escape proof lid that delays evaporation, lets wires through, and lets light through, but still gives some ventilation.
• I’d like to keep small fish, shrimp, and snails in the aquarium as well. I’ll do research for what kind will work best, but are there any issues to look out for if I do cohabitate?

Answers to any of these questions are greatly appreciated! Thank you :)
 

MnGuy

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• I plan on using a 20 gallon tall tank and want to use a filter. I’m leaning towards sponge filters, what brand would you suggest?

A: Only use sponge filters with newts. I have two -- one in each corner. I don't even know the brand. Most are the same anyway.


• I’d like to grow live plants, what kinds would you recommend?

A: I always go with easy, low-light plants: anubias, java fern, java moss, bolbitis. If you use floaters like frogbit, which I do, you need to thin them regularly so enough light gets to the submerged plants.

• What lights would work best for these plants?

A: I have a basic LED available at big box retailers. I don't know the brand. But I've found that plants grow much better under T5 plant bulbs, which are more expensive over time because you have to keep replacing them every six months or year.

• Can you use aquarium plant fertilizer safely with newts?

A: I honestly don't know, but I don't use any with mine and my plants are fine.

• What kind of lid would work best? I need an escape proof lid that delays evaporation, lets wires through, and lets light through, but still gives some ventilation.

A: I use a metal screen lid sold for reptiles. You don't need to delay evaporation. I think circulation and airflow is important. Newts breathe atmospheric oxygen so they need that airflow. Fish breathe oxygen dissolved in the water so they are fine with glass tops as long as you have good filtration, water movement or an airstone.

• I’d like to keep small fish, shrimp, and snails in the aquarium as well. I’ll do research for what kind will work best, but are there any issues to look out for if I do cohabitate?

A: A lot of people discourage keeping fish with newts. I keep my three alpine newts with about 12 White Cloud Mountain minnows, which is the only species some people say is newt-safe. I've never had any issues, and I see my big female newt hunting down and eating baby minnows all of the time. Only 4 babies have ever survived to adulthood in the five years I've kept this setup.

I haven't kept shrimp with my newts but I wouldn't recommend it. Newts are predatory and shrimps are tiny. I keep red cherry shrimp in their own setup and would recommend that if you truly want to enjoy them.

I have snails in my newt tank because they came in on plants and it's impossible to get rid of them all after they're introduced. I've never had issues but I know a lot of people don't recommend keeping any type of animal, even snails, with newts because of possible choking hazards.

Good luck.
 

AidanD

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One question about the lid. I’ve used screen lids before, but I have to cut small holes in them for filtration wires. The small gaps can result in newts escaping by crawling up the wire through the hole. I’ve tried circumventing this by patching the hole, but then removing the lid for maintenance becomes a big mess. How do you do it?
 

MnGuy

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One question about the lid. I’ve used screen lids before, but I have to cut small holes in them for filtration wires. The small gaps can result in newts escaping by crawling up the wire through the hole. I’ve tried circumventing this by patching the hole, but then removing the lid for maintenance becomes a big mess. How do you do it?
I just put the screen right on top of the airline tubing, pinching it against the lip of the tank. The air will still get through to the sponge filter. I've never had an issue with the air not working. If you do, you can try moving the airline tubing to the corner of the tank, where the screen might give it more space.

They also sell screen lids that are hinged in the middle so you can open one side while the other side remains closed. It's worth the cost, because removing the entire lid for maintenance is a pain.

Good luck.
 
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