Mystery newt and newbie questions

CocoaKao

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Hello all! First time poster! :D Nice to meet you! I'll try to make this short and sweet...

An older fellow came into the pet store where I work with a newt in a bucket. He said 'if you guys don't want it, I'll just flush it'. And so begins my crash course in newts..

All I know about the newt's previous life is that he was only fed freeze dried bloodworms, and the guy had him for 6 years. Now he eats 2-3 3 week old crickets dusted in pure calcium. Offered a wax worm, he iust let it drown.
I got him 15 gallon tank with new dechlorinated water, a Zoo Med turtle dock, some decor to help him climb to the dock (including an upside-down margarine container), a plastic plant, hiding tunnel, and some smooth rocks too big to eat. Using a standard glass fish thermometer for the temps, and he's got a screen lid to prevent escapes. I put dechlorinated ice cubes on his lid that drip down into his water. If there's any problems with this setup, please let me know!

Should I add Nutrafin Cycle to his water? I looked around but couldn't find a conclusive answer to this.
How do you know if they're happy?! :lol:
Are they usually so rough with crickets? He sometimes grabs them, shakes it back and forth a couple times, then spits it out before going back for round 2. Similar to how a skink does it.
Is it unreasonable to worry about him drowning himself? My girlfriend saw him swimming up for the first time, and she's under the impression he's struggling for air.
Lastly, what kind is he? I figured Japanese Fire Belly... I'll attach a picture.

Sorry for all the sudden questions! He's a bit different than the reptiles I'm used to caring for... XD
 

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CocoaKao

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Two more pictures. Sorry for the awful pic of his tank, it's 10pm, and my room has terrible lighting. XD;
 

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Chinadog

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Welcome to the site! Firstly he's a warty newt of some kind, I would guess Paramesotriton hongkongensis, but somebody more experienced might correct me!

The good news is he looks quite healthy and plump, also good is the fact that he's alone, warty newts can be very aggressive to their own kind in all but the biggest, well thought out tanks.

Warty newts are highly aquatic in nature and are found in moving water, so his environment needs to be as clean as possible. The best thing to do is pick up some water test kits for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to keep an eye on his water quality as the tank cycles. you will most likely have to do regular partial water changes until the cycling process is complete, some live plants will help a lot at this stage. Being as he comes from a stream or brook, you could use a small internal power filter to help keep things clean and provide a gentle current.

The supplemented crickets are not an ideal food for him, but are better than freeze dried bloodworm, the outright best food for him would be nightcrawlers. These should be a staple that you could add the crickets or other things to as a treat from time to time. Be very careful not to foul the water with overfeeding or un-eaten food at this stage as water quality can decline rapidly in an un-cycled tank.

There are a lot of excellent articles over on the Caudata culture section of the site, Maybe someone who isn't a technotard like me will paste you a link to the relevant ones. :p
Hope this helps!
 

Azhael

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'if you guys don't want it, I'll just flush it'

Bloody humans....

My best guess is that it is likely to be Paramesotriton chinensis, but full body pictures from the top would help.
As it has already been said, it will need a decent current, several hides and cool water. Try to keep it below 20ºC. Adding LOTS of live plants would be very useful right now to provide biological filtration and maintaining adequate parametres while the tank cycles. Specially fast growing species like Elodea or Hydrocotile.

Earthworms are definitely the best staple, but you can add some occasional variety with fresh-water crustaceans or isopods.

This is a fairly common species so there is quite a lot of information about them throughout the forums and particularly in the Paramesotriton section. Make sure to browse and use the search function to find relevant threads and learn as much as possible.
 

CocoaKao

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Here are some articles:
Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling
Caudata Culture Articles - Food Items for Captive Caudates
Caudata Culture Articles - Setups

And some more articles if you decide to study up: Caudata Culture Articles

I would also try adding some live plants and more hides in the water

Awesome! Thanks! I found the cycling article last night; these generally apply to all species of newts, yes? I had some concern that I might set him up in a manner suitable for some other type, and end up killing him with my good intentions...
Did a lot of late night reading, particularly on here, and Melissa Kaplan's site.

Heading out to the store to grab some live plants, hides, and to order some dew worms right away, as well as look at other options for cooling and supplying a current.
Thanks for the help guys!

Bloody humans....

Agreed... Since I've started working in a pet store, I have much less faith in humanity. Being in charge of the reptile department, I get to decide where all the surrenders will go, how to best take care of them in the meantime, and try to educate potential owners on care. It's disturbingly common to hear someone say 'my beardie lives in a 20 gal, I don't think I need to upgrade' or, 'I only feed my lizard two bugs a week, and it's fine'. I once had a girl complain that taking care of a betta was too difficult, and she was shocked I wouldn't sell her a massive Ranchu for her fishbowl.
 

CocoaKao

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(Henceforth, the newt I'm caring for is known as Isaac in my posts, to avoid confusion.)


Alright! I immediately got some Java Ferns in there (that was all for plants...), and a little filter mainly to provide some current. The guy in charge of the fish department at my store gave me a small piece of filter material and some water from his live plant tank to help me get it all cycled faster. The filter media is there, but I'm a little leery about putting the water itself in. I think I'll add it gradually and try not to shock my newt. I trust the guy knows fish like the back of his hand, but he has no experience with amphibians, and I'm still trying to get a feel for how sensitive Isaac is before I go messing too much with his tank.

Did a small water change today. The water is a little cloudy, from the cycling process, I assume. My girlfriend mentioned Isaac was just floating a couple times, sometimes on his side. Dew worms should be in tomorrow.

Been trying to find a knowledgable home for Isaac, but so far no luck. The only two newt owners I've found just seem to have them as novelty pets, with little effort and thought put in to their setups and feeding. Going to keep setting things up for the long term, cause it looks like I'll have him for a while. I certainly don't mind keeping him.


(Can't decide if he loves or hates the filter. He's been a bit erratic since it went on, and he won't leave its side...)
 
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Chinadog

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I don't like the sound of him lying on his side, or hanging around the filter. I really would recommend running tests for ammonia and nitrite at the very least, maybe you could take a water sample to a decent prtstore for them to test for you? Milky looking water can be caused by bacterial bloom in a cycling tank, but without knowing whats going on with the water it's all guesswork. I would normally expect a new tank to need small water changes every day to keep the levels safe.
The live filter media from the petstore will help, It's a trick I always use to short cut the cycling process as long as it wasn't out the water for too long as the bacteria begin to die off quite quickly without oxygen.
 

CocoaKao

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I had one test done that came out good, but I'll be taking in another sample with me tomorrow. I did a small water change today, and I'll probably do another one tomorrow as well. I kept the filter material in water right up until it went straight into the filter. =] I'll post tomorrow's water test results once it's done.
 

CocoaKao

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Eep, guess my phone ate my last post..
The water test I did after that post was perfect, not a problem. Also the few that I did after that. After a trip to the ER and a wonky work schedule, I took another test after about 4 days; a little ammonia, but the nitrites were crazy bad. I changed half his water and put in new filter media from an established tank, as well as a dose of Microbe Lift's Gel Innoculant. I plugged in my filter, and it shot out a bunch of white crud, so I did another small water change.
My filter started making a burning smell, so I've pulled it out and I'll leave it running in a bucket overnight. I came home from work to find Isaac out of his tank and on his land strip, which is unusual for him (I was starting to wonder if he even knew how to get up there...).
This, and the fact that my girlfriend's betta is crashing hard has me worried, since we did our water changes on the same day...

Just checked on him again, and he's still on land. It is 11:30pm, maybe he's just trying to sleep and I'm over thinking things...
 

tcbemis

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Hi there... Just read your thread for the first time. You haven't posted in a while, how is Isaac doing?

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  • Junaz:
    Thank you, I appreciate it. I'll look up ammonia and nitrate lockers, and see if I can find someone who can help me with cycling the tank with her in there. She still is looking and acting ok so I hope everything turns out ok. Thanks for the advice
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  • madcaplaughs:
    Hey @Junaz. It appears your tank is uncycled. You'll need to purchase a source of ammonia (i.e., Dr. Tim's Aquatics ammonium chloride) to cycle the tank with. Dose the tank up to 2ppm (bottle says 4 drops/gal=2ppm. This is false. 2 drops/gal=2ppm) daily until you've build up a bacteria colony that is able to convert 2ppm of ammonia into 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite in 24hr. You'll want to tub your axolotl immediately and while you cycle as these levels are extremely toxic. To tub, just use a food-grade tub large enough for the axolotl to extend itself and turn around in, and perform daily 100% water changes. Make sure your water is dechlorianted (and make sure your dechlorinator has no aloe or iodine, both of these are toxic to axolotls). If you have any more questions about cycling or axolotls, PM me :)
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  • Chamoxnle:
    My new axolotl enjoys floating. He doesn't seem stressed, or like he's being forced to float. He just likes to chill at the top. Why do some enjoy floating around? Most of my other axolotls are content staying stationary, but this one just continues to move, only stopping to eat. Again, he doesn't seem stressed, and it's not a fretful swim.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Hi, Im fairly new to keeping axolotls. I have to lil buddies that I got a few months back. They were doing fine, up until a month ago when one got fungus in his gills. Took him out to fridge him, then the other guy got it too. I'm currently fridging both and doing salt baths for one (not enough fridge space to keep that much pretreated water for both at the same time). Its been hard to tell if its helping or not and then about a week and half ago one of my axies had a bunch of weird white goop in the water. I immediately changed it, happened a tiny bit again, then seemed to be okay. I had returned him to the tank, but it happened again. Back to the fridge but wanted hear from people who knew more
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I have pictures. Tried looking through other peoples questions, but couldnt find the same white goop.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    @Kailynom My cousin (who i got my baby axies from) had the same problem. She developed an allergy to the bloodworms she was feeding them and it got really bad. To the point where her throat would close up just being around the bloodworms. Happened within a few months. Be safe :)
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @MadamePirateOwl Fridging is best left to life-or-death situations, and salt baths are unnecessarily harsh, stressful, and abrasive. I'd suggest doing tea baths instead (using caffeinated black tea, where the only ingredient is black tea).
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    so no idea what the goop is?
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  • madcaplaughs:
    Hard to tell without a photo, but might be algae or fungus floating. Water changes will take care of that.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    It definitely came from the axolotl. Looked to be mixed into poo the first time. Can I post the photos here?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Im not actually sure how i would post it. It seems to want a link
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Its fairly thick and chunky
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    (Also thanks for your patience and help!)
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  • madcaplaughs:
    You could always upload the photo to imgur and link it back here
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    The second image was how it looked the first time, it was mixed with some other poop like stuff. after that its been small and without the poopy stuff
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  • madcaplaughs:
    The second photo looks reminiscent of partially-digested worms, though I've never seen anything like that. Have you checked your parameters lately?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Right now theyre in smaller tubs that i do daily water changes in
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I'll admit Ive bought test strips but they havent come in yet
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I use Prime to dechlorinate the water, which was recommend by the girl I got them from
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  • madcaplaughs:
    For now I'd tub the axolotl and do daily 100% water changes until you're able to test your parameters
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  • madcaplaughs:
    I'd also recommend ordering a liquid test kit such as the API Freshwater Master Test Kit since strips are generally unreliable and inaccurate.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Okay, thank you for your help and advice :)
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  • k.em:
    anybody growing tylototriton?
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    k.em: anybody growing tylototriton? +2
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