New Chinese fire belly newts not eating

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
I've already read through several other threads with the same problem. Two weeks ago my wife and I ordered a couple of fire belly newts from backWaterReptiles (first mistake!). One was noticeably smaller than the other and had a creased tail tip. The tip fell off during the first day.

After a week of keeping them in our tank setup I was only able to get the smaller one to eat once (small portion of a live red wriggler) but the larger of the two ate three times (same food item). I've since moved them out of the tank and into separate plastic containers with moistened de-chlorinated water. So far they've been in there a week. The larger one has eaten once (tip of a live canadian night crawler). The smaller one has not eaten again. It seemed interested in a night crawler tip; it bit it, but then let go. I think I cut that one too large.

Food items I have tried:
-live rinsed red wrigglers (chopped and whole)
-live mealworms
-live wiggling night crawler tips
-night crawler chunks
-thawed frozen bloodworms

We're going to try pinhead crickets next.

The last few nights I've attempted to feed on tweezers (bloodworms and wiggling night crawler tips) which has failed. I've left a wiggling night crawler tip in the container with them when I put them back in the cupboard, but neither has eaten in 4 days now. I'm less concerned with the larger one, as he's gained some weight and appears to be eating with *some* regularity. The smaller one, however, is bone thin. I can visibly see his ribs and hip bones now.

Any further advice would be appreciated.
 

Chinadog

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
2,685
Reaction score
67
Points
48
Location
Chesterfield, England
Country
England
If you've read other threads you probably know that pet store newts are wild caught in china and kept in awful conditions for weeks or months on end, they are highly stressed and often sick. The best thing you can do for them is provide optimal conditions and hope they are strong enough to recover and adapt to captivity.

They need at least a 10 gallon tank that s crammed full of aquatic plants, so many that you can't see from one side to the other and clean cold water. If there's enough plants in the tank a filter is optional really as the plants will keep the water quality stable once the tank cycles. The plants are very important to begin with because these types of newts often go into terrestrial mode as a reaction to the foul conditions during importation and in pet stores. This means their tail fins are often greatly reduced and they are poor swimmers and may drown until they recover and return to an aquatic life.

As far as feeding goes you could try wax worms or live blackworms, but chopped nightcrawlers are also good. I would forget the red wrigglers as they have a foul taste and many newts won't touch them, mealworms are also bad as they are nutritionally poor and difficult to digest. I would say keep offering food every day but keep other disturbances to a minimum, keep an eye on water quality because until the tank cycles ammonia or nitrite levels may spike.

It may take a while before they recover enough to feel like eating, in fact some are so sick that i'ts already too late, but by providing perfect conditions you can give them the best chance.
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
Thank you for the reply.

Any input on keeping them isolated in the cupboard versus keeping them in the tank? The cupboard is the most isolated place that I can keep them.
 

AfroNewtkeeper

New member
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
192
Reaction score
6
Points
0
Location
Lago Vista, Texas
Country
United States
Display Name
Daniel
It would be a good idea to upload photos of your newts and your tank, it would help out if you want our opinions on your setup and how malnourished the newts are. As Chinadog said, 8+ gallons of water in the tank is best, as well as sand as substrate, or a bare-bottom tank. Make sure you really fill your entire water area with plants, especially floating along the surface. (Elodea and java moss work well) You should be able to leave the newts in their regular tank if you give them a floating chunk of cork bark, or a floating plastic container filled with dirt. If you try feeding them regular earthworms from your yard (as long as they're not in an area sprayed for pests), you might have better luck. They taste good, and you can cut off larger pieces, which wriggle more. Whiteworms or blackworms might also get a response, but they're much harder to find. You can order some whiteworms from otterwoman in the "For Sale: USA" section if you want. You'll need to set up a culture for them though.
 

Chinadog

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
2,685
Reaction score
67
Points
48
Location
Chesterfield, England
Country
England
Yes, they would be better off in their tank with loads of plants unless any are obviously sick. it would be a good idea to check them for skin sores as newly imported newts often develop skin problems from the stress and poor conditions, if any do have sores they should be isolated from the others straight away.
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
Again, thanks for the help. My ground is frozen under about 6 inches of snow right now (down from 16 inches, yay Michigan) so I'll add the earth worms to my wife's objectives tomorrow.

Pictures below

I think I was shooting myself in the foot by keeping them in the cupboard; probably was scaring the **** out of them when I opened everything up to feed them.

This is the small one
IMG_20140114_212823.jpg


This is the larger one
IMG_20140114_213504.jpg


This is both in the eco earth tub inside the tank
IMG_20140114_215832.jpg

(I am not sure why the smaller one is glossy... that is something that I think has gotten worse now that I'm seeing them side by side again)

This is the tank
IMG_20140114_215936.jpg

There are two live anubis at the bottom, going to increase this number as well as cover the surface with java moss. There is a small under water (crappy) filter turned down very low. We've got large stones as a substrate, I will be removing the vast majority of these, as I know they can trap food items and create pockets of water that can cause problems.


The water is reading 1ppm ammonia and 5ppm nitrate, so it's not cycled (another mistake, I should have taken care of this prior to getting them). I've been unable to lower the ammonia under .5ppm with my tap water + conditioner (the treated water itself had an ammonia reading of .5ppm), so I'm getting some distilled water tomorrow to do a ~25% water change. I assume the java moss will help that along, also.

Again thanks for the help. The support has, at the very least, eased my growing sorrow that I've been unable to make these little guys happy.
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
I forgot. This is a 20 gallon long, so I estimate to have about 10 gallons of water in there now. I understand that more is better, and I will increase the water level.
 

AfroNewtkeeper

New member
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
192
Reaction score
6
Points
0
Location
Lago Vista, Texas
Country
United States
Display Name
Daniel
The tank size is great. Your larger newt doesn't look too underfed, but I would say that the smaller one looks pretty thin. Just pack the tank with as many plants as possible (get a light made for plants if you don't have one already), do 10% water changes each week to try and keep the water quality stable, and try feeding them every day. (Although it's best to feed them every 2-3 days, the skinny one could use the extra food.) Best of luck!

Oh, and I've heard of a condition that I think is called "The Shine," but I wouldn't swear by it. Someone else could tell you what I mean.
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
Well, fortunate turn of events tonight. Before leaving this morning I noticed they both moved off of their floating island and onto some floating artificial plants, right under the surface. When I got home after work I fed them some thawed bloodworms (I do know they should not use these as a staple) and the larger one ate three, and the smaller one ate at least 6 or 7. Hopefully that means they finally feel safe in there.

Tomorrow I'm going to fill it with lots of live plants, get some correctly sized earthworms, and try removing the filter and some rocks. Maybe I can get them down lower in the water.

Thanks for the help. I vastly underestimated the time it takes them to acclimate to a new tank.

I'll post some pictures of the tank after I finish some work on it. Hopefully someone else can learn something from all this.
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
Update! Everything appears to be doing well! One question. Is this guy getting plump or should I be worried about bloat?

6ete9aga.jpg

qy8usevu.jpg


These are both the same newt. This was the smaller one with a tail piece missing. Hopefully he's just plump... It would be heartbreaking to see him ill after so much progress.

Here is the tank. Hornwart is great stuff. Messy, but great. I opted to remove the Cork bark as the smaller newt was staying terrestrial while it was in. They hang out on top of the plants now when they are talking a break. Seem to love it. Both newts appear to have transitioned to aquatic.

emu4a5eg.jpg


Here is the bigger one. He was playing in the plants when it was picture time , so I didn't have a great view. He looks about the same as the other one now. Plump, but not around the throat.
uqujyqep.jpg


Thanks again for the help!
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
More updates.

They were just full. They eat more than they should now. A great relief from before. It was mostly impossible to get them to eat on dry land.

For anyone thinking about newts, or is having similar troubles, here are the top things I did that directly improved my newts' condition:

1) deep water, lots of plants. I'm using hornwort. It grows like a weed and is messy but floats and keeps the water in great shape. It's also cheap.
2) gradual removal of dry land. This one I was nervous about, but in the end it's what got my bone thin newt in the water. With the hornwort they still had places to rest near the surface so there was little to no risk or drowning. My final successful setup basically has a plant mat on the surface they can hang out on.
3) patience.

I was not able to get them to eat properly at all until they went aquatic. My experience points to getting them aquatic being the most important step in their happiness and health.

As said in many other posts. Water quality, and plants. Many plants. Get these two things done BEFORE purchasing your newts!

Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk
 

AfroNewtkeeper

New member
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
192
Reaction score
6
Points
0
Location
Lago Vista, Texas
Country
United States
Display Name
Daniel
Hadn't read this topic lately. Good job with all the plants- I'm impressed. Glad to hear the newts are doing well!
 

nidkid

New member
Joined
Feb 19, 2014
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Canada
Country
Canada
Awesome I will buy more plants and get some wax worms. Great information out here guys. Basically do our best with space, water quality, heavily planted water and then feed an array of soft easily digested worms and hope for the best. So feed in water or on land? WHat do most newts perfer. I currently have Cynops Orientalis, but I heard that Pyrrhogaster are hardier! Can anyone shed some light on this?
 

Chinadog

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
2,685
Reaction score
67
Points
48
Location
Chesterfield, England
Country
England
If they are newly imported petstore newts feed them wherever they will eat, the most important thing to begin with is to help them build up their body mass after the long period of starvation they have been forced to endure.
Cynops pyrrhogaster may be able to tolerate slightly higher temperatures than Hypselotriton orientalis, but they are both almost bullet proof when kept in suitable conditions and given a properly balanced diet.
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
mason, michigan
Country
United States
Over the course of three weeks I got mine to eat about 4 or 5 times on land. Once they were aquatic they ate whenever I offered food.
So in my experience feeding in the water is the best.

Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk
 

Aplestris

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Messages
82
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Swale, Kent
Country
United Kingdom
Great :) sorry I just sort of jumped through the thread :p Even my Fire bellies which I have had for almost 8 months ignore food on land
 

GrumpaDirt

New member
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
30
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
British Columbia
Country
Canada
I followed everything I read here and my second newt began eating after just over a week. My 2 newts out of a shipment of 10 or more to the pet store were the only 2 alive today. The rest died at the pet store.
 

ThoseNewtsTho

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
853
Reaction score
24
Points
18
Age
22
Location
KS
Country
United States
Display Name
Aaron
I followed everything I read here and my second newt began eating after just over a week. My 2 newts out of a shipment of 10 or more to the pet store were the only 2 alive today. The rest died at the pet store.

Well I recommend to not buy or "rescue" any more from petshops =P
 

GrumpaDirt

New member
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
30
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
British Columbia
Country
Canada
Well I recommend to not buy or "rescue" any more from petshops =P

Cant find a breeder around here at all for the life of me. I think I have a male and a female and if I do and can get them to breed then that would be ideal. I would not mind at all becoming a local breeder. I have plenty of aquariums around the house to get an entire process going.
 
C

Cliygh and Mia

Guest
You can look at the for sale portion of the forum, and try to find some cb fire-bellies
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • Paige1warren:
    Also, she was fine at the higher temperature. Perfectly healthy and never showed signs of de stress. Just thought it being colder would make her happier and digest a little slower! (She’s a pig :p )
    +1
    Unlike
  • SubZero:
    is it normal for a tiger to jump at you from being the glass
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    @Paige1warren That should be fine. I wouldn't suddenly put her in very cold water without acclimatisation, but a few degrees over the course of two hours shouldn't be a problem at all.
    +1
    Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Is anyone online? I need help badly
    +1
    Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    I have had my 2 axolotls since June 2020 and I had hoped they would mature the same gender but unfortunately they are not. I am currently on vacation and planned to separate them once I returned, my axolotls are currently being cared for by a friend who knows the basics to care for them properly. A melanoid and a leucistic. I had a feeling but didn't prioritize it enough and now I have many many eggs in the tank with both of my axolotls. I have zero experience with eggs and cannot really care for juvenile axolotls but I really DO NOT want to kill them. What should I do? Are my axolotls okay being in the same tank with them? would the eggs be okay all together in a tank by themselves? Where can I find someone to care for them and hatch them?I'm so stressed and worried I just want the best for them all.
    +1
    Unlike
  • axie owner:
    you are going to have to get a bucket and put the eggs in that. they can hatch anytime between 11 and 20 days. order in brine shrimp eggs and get your friend to watch a video on hatching them. make sure your friend does 100% water changes every day. keep the water around 64digres and make sure your friend sends daily updates on them. i found kitchen salt works for the brine shrimp eggs. hope this helps.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Gots2knowme2:
    I am a new owner of two juvenile axolotls that are Lucie's. One has black eyes and one has silver eyes. Is that common or rare?
    +1
    Unlike
  • FP.Foxy:
    A few days ago, my Axolotl was about to die, there was something wrong with the water but he’s doing fine now. His skin is still cracked and his red things are still white
    +1
    Unlike
  • Paige1warren:
    Hi guys.. I might of made an error and need some advice. One of the hides in my tank is too small for my axie now, but I did not want to buy another hide because they are expensive, so I decided to DIY one. I used a Tupperware (cut into a little home) and glued rocks from outside and plants on it. The problem is, I washed the rocks with soap and hot water. I completely wasn’t thinking. When I washed them there was no soap residue that was visible on the rocks, and the rocks have been drying for 3 days on the container. So it has been 3 days since I washed them. I used aquarium safe silicone to glue them on. It was fully dry tonight so I decided to put it in my tank. I had it in for about 3 mins until I realized j had washed the rocks in soap, and I took it out immediately. Should I be worried??? I’m really freaking out, I don’t want anything to happen to my baby! I was truly not thinking. I also read that it was safe to use rocks from outside, but now I’m not sure? Can anyone help
    +1
    Unlike
  • Saturn:
    @Paige1warren, Since you took it out straight away it should be ok but I'd still be doing a big water change. When I was a teen, I took some rocks from outside, washed them (probably in soap) and put them in my turtle tank. He died a week or so later and I've never used any rocks from the garden since because you just don't know what's been on them, such as pesticide and I suppose the mineral composition of the rock comes in to play too. Letting them dry for a few days before adding them also would have helped so you should be fine
    +1
    Unlike
  • Paige1warren:
    @Saturn, okay, thank you so much! Firstly, I’m so sorry about your turtle :(. My lotl seems to be fine, I haven’t noticed any changes or signs of destress. I do 25% weekly water changes (I have a fully cycled tank), but I will do a 50% change today. I hope that everything turns out fine. Axies are pretty good at showing they are not well or stressed so I’m hoping that I got the rocks out fast enough. Thank you again!
    +1
    Unlike
  • Saturn:
    @Paige1warren, Thanks hun and you're absolutely right, axolotls are so sensitive it would've showed signs. Glad your lotl is ok :)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Pookisoo:
    Hii my tiger salamander has a black bump on his head, its looks like a little spot but its forming into a bump and its like making a hole..? You can tell i need help , please help😁
    +1
    Unlike
  • Pookisoo:
    Do i just give him a salt bath?
    +1
    Unlike
  • madcaplaughs:
    You need to take him to the vet if there's a hole that's forming in his head.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Tanker:
    New to site. Have a Golden Albino and a Black Melanoid
    +1
    Unlike
  • Tanker:
    Tank size 40 gal. 2 filter pumps /substrate roughed ceramic easy to clean / feed each one night crawler every 3 rd day
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Ceramic substrate? That sounds interesting. What should I imagine by that?
    +1
    Unlike
  • AMurry24537:
    Can't say if this is what's being referred to, but I had some ceramic tiles in an aquarium for a while. I used a silicone sealant to secure them to the bottom and to each other. It worked well for about 6 months, but eventually a little water got through my imperfect seal and started creating mold problems
    +2
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Ooh, tiles of course. I was thinking of those ceramic rings/balls you can buy as filter medium, but tiles make more sense. Thanks
    +1
    Unlike
  • Stacy:
    Hi there, I am a new Axolotl lover & owner of two cuties! They are little over 6 months old now. I have a divider and decided to see how they would be together because they always tried to get to each other threw the border/wall.
    +1
    Unlike
  • JoyJiang:
    In PowerSchool, what is your current grade for this class?Do you have any missing or incomplete assignments for this class?If yes, what assignments do you plan to complete before the end of the marking period (March 25th)?What can I do to help you get your grade to where you need it to be before the end of the marking period?
    +1
    Unlike
  • JoyJiang:
    Oh shoot wrong thing
    +1
    Unlike
  • Unlike
  • JoyJiang:
    Looolllllll
    +1
    Unlike
    JoyJiang: Looolllllll +1
    Top