New Chinese fire belly newts not eating

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
1
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
64
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
1
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
64
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
1
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


This is the larger one


This is both in the eco earth tub inside the tank

(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

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
1
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
1
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
1
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?




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.



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.


Thanks again for the help!
 

okkotonushi

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
1
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
64
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
1
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

New member
Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Messages
82
Reaction score
1
Points
0
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
852
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.
  • Lanalotl:
    Hi I recently rescued a lotl (i did weeks of research before rescuing) Hes mabey 5 or 6 years of age..the previous owner could not remember the exact age of him. I got him from her as he was or had been picked on by his tank mate another lotl who was bough with him from every younger age, I noticed one of his gills, a middle one at the end had split in two? And is slightly more floppy? He also appears or mabey I'm just over worried to mabey have lost some feathers, is that normal to lose some?...all levels in the tank are fine, but wondered if theres and advice anyone could give me as an experienced owner to a new one.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Axolotl Queen:
    @Lanalotl Sounds like the gills may have been nipped by the tank mate. If he is in his own tank and the parameters etc are all good, then he should grow them back and they should go back to full health and strength. However, depending on how old the injury is they may not fully grow back if they have been constantly nipped at.
    +2
    Unlike
  • Smknmom421:
    Can anyone tell me why this is happening? We just did a water change and after freaking out and whipping around the tank, an hour later they look like this. It won't let me send a pic. The edges of their gills are white and it looks like they have skin shedding off
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    It sounds like something went wrong with the water change, so this could be very dangerous. Did you use a dechlorinator? Could it be there are traces of chlorine or soap in the water? (Or for example, in the bucket you used?)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Normally, I would recommend taking them out of the tank asap and putting them in a tub with fresh water, but if there's something wrong with your tap water or dechlorinator, that might not help either. Do you have acces to bottled water or rain water?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Sal22:
    I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
    +1
    Unlike
  • Sal22:
    Update about my axie, unfortunately he has died over night, he looked as if he was bruised allover his belly, his mucus layer had also started to come off.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Ganaa:
    Anyone here from DMV?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Hi I have 2 4in juveniles (I’ve had them about 2 weeks and they are doing well I think they’ve grown a little already honestly) but I am supposed to go on a 5-6 day vacation in October about 3-4 months from now. I am wondering how I should go about their care when I am gone. I thought about putting them in separate (fairly big) containers with live plants and/or bubblers with a fan in the dark and either fridging them (my last plan) but I am hoping to to either have someone I trust come feed them and turkey baste waste out or just leave them out and clean the containers before we leave and have someone come check on them once or twice. Does any of this sound like a good or bad idea? I want the best for them. All help appreciated :)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Ganaa:
    @patrickstar116, do you still have your fire salamanders?
    +1
    Unlike
  • patrickstar116:
    @Ganaa, I do you may message me if you wish
    +1
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    hi.....
    +1
    Unlike
  • JDeslippe21:
    Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Could be he's just excited, spooked or temporarily stressed, which could pass in a few hours. It could also be an indicator of other problems. Do you have any recent water parameters?
    +1
    Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master kit and everything else’s test results were great besides ammonia. I did a 50% water change and I use API products including ammonia lock.
    +1
    Unlike
  • MuggleMiChu:
    Help! I got my first axolotl two days ago and they have stopped eating. They ate a few frozen blood worms the first day and haven’t eaten or been interested in food since. I feed them frozen blood worms and the tank is around 64 degrees. I do have a filter that moves sometimes and I noticed them swimming up to it, I have a new filter and a fan coming today or tomorrow. I leave the worms in the tank or a little bit before taking them out so I don’t know if they ate when I wasn’t looking. I know it takes a while for them to digest. Does anyone have any tips or knowledge they can share? The pet store I bought them from didn’t have gravel or sand in the tank so I’m not sure if theres an issue or if I’m just impatient. Thank you!
    +1
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu, how big they are? also for substrate, i would not do gravel at all I would either do sand or none at all!
    +1
    Unlike
  • MuggleMiChu:
    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
    +1
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head away ( that's what mine do) if that does not work try to get some live brine shrimp and see if they eat that. baby axolotl prefer live food over frozen food as the frozen food is too cold for them or they can't eat it in one go( that's if you do the blocks) mine eat chopped up frozen thawed shrimp. as for them not eating from what I have experienced with my second axolotl, I got her when she was about an inch long and she ate every day, when they start getting 3-4 inches long they will gradually slow down there eating. and if you really want to do substrate I would do sand because if they do ingest a little bit it won't hurt them.
    +1
    Unlike
  • MuggleMiChu:
    Thank you so much for the information and advice! They are eating again, they ate a lot today. I think it might have been stress from the move or digesting old food, I also noticed they ate some of the food left in the tank (I removed the rest). I’m going to keep the tank bare bottom.
    +2
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu,your so welcome im glad to be of help! and I'm glad that they are eating as well!
    +1
    Unlike
  • Chat Bot:
    AidanD has left the room.
    +1
    Unlike
    Chat Bot: AidanD has left the room. +1
    Top