New Tank HELP!

pogomonkeytutu

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I purchased my Spanish Ribbed Newt late last year and I'll admit it was a slight impulse buy. I had been considering getting an Axolotl for a month or so but when I went to the store, these little fellas were so much more entertaining and, yes, cute.

I realise now that the store in which I brought (the ever-so-imaginatively named) 'Newt' had about as much of a clue how to care for him as novice me did.

They basically gave me this advice:

The cooler the water, the better. Fill it to the top.
Use sand or he'll choke on the stones.
Feed it bloodworms every 3-4 days.
Don't really need a filter as the water motion will freak it out.

That was it. The guy literally had no more to say on the matter (... and don't get me started on getting home to Google and finding out about the whole 'ribs through skin, poisoned barb' deal. Wowza!). The tank in which he, along with about 10 others, were in was no bigger than 40cm x 40cm with a glass bottom and some water (None of the sand in which he'd said I needed to use... and buy... from him.... right there and then!)

So I had to kinda go it on my own. And he's doing really well (I'm sure he's become hardy and deals with more than he should). But he's grown and it's apparent he needs a new tank. His current one is an old fish tank with sand and a piece of drift wood. No filter. It's small enough that I can clean it on a bi-weekly basis and he doesn't really care. I'll admit that I've treated him more like a goldfish than a Newt but he honestly is doing fine with it.

What advice do you all have as the best way to set up a tank for a Spanish Ribbed Newt? A good tank. What should I include? What is essential? The larger tank will obviously need a filter as I'll not be able to clean it out as easily. Where best would it be situated?

I'm seriously asking for a beginners guide to a Newt habitat here and I trust you all to know what's right.

And attached (hopefully) is the little man himself! He's a VERY photogenic, happy bunny.
 

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Azhael

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Welcome to the forum.
Start by reading these articles:
Caudata Culture Species Entry - Pleurodeles waltl
Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling

How big is your tank?
Just a piece of wood and sand is not really enough for an adequate tank specially if you are not using a filter. There is no suficient surface for the biofilm of bacteria to grow on. If you use lots of live plants and the tank is big enough, you won´t need a filter, but the water quality will be excellent. You´ll just need to do weekly partial water changes and remove debris every once in a while.

I have to admit that except for the diet, the recommendations given by the pet-shop staff were actually quite good (generally, the information they give is substantially worse).

Apart from the articles i linked, there are many more that you´d benefit from reading. There´s also information about this species in the advanced section dedicated to Pleurodeles. Read as much as you can.

Good luck, and don´t hesitate to ask any doubts that you are left with after reading.
 
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merk199

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To parrot Azhael. Plants, plants, and more plants. And when you think you have enough add 25% more. They make all the difference. Yes your tank will have some unsightly algae but at the 6-12 month mark you are good to go. I like sand in my tank others do not as they are worried it is waste trap. I usually add some driftwood to breakup the just plants lookDon't overfeed and don't overcrowd the tank and you will never have to worry about the sand. Finally do 10-15% water changes once a week.


Off topic but add some earthworms into the feeding equation. I only feed one of my species blood worms reguarly because they are still picky. All my other aquatics are lucky to see a cube or two a month at all...
 

donia

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Agreed, lots of plants. I have 4 of these newts in a 4 foot tank and it is usually very easy to maintain (had some nitrate problems recently though....). This species does like to hide at times, even if it's just hanging in Elodea, so pop in an up-turned flower pot or something like that.

Mine also enjoy the filter, contrary to what all the articles I've read say! They actively swim up in front of the filter output and almost surf in the flow..........I've seen them repeat this process and there are plenty of other places for them to avoid the flow. May be just my little weirdos though..........

Anyway, a couple of pics of my tank in it's early stages - the plants have somewhat overtaken now.

The whole thing:



Some hiding places (though clearly not being well used........):



Cork bark platform and the filter:



Works well for me!!
 

pogomonkeytutu

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Brilliant. Thank you all for your help.

Azhael - The current tank is small, I won't lie. But the space I have cleared for a new one is 70x40 cm so as much as my budget will allow, the entire space can be filled by a tank (the space was originally reserved for a Bearded Dragon but if I get that, there's nowhere for Newt... and as he's here first, he wins.)

I've had bad experience with plants in the past. In my old fish tank, they seemed to simply disintegrate and turn the water into a green sludge... while infesting my tank with snails.

... and damn, did I hate those snails.
 

Azhael

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Good to hear that.

Snails are actually benefitial for you and the tank, you should revere them xDDD
 

Azhael

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Well, it depends on the species of snail.
Most species that come as hitchhikers with the plants are completely harmless.
After being introduced, they usually go through a phase of explosive reproduction, where you might end up with literally hundreds of them (if conditions are good). Soon after that they die off in mass and the population levels become much more stable and reduced.
Snails, although to varying degrees depending once again on species, will consume algae, dead plants, and left-over foods, thus contributing to the maintenance of the tank. Additionally, some newts eat the odd one every now and then, and as far as the species is small, it only adds to the variety of foods that constitutes a healthy diet.
 

pogomonkeytutu

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Am totally with you on the mass population. My tropical fish tank had hundreds within a couple weeks and while half were riding around on pieces of fish food, spinning in the current, the others were getting themselves spat out of the filter in pieces when curiosity obviously took hold. Was somewhat funny, I'll admit.

Also, totally random but how often do Newts shed their skin? Newt has only done it once so far and then... *gip* ... ate it. Is it a yearly deal?
 

Azhael

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They shed more often that that. It varies hugely with age and health state.
Young newts, after metamorphosis shed frequently (i don´t know...about once every two weeks).
Ill newts, specially those with skin conditions shed very frequently to help get rid of the problem or heal the wound.

I´m sure your newt has shed a lot more times, but since they usually eat the shed afterwards it´s very easy to miss it entirely.
 

pogomonkeytutu

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He's settled in his new tank and loving it, spending most of his time in the 'undergrowth'. Thanks to everyone who gave advice on this!

 
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