Providing live food to little terrestrial metamorphs

JM29

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Some species of salamander metamorphose at a small size. As such, it is sometimes difficult to provide small live prey with regularity and diversity that is appropriate.

After attempting to feed young Cynops ensicauda popei with springtails and fruit flies, I decided to try another method. For six weeks, I've been raising young newts on a substrate made by compost from my garden, rich in all kinds of small animals. I monitor my newts and I change the substrate when I notice their stomach is less plump. I've added no other food at the moment.

They are very dynamic and they grow well. Will come a time when this scheme will not be enough and I can go to earthworms.

This method could help ensure the first weeks after the metamorphosis for small species like Hypselotriton orientalis or Notophtalmus viridescens.
 

JM29

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I admit it's not very esthetic : egg shell, tomato skins and other pieces of vegetables, germinating tomato seedlings...
But one can also notice woodlice. The biggest woodlice are not eaten, of course.

Notice one of the newtlets has a weird clear colour.
 

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Chinadog

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It will be interesting to see how the weird coloured baby turns out, I recently saw a picture of a bright red C. e popei, a bit like the rare all red C. pyrrhogaster that sometimes occur, but with the popei gold/green splodges. I wonder if that's what you have there?
 

JM29

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Hello Chinadog
I'll give news from time to time.
At the moment, there is not much change.

Since I don't want to disturb them too much, I watch them each other day, in the evening when they are more active.
2 days ago, I noticed their belly was not as plump as usual, so I changed the substrate. Now they are fine again.

I take mainly the superficial layer of my compost, which is coarse, not wery wet and rich in arthropods.
 

juraj

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Interesting. I tried this method a few years ago but I failed. PH too low maybe ?
 

otolith

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I have used this method for raising lissotriton and notophtalmus. It works quite well for small, recently morphed animals that are fickle eaters. Once they get to a larger, more robust size I switch to small isopods, earthworms & slugs from my garden and pinhead crickets. I have found that really small morphs do best when they can forage for their own tiny prey items in a more naturalist set up.
 

Niels D

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I've used this method for Notophthalmus, Lissotriton and Paramesotriton. It didn't work for Paramesotriton, though I don't know if the method itself was the problem. Love these kinds of methods!
 

JM29

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Update :

They are still doing fine, and also very dynamic.
They also seem to have eaten ants (Lasius niger).
 

Thiago

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I noticed a lot of "life" in organic matter that covers my earthworm box.
I really had thought of using them with small amphibians.

It is good to know that you are using with success!
 
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    And even .25 ammonia is bad what you want for nitrite and ammonia is 0 and .25 for short periods
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    @DarthNyQuil, what's your ph? Ammonia is non-toxic at lower ph so might not need to panic, however if you have hard water (think calcium deposits in a tea kettle), you likely have a high pH and thus should be maintaining 0. Either way, use seachem prime to dechlorinate your water and get the added benefit of making ammonia and nitrite non-toxic for 24 hours, the peace of mind is worth it.
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