Question: T. granulosa newt not eating

spookgoblin

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Cyrax, my rough skinned newt, lives in a large, 50 gallon tank with seven, younger dudes of the Northwestern Salamander variety. For months, these guys have palled around together and enjoyed each other's company (they still do, in fact--they're almost always together). This past week, Cyrax hasn't been eating and he's been very difficult to read.

At first, I thought he might have contracted an illness so I isolated him in a small, 10 gallon tank with very little furnishing save for a bowl of water. While he was in there, he just moped around and didn't move too much. Once I re-introduced him to the big tank, he joined back up with his roommates. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but I haven't noticed any weird, bodily anomalies. He doesn't appear to have lost any weight, either.

I was feeding all of them mealworms (and I recently read that this shouldn't be their staple food, so I plan on switching that up--despite the littler guys loving them), but Cyrax won't touch them now. Even when they're super active, wriggly worms, he either turns his head with disinterest or backs away from them. I thought, then, that I might try a few other foods in case something else would catch his attention. He didn't care for crickets and he let little fish swim right past him without the slightest notion of interest. I had planned to try a few more things out, but the local pet store has really meager options...

To me, the strongest candidate seems to be stress-related, but if this is the case, I can't figure out what's causing it. People have said that temperature can be a factor, but the tank is a similar temperature to what it has always been (about 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit) ever since I found him 4+ years ago. Others have said that changing the tank's environment can stress them out too. I did recently rearrange the tank when I was searching for a missing salamander (those little ones are REALLY good at hiding). Now, Cyrax has a lot of personality, but I've never known him to mope so much when I've switched a few things around in the tank. The land to water ratio hasn't changed significantly (if at all). It's mostly just the location of things like rocks that has changed. I also read that if there aren't enough places for him to hide, he could get stressed out, so I've tried to create a few new cubbies here and there. He definitely gravitates towards them (in fact, they all do), but he still is acting weird and not eating, though.

Any ideas? I'd love to get Cyrax eating again to put my mind at ease.
 

spookgoblin

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He did something a little abnormal last night. It wasn't unnatural, just out of the blue. He was pacing around the tank without any discernible destination. When I tried to put food near or around him, he would walk right past it like he couldn't even see it. He eventually stopped and laid down under a rock, but I wasn't sure what to make of his little escapade.
 

Otterwoman

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There are a lot of good threads dealing with newts not eating. Just do a search "not eating." Or something like that.
 

Chinadog

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I'm no expert on Taricha, but the pacing round and round suggests there's an issue with his environment. Has his day length changed along with the new tank? If so it could be that he's wanting to return to water, or possibly searching for somewhere to hibernate?
 

spookgoblin

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His day length, if I'm understanding you correctly, hasn't changed at all. I've tried to give him plenty of places to hide and make land to water access easy. He does seem to spend about half his time in the water and half his time hiding, but he still won't even acknowledge food! Tonight, I tried an old, old favorite of his: frozen bloodworms. He looked down at them for maybe five seconds before turning his head and walking right over them...

I tried searching for other threads like this but couldn't find anything that I haven't tried.
I changed out 75% of the water and used a dechlorinator for the new water and added some fake plants to give him even more shelter. I hope this helps him because I am getting so worried! It has been almost two weeks since he has eaten...
 

ThoseNewtsTho

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Have you tried feeding chopped worm(earthworm, nightcrawler, etc). Frozen bloodworms are nutritionally incomplete and all of my animals prefer chopped nightcrawler to them anyway. They usually have Canadian Night Crawlers and occasionally "Dillies" which are just baby night crawlers in the fishing section at Walmart.
 

spookgoblin

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No, I haven't tried that, actually. I will have to do that and see if he takes the bait (no pun intended).
 

sde

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If it is going to eat anything, earthworms are probably going to be it. I have personally never had a amphibian turn away a earthworm or nightcrawler ( unless it is not hungry ) and they are nutritionally very good. They make a great staple diet for amphibians, however you might try feeding another food occasionally to add variety to the diet.
Give earthworms or nightcrawlers a try, hopefully you're T. grans will "take the bait" ;)

By the way, T. granulosa are my favorite species, it's always nice to see other people keeping those character filled newts :) -Seth
 
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spookgoblin

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I caught three different sized earthworms--one was gigantic, the other was roughly the length of Cyrax's body, and one no longer than a digit on your finger. I tried dangling the smallest two in front of him just to see if they would catch his attention, but he started backing away from them as if he was scared.

I don't know what to do!
He won't eat bloodworms, small fish, crickets, mealworms, or earthworms...
I've tried so many different things to get him eating again.
It's been two weeks since he has touched any food and it's really worrying me...

On the bright side, he still seems to be healthy in that he has lost little to no weight, his body has no weird abnormalities, and his movement isn't sluggish. He still spends time with the other newts as well.

Whenever I've needed to handle him, I've noticed he grips a little tighter than usual. I don't know if that has anything to do with his weird bout of fasting that he seems to be holding to.
 

ThoseNewtsTho

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I would attempt to leave the pieces of worm in a small bowl or cap and leaving the newt alone. I've had this problem with an aquatic newt before and I ended up having to buy whiteworms for it.
 

sde

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I agree with Aaron, try setting the worm somewhere where he can get them on the ground.
Also, if you haven't tried chopping the earthworms yet I would do that, this species like smaller pieces of worm than you would expect. -Seth
 

spookgoblin

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He did it! He ate the worm! I set him in a separate, smaller tank to monitor his eating while I wasn't around and gave him a smaller earthworm that was chopped up. I couldn't find it the next morning, so I took a much, much larger earthworm and popped it in there last night. To my delight, he wasted little time before zeroing in on the squirmy segment and chomping it up (and it was a huge piece, too!)

I'm so glad he's eating again.
Is there any chance he will get out of this little lull and he will resume his regular eating habits? Or will I have to keep feeding him like this from now on? I'll do whatever I need to, but it would be a shame to keep him in the small tank while his newty brothers have all the fun.
 

sde

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Good to hear he is eating again!

This might drag on, or not, hard to say, some newts in my experience just don't eat much. One of my Cynops ensicauda popei doesn't eat hardly anything. Make sure you are providing good conditions, if you aren't with this species feeding problems can arise.
 
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