Thinking about Fire Belly Newts

EmbryH

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Hey guys, I'm already an avid axolotl keeper, but I'm going to have an empty 10gallon soon and I've been thinking about trying to keep fire belly newts again.

I tried keeping one a few years ago, but I knew nothing about them and couldn't tell that he was sick when I got him. Ignatius didn't make it, and since then I've felt kind of anxious about trying again, but I REALLY love fire bellies, and I have much more experience with amphibians now... so I'm thinking about it...

My questions are: How easy are they to care for? Can I have 2 in a 10 gallon tank? Aside from needing some land space, are there any big differences between keeping these guys verses axolotls? Is it ok to keep minnows or anything with them?

Just run me through a few quick basics.

Thanks!
 

sde

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Caudata Culture Species Entry - Cynops orientalis - Chinese firebelly

Caudata Culture Species Entry - Cynops pyrrhogaster - Japanese firebelly

Caudata Culture Species Entry - Cynops cyanurus

These are links to the care sheets for each species. There should be some good info in there. As for having 2 in a 10 gallon, i think that would be fine. I don't keep them nor have i. But to me, they seem pretty easy. You'll need floating area(s). You'll need lots of plants. I mean TONS. I had no idea how many plants should be in a newt tank. But it is a lot. Maybe some hides and such. I have no idea about the minnow part. Are they for food?

I think you can do it, its worth giving another try i think anyway. I hope this helps! -Seth
 

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They are very easy to keep as long as their basic needs are met. They need clean cool water with plenty of aquatic plants, the more the better and good lighting so the plants thrive. A 10 gallon should be fine for two of them. As far as a land area goes i just use some floating cork bark for mine, they almost never use it but it's there if they want it. With enough plants a filter is optional really, i use an external cannister type but many people don't bother.
The main thing to think about is where to get the newts from, WC pet store newts are highly stressed at best, or on their last legs at worst so i would really urge you to seek out some captive bred ones if at all possible.
Hope this helps!
 

EmbryH

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Thanks guys!

What kind of plants should I use? I think I want to try live plants for these guys (I keep fake plants with my axies) What's the best thing to feed them?
 

Chinadog

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I use mostly Java ferns and lots of bunched plants like Elodia, Milfoil and Rotala etc. Using live plants will make a massive difference to the newts well being as the water quality will be so much better. My newts always prefer to hang out in soft plants like Cobomba or Milfoil so I'm sure they would know the difference if you used plastic!
 

EmbryH

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What about duckweed or similar plants? Also, do you know anywhere I could get some moss for the tank?
 

Chinadog

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Avoid duckweed like the plague, it's almost impossible to get rid of in a planted tank once you have it! I get most of my plants and mosses from ebay, they always seem to arrive in perfect condition and are much cheaper than the shops round here.
 

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My JFBN have a Walstad style aquarium with valisineria, java moss and Elodia...it has been invaded by the dreaded duckweed :( I think I also have some Dwarf Saggitaria. Eva/ Evut brings me various plants when she comes to visit, but despite my attempts to nurture they never take. I generally order my plants from ebay too.
 

malduroque

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When you say "order from EBay" any specific sellers that you recommend (that also sell to US)? It can be quite a **** shoot quality wise with anything on EBay.
 

Chinadog

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I would guess ebay sellers here and in the US get their stock from the same growers in Singapore or wherever so the quality should be the same, just look for a seller with mega high 100% feedback and you should be fine. The only time i've had problems is when ordering Vallisneria, i've had 4 different lots and they've died every time! I don't think its the sellers fault, i just don't think it recovers very well from the shipping.
 

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I assume, like the others, that you are talking about Hypselotriton orientalis. They are a very easy species to keep indeed. Healthy animals thrive with absolutely minimum care in heavily planted tanks. The main issue is what Chinadog said....all pet-shop animals are WC and aside from ethical considerations supporting an exploitative market that takes countless lives every year, as a costumer you would be getting highly stressed or ill animals.
If you want to do things right this time, make the effort to search for CB ones. You will not have the same problems as the first time. It may take some patience to find them but that´s more time for you to read :p Oh and i´d advice you to buy directly from the breeder...don´t believe shop´s claiming their animals are CB...

Aquatic adults will very rarely use land areas if conditions are adequate, so the piece of cork is more than sufficient and it doesn´t take much volume which is great because you want to have as much water as you can.

The best food are earthworms, hands down. For variety you can occasionally offer isopods or fresh-water crustaceans like scuds, Neocaridina, Daphnia, which are good choices, but also things like blackworms, whiteworms, bloodworms, crickets and even good quality, specially formulated pellets.

As for plants, i personally would recommend Hydrocotile leucocephala if you can find it. If allowed to grow densely it ends up creating a thick layer on the surface which my animals LOVE. It´s fantastic for preventing drowning and it processes nitrogen compounds very effectively. It´s a great plant.
 

Chinadog

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Yes, I should have said pet stores are not shy of telling lies or making stuff up to cover their ignorance. The latest lie is to tell customers that the animals are 'captive farmed', I and other members on here have heard this one told about Chinese fire bellies, Paddle tails, Warty newts, Ribbed newts and Fire bellied toads.
The other thing that pet stores tend to do is label any newts that have red/orange underneath as fire bellies, as well as Cynops/Hypselotriton i've seen Paramesotriton and Pachytriton being sold under that name as well. The problem with that is the latter two are pretty aggressive, and the only thing stopping them killing each other in the shop is the fact that they're so stressed!
 

EmbryH

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Thanks for all the advice, guys! It hadn't occurred to me that the newts from the petshops would be wild caught. That's not exactly an issue you have to think about when it comes to axolotls.

I've been looking up a few websites for breeders. Does anyone have any suggestions for a breeder I could buy from in the States?
 

Chinadog

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Like Azhael says, you need to be patient and do some searching. To start off with I'd post a wanted add on here and see what happens. More often than not they are sold as terrestrial juveniles that need raising to maturity before they will become fully aquatic, but the end results will be healthy acclimatized adults that really will make fantastic pets!
 
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