Verrucoses and Shanjing Larvae Experiments

mr cyclone

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I have been raising Verrucoses Larvae since february, And as of August Shanjing larvae both species from eggs.
There have been various discussions and threads over the best methods.My method may differ slightly from most conventional.The purpose of my experiments were to see if I could manipulate the conditions to raise larvae for the following reasons:

1) To see if warmer or colder temperatures yield larger Morphs
2) To see if water depth and space is crucial for yielding smaller or larger Morphs
3) What key conditions are required for Neotony or faster Metamorphosis

I DO NOT IN ANY WAY RECOMMEND MIXING SPECIES UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING,AS 99 TIMES OUT OF 100 IT WILL END IN TEARS.
MY NOTES BELOW ARE MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE VERRUCOSES AND SHANJING
Anyway

Ive now raised in excess of 80 Verrucoses Morphs and only 4 Shanjing this year but my theories and proof are below.
1) group 1 were raised on a windows recieving daylight but not direct sunlight,this group of 10 eggs were raised in water depth of 2 inches and in a tub of 12 inches x 4inches.This setup was kept at 20 to 22C .And yielded 3 Morphs measuring at 1 inch.

2) group 2,3,4,5 were all raised in large tubs measuring at 12 inches x 36 inches at a water depth of 10 inches
group 2 and 3 were kept at 26C with a heater,filter and aquatic plants
group 3 and 4 were kept at 18 to 20C with a heater,filter and aquatic plants
All from groups 2/3/4/5 had 10 larvae in each container

group 2 and 3 morphed in 3 to 4 months at around 3 to 4 inches
these were eating a phenomenal amount of food feeding every day
group 3 and 4 morphed in 5 months at around 2 to 3 inches
these animals were being fed every 2 days and were eating 1/3 of the animals above.

I had several issues to begin with with the warm water temps at 26C , i had fungus in the tubs/tanks ,plants were rotting the daphnia and bloodworms were dieing and polluting the water ,It's then when i added a filter that broke the water surface and ran off a stone as too minimise gas bubble disease(lost several larvae to swallowing bubbles).I lost larvae to canabilism,bloat,ammonia,gas bubbles,stress.Once the verrucoses were starting to gain their newt colours i decided to reduce the water depth to 6 inches and placed the 2 tubs from group 2 and 3 into a large aquarium i maintained the water temperature at 26C.
Up untill now i believed warmer temps reared larger morphs.
At the moment I'm rearing 8 verrucoses left from eggs i kept back from my adults,I originally threw the eggs into my Triturus tank to use as feeders,seem's like a terrible waste I know (I had around 3000 eggs this year and couldn't give them away).
It wasnt untill I spotted a very large verrucoses larvae in the tank with the Marms and Cristatus hoovering up the bloodworms.I looked around for traces of the eggs i threw in and spotted around 10 larvae.The larvae had toughed it out untill now i decided to withdraw 2 large larvae and place them in a small tub i use for morphing,Ive also got 6 or 7 smaller verrucoses larvae still in the tank with the triturus and also 2 shanjing.

#( I DO NOT BELIEVE IN TRITURUS AND TYLOTOTRITON AS TANK MATES)

Remember these were feeders originally,
As it goes the newts inquisitively swim up to the larvae bump them with their nose and then swim away,the 2 verrucoses monsters I removed are at the stage where their mouths are the same size as the Triturus.
I also recieved 6 shanjing eggs from a good friend to rear,The Shanjing seem to be less verocious than their relative verrucoses,and morph faster and smaller,2 larvae died my next 2 Shanjing morphed fast in 4 inches of water at 18C at 1 inch.I decided after this to try and morph the last 2 Shanjing as largely as possible so
the 2nd 2 are still to morph and were relocated to the Triturus tank like the verrucoses at a water depth of 10 inches .A very risky gamble I admit! (In the interest of science lol)
Any way my 2 large verrucoses that have been fished out into a seperate tub are now in their to morph
The 2 shanjing are still in Their but are already larger as larvae then the 7 shanjing juves i have CB2012
This shows water depth and space for them to swim about plays a crucial part in larger morphs,theyve got less motivation to leave the water if foods abundant and no-one is trying to eat them(Turns out my Cristatus and Marms are quite snobbish in what they eat live bloodworm and whiteworm mostly and shying away from lob,dendrobena ,waxworms,daphnia and frozen food)They've never paid any attention to the verrucoses or shanjing.Once the other larvae start to colour up i will remove them from the tank as to save them from drowning and any disasters happening between interspecies toxins etc.
Once the larvae reach a good size and are beginning to come to the surface to breathe ,I make it easier for them to breach the surface with protruding rocks or to a setup with lower water depth.

Ive found warmer temperatures and deep water yield hungry animals that will grow fast and large ,but may age the animals significantly(1 such larvae refused to morph and morphed at 6 inches fully aquatic mature male at 9months old) Warm temperatures and shallow water speed up metamorphosis,but may not be as safe as you may compromise the water quality.
Water depth and space ,not warm temperature seems to be the key factor for rearing the largest larvae ,once they are to a suitable size then can you lower the water depth and trigger morphing
Verrucoses given the chance will remain neotonic if the water conditions are deep enough.
Shanjing morph smaller than verrucoses but similar conditions do help yield size
 

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TylototritonGuy

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Oooo bit of Bed reading me thinks! :) Glad you mentioned about the Not Mixing species thing! I am seeing a lot of it at the moment...
 

mr cyclone

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picture 1 is a shanjing in 10 inches of water and is nearly 3 inches,picture 2 is a verrucoses larvae
picture 3 is from group 4 and 5 I realise this post needs editing so their are too distinct groups.
Gooup 2 and 3 are in 26C setups ith deep water
and groups 4 and 5 were in Colder conditions of around 18 to 20C
Sorry for the confusion yesterday was a long day

Pictures 4,5 and 6 are from the Triturus tank
 

Yahilles

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It's verrucosUs not verrucoses.

I think the best option would be cool, deep water with food abundance and patience - give them an island but not remove them to morphing tanks unless they decide themselves that they want to leave the water under such circumstances.
 

froggy

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The wild water temperatures were in the low to mid 20s in Thailand, although that's a slightly different species. I will have to check the book about the newts in India to see what water temps are there...

In my experience, cool water doesn't work at all well with the dark form of this species, with the best results had using essentially the same tanks as for adults. I used to set up a large aquarium (a standard 60cm tank) with bare bottom, lots of plants and good plant growth lights. Water temps were best set to 24C. I would just add eggs to this tank, maybe a max of 20 eggs or small larvae. I would add micro worm to start wth, and then various live foods. Once they were taking dead food, they would get mainly frozen bloodworm, frozen daphnia and lots of earthworms.
Many larvae also matured in with the parents, which I just fed by had along with the adults once they had eaten all the smaller larvae.

At temps lower than about 22C, I had significant problems, particularly with small larvae, most notably 'bloat' and trapped air. Large larvae, which had started to get adult colours, did fine with cooler temps (I tried as low as 17C) and I suspect that some overwinter in the wild.

At temps higher than 25-6C, I had issues with bloat, random deaths and MBD (I suspect growth rates outstripped calcium/D3 supply).

Animals that morphed too small tried to become terrestrial and never did well, often refusing food completely, even when kept on land. Normal size morphs (2-3 inches) remained aquatic or paedomorphic and rapidly matured, with males breeding at around 7-8 months old (after HATCHING!!!) and females at around a year.

C
 

mr cyclone

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Froggy Thank's for your input sounds about right on all accounts.Although i found deep water and low numbers like you say around 20 young in a large tank seems to be enough.I had a different problem with every water temp from too cold to too warm,low oxygen,nitrate etc.Deep water and plenty space seems to be the way i had most success with ,as long as the tank is well cycled.I have not had much success rearing juveniles terrestrial,they seemed to not be interested in food.I believe the species you investigated in Thailand must be of similar origin regardless of the whole shanjing/verrucoses debate?!?!?
I have contact with 3 keepers in europe who keep/breed verrucoses and have different experiences to me ,especially with breeding,I am currently Outsourcing CB juves from Europe to help dilute the CB blood in the UK.Your input and experience is greatly appreciated mate as you know this species well too,thanks
 
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froggy

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I think that the larvae of this species get so large and are so messy, that low larval density just buffers against water quality fluctuation (in the wild it's not only constant, but it's constantly low-nitrate, at least in Thailand) and cannibalism. By increasing the processing capacity of a tank, say by using a huge canister filter with diffused output or by running the out put of a filter through a overhanging box of LECA planted with Spathiphyllum or similar, one could reduce the volume needed considerably. Plants growing out of the water can take up a lot more nitrogen (all else equal), as they are able to photosynthesise, and therefore grow, faster.

Good water quality, combined with ideal temperatures is bound to give the best results! I have never had luck with terrestrial rearing of this species, either. The only ones I have tried it with, though, are those that refused to stay in the water, and all of those were runty ones...

Moving adults to land has worked for resolving skin problems, but they hardly move when on the land and seem more at home in the water. However, most of the verrucosus in captivity seem to be vastly obese (more rugby ball shaped bodies, less cigar-shaped, as they should be), so that may have something to do with it!

I used to give my adults an 'off season' in the winter, letting temperatures fall from 23-24C to around 18-19C. Any lower than that, they wanted to leave the water (I didn't have room for a separate terrestrial tank), but around there was enough to stop them breeding and reduce their activity, which I think is good for all amphibians to go through.

The Tylos in Chiang Mai, Thailand are almost certainly a distinct species; perhaps several, each occurring endemically on a different mountain. It's just a case of waiting for someone to look at the evidence and name anything that's new!

Good work, bringing in new bloodlines - the UK ones were starting to get very inbred; my group started showing some bad recessives until I introduced a couple of animals from Germany to replace my male (who think was carrying something that caused jaw deformities in all his sons).

C
 
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