Very sick female Danube crested newt

LadyUnicorn7

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Looking for any information to help my female Danube crested newt. I got a very healthy pair of Danube crested newts in April 2020. They had been doing very well until mid December. I feel like a complete idiot for failing to check their water perimeters.. I had a large over growth of duck weed that I think contributed to the decline in water conditions. I know it can inhibit the exchange of gases when completely covering the water surface. I did a major tank cleaning when I noticed them not looking well, but it was too late - the damage was done. I’ve now got all levels of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite to normal. I lost the male to the trauma of poor water quality, but the female is still hanging on. I searched searched, but I wasn’t really coming up with much..
I had started with the water changes and vacuuming the substrate (sand). I then put pimafix in the water because it looked like they had spots of fungus. I know the fungus was probably a secondary problem, but it was the first thing I could think of. The male passed away. I gave the female a salt water bath and also did fridging with her. I had read where using a pimafix/water solution soaked paper towel with fridging could help, so I did that for 4 days so far. She has some sores that are probably from ammonia burn. I didn’t check the levels before the tank cleaning as my first thought was “get the water clean.” I know it had to be bad. I have neosporin, but haven’t used it yet. Would tea baths be beneficial? Forget fridging and treat her in a terrestrial setup? This all just happened before Christmas and she’s been hanging on. I really want to help her as much as I can. I have an exotic vet, but I’ve only used them for birds and reptiles. I’m not sure if they treat amphians and getting into vets these days is very difficult. Anything I can do at home is much appreciated. I don’t know if she can be helped at this point or if I should put her out of her misery. I really feel terrible about this. The depend on me and I let them down. Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Jake

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Out of curiosity not related to the condition of the newt, how long were the roots on the duckweed in that tank before you cleaned it?

Disclaimer: I'm not a veterinarian and this is not medical advice so if you follow it as advice and your newt dies I am not legally liable and will appear in court if/when you file a lawsuit against me and/or my organization with a copy of the preceding disclaimer.

If it was my newt I would put it in shallow, clean, fresh water (not from the tank!) in a shoebox tub or similar container with a lid and keep the newt somewhere cool and in the dark to minimize disturbance. Change all of the water in the container as needed and wipe down the sides and bottom of the tub during water changes until the condition improves or until the animal can be seen by someone more qualified to handle the situation than some guy surrounded by newts. An Indian almond leaf or oak leaf might be added, tannins can possibly aid in preventing growth of fungus. Newts have an impressive ability to recover (assuming the newt was healthy prior to whatever happened). I've never used Pimafix and am not entirely sure how safe it is to use with amphibians on land because it has oils and an emulsifier in it. Handling amphibians and rapidly changing water parameters like salt baths are both stress inducing actions, some people swear by them and some people swear them off. As I said I'm no vet but I feel like stress and sick animals usually don't make a good combination.

If you have a vet who deals with exotic animals they should either be able to help or at least refer you to a doctor qualified to treat amphibians.

Good luck.
 
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Jake said it best, just wanted to add that you can also use alder cones for their tannins. Just keep her cool, calm and clean, they really can overcome quite alot!
 
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minorhero

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I can't help with the newt, but you will want to figure out going forward why this happened. I can say for certainty that healthy plant mass will never cause ammonia/nitrite. Just the opposite, plants eat ammonia and nitrite as food and release oxygen as byproduct of photosynthesis. Doesn't matter if it's duckweed or something else. So if you had ammonia spikes it was caused by something else. Good luck, I hope your newt gets better.
 

LadyUnicorn7

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Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, she didn’t survive. I also have 2 alpine newts that are back to healthy. The reason I suspected the duck weed causing issues is because it covered the entire surface of the water thickly. I know in a pond it can cause wildlife to die off.

“They block the sun’s light from penetrating the water, which will quickly kill off healthy, water-cleaning algae. Without this algae, nutrient levels will explode, creating unhealthy algae blooms and significant buildup of organic debris in the pond (the sludge layer). This will encourage growth of anaerobic bacteria, which create toxic water conditions that can kill fish, turtles, and other plants and further encourage the duckweed proliferation. That’s all bad.”

In my tank it caused a lot of plants to die back because they weren’t getting any light. There was a lot of broken down plant matter in the bottom. That, combined with me slacking on the water changes caused problems quickly in my enclosure. Whether it was ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, or any combination there of - I don’t know. I have my tank back in balance now. I feel terrible that this happened and I’ll be sure to keep a better eye on everything going forward.
 
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