Photo: What sex is my firebelly newt

komodo182

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Hello,
New to sexing newts here.
Here is a picture of a newt I picked up. These are pictures before I got him/her.








And this is where he is now



I have two now.



Haven't had a chance to get any pictures of underneath the second one yet.
 

Chinadog

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I would guess male. It does look quite thin though, the secondary sexual characteristics tend to fade when newts are under weight. It would be easier to be sure if it puts some weight on.
 

komodo182

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Male is what I was thinking because of the slit down there. I just got him yesterday. He ate some bloodworms so thats a start. Looking to get some earthworms in my area. Any suggestions on other foods?
 

Chinadog

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Earthworms are probably the best food for captive newts. If you can find a regular supply they can be fed as a staple. Bloodworms are low in calcium, but newts really seem to like them so I feed them from time to time as a treat. You could also try live blackworms, wax worms, mosquito larvae, or good quality amphibian pellets if they will eat them. My Fire bellies get most of those apart from blackworms as we can't get them here in the UK, plus any creepy crawlies I find that I think they would enjoy, but the bulk of their diet is chopped earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris). Some newts will eat red wrigglers (Eisenier) or trout worms as they are sometimes called, but they smell evil when cut and many won't touch them.
 

ThoseNewtsTho

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The long tail makes me think female, I've had a lot of females with large cloacas, and at first I thought they were males until they started laying eggs and I heard about sexing them by tails, that males have shorter and taller tails and females have longer and shorter tails
 

komodo182

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Im getting my folks to bring me some earthworms(they live in the sticks and dont treat their lawn with anything) and i guess i will try to breed the earthworms. Maybe once they grow we will know. They both look the same down below.
 

ThoseNewtsTho

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All of my female H. orientalis have somewhat large cloacas, so I've learned to just sex by tail shape and size with this specie,

A vertically short and horizontally long tail can usually indicate a female
A vertically long and horizontally short tail can usually indicate a male
 

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Given the state of the animal it's not reliable to sex it based on the cloaca. It is clearly tremendously stressed and it's not in good shape, you will have to wait to see if it survives and recovers before worrying about sexing it.
Have you read the caresheet and the general care articles? There is a huge amount of information about Hypselotriton orientalis around the forums, aswell, so make sure to read until your eyeballs burn. You need to start providing optimal conditions if those two poor things are to have any chance to survive.
 

komodo182

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I have read some different care sheets. What would you suggest to change with my habitat? I iust got these little ones. The only picture of my tank is the last one. The others are of the past owner. They are in a 35 gallon covered and hopefully escape proof. Cycled eheim canister filter before adding them. Water temp 72. About 10 hours light. Live plants and some baby guppies in case they want them. Ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrates under 5ppm but more than 0. Weekly water changes. I will post a picture of my actual setup soon. Currently feeding frozen bloodworms and looking for a safe supply of earthworms.
 

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It’s hard for me to tell from the pictures. If I had to guess I would say female based on the shape of the tail.

I always hate judging setups from pictures. It’s hard to decipher how the water looks (turbidity / water flow?) My thoughts include:

1. Make sure the hood is truly escape proof. (Especially if they are spending a lot of time out of water.)
2. Limit the water flow. These newts do not want a heavy current.
3. At 72 degrees you are approaching the upper limit. Don't let it get too much hotter. Also, think about a cooling period in the winter.

Are your newts aquatic at all? Or are they strictly terrestrial? I would recommend live blackworms as a way to get them to start eating.
 

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Its a low flow canister compared to my canisters for fish. Water is not cloudy. The tank is fairly new compared to my fish tanks so I test water quality more on this tank. The tank has been set up fot about eight months now. It was switched to a newt tank about a month ago. I made sure thr water quality was fine as a newt tank for a month before adding the newts. I have guards around the inside of the tank to help prevent escaping. I will post some pics of that later. As for temp, thats as low as it can get in the summer. Its in a basement and the heater is not on. Its set to 66 but never turns on so far. The newts dont go in the water a lot yet. One made a venture but the other did not.
 

komodo182

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What I did around the top of the tank to decrease the chance of escape



 

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Your set up looks pretty good to me, more plants would be better to begin with. These types of aquatic Asian newts that are sold in petstores have often gone into terrestrial mode as a reaction to the awful conditions they experience during capture and shipping, this means their tail fins are much reduced and they are poor swimmers and may drown in open water. The plants give them something to hang on to and will encourage them to become aquatic again. If the conditions you provide are optimal in every way and the newts are still strong enough to recover and adapt to captive life they will regrow their tail fins and the huge amounts of plants aren't strictly necessary, but there should always be some plants in a tank for H. orientalis.

My main concern with your tank is escape. I don't think that mesh will keep them in, they really are masters of escape! A good way to make it escape proof is to run duct tape round the rim instead of the mesh, it's not petty, but it will keep them in until you come up with something more attractive.
 

komodo182

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I will add some more plants.

As for duct tape, that's what I tried to hold the mesh the first time. It didn't work well with the water/humidity. The duct tape would just fall off in a few days which is why I switched to zip ties and drilling holes in the canopy. The mesh runs on the sides and backing on the tank. It goes about 2 inches out and would be too heavy for the newts to move. It also has a second layer of plastic canopy over it. I would be shocked if they made it out of this tank.

The reason I asked what is wrong with it was based on the way I read Azhael's reply. I assumed I was missing something major judging by his reply.
 

Chinadog

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Azhael only has the best interests of the newts at heart, so do I for that matter. It's just that time and time again we see poor starved, wild caught pet trade newts sold to un-suspecting new keepers, along with hopelessly poor husbandry info provided by the shop. More often than not the newts are too sick and malnourished to save and eventually die from necrotic skin sores or bloat etc, but by providing perfect conditions as soon as possible you will be giving them the best chance of recovery.
Fire bellies do make interesting, and responsive pets, The fact that untold numbers of them die in the pet trade every year often provokes a passionate response from people that care.
 

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The tank is actually better than i expected but it definitely has some issues. You shold get rid of the filter, it's not helping. You don't need it at all in a large tank like that, specially with plenty of live plants. It's entirely redundant and all it's doing is create some heat and an undesirable current. The newts will apreciate the water being completely still. You should also add plenty more plants. Ideally you want the surface to be covered by a thick layer of vegetation so that the newts can stand on top of it with their heads sticking out.
I would also recommend reducing the amount of light, it seems to be rather excessive. You could perhaps suspend the light a bit further over the tank to reduce the intensity but also to allow for much better ventilation. As it is, the lid covers so much of the surface that i expect it is heating the tank significantly. You'd be better off with a mess lid that neatly and tightly fits the entire top.

These newts should be 100% aquatic in captivity, so the fact that yours aren't, coupled with the fact that they are thin and not in good shape is an excellent indicator that things are not right. You need to work towards getting them to eat consistently (and only good, nutritious foods like earthworms) and to make the water comfortable for them. That will give them a chance. Like Chinadog said, many such newts die shortly after being purchased, most of them from flesh eating infections which develop because their inmune systems have been nullified by stress and terrible conditions. That's why it is imperative that you offer as optimal conditions as possible now.

In the future, if you acquire more animals i strongly recommend not to purchase WC animals from shops, it is a terrible market that causes a lot of death and missery. You have plenty of captive bred alternatives that are much more ethical and make much better choices as a costumer as you will be getting healthy animals.
 

komodo182

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I'm working on the earthworms (no one other than Canadian Tire sells Earthworms where I live). So my folks are bringing me some from the country. The earthworms will arrive on Saturday if all goes well.
As for the filter, I can't take that away. Something about not having a filter and having creatures that produce ammonia is not comfortable with me. Plants do use nitrogen waste, but since there is a small amount of nitrate in the tank, the plants do not use enough nitrogen waste to deal with what this tank has in it. Seems to risky to me. When I say that, the flow is fairly low on the canister, especially with all the plants and driftwood blocking the spray bar. I used a spray bar to decrease flow as well. With the spray bar (without any media) its only 171 gallons per hour flow which is really low (every other canister I use is about 350 gallons per hour). Since there are sponges and biomedia in there, it is much much slower. I'm not worried about the filter making too much current. I also added a sponge to the intake part of the filter so no tails or feet can get sucked up. This also decrease flow a little bit. I can certainly decrease the lighting to see if that lowers the temp as well).
This is day four or five for one of them and day three or four for another. I did get at least one to start eating frozen bloodworms. I can't find blackworms in my area for sale anywhere.
I appreciate the help everyone.
 

komodo182

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I contacted the guy who sold them to me and he said he had them eating repashy meat pie.

Guessing its not great for them since you guys say they are under weight

But thought I would ask since maybe he just wasn't feeding them enough

Repashy Meat Pie Reptile 3oz. : AngelFins
 
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