i picked up a fire-belly newt from my LFS yesterday and im quite chuffed with the little fella :P
he resides in an old fish tank (kindly donated by a friend of mine) which i have half-filled with water and added an old castle ornament, some twigs and a piece of bark (i did clean and steralise it before i put i in :P) with a Fluval 1+ for filtration
is there anything i need to do to ensure the Newt is helthy and happy? i feed him/her/it little chunks of blood-worm every other day and clean the water out every other day aswell
Hi i am looking into getting fire bellied newts from my work and am doing my research, do you have sand as a substrate?? what you can do is have the tank only half filled as you have done ( and have access to land) and have an aquarium sand substrate and bank it up at one end into a beach so the newts can bathe on it also a few pieces of bogwood are suitable, and some live plants if you have a filter in there and it is doing its job correctly i.e keeping the water parameters in check than you shouldn't need to change the water every day. ok HTH ...
Everything about keeping them is much the same as for fish, except of course youd use a higher proportion of wormy foods in the diet, small fish pieces (preferably fesh rather than frozen) and dont necessarily expect them to take dead or artificial foods, many wont recognise them as a source of food, and nearly all newts and salamanders respond to movement for that initial attraction to food, they will use smell to some degree, and vision when above water especially, but it varies according to the individual.
A paludarium setup is more appropriate than an aquarium setup, but the water area would be maintained exactly as you would for fish, a small filter, water changes weekly, and the odd gravel clean. Doesnt really matter if the substrate is sand or gravel , or indeeed bare with most newts, but they do like plants, so either include a wadge of elodea and let it float about, or rather nicer, plant the water section properly.
In the land area, a few damp haulouts are fine, bogwood above water, or use natural cork bark to create floating islands and cover them with sphagnum moss, and a few epiphytes to keep things looking natural. Newts and salamanders, depending on species will really appreciate a nice damp haulout area, and you will actually see more of them above the water if there is some cover, so for those with properly kitted out paludaria, where the diveder between water and land is solid, and well defined, with a substantial land portion, you can make small caves, and substrates in the land area can be a mix of peaty souls, mixed with a little sand and sphagnum to create a soft, damp, forest like floor most species will love. A plant growth bulb or two, and in theory the land portion need never be cleaned as if heavily planted the plants will uptake most of the waste, and outcompete fungi. Spider plants tend to grow well under such conditions, and you can use small pieces of feathery bamboo in the water and on land for extra interest.
Dont be too keen to add fish early on, get to know your newt first, many are gifted hunters of fish, and if youre starting small, forget fish entirely, not intil your water area approaches 20 gals or more and is filtered heavily using carbon will you successfully avoid some toxicity issues that amphibians may cause fish, and its probably better if any fish you include are not only tough, and enjoy a similar diet to the salamander,but have a labyrinth organ too, incase a toxic release suddenly affects gill tissue.
Combining fish and amphibia is really a masters art, as is adding reptiles to the land section, and species selection has to be most considered, and planned extreemely well. Most pauldaria fail to adequately house representitives of the three groups successfully, a paludaria involving all three groups is as hard to manage as the most complicated marine aquaria, getting heating, light balances and social issues right, is a real art.