Acquired: Pet store
Posted Feb 25, 2013
Observing the fire bellied newt in its optimal habitat is a joy to behold, but setting up that habitat (in my experience) is a different ballgame.
I purchased 3 fire bellied newts from my LFS. I watched as the sales associate pulled out 3 newts from the 10 gallon tank that held at least two dozen of these shiny, black guys. I also purchased a 10 gallon tank, a 10 gallon water filter and newt pellets and happily (and hastily) headed home.
When i arrived home, i set up the tank with some gravel i had left over from another fish tank. I set it up just like at the LFS, sloped at an angle with a bit of dry land on one end. I placed the newts in the tank and immediately noticed how timid and sluggish they were. I looked online and found that they prefer the cooler side of things (58-68 degrees). It was about 85 degrees in my room, so i turned on the ac, and i thought we were set. The sales associate had told me to not to feed them for 24 hours because they would be stressed from the move, so i didnt....
The next day, i was anxious to feed them, so i threw them a couple of pellets each. They were all still very sluggish, and i noticed, unfortunately, that 1 had not made it through the night. I removed him from the tank and feverishly hit up the internet for answers. As i looked through the google images, i noticed my newts ran a little thin compared to the photos online. Uncovering more answers, i found that these newts barely touch these newt pellets and prefer frozen bloodworm. Furthermore, the parameters described 5 gallons PER NEWT as a rule of thumb, as they are slighty toxic and can foul the water quickly. Everything made sense now, as the LFS had dozens stocked in a 10 gallon, feeding them the same pellets i had purchased. I also found that most pet stores are notorious for keeping these newts in these conditions. I wanted to help the two i had recover, so again, to the internet.
The first remedy consisted of putting the two newts in a slightly salted water bath for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Yes, thats right. In the fridge. The low temps and saline soltion worked and, after 12 hours, they were active and swimming, the way they should be. I bought them the bloodworms and they were fat and healthy for the better part of the year.
Unfortunately, as the newtsgrow older, they become more and more effective at climbing glass, and one day, coming home from work i found BOTH newts missing. I looked everywhere,and sadly, found them the next day, behind the couch, dried up and gone.
In conclusion, these pets, like all others, are a joy to have and watch when they are healthy. From my experience, i have still to find a petstore that keeps them in good parameters. If you do plan on getting these cool, little guys, remember they are not fond of pellet foods, need cooler temps, and are very good escape,artists. Stick to that, and youll have a great pet for a long time.