Rescue / shelter organization,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
Brainerd, Minnesota, United States
Posted Dec 21, 2009
These newts are pretty easy to care for, as long as you know what you are doing. A ten gallon aquarium is adequate for one or two newts. They do secrete a mild toxin which builds up in the water, so frequent water changed are necessary. Filtration is important, but these newts do not like a strong current, so a sponge filter or underwater corner filter are suggested. They only need to be fed every two or three days. Because most of the fire-belly newts found in pet stores are wild-caught, they may not take readily to commercial food. You may need to try several different foods before finding one your newt will accept. Some are so picky they require live food or will starve to death! These newts do not need any special lighting. Never put these newts in a heated tank! They get stressed out when their water temeprature goes above 68-degrees, and when they get stressed out they can actually die.
Fire-belly newts are curious and love to explore. I highly suggest putting all kinds of fun decorations in their homes. Driftwood, plants (silk or live - not plastic, they can scratch), and aquarium decorations all work well. Change them around for a whole new terrain to explore! These newts are mostly aquatic and should have at least 4-6 inches (depth) of water to swim in. Be sure to provide at least one place where the newt can get completely out of the water, and at least one place where the newt can rest along the surface with their body under water and their head above the surface (usually a plant tall enough to rest along the surface works great).
Make sure your newt enclosure has a secure lid! They are known to climb right out - and yes, they can climb up the glass.
Don't handle fire-belly newts. The salt in your skin hurts them, and the toxin in theirs can cause your skin to tingle. They aren't actually poisonous unless you were to eat one - which I do not suggest. They are good "look at" pets - but are not a "play with" pet.