Acquired: Pet store
Posted Sep 06, 2015
Due to their small size, low cost, and ready availability, fire belly newts are great animals for just about anyone looking to try something other than fish in a small aquarium. Combining the ease of care of fish and the unique look of a reptile they're easy, although not very intractable pets.
Tank set up is just marginally more difficult than a fish tank. As amphibians they need both land and water, and they also do best with vegetation to hide in. Get a long, low tank, make about a third of it land, and have it slope into water. I'd also recommend filtration for the water, but it is possible to do manual water changes instead in you're able/willing to do it once to twice a week.
You do need to be a bit more diligent with tank cleaning as the newts secrete a mildly toxic solution form their skin that, if given the change to build up too much, can harm the newts. That being the case, it's also important that you wash your hands right after any handling, which should be kept to a minimum anyways as they really don't like being touched. The toxin won't actually hurt you, but it will cause irritation if it gets in your eyes, mouth, etc.
I can't speak to all fire belly newts, but mine seemed to be very moody. Some days he's be out and about like he owned the place, other days he'd sit in the plants hiding. They do blend in to the environment pretty well with their black skin, but their orange underbellies really are quite beautiful. I didn't house anything else in the tank with the newt, but I'm guessing it's probably not a good idea to keep fish in the water as the toxins would most likely be dangerous to them.