Chinese Fire-bellied Newt

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Other common names: Chinese Fire Belly Newt, Fire-bellied Salamander, Oriental Fire-bellied Newt

Scientific name: Cynops orientalis

The basics:
This attractive newt has long been a favorite of both new and experienced keepers. Active by day and undemanding in its care requirements, the Chinese Fire-Bellied Newt is a near-perfect amphibian pet.

The Chinese Fire-bellied Newt is found along the drainage of the lower Yangtze River in central China, where it inhabits the still waters of ponds, swamps, ditches and rice fields.

Appearance / health:
The back is jet black in color while the abdomen is brilliant orange or red and marked with black blotches. Adults average 2.6-3.2 inches in length.

With proper care, Chinese Fire-bellied Newts may live to 18+ years of age. Pets will swallow small gravel bits, resulting in intestinal blockages. If ammonia levels are not kept low, “Red Leg” and other bacterial/fungal infections will take hold.

Behavior / temperament:
Chinese Fire-bellied Newts adapt well to captivity, rising to the surface and feeding readily from the hand. They are active both day and night, and untroubled by activity around their aquarium.

Newt skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to wounds, eyes, or the mouth. Toxins transferred to the eyes have caused temporary blindness. They should be handled only when necessary, and then by being urged into a water-filled container so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed.

A 10 gallon aquarium can house 4-6 adults; larger groups will get-along in more spacious quarters. Gravel should be avoided, or large types chosen, due to the danger of ingestion.

A submersible or other filter and weekly partial water changes will help ensure low ammonia levels. Strong currents from filter outflows should be avoided. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water used in aquariums via liquid preparations available at pet stores.

Although these newts are highly-aquatic and take well to deep water, cork bark or turtle basking platforms should be provided as resting spots. Newts are well-suited to aquariums stocked with live aquatic plants. They can climb glass, so a secure cover is needed.

Chinese Fire-bellied Newts ideally should be kept in soft water with a pH of 6.9-7.2 and a temperature range of 65-74 F. Sustained temperatures above 78 F may render them susceptible to bacterial/fungal infections.

The Chinese Fire-bellied Newt’s appetite is quite easy to please. Commercial newt diets and frozen insect-based tropical fish foods serve well as a mainstay. Live blackworms, chopped earthworms, tiny crickets, and guppies provide excellent supplementary nutrition, or can be used as the main diet if preferred.

Females are stouter than males, which swell about the cloaca when in breeding condition. Normal room temperature fluctuations often stimulate reproduction, while a sudden increase of water volume and a drop in water temperature will do so at most any time of year.

Females attach 20-100 eggs, one at a time, to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch 12-25 days and the larvae transform by day 60-80. The larvae can be reared on chopped live blackworms, frozen bloodworms, and newt chow.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


good beginners pet, cute, good eaters, bright orangered bellies, interesting creatures


beginner amphibian owner, boring pet, hand washing, optimal habitat


wax worms, cold water species, adequate ventilation, frozen blood worms, newt pellets

Helpful Chinese Fire-bellied Newt Review

Chinese Fire-bellied Newt

From GiuliaB Oct 13 2015 5:51AM


Chinese Fire-bellied Newt Health Tip

Chinese Fire-bellied Newt

From Anomali25 Nov 8 2014 5:04PM


Chinese Fire-bellied Newt Behavior Tip

Chinese Fire-bellied Newt

From hfeatherina Oct 13 2015 4:32PM


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