Set up your own aquatic newt aquarium:
This procedure will get you on your way to having a great newt tank that you can keep running easily for years. This particular setup is a 20 gallon glass long (30" version) tank has been working great, and I call this the idea system for a beginner with about $100 to spend(A lot less if you buy the tank & rock used). If you must use a 10 gallon be sure to get one with a flourescent bulb and not and incadescent bulb, regardless if you get plants or not, incadescent fixtures just dont look good when lit up.
1. Put in gravel about 1 1/2" deep in tank|
(Use the small pea sized aquarium rock -make sure to rinse before placing in tank)
2. Fill up aquarium with 1/2 way with water
(make sure to treat your water with a de-chlorinator product like Aqua-safe)
3. Place a large rock in tank so that your newts can come out of the water.
(the rock should come out at least 1/2" and make it is a gradual slope so you newt can easily climb out, you should buy a rock from a local pet store making sure you don't get one that will leach out minerals into your water)
4. Put in submersible filter(and then turn it on!)
(Use one rated for the number of gallons of water you use not the actual tank size -newts prefer a low amount of water current so face the spout of the filter toward the glass wall to break up the current if needed). The best submersible filters I've found are the new ones made by Fluval($15-$20), very easy to clean. In the past I've used one made by Aquarium Systems which also worked well, but required a small external pump as well(another $10+)
5. Put in plants and then put your tank lid on
(At this point let your tank run for a day to clear up if needed & get a good "optimal plant growth" flourescent bulb for better plant growth -usually the flourescent bulb that comes with your set up will not be very good)
6. Place your newts in and maybe a few small fish(if you get a 3-4 cheap guppies they'll breed easily and some of the fry will be eaten by the newts which is a pretty healthy way to help feed newts)
I suggest in a month after this put in a few small catfish(the schooling "Cory" catfish are great) to clean up uneaten food & algae on the bottom of the tank(not too small you don't want your newts to be able swallow it, even though they probably won't eat a bony catfish). One thing to know, is newts can swallow things too large for them to digest, but they should spit it out after ten minutes of not being able to down it. Newts can slightly breath through their skin so I havent observed any of my newts choke to death.
Extra Set-up tips:
1. Leave your tank light on only 9-11 hours a day to keep "bad algae" growth down(using a timer is advised). Try and duplicate nature's lighting -and if you go on vacation setting it with timer is best, but if you don't have one, leaving your tank off 24 hours a day is MUCH better than leaving it on 24 hours a day. Your newts won't care about the light although your live plants will.
2. Don't put your tank in direct sunlight, it will cause alot of extra algae growth.
3. Don't rush!
Please visit the aquatic plant page for newt friendly plants.