Unique Apartment Pets: Fire Bellied Newts

Share:

Unique Apartment Pets: Fire Bellied Newts

Staff Writer · Nov 10, 2009

Pet newts make the perfect apartment pets because they don’t take up a lot of space, they don’t get the apartment damaged or dirty and they require little care. The ideal pet newts for the beginner amphibian owner are Fire Bellied Newts.

Fire Bellied Newts 101

With dark brown or black backs and bright reddish orange bellies, fire bellied newts make attractive apartment pets. A little poisonous, the fire bellied newts should actually be handled only rarely-but they’re not incredibly toxic. However, people with open wounds should not handle them at all, in case toxins leak through the wounds. Fire bellied newts, like fish in an aquarium, are not meant to be played with, but make stunning and easy to care for pets in tanks and aquariums.

Setting Up Reptile Tanks for Fire Bellied Newts

While you’ll be using reptile tanks to provide a home for your new apartment pets, it’s important to remember that fire bellied newts are actually amphibians, which means that they spend time both in water and on land. You can’t just put pet newts in entirely dry reptile tanks and you can’t put newts in a fish tank, either. For a fire bellied newt, a reptile tank or a 10 gallon aquarium (20 gallons for 3-4 newts) should be filled with a ratio of 3/4 to 2/3 water and 1/4 to 1/3 land. To accomplish this:

  1. Put a 1-inch layer of gravel at the bottom of the tank.
  2. Stack clean rocks or driftwood 1/4 or 1/3 through the width of the tank to form a barrier about 4 inches high. As the newts will climb up this ledge to get to land, put a smaller amount of material at an angle on the larger side. Glue in place with silicon sealant if necessary and allow to dry.
  3. Fill the smaller portion behind the barrier with gravel 3 1/2 inches high.
  4. Fill the remaining half inch height behind the barrier with moss. This is the land portion.
  5. Add plants (silk or real) to the water portion and the land portion, as well as bark and other aquatic hiding places. 
  6. Install an inside corner filter or under gravel filter without a strong current in water portion to keep water clean.
  7. Fill the water portion of the tank with dechlorinated water that is 3 inches high (leaving 1 inch between the water and top of the land barrier exposed).
  8. Install a low watt fluorescent bulb in a tight mesh lid if you have live plants.
  9. Clean the tank every 1 to 2 weeks by replacing 2/3 of the water and scrubbing their gravel surfaces. Leave the newts inside the tanks when you do this. Wear rubber gloves and wash your hands afterward.

Feeding Your Newts

Fire bellied newts are simple-to-feed apartment pets that need only be fed once every two to three days. A newt’s diet should consist of a small amount of bloodworms, brine or glass shrimp, chopped earthworms, freeze-dried tubifex worms or daphnia.

Fire bellied newts are attractive apartment pets that can live anywhere from 1 to 60 years, but you’re more likely to have a healthy newt around for 6 to 10 years. Longer living than tropical fish, pet newts are perfect for those who enjoy colorful aquariums.

You might also like:

On ApartmentRatings, real renters have the ability to rate and review their apartment communities based on their experience touring and/or living in them. ApartmentRatings offers renters the ability to see what life is truly like at a community through a report card grade style format called epIQ. Every month we highlight a major city across […]

Jessica Lee

 · Jan 31, 2024

On ApartmentRatings, real renters have the ability to rate and review their apartment communities based on their experience touring and/or living in them. ApartmentRatings offers renters the ability to see what life is truly like at a community through a report card grade style format called epIQ. Every month we highlight a major city across […]

Jessica Lee

 · Dec 28, 2023