Fire-Belly Newt Care: Species Overview
- Common Names: Fire-Belly Newt, Fire Newt, Chinese Fire-Belly Newt, Oriental Fire-Belly Newt, Japanese Fire-Belly Newt
- Scientific Name: Cynops Orientalis, Cynops pyrrhogaster
- Distribution: Native to southern and southeastern Asia
- Adult Size: 3 to 6 inches long
- Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years on average and up to 30 years
The Fire-Belly Newt is active, hardy, and has relatively easy to care instructions. They are a popular choice for beginner amphibian keepers.
With their vivid orange-red markings on their stomachs, fire belly newts make an attractive pet and require only a small enclosure that mimics their environment in the wild.
They’re a fun pet to observe, though their toxic skin secretions make them unwise to handle. Still, once you get them set up with the proper environment and determine their feeding schedule, they can be a low-maintenance, enjoyable companion for many years.
Fire-Belly Newt Care: Habitat Set-Up
- Housing the Fire-Belly Newt requires replicating its natural habitat inside of an aquarium. Fire-Belly Newts are aquatic, so they need an abundant water source. They also need a dry land area in their tank so they can climb out of the water and rest and bask in the artificial sun.
- A 20-gallon tank can house up to four Fire-Belly Newts. But the larger the enclosure, the easier it is to keep clean. When there’s more water, it’s easier to deal with the waste buildup.
- When building the aquarium’s land area, you should create a sloping area using a gravel substrate. Add rocks, moss, and pieces of bark to include great hiding places for the Fire-Belly Newt. And a floating island of wood or rocks is an excellent supplemental land source.
- Fire-Belly Newts thrive in cool temperatures. They are happiest between 60 to 75° F.
- Temperatures above 75° F, cause Fire-Belly Newts to become stressed and susceptible to infection, particularly of the fungal variety.
- Provide a 12-hour light cycle for your Fire-Belly Newt. That means 12-hours of light and 12-hours of dark per day.
- Newts do not have special UV requirements but use a low-watt fluorescent fixture to propagate live plants. Just make sure the Fire-Belly Newts have a shaded area or shelter.
- We recommend using smooth gravel on the floor of your aquarium, but the gravel should be large enough the Fire-Belly Newt can’t ingest. You can also add plants in the aquarium, plastic plants are easier to care for, but live plants help keep the water clean and healthy.
About the Fire-Belly Newt
Fire-Belly Newt Care: Temperament
- It will take time for your Fire-Belly Newt to acclimate to its new home. But once the Fire-Belly Newt is used to its new home, it’s lively.
- Fire-Belly Newts and other aquatic amphibians spend most of their time in the water, occasionally coming to land. They are nocturnal, feeding, and frolicking mostly at night. Keep this in mind when you decide where to place your Fire-Belly Newt’s home.
- The Fire-Belly Newt’s skin excretes poisonous toxins as a defense mechanism. Because of this, they are not suitable pets to handle and not ideal if you have small children. The toxins can irritate unbroken skin and can even cause numbness, dizziness, and shortness of breath if it gets into a cut or scratch. Plus, it can be hazardous to your health if ingested.
Fire-Belly Newt Care: Diet and Nutrition
- Fire-Belly Newts should eat a diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp, glass shrimp, daphnia, and freeze-dried Tubifex cubes. You can also try floating amphibian sticks, and guppies.
- It takes experimentation to figure out how much and how often your Fire-Belly Newt eats. Typically every other day or every three days is sufficient. Monitor your newt’s body condition to assess whether you’re feeding it too much or too little. Any excess food left in the tank is a telltale sign you’re feeding your newt too often, and decaying food will contribute to toxic buildup in the tank.
Fire-Belly Newt Care: Water
- Clean, freshwater is critical to keeping all amphibians healthy. We recommend using ReptiSafe® Water Conditioner to treat all water added to your aquarium.
- Water filtration is crucial to tank health. You’ll want a filtration system that adds minimal current, as the Fire-Belly Newt doesn’t like the water flow. Air-powered corner filters work the best. Make sure to keep the filter set in the minimum setting, and you can use under-gravel filters too.
- Change approximately a third of the tank’s water every one to two weeks. You should replace the water with fresh water, and be sure to use the water conditioner—the actual cleaning the tank depends on the size of the container. And the number of Fire-Belly Newts in the aquarium. A gravel washer makes cleaning the gravel easy. It gently agitates the tank’s bottom as the water siphons off.
- Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
- Supervise children around pets.
- ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
- Adults should assist children with handwashing after contact with a pet, its habitat, or aquarium water.