the newts are SUPER easy!! i prefer the chinese FBNs to the japanese FBNs. the chinese are smaller and have smoother skin, the japanese are bigger, more of a dark brown and have more bumpy skin.
they say to have a tank with 2/3 water and 1/3 land. when i first go them i just had some odd land areas, which wasn't really an appropriate newt tank
then i got some Eco Earth (shredded coconut fiber, probably what you use with the snakes) and a plant for some shade. it worked ok, but the coco fibre started to mold because of the high moisture
the Newton i have now is not the original. i had another named newton who disappeared, he was not in the tank, Hubert didn't eat him, and we cleaned the entire room and found nothing, so for a while i only had hubert. recently i got Newton (#2). this pic was the first one (i love the wet newt foot prints!)
when i had only Hubert, i noticed that he didn't spend a lot of time in the water, so for a while i switched him over to a land tank with a pool of water
i always wanted to insert a permanent wall for a divided land/water tank, but i wasn't sure. then i started taking other tanks down and i decided to just make a permanent tank. instead of doing a 2/3 and 1/3 tank, i just did half and half. the colder months they spend on the land and during the summer they like to sit in the filter and hang out
the set up is a little different now. i still have shredded paper under the eco earth just as a filler. the log hide is gone because it started getting moldy. now i have a halved plastic cup that i siliconed some rocks to. the plant is out because, though they loved the leaves, they just pooped all on it. now i have a fake tree branch from the craft store, which is just enough to provide filtered light and make it look good. i will have to get a new pic of that..
the side of the tank got white stuff on it (from the water splashing) and i couldn't scrub it off with any thing. last time i cleaned the tank i figured i would try white vinegar, and it worked! it took the stains right off. i rinsed it well before i put the tank back together..
as for the care, they are really easy. they are cold water, so you don't have to have any special lamps or a heater in the water. i feed them and the frogs frozen bloodworms. it takes a while for them to get used to hand feeding, but the eventually become good eaters. i don't feed everyday, sometimes i do, sometimes i don't. i clean the whole tank every month or so because they don't really use the water enough to dirty it and if they are on the land, you can just use a plastic fork as a pooper scooper
they are not super active, but they are cute
i have never touched one, because i though i read that they are not safe to touch, but i don't know. i just herd them into a fish net when i clean them