Spanish Ribbed Newt Pleurodeles waltl
Michahelles originally described the Spanish Ribbed Newt Pleurodeles waltl in 1830. These are considered to be a “large” newt. Spanish Ribbed Newts are native to the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, in areas known for periodic drought seasons. For a species that’s mainly aquatic, this must be a very harsh environment indeed.
Spanish Ribbed Newts are, a large species. Growing to 12” in the wild. In captivity, they’re more apt to achieve a range between 8-9”, which is still considerably large for a newt species. They have an overall dark coloration, usually dark to light gray with darker irregular blotches, which are a brownish color. The ventral side, or belly, is usually a lighter cream to yellow color. On the sides of the Newts, they have small orange or yellowish dots. These mark the rib tips and are actually paratoid glands which they can rupture releasing the toxin within to ward of predators hence the name Spanish Ribbed Newt Pleurodeles waltl. They do this without any injury to themselves at all. This behavior makes this a poisonous species, not to be confused with venomous.
When it comes to housing this particular species, I recommend no less than 10 to 15 gallons per Spanish Ribbed Newt Pleurodeles waltl. A taller and wider tank is preferable to a lower longer one so I would stay away from breeder tanks. If you wanted to keep a trio, I recommend using a 30-Gallon tank, which measures 36 ¼” by 12 5/8” by 16 ¾”.
Once again, I recommend natural-looking aquarium gravel that is too large to fit in the mouth of the newt. This prevents the newt from ingesting it during feeding.
When it comes to decorating the enclosure of the Spanish Ribbed Newt Pleurodeles waltl, you must consider whether you want live or artificial plants. Whichever way you choose to go with, you should plant very heavily. As I’ve said elsewhere in this site, any of the fish-safe aquarium plants will work just fine. If you do choose to go with live plants, you must absolutely provide the proper type of lighting. Along with many plants, you also must have some land, floating cork bark pieces, or turtle islands that they can haul themselves out onto. With this species I try to keep a couple of floaters so there is more than one spot if I’m housing more than individual.
Although this is, a “hardy” species, which can withstand higher water temperatures, keeping them above 73˚F constantly will eventually stress them out to the point of death. Therefore, you as a conscientious herpetoculturist should make every effort to keep them between 68-72˚F during the warmer spring and summer months. During the fall and winter months, you can allow them to drop down to around 55˚ without having to worry about them.
As was recommended for the Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens, you should have a submersible filter with an adjustable flow on it, which should be turned down, to only allow a 10-20% flow rate. For the price, in my experience you cannot beat the Exo Terra Flo 250, Complete Internal Filter