Before you buy your newt
Because they're so cheap, you can expect to pay as little as 8 US dollars for a newt - ask your dad to convert this into your local currency. Looks like it's time to break open the piggy-bank!
Caring for your newt is quite easy, but it's a good idea, as I always say, to buy a book that tells you all about this fiery little four-legger. If you plan to get more than one, say three or four, a 20 gallon tank should do well, and you can create a 'land area' by sloping gravel against one side of the tank. You can also set up rocks, moss and pieces of driftwood or bark as hiding places, which can double as basking bays for your tail-wiggling trio or fiery foursome.
The bottom of your tank should be lined with smooth gravel, and the pebbles should be large enough so that your newts cannot swallow them. You might even want to give the tank a leafy touch by planting some aquatic plants, and if you do, don't forget to provide fluorescent lighting.
Prep the tank before the newts come home. Provide a filter that doesn't produce a strong current when it sucks in the water; better still, get an under-gravel filter. It is very important that you keep the tank's temperature low, between 58 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (between 14 and 20 degrees Centigrade). An aquarium thermometer should be used to tell the temperature, because sticking your finger in the water and saying, "Hmm, seems cool enough" doesn't quite do the trick!
Anything above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade) is terrible news for newts, and you should consider keeping the tank in a cool place, even a basement if you have one. Occasionally, you can float ice in the tank to bring the temperature down - just be sure not to use the tank to recreate the iceberg scene from the Titanic. Newts are terrible actors, you know.
If you're the type who likes to caress and play with your pet, a newt might not be such a good idea, unless you are OK with letting it walk over your hand only occasionally, so keep this in mind before you make your decision.
Next: Choosing your pet
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