I know this post is really old but I am going to respond to it anyway in case there is anyone else reading.
I find that paddle tail newts are a good starter newt. They are very hardy, so they can tolerate poor pet store conditions. They are often mislabeled as firebelly newts but there is quite a difference in care needs between the two so always be sure of which species you actually have. Paddle tail newts are completely aquatic and do well in about a 10 gallon tank. But don’t even think about mixing them with other species. They should probably be solitary because they are quite aggressively territorial.
Overall though they are great for a beginner because their needs are not crazy and they are hardy. I absolutely love mine.