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We were visiting in Denver over Thanksgiving weekend, and while there we
hauled the kids out to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. It's a
green house growing tropical plants and filled with a gazillion or two
tropical butterflies of several different species.
In addition to the greenhouse, they had a room displaying other sorts of
creepy-crawlies, including two or three aquaria with aquatic insects. The
species they had on display were fairly large and predatory, so I wasn't
very interested in them. But it got me thinking about other species.
Our ditches here are inhabited by (among other things) some small diving
beetles. These are quick little round-bodied guys that live mostly in
litter on the bottom. Every now and then they swim abruptly to the
surface, grab a bubble of air and head back for the bottom. I think
they're either scavengers or algivores. I once had a couple in a newly
setup paludarium, but there wasn't much there for them to eat and they
only lasted a couple weeks.
Has anyone tried keeping beetles (or other insects) in a planted tank? I'm
particularly interested in bugs that would a) eat algae, b) carry out
their complete life cycle under water - that is, no chironimids,
dragonflies or other critters that are aquatic only as larvae and c) are
too large and/or hard-shelled to be eaten by small fish.