Can you keep water beetles as pets?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

You can keep water beetles as pets. However, it is important to note that not all water beetles are suitable for in-home keeping. Most water beetle species are small, inconspicuous, and have specialized habitat requirements that can be challenging to replicate in a captive setting. Therefore, it is recommended to focus on the few species that are abundant, large, colorful, and native to your area.

Before deciding to keep water beetles as pets, it is essential to research the specific species you are interested in. A helpful resource for this is, where you can find information about species distributions and characteristics. By checking the distribution, you can determine if the species you are interested in is native to your area.

Once you have identified a suitable species, it is important to understand their captive requirements. Most diving beetle species have similar needs in terms of habitat and care. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

1. Aquarium Setup: Provide a spacious aquarium with a secure lid to prevent escape. The size of the tank will depend on the species, but a larger tank is generally better for active beetles. A depth of at least a few inches of water is necessary for diving beetles.

2. Water Quality: Maintain clean and freshwater in the tank. Regular water changes and filtration may be necessary to ensure optimal water quality. Avoid using tap water unless it has been treated to remove chlorine or other chemicals.

3. Temperature and Lighting: Water beetles thrive in temperatures that mimic their natural environment. Research the preferred temperature range for the species you are keeping and provide appropriate heating or cooling if necessary. Natural or artificial lighting can also be beneficial, but be cautious not to expose the tank to direct sunlight, as it can cause temperature fluctuations and algae growth.

4. Substrate and Decorations: Provide a substrate such as sand or gravel at the bottom of the tank. You can also add aquatic plants, rocks, and driftwood to create a more natural environment. These elements can serve as hiding spots and provide enrichment for the beetles.

5. Feeding: Water beetles are carnivorous and primarily feed on small invertebrates and other aquatic organisms. You can provide them with live prey such as small insects, mosquito larvae, or daphnia. It is crucial to ensure that the prey is appropriate in size and not harmful to the beetles.

6. Handling and Observation: Water beetles are best observed in their natural habitat rather than being handled extensively. While some species may tolerate gentle handling, it is generally advised to minimize disturbance to prevent stress or injury to the beetles.

It is important to note that keeping water beetles as pets requires a commitment to their care and well-being. Regular monitoring of water quality, temperature, and feeding is necessary to ensure their health. Additionally, some species may have specific requirements that are not covered here, so it is crucial to research and understand the needs of the particular species you keep.

While it is possible to keep water beetles as pets, it is important to choose suitable species and provide appropriate care to ensure their well-being. Research, proper setup, and regular monitoring are key to creating a suitable environment for these fascinating creatures.