A paludarium also called aqua terrarium or waterfall aquarium is the fusion of an aquarium with a terrarium. Mostly, paludaria is used as a habitat for amphibious animals such as frogs or semi-aquatic crabs, but also reptiles such as turtles. Typically, an aquatic part passes into a land area. There is a special form of the paludarium, the so-called “riparian”. It is dedicated to the design of a riparian zone. Paludaria replicates swamp-like biotopes, accompanied by higher air humidity. To maintain these conditions, special technical or structural measures are necessary.
In addition to paludaria in which animals are kept, there are also layouts with a focus on aquatic plants alone. These forms are closely related to the plant cultivation forms of Wabi-Kusa and the dry-start method. Due to the special design of a paludarium, aquarium plants can be cultivated and viewed both in their submerged (below the waterline) and emerged (above the waterline) forms.
As of late, the DOOA series from Aqua Design Amano has been made available in Europe. This new series places its focus on paludaria and Wabi-Kusa plant arrangements and offers beautifully designed products required for successfully running an aqua terrarium. Designs that place aquarium plants in the focus are central for the brand.
If higher temperatures are required (e. g. for some paludarium animals), you should install a heater. Here, too, you can fall back on more compact and shorter variations (e. g. the Dennerle Nano ThermoCompact). If you want to supply your submerged plants with an optimum amount of nutrients, a CO2 system is indispensable. As with the filter tubes, the low water level must be taken into account, so you’ll need to choose a diffuser that can be installed deeply enough.
For aqua terrariums, usually, a special design of a glass container is used. There are closed tanks with a lid and open systems. The later versions often have a much lower front pane, which gives the onlooker an unhindered view of the design. Quite frequently the front panes of paludaria are more or less opaque (and not attractive) due to condensation. Attention: If you’re planning to keep animals like crabs in your paludarium that like to wander off, you need to choose a closed system! You can convert a classic aquarium into an aqua terrarium or paludarium quite easily, simply by making slight adaptations to the technical equipment to the new conditions.