Today I want to explore a paludarium with you, specifically the paudarium in the video above. it was created by my friend Nick using a standard 75-gallon aquarium you can get from the chain stores. It's a lovely example of what's possible and it really pushes the limit of what we think of when we talk aquariums. (You can see more of his work on his website.)
So what is a paludarium?
A paludarium is an artificial habitat that has both aquatic and terrestrial elements—put another way, it must have significant land area and water volume. In a true paludarium, there should be enough landmass for terrestrial animals like frogs to live happily and enough water to comfortably house aquatic animals like fish or newts. You don't need to have animal life in your paludarium though, I just find it helpful to define a paludarium based on what it could house.
And that's because there are two other types of enclosures that are quite similar but very much different—Ripariums and Terrariums.
Ripariums often look very similar to a paludarium, but they cannot support terrestrial life. A riparium might have a small bit of land, plants or even wood that breaks waters surface, but it's not enough to support meaningful terrestrial life—just because a frog could hold onto some exposed driftwood doesn't mean it would be happy or even survive in the long run.
A terrarium is just the opposite of a riparium. Terrariums appear similar to a paludarium, but they don't contain a significant body of water. Terrariums might have enough water to happily support a few frogs, but not enough water or filtration to support a small school of fish.
If you'd like to see a great example of an established paludarium, check out the video at the top of this article!