Aquatic Terrarium: A Visual Delight for Nature Lovers

What is an aquatic terrarium?

What is an aquatic terrarium?
An aquatic terrarium is a unique and captivating way to bring the beauty of underwater ecosystems into your home or office. It is a self-contained environment that mimics the natural habitat of aquatic plants and fish. Unlike traditional aquariums, aquatic terrariums combine the elements of land and water, creating a stunning display of aquatic life.

Benefits of having an aquatic terrarium

Benefits of having an aquatic terrarium

Natural beauty and aesthetic appeal

One of the main benefits of having an aquatic terrarium is the natural beauty and aesthetic appeal it brings to any space. The combination of lush green plants, colorful fish, and sparkling water creates a visually stunning and tranquil environment. It can serve as a focal point in any room, adding a touch of elegance and serenity.

Low maintenance and easy care

Aquatic terrariums are relatively low maintenance compared to traditional aquariums. The self-contained ecosystem requires less frequent water changes and minimal cleaning. The plants help to naturally filter the water, reducing the need for additional filtration systems. This makes it an ideal choice for busy individuals or those who prefer a low-maintenance pet.

Promotes relaxation and stress relief

The presence of an aquatic terrarium can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Watching the fish swim gracefully and the plants sway with the water creates a sense of tranquility and relaxation. Studies have shown that observing aquatic life can reduce stress levels and promote a sense of well-being. It can be a therapeutic escape from the demands of everyday life.

Choosing the right container for your aquatic terrarium

Glass or acrylic tanks

When selecting a container for your aquatic terrarium, you have the option of choosing between glass or acrylic tanks. Glass tanks are more durable and scratch-resistant, providing a clearer view of the underwater world. Acrylic tanks, on the other hand, are lighter and less prone to breakage. Consider your preferences and the specific needs of your aquatic terrarium when making this decision.

Size and shape considerations

The size and shape of the container are important factors to consider when setting up an aquatic terrarium. The size should be appropriate for the number and size of fish and plants you plan to keep. A larger tank provides more space for the fish to swim and the plants to grow. The shape of the tank can also impact the overall aesthetics of the terrarium. Choose a shape that complements the style and theme of your space.

Accessories and decorations

To enhance the visual appeal of your aquatic terrarium, consider adding accessories and decorations. These can include rocks, driftwood, and artificial plants. These elements not only provide hiding places for the fish but also create a more natural and realistic environment. Be mindful of the materials used, ensuring they are safe for the fish and do not alter the water chemistry.

Essential elements for a thriving aquatic terrarium

Essential elements for a thriving aquatic terrarium

Water quality and filtration

Maintaining proper water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of the fish and plants in your aquatic terrarium. Regular water testing and monitoring are essential to ensure the correct pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels. A filtration system, such as a sponge filter or a hang-on-back filter, helps to remove impurities and maintain water clarity.

Lighting and temperature

Proper lighting is essential for the growth of aquatic plants in your terrarium. Most aquatic plants require moderate to high levels of light to thrive. LED lights are a popular choice as they provide the necessary spectrum of light while being energy-efficient. Additionally, maintaining the correct temperature is crucial for the well-being of the fish and plants. A heater or a chiller may be necessary depending on the specific temperature requirements of the species you choose.

Substrate and planting options

Choosing the right substrate is important for the growth and stability of aquatic plants. Substrates such as gravel, sand, or specialized aquatic soil provide a base for the plants to anchor their roots. Consider the specific needs of the plants you plan to keep when selecting the substrate. Additionally, selecting the appropriate plants for your terrarium is crucial. Choose plants that are compatible with the water conditions and lighting available in your setup.

Popular aquatic plants for terrariums

Popular aquatic plants for terrariums


Anubias is a popular choice for aquatic terrariums due to its hardiness and ability to thrive in a variety of water conditions. It has broad, dark green leaves that provide a lush and tropical look to the terrarium. Anubias can be attached to rocks or driftwood, making it a versatile plant for aquascaping.

Java Fern

Java Fern is another popular choice for aquatic terrariums. It has long, flowing leaves that add a graceful and elegant touch to the underwater landscape. Java Fern is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making it suitable for beginners.

Amazon Sword

Amazon Sword is a larger aquatic plant that adds a dramatic and lush look to the terrarium. It has long, sword-shaped leaves that can grow up to several feet in height. Amazon Sword requires moderate to high lighting and nutrient-rich substrate to thrive.

Marimo Moss Ball

Marimo Moss Ball is a unique and eye-catching plant that resembles a small, green ball. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal lighting and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Marimo Moss Ball adds a touch of whimsy and charm to any aquatic terrarium.

Choosing the right fish for your aquatic terrarium

Choosing the right fish for your aquatic terrarium

Small and peaceful fish species

When selecting fish for your aquatic terrarium, it is important to choose species that are small and peaceful. Avoid aggressive or territorial fish that may harm other tank inhabitants. Some suitable options include guppies, tetras, and dwarf rasboras. These fish are known for their vibrant colors and peaceful nature.

Compatibility with plants and other tank inhabitants

Ensure that the fish you choose are compatible with the plants and other tank inhabitants in your aquatic terrarium. Some fish may nibble on or uproot plants, causing damage. Additionally, consider the specific water parameters and temperature requirements of the fish to ensure they are compatible with the conditions in your terrarium.

Water parameters and temperature requirements

Different fish species have specific water parameter and temperature requirements. It is important to research and understand the needs of the fish you plan to keep in your aquatic terrarium. Maintain the appropriate water temperature and provide a suitable environment to ensure the health and well-being of the fish.

Maintenance tips for your aquatic terrarium

Maintenance tips for your aquatic terrarium

Regular water changes

Regular water changes are essential to maintain optimal water quality in your aquatic terrarium. Aim to change approximately 10-20% of the water every week to remove accumulated toxins and waste products. Use a siphon or a gravel vacuum to remove debris from the substrate during water changes.

Pruning and trimming plants

As the plants in your aquatic terrarium grow, they may require pruning and trimming to maintain their shape and prevent overcrowding. Remove any dead or decaying leaves to prevent them from affecting water quality. Trim overgrown plants to promote healthy growth and prevent shading of other plants.

Monitoring water parameters

Regularly monitor the water parameters in your aquatic terrarium to ensure they remain within the appropriate range for the fish and plants. Test the water for pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels using a reliable test kit. Make any necessary adjustments to maintain optimal water conditions.

Common mistakes to avoid with aquatic terrariums

Common mistakes to avoid with aquatic terrariums

Overstocking the tank

One common mistake is overstocking the aquatic terrarium with too many fish. Overcrowding can lead to poor water quality, stress, and disease among the fish. Research the appropriate stocking levels for the size of your tank and choose fish accordingly.

Ignoring water quality

Neglecting water quality is another common mistake. Poor water quality can lead to health issues for the fish and hinder the growth of plants. Regular water testing and maintenance are essential to ensure a healthy and thriving aquatic terrarium.

Choosing incompatible plants and fish

Selecting incompatible plants and fish can lead to conflicts and difficulties in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Research the specific needs and compatibility of the plants and fish you plan to keep to ensure they can coexist harmoniously.


Aquatic terrariums offer a unique and captivating way to bring the beauty of underwater ecosystems into your home or office. With the right container, essential elements, and careful selection of plants and fish, you can create a thriving and visually stunning aquatic terrarium. Enjoy the benefits of natural beauty, low maintenance, and relaxation that an aquatic terrarium provides.


  • What is an aquatic terrarium?

    The aquatic terrarium, aqua-terrarium or paludarium (lat. palus = swamp) is basically The rainforest terrarium combined with an aquarium. Breathtaking tropical landscapes with waterfalls and streams or lakes can be built in large aqua-terrariums.

  • What are the best aquatic plants for terrariums?

    Anubias is a genus of aquatic plants in the family Araceae. They are native to tropical West Africa, and are commonly used in freshwater aquariums and terrariums. Anubias plants have broad, thick leaves and a slow growth rate, making them well-suited for the low-light conditions often found in these environments.

  • What do you put in an aquatic terrarium?


    Bacopa Species. Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri) and Bacopa caroliniana are excellent candidates for a paludarium-type setup. …
    Java Moss and Other Mosses. …
    Brazilian Pennywort. …
    Anubias. …
    Scarlet Temple.

  • What is an underwater terrarium called?

    Paludariums. Palus is a Latin word meaning “swamp” or “marsh.” As we discussed earlier, paludariums are essentially aquariums with aquascaping both below in the water, and above on the land.

Originally posted 2023-06-04 15:06:42.

Leave a Comment