Difference between aquarium, terrarium, riparium and paludarium? 🇧🇷 Shrimp and snail farming (2023)

Difference between aquarium, terrarium, riparium and paludarium? 🇧🇷 Shrimp and snail farming (1)

Today we clarify the difference between aquarium, terrarium, riparian and paludarium.

It's no secret that people often use the term "aquarium" to describe any container used to contain aquatic plants, land plants or other types of animals. On the one hand, it's convenient. On the other hand, this approach causes a lot of confusion.

It won't be entirely accurate to say this, but the term "Aquarius" is too broad to have any meaning. Today more than 100 million people around the world have different biotopes* in which they keep a variety of plants, corals, fish, crabs, land crabs. , land snails, scorpions, ants, snakes, lizards, etc.

Use: Biotope (from the Greek bios, "life" and topos, "place") or "the habitat" is an area with uniform environmental conditions that provides a habitat for a specific group of plants and animals.

Obviously, all these animals and plants need different types of fauna to survive. Thus, these different types of fauna/biotopes ended up receiving proper names.

So what is the difference between aquarium, terrarium, riparian and paludarium?

Without further ado, let's get started.

The difference between aquarium, terrarium, riparian and paludarium

same containerEEESometimes
Surroundingsaguagenerally tropicalaguausually dry
aguaEEif mostnot few
Terranotif mostYes a littleE
aquatic animalsSometimesSometimesSometimesnot
semiaquatic animalsnotSometimesnotnot
land animalsnotSometimesnotSometimes


First, I would like to start with Vivarium. El punto it que aquarium, paludarium, bankarium, terrarium, florarium, insectarium, etc. There are different types of nursery.

Vivarium is a Latin word ("Vivere") and means "to live". So, technically, any enclosure for an animal or plant intended to provide a stable environment is a nursery. It's basically the general term for any biotope basin.

People sometimes use the term nurseries to specifically describe the restoration of an ecosystem for a specific species with lesser-scale controlled environmental conditions.

Use: I should mention that some people don't include plants and say that nurseries are primarily for raising animals not plants. Frankly, I do not agree with such an interpretation of this term. However, this is the point of personal perception and opinions.


The word "aquarium" comes from the Latin "aquārium" (neuter of aquārius) and means "related to water". Thus, the aquarium is a pool of water in which live fish, other aquatic creatures and plants are kept.

So, the main features of any aquarium:
: Completely filled with water.

animals: Fisch,Shrimp,water crabs,river crab,water snails, etc
Plantar: Aquatic plants only.


The word "terrarium" also comes from the Latin "terra" (meaning "earth") + -arium (arium is the suffix of nouns that describe an artificial environment for plants or animals), in analogy to an aquarium.

The story goes that the first terrarium was accidentally created by botanist Nathaniel Bagshaw Wardin in 1842, when he was studying insect behavior and left one of the vases unattended. A plant became a plant and this container became the world's first terrarium.

The main feature of the terrarium is a relatively dry environment with low humidity and live plants. In general, terrariums are essentially small greenhouses that reproduce natural environments for plants.

People sometimes say that the terrarium is a self-sustaining ecosystem with a living plant growing in a closed container where water, plants, soil and air combine to grow through the natural processes of photosynthesis, respiration and the function of the water cycle.

Well, it's not.

It is important to distinguish between the different types of glass cases. There are two types of terrariums: closed and open. In fact, the most useful aspect of terrariums is the front opening door.

It is inhuman, lizards, chameleons, snakes, etc. in a bottle! Glass terrariums are designed for airflow. Therefore, they usually have mesh vents at the top of the container and vents at the bottom on one side, usually the front.

Important: Did you know that aquariums are often called terrariums because they are made of thinner glass? These "aquariums" cannot withstand the weight and pressure of being filled with water.

Thus, the main characteristics of eachterrarium:
: Completely without water or with a small water cry.

animals:land crabs,land snails,religious praying mantis, Be crazy,scorpions, ants etc
Plantar: Only terrestrial plants.


Paludarium is also often called an aqua terrarium. The word "paludarium" also has Latin roots. It means in Latin: palus = swamp or swamp. It is specifically semi-aquatic.

In other words, a paludarium is basically a terrarium with a body of water. This biotope has both aquatic and terrestrial characteristics and is extremely popular with water sports enthusiasts. Paludarium allows you to simulate wetlands or tropical forests.

It is an enclosure for the conservation of aquatic plants and animals, divers, coastal and land, and animals in conditions of high humidity (“swamp”).

As the paludarium is dominated by flora with superficial vegetative parts, there is no particular need for an additional supply ofCO2🇧🇷 Plants that grow underwater have a lot of CO2 in the air.

As a result, most aquatic plants of this cultivation variant develop large, colorful leaves that do not develop in a conventional aquarium. Stems and leaves of plants can protrude well above the surface of the water. Many aquatic plants often begin to bloom frequently.
Use: However, when some crops are grown underwater, CO2 is of great benefit.

So, the main characteristics of each paludarium:
: Partially filled with water with high humidity.

animals: Fisch,Shrimp,Semi-aquatic and fully aquatic crabs,river crab,water snails,Land Hermit Crabs,land snails,religious praying mantis, Be crazy,scorpions, ants etc
Plantar: Any plant.

Read more about this in my articles "How to configure Paludarium" jPaludarium-Tiere“.


Riparium (from the Latin shore, translated means “shore”, “shore” or “bank”) is a type of planted aquarium very similar to the paludarium. However, it differs from the latter in the surface of the land and the method of planting the flora.

The main purpose of a shoreline is to mimic a small shoreline or riverbank. The coast does not have massive high shorelines compared to the paludarium. On the contrary, there is a very small piece of land on the sides of the enclosure.

In the paludarium you can have all kinds of plants (submerged, floating or terrestrial plants). Paludariums use a constructed hardscape to support planting. In the coastal area, plants are usually planted in special floating containers that are attached to the back wall of the artificial reservoir. The gradually growing flora covers the containers, making them invisible.

In addition, paludariums are often home to aquatic turtles and various amphibians, while riverine ones are not suitable for these animals, as there is almost no land space there. Riparium is best suited for keeping fish, crayfish, dwarf shrimp, crayfish and snails.

Riparian areas generally do not require high humidity. Therefore, they can be covered with a glass lid or open to the air without a lid at all. In fact, plants growing outside the tank often create the "WOW" effect.

Thus, the main characteristics of eachof the banks:
: Almost completely filled with water.

animals: Fisch,Shrimp,water crabs,water crayfish,water snails, etc
Plantar: All plants if there is enough soil for them.

What do we still have?


Insectarium (from Latin “insectum” – insect) – a special box (container) made of glass or plastic, intended to house and breed insects, as well as other arthropods such as spiders, beetles, cockroaches, ants, bees, centipedes, millipedes, crickets , grasshoppers, stick insects, scorpions and praying mantis.

Basically, the Insectarium is a different kind of aviary. The largest insectarium in the world is the Montreal Insectarium, founded in 1990 by Canadian entomologist Georges Brossard.

Use: In my opinion, there is no real difference between an insectary and a closed terrarium. The only feature is the type of animals kept there, for example, you won't see any reptiles there.


Formicarium (from the Latin Formic - ant) ​​is popularly known as "ant farm". It is a kind of nursery formed by ant colonies (nests). The plural of formicaria is formicaria.

You will be surprised how many people in the world keep ant colonies!
In the early 1900's, a French engineer, Charles Janet, made the first ant to observe and study ants. His 2D anthill concept is the origin of a hobby.


The word “mossarium” was created by analogy with all the above types of garden centers. Basically, it's a transparent enclosure used specifically for growing moss, or "a moss container". In addition, there are three types of mossarium: moss terrarium, moss aquarium or moss paludarium. You don't need to explain why they are called that, do you?


The difference between aquarium, terrarium, riparian and paludarium lies in the way in which all these types of aviary are set up. However, the easiest way is to look at the amount of water in the case.

Aquarium - 100%, riparian - 90% and more, paludarium - 10-90% (more or less), terrarium - almost without water.

Related posts:

Are insects good pets?
How to configure Paludarium


What is the difference between aquarium terrarium riparium and paludarium? ›

The difference between Aquarium, Terrarium, Riparium, and Paludarium lies in the way all these types of vivarium are created. However, the easiest way is to look at the amount of water in the enclosure. Aquarium – 100%, Riparium – 90 %, and more, Paludarium – 10-90% (more or less), Terrarium – almost no water at all.

What's the difference between terrarium and paludarium? ›

Terrariums are land enclosures containing soil and plants. Vivarium enclosures are similar to terrarium enclosures, except they also contain a living element like an animal. Paludarium enclosures are mostly land and plants with a small amount of water.

What is the differences between terrarium and aquarium? ›

A terrarium means a place for land, as terra means earth, or land-related. Aquariums, therefore, are places for water, as aqua is aquatic, or water-related. You can house different kinds of animals and plants in terrariums and aquariums.

What animals are best for riparium? ›

A Riparium can have animals or no animals. But due to the shallowness, open nature, and minimal land parts, most of the amphibians and reptiles that can work in a Paludarium won't work in a Riparium. So a Riparium still best works with aquatic animals such as fish, snails, or shrimps.

What are the 3 types of aquarium filtration? ›

The Aquarium uses three main types of filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanical filtration is the removal or straining of solid particles from the water.

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