You’ve seen them in zoos. They are a combination of conventional terrariums and aquariums. On top there’s a rainforest, below there’s an aquarium. This aqua-terrarium, also called a paludarium (latin: palus = swamp), is very popular with biotope enthusiasts. With it you can simulate riverbank zones, landscapes with waterfalls and water holes very authentically.
The land part needs to be set up like a terrarium, while the water part requires your knowledge of aquatics.
Turtle keepers have been using a kind of paludarium for decades and it is now becoming more and more popular with aquarists.
Just add a water part to a large aquarium with sufficient floor space (the water part needs to be shallow in proportion to the total height of the aquarium). As rule of thumb the depth of the water part approximately corresponds to the shell length of the turtle.
The water part is filtered with a suitable internal filter ( Filtres intérieurs ) which is installed in a horizontal lying position to ensure good water quality. The appropriate water treatment with JBL Biotopol T is also important during water changes. The water temperature is controlled by means of an aquarium heater ( PROTEMP Chauffages externes et internes ).
Since turtles love to rip out and eat aquatic plants the planting is tricky. This is then done in the land part, which the animals reach by climbing out of the water. The water zone should have sandy soil ( JBL Sansibar WHITE ) or gravel ( JBL Sansibar RIVER ).
You can decorate it with cork, woods and stones, just like nature does. Marsh plants have proven to be especially hard-wearing. The substrate is one of the usual terrarium substrates ( Substrat de sol ). Just make sure that as little as possible of it moves from the land part into the water zone.
To ensure adequate lighting on the land part you can use fluorescent tubes ( Lumière du jour avec UV-B & Lumière du jour avec UV-B ) as well as spot lamps ( JBL ReptilSpot HaloDym & JBL ReptilDay Halogène ).
No matter whether you set up a paludarium for a turtle or you want to enlarge your water dragon’s habitat with an aquarium, there are no limits to your creativity and your manual dexterity.
Tell us in your comments about your paludarium or about your current plans for one.