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Persistent Myths about Planted Ripariums

36863 Views 46 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  mistergreen
Persistent Myths about Planted Ripariums

This thread is for the discussion of several ideas about planted ripariums that aren't really representative of how they work or the best ways to plan, assemble and maintain them. I plan to raise a nuber of points and then update this first post with an index of each. Please post here if you have any questions or additional observations.

This list summarizes the main components of riparium setups and how they are put together:

  1. Taller emergent semi-aquatic plants are plented in riparium Hanging Planters, which are hung close together on the rear pane of aquarium glass.
  2. Shorter riparium midground plants are plant are planted onto riparium Trellis Rafts, which are snapped into place on the Hanging Planters
  3. As the riparium plants grow their foliage covers up the foam and plastic planters to create a natural scene.
  4. Aquarium fish with underwater plants and/or underwater hardscape complete the display for an authentic recreation of the vegetated shoreline environment.

That is beasically it. A really important idea to keep in mind about planted ripariums is that they are very simple systems. I have seen several cases where hobbyists had troubel growing their plants or making their setups look good because they were adding extra, unnecessary steps and components.

Here's the beginning of the index:

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· Registered
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Myth two: Paludariums are not a type of riparium/vise versa. Enough said.

But, good thread as usual Hydrophyte. I was in the middle of writing a short article about stuff like this myself, but I see that you beat me to it!

· Registered
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Okay, then how are they different again? What defines a paludarium?
You cannot define one without defining the other specifically.

A Pal has/can have some elements of a Rip and vice versa.
There is going to be dogged overlap here and this is going to get worse.

Is my tank a riparium or paludarium?

Anything above the water is terrestrial, the tank above has both of these elements. Below and above.
A riparium is a setup that utilizes riparium planters and/or rafts. So, your setup is not a riparium. It appears to be a normal aquarium with emersed driftwood with emergent growth(?)

Pardon my stupidity, but what "overlap" is there? I see no overlap. If a setup doesn't use planters and/or rafts, it isn't a riparium. If it does, it is. It doesn't get any simpler then that.

A paludarium on the other hand is a type of vivarium that incorporates both terrestrial and aquatic elements. Planters and rafts are definitely not a form of land.

EDIT: Holy cow did I come in late on this. Let me read some past posts and get back on this....

· Registered
3,612 Posts
Wood is the raft;)
Ever made a raft?
Ever walked down a stream or by a lake and seen plants growing on a log?

What is a raft?

I mean really, I see little difference between these so called DIFFERENT terms here. I like Riparium personally better, but simply doing away with paludarium all the way seems better.

I mean the type of planter is what makes it different?

Are these questions unreasonable that I am asking?
They seem pretty basic and simple and I'm not getting any real support for their differences in the prior post. I'm asking some rather basic questions and suggesting Riparium seems more reasonable once you get out of the water.


Paludarium's claim to have a component of each fails as well, since many riparian systems have all of these as well, and marsh/swamps might lack much submersed growth or terrestrial aerobic sediments.

I think the name chosen was poor for paludarium, and a wiser term "Riparium" is more applied to a wide range of tanks/set ups.
You guys keep trying to say it's just a hobby and that they are different, but I see little that supports this claim or view.

I can call something anything I want, say my tank "lake-arium" and then say that it applies to all aquatic systems, which clearly it does not. Aquarium simply applies to water, so it is a better description.

Where emergent growth occurs above water, and/or terrestrial systems are linked, this seems to best describe Riparium. These are not myths or arbitrary made up stuff cause I want it to be this way, these are definitions based on the root of the word.

That is why I do not like the paludarium term and why I prefer the term, Riparium.

It's pretty simple, there's no arbitrary issues with it, it describes a wider range of habitat, you/Hydrophte coined it etc.

Why even bother trying to make a big deal about paludariums at all?
Promote this and run with it. Suggest the paludarium is not a particularly descriptive word. Planters may make the hobby easier, but they do not define a habitat. Likewise, terrestrial planters still have some linkage with the water table. So the crown of the plant where the stem/root connect might help when it comes to the submersed, emergent etc.

The plants I have in my tank have roots way around the water, but are fed indirectly by the moss.

The wood acts as a natural raft.

This is something one might see along a creek which I would refer to as a riparian zone.

First, I did not mean to come across offended by your questions in any way. So, forgive me for that.

Anyway, I am begining to see your point. And I now agree. The main reason that I have stressed the differences between the two is because many people didn't know what a riparium was, and if they did, assumed it was a type of paludarium.

I like your use of the term riparium: any aquarium with emersed growth(?)
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