February Meeting

Saturday, February 27th, 2021 at 3:17 pm

Chris Teem from the Little Rock Zoo spoke to thirty people about paludariums via Zoom on February 27, 2021. A paludarium is a combination of a terrarium and an aquarium. It can be used to create a snapshot of a location, like a river bank. Paludariums are a great way to showcase a specific biotope and are often vibrant and colorful.

The first thing you need is the right aquarium for what you want to accomplish. It’s also important to consider lighting, filtration, and humidity. When creating a paludarium, Chris works from the bottom up.  First, create a false bottom, then add the background. One easy background is clay. You can cover it with moss, which excellent background for paludariums. To actually grow the plants, mineralized top soil is effective.

According to Nick Kinser, the biggest challenge with paludariums is height. Tanks that are too tall can be very frustrating to maintain if you have to reach down from the top and don’t have a front-opening paludarium. Chris added that you may have to pay more to purchase a quality aquarium.

Paludariums grow very quickly, as long as they have sufficient light and fertilizer. In just three months, you can have a fairly well grown tank. Another fun thing about paludariums is that you can keep terrestrial animals in them such as frogs or geckos. They offer a nice vibrant color contrast for your paludarium.

Humidity is also critical for a paludarium. If it’s too wet, the clay will run, but if it’s too dry, the clay will crack. A solution is to use cork bark and sphagnum moss to create a mosaic effect, plus the plants can root into the moss. Another consideration with humidity is tank condensation. Proper air flow that keeps the back humid but the front drier is important.