Riparium: Complete Guide

The riparium we have come across recently can be defined as the restricted version of the paludarium. While there are walking and shelter areas for land animals in paludariums, such areas are not included in ripariums.

Ripariums are like a mimic of a stream or waterfront. In the aquarium, plants that can live both on water and on land are selected and some are designed as water and some as land. When viewed in this way, it creates the feeling of looking at the cross-section of a water edge. The riparium, which attract a lot of attention due to their structure, bring nature to their environment. It seems that we will see more ripariums in the near future, which contain both aquarium and plants at the same time.

What is the Difference Between Riparium and Paludarium?

Paludariums and ripariums are very similar designs. Land creatures can also be fed in paludariums, and there are also walking and living areas for terrestrial creatures. In Riparium, on the other hand, no environment is created for terrestrial creatures. In the water part of the Riparium, creatures feed, there are no land creatures. Water and aquatic plants are more prominent in this feature. In ripariums, plants can go out of the water or even outside the tank. This allows ripariums to differentiate from planted aquariums and to have a more natural and beautiful appearance.

Can I Keep Fish in Riparium?

How much water you put in the Riparium is entirely up to you. If you are going to create a riparium in a large aquarium and if sufficient water is created, it is possible to keep fish in a healthy way. They look more natural than ordinary planted aquariums and look more beautiful than they will give a stream / lakeside appearance. When you consider the basic issues you need to pay attention to in order to keep fish, you can successfully keep fish.

What is Required for Riparium?

Ripariums have the same needs as normally planted aquariums except for a few physical features. Let’s take a look at the equipment needed by ripariums.

Fish Tank

Some part of the ripariums are filled with water and some are reserved for land. Therefore, you should consider this when choosing a tank. You can also choose tanks specially prepared for paludarium or riparium. Beautiful images can be obtained in square tanks. However, pay attention to the environment in which the riparium will be kept, you can also prefer shallow tanks. Do not restrict yourself to the design and choose the tank you like. When choosing a tank, we recommend that you choose a minimum of 50-60 liter tank.


You can use materials that we are used to using in planted aquariums. Be sure to thoroughly wash the purchased substrate before adding it to the tank. You should choose the appropriate size substrate, considering the root structures of the plants you will put in Riparium. It is important to imitate the natural environment of your fish and plants to make them look better. Therefore, be careful not to use products that are not found in nature.


Planted aquariums have established a throne in many people’s hearts with the natural appearance they create by imitating nature. Ripariums should be considered as the next level of planted aquariums. You can create very natural images with stones, rocks, tree roots, and plants found in nature. Unnatural decor materials will seriously damage the image you will create.


You can keep both aquatic and terrestrial plants in ripariums. For this, you can take a look at aquarium and pond plants. You can also keep plants floating freely on the surface. In Riparium, generally Amazonian Sword, Java Fern, Anubias Species can be preferred. Among the floating plant species, Salvinia auriculata, Limnobium laevigatum can be preferred. You can specify the types of plants according to your preferences. Some plant species such as Anubias and Java Fern need to have moist leaves out of the water. To achieve this, it may be necessary to cover the aquarium with glass.

When choosing plants, consider the bottom-up view of the riparium. At the same time, since the ripariums are enjoyable to watch from above, the plant selection in this direction should be made carefully. Since the viewing area is more than planted aquariums, planting plants should be a little slower and the desired look should be obtained.

CO2 and Fertilization

As in planted aquariums, plants in ripariums also need CO2 and fertilizers. Plants that can take their leaves out of the water can supply their CO2 needs from the air. For plants that are completely in water, CO2 supplementation is required.
You should make sure that the plants are healthy by adding the various fertilizers that the plants will need at regular intervals.


Since our focus is on plants, the lighting should be suitable for the plants you will plant in riparium, and especially lighting should be preferred. Since Ripariums are usually open, you may need ceiling-hung lighting. We recommend that you choose LED lights because the lighting does not radiate much heat and is economical. In this mechanism, where we imitate nature, a day-night effect should be created with timer sockets for lighting.
You may want to take a look at our article about Aquarium Lighting Guide


The filter is indispensable for the fish to be kept in a healthy way. Since only some of these aquariums have water, the filters of aquariums with back sump cannot be used. Internal filters are also not preferred because they are inadequate and will distort the image. The most suitable filter for ripariums is the external filter. If you can hide the inlet and outlet pipes of the external filter between the decorations, you will not spoil the natural appearance. We mentioned that some of the ripariums are filled with water. How much to fill is up to you. When choosing your filter, you should consider the amount of water that will be in the riparium. We recommend that you buy an external filter with a slightly higher capacity than you need in case you increase the amount of water in the future.
You may want to take a look at our article about Aquarium Canister (External) Filter Complete Guide

Aquarium Heater

You should use a heater to obtain the water temperature the fish you will kept need. If you are going to put a small amount of water in your Riparium, your filter should be of a small size. Some heaters can be used horizontally, while others can only be used vertically. Horizontal heaters are more suitable for ripariums. If you have the opportunity, you can also choose an external filter with a self-heating. Heaters that can be attached to external filters can also be used.

Riparium Creatures

Riparium’s main focus is on plants. However, not only plants are found in the riparium. All living things in planted aquariums can be found in Riparium. Fish, snails and shrimps are creatures that always create a beautiful image with plants. When choosing the creatures you want to feed in your Riparium, you should pay attention to their compatibility with each other. At the same time, measuring the amount of water you will put in the riparium will be useful when determining the live population.

How to Care for Riparium?

Maintaining ripariums is not more difficult than planted aquariums. In addition to water changes, fertilizing, general cleaning, and pruning, you may need to prune the plants outside of the water. Riparium is more advantageous for those who will set up planted aquariums for the first time. Since plants that can grow outside the water can meet their CO2 requirements from the air, CO2 supplementation may not be required in the riparium.


Although they are quite similar to paludariums, ripariums, which do not give land creatures a living and roaming area, are more like aquariums. Having a more natural appearance than planted aquariums, ripariums are also more decorative structures as they offer wider viewing angles due to their open top. They are not difficult structures to create ripariums, which have very similar maintenance needs to planted aquariums. The ripariums you set up in a quiet corner of your home or office will completely change the atmosphere of your home.

🐠𝙃𝙋 Team
🐠𝙃𝙋 Team
We're just like you - aquarium enthusiasts who love aquatic life! We've been caring for and breeding all sorts of freshwater and marine aquarium fishes, plants, and other pretty little creatures for years. We love sharing our knowledge with other fish hobbyists, and this article you have just finished reading is the best proof of that. You can read more about us here.

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