What is a riparium?
A riparium is a new kind of planted aquarium system that recreates the wet habitats found along the edges of lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. This zone hosts marginal plants, which are rooted in the saturated soil at the edge of the water, but hold their leaves up in the air. Many marginal plants have showy flowers and attractive foliage. Since they provide abundant food and cover from predators, marginal aquatic areas in nature are favorite habitats for many aquarium fishes.
While ripariums use some of the same methods as traditional planted tanks, they have several unique features. Hanging and floating planters are the foundation of the riparium planting system. The planters and other hardware are made from plastics and foams, but as the riparium plants grow their foliage covers them up and creates a natural view.
Ripariums can be set up in aquariums filled all the way to the top and with the foliage growing above, or in tankswith water as low as 1/4 of total depth. Most of the kinds of equipment (filters, lights, heaters, etc.) used in traditional planted aquariums and fish tanks work well in ripariums too.
Ripariums superficially resemble another kind of planted display, the paludarium. However, paludariums are different because they use built-up land areas to support the above water plants; you can also think of a paludarium as a terrarium with a water feature. Paludariums can be good habitats for amphibious animals which will use both the terrestrial and aquatic areas of the display, but ripariums are not very good choices for frogs or turtles because there is no real land area for them to use. However, ripariums are excellent for displaying fish along with the marginal aquatic plants. Since the underwater area of a riparium is mostly open it will have plenty of room for active swimming fish.
Ripariums have other compelling advantages that appeal to lovers of fish and plants alike…
- Easy plant growing–riparium plants grow algae-free and with no need for carbon dioxide injection; they get all of the CO2 that they need from the air
- Modularity–the movable riparium planters make it much easier to manage the riparium plants and maintain the whole aquarium system
- Robust biological filtration–the actively-growing riparium plants remove fish waste products (such as nitrates) and toxins (such as heavy metals)
- Many wonderful plants–there is a wide variety of beautiful plants that grow very well using riparium methods
- Natural cover for fish–aquarium fish feel secure beneath the dense overhead foliage and among the underwater roots of riparium plants
Riparium Supply is a product line of Xantusi Design LLC, a family-owned company in Madison, Wisconsin. We develop and manufacture of plant-care products for use in aquariums, with particular emphasis devoted to ripariums. We are keenly aware of the aesthetic, educational and healthful benefits of planted aquariums and we are as passionate about the aquarium hobby as we are about our new business. We strive to support aquarists with high-quality products and rich informational materials.