noun, plural vivariums, vivaria

A vivarium is an enclosure that contains living organisms. It can be plants or animals or both. Many types of vivarium exist such as aquariums, terrariums or paludariums.

Building a Vivarium

Want to build a vivarium for your pets or your plants to thrive? You’re in the good place…

Rainforest Vivarium

From the choice of the tank to the selection of the plants, we've got you covered with 9 articles explaining step by step how to build the terrarium of your dreams.

Desert Vivarium

Desert vivaria look fantastic, they’re fun to build and suitable for a variety of interesting and beautiful reptiles. Discover our simple but complete guide to build the ideal terrarium.

Bioactive Vivarium

Bioactive vivaria are typically natural-looking habitats, with plenty of plants and habitat-appropriate substrates. They foster an entire ecosystem of fungi, bacteria, and small animals.

What Is a Vivarium ?
How Does It Differ from a Terrarium, Aquarium or Paludarium?

The terms “terrarium,” “vivarium” and “paludarium” are commonly used by herpetoculturists, and in many cases, they’re used somewhat interchangeably. However, they do each have specific definitions:

Vivarium Definition

Vivariums (or vivaria) are enclosures that contain living organisms. And although the term is usually applied to enclosures containing reptiles or amphibians, they can contain any type of living creature. Fish tanks, hamster cages and koi ponds are all vivariums too.

Technically speaking, vivariums don’t even need to contain an animal. A small aquarium with a few live plants or mosses also meets the definition of a vivarium.

Terrarium Definition

Terrariums (or terraria) are a type of vivarium. Specifically, they are terrestrial vivaria. In other words, the bulk of the enclosure should contain a dry substrate and plants or animals that live on the land. Most vivaria containing reptiles or amphibians are best described as terraria.

Aquarium Definition

Aquariums (or aquaria) are enclosures that contain aquatic organisms are filled (or nearly so) with water. A goldfish bowl is one of the simplest examples of an aquarium, but herpetoculturists usually keep things like African clawed frogs or slider turtles in aquariums. Many such enclosures also contain aquatic plants and mosses, but they are not strictly necessary to meet the definition of an aquarium.

Paludarium Definition

A paludarium is essentially a combination of a terrarium and an aquarium: It contains terrestrial and aquatic elements. Most paludariums (or paludaria) resemble the shoreline of a river or pond. However, they can also look like a swamp or flooded mangrove forest, among other things. Paludaria are ideal for many turtles, water-loving snakes and amphibians.