There are several different types of vivariums in existence.

  • An aquarium is filled with water with little to no land portion present. These tanks usually have a gravel bottom and contain underwater plants. They are most commonly used for fishkeeping but are the type of vivarium needed for certain aquatic frogs, turtles, and salamanders.
  • A paludarium represents a jungle or swamp environment, specifically those containing permanent water. These features often have some sort of pond, stream, or waterfall contained within them, and humidity is generally high. Paludariums can harbor many different kinds of animals and are great candidates for multispecies exhibits.
  • A riparium is a type of paludarium where the water is usually deep and waterfalls are more prominent.
  • A terrarium is a dry vivarium for desert and savannah habitats. These vivariums have fewer plants and lower humidity. Many beginner species can be kept easily in a terrarium. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with a plant-specific enclosure containing no animals.
  • An insectarium is simply a vivarium that contains insects as its main focus point. Insectariums can be of any biome.
  • A formicarium or ant farm is a vivarium which is designed primarily for the study of ant colonies and how ants behave.
  • An orchidarium is a vivarium specifically for the cultivation of orchids.
  • The exact definition of a riparium is left to your imagination. Often, hobbyists describe them as planted tanks recreating wetlands or the shoreline of brooks and streams where marginal plants grow.