Flowerpot Riparium

My plans for a paludarium have been set aside until I find a 40-gallon long aquarium. However, while perusing Tanner Serpa’s YouTube SerpaDesign channel, I found a project idea I could immediately undertake – a planter-based riparium.

A riparium is a vivarium that incorporates both terrestrial and aquatic elements. If that sounds like a paludarium, don’t be surprised because they are similar. The key difference is the ratio of terrestrial-to-aquatic elements. A paludarium has enough terrestrial elements to support semi-aquatic animals whereas a riparium has almost none, being able to support only aquatic animals.

A large, glazed clay flowerpot
A large, glazed clay flowerpot

My father-in-law had gifted a beautiful large, glazed flowerpot to me that was ideal as the container for the riparium. I had most of everything else I needed but, to begin the project, I visited the local Ace Hardware store and local fish store to purchase the remaining items.

A clay flowerpot
An unprepared clay flowerpot

The first order of business was preparing two clay pots. I used a hole saw suitable for masonrary to cut several holes in both pots. One pot will contain the featured plant while the other will be a base for primary pot. In the pot intended to contain the plant, I covered the holes with 1-mm plastic mesh to contain the substrate while allowing roots to grow through it into the water column. The outgrowth of roots into the water column will be essential towards maintaining water quality, as they will clear the water of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

Two clay flowerpots
Two clay flowerpots with holes cut into them.
Two clay flowerpots
Two clay flowerpots with holes cut into them.
A clay flowerpot
A clay flowerpot with the holes covered by 1-mm plastic mesh.

As did Tanner Serpa, I will be using an upright philodendron (Thaumatophyllum) as the featured plant. Because I already had an upright philodrendon, my plan was to propagate it by take a cutting from it. After failing to propagate it after several months of effort, I resorted to buying another upright philodendron at a local greenhouse. This is the first time I’ve failed to propagate a plant by cutting.

To be continued…

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