Aquarium Vivarium: A Guide to Maintaining and Caring for Your Aquatic Ecosystem

Aquarium vivarium

Welcome to the fascinating world of aquarium vivariums! Creating and maintaining an aquatic ecosystem is not only a visually stunning and tranquil addition to any space, but it also allows you to observe and care for a diverse range of species. Whether you’re interested in a small tank for your office or a large exhibit for your home, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tips you need to create and care for your own aquarium vivarium.

Welcome to Aquarium Vivarium!

Welcome to Aquarium Vivarium, your ultimate guide to maintaining and caring for your aquatic ecosystem. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced aquarist, this is the place to learn everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a thriving aquatic environment.

At Aquarium Vivarium, we believe that aquariums and vivariums are not just containers for keeping fish and other aquatic species, but living works of art that exhibit the beauty and diversity of marine life. We are dedicated to helping you create and maintain a stunning aquarium or terrarium that mimics a natural aquatic ecosystem.

In an aquarium or vivarium, you have the opportunity to create your own miniature aquatic ecosystem. By carefully selecting the right fish, invertebrates, plants, and equipment, you can create a balanced and self-sustaining environment.

Choosing the Right Aquarium Size

Remember, a larger tank will provide more stability in terms of water quality and temperature, as well as more room for your aquatic inhabitants to swim and explore. It’s essential to research the specific requirements of the species you want to keep to ensure they have enough space to thrive.

Once you have selected the right tank size, you can move on to setting up the ideal environment, selecting the right fish and invertebrates, and maintaining water quality. Stay tuned for more tips and advice on creating and maintaining your perfect aquarium or vivarium at Aquarium Vivarium!

An aquatic ecosystem refers to any system where there is a presence of species that are adapted to living in water. It can be as small as a fish tank or as large as a reef exhibit in a public aquarium. These ecosystems are complex and delicate, requiring careful attention and maintenance to ensure the health and well-being of the species within.

In addition to biological filtration, other factors such as mechanical filtration, chemical filtration, and water circulation also play important roles in maintaining water quality. These processes help to remove debris, chemicals, and excess nutrients from the water, creating a clean and stable environment for the species within the ecosystem to thrive.

Choosing the Right Aquarium Size

Consider the Needs of Your Aquatic Species

Before selecting an aquarium size, it is crucial to consider the needs of the aquatic species you want to keep. Different species require different amounts of space and have varying habitat requirements. Some fish, such as bettas, can thrive in small tanks, while others, like goldfish, need larger tanks to accommodate their size and active swimming behavior.

Additionally, some species, like marine reef inhabitants, may require specialized equipment and larger tank sizes to create a suitable environment for them to thrive.

Size requirements for Terrariums and Vivariums

Remember, the size of the enclosure should reflect the natural habitat of the species as closely as possible to ensure their health and well-being.

Factors to Consider

  • The total number and size of the aquatic species you want to keep
  • The activity level and swimming patterns of the species
  • Compatibility between different species
  • The availability of specialized equipment, such as heaters, filters, and lighting systems

Other Considerations

In addition to the needs of the aquatic species, consider the available space in your home or office for the aquarium. Ensure that the selected size fits comfortably and seamlessly into the chosen location. It is also important to choose a tank size that you can maintain and clean easily.

Remember, a larger aquarium often provides more stable water conditions and allows for a more varied and diverse ecosystem. However, it also requires more upfront costs and ongoing maintenance.

By carefully considering the needs of your aquatic species and the available space and resources, you can choose the right aquarium size for your aquatic ecosystem. Providing the appropriate tank size will not only ensure the well-being of your aquatic species but also create an aesthetically pleasing and captivating exhibit for all to enjoy.

Setting Up the Ideal Environment

Creating the ideal environment for your aquarium or vivarium is essential for the health and well-being of your aquatic ecosystem. Whether you are setting up a freshwater tank, a saltwater reef tank, or a terrarium for amphibians or reptiles, providing the right conditions is crucial for the success of your exhibit.

1. Tank Size and Placement

2. Water Quality

Maintaining good water quality is crucial for the health of your aquatic organisms. Start by using a dechlorinator to remove harmful chemicals like chlorine from the water. Test the water regularly for pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels using test kits. Adjust these parameters as necessary to create the optimal conditions for your species. Regular water changes are also necessary to remove toxins and keep the water clean.

3. Substrate and Decorations

Choose a substrate that is appropriate for your tank’s inhabitants. For freshwater tanks, gravel or sand can be used, while a reef tank may require live sand or crushed coral. Provide hiding places, caves, and plants to create a natural and stimulating environment for your aquatic species. Use live or artificial plants carefully chosen for your tank’s ecosystem.

4. Filtration and Aeration

Invest in a high-quality filtration system that can effectively remove waste, excess nutrients, and harmful chemicals from the water. Aeration is also important to ensure an adequate oxygen supply for your fish and other organisms. Consider using a combination of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration methods to maintain optimal water conditions.

5. Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for the growth of aquatic plants and for the well-being of your fish. Research the lighting requirements of your specific species and choose appropriate lighting fixtures and bulbs. Many aquariums and vivariums use a combination of fluorescent, LED, and/or metal halide lighting to provide a spectrum of light that supports photosynthesis and enhances the colors of the fish and plants.

By carefully considering and implementing these elements, you can create an ideal environment for your aquatic ecosystem. This will ensure the health, happiness, and longevity of your fish, plants, and other inhabitants.

Selecting the Right Fish and Invertebrates

Choosing the right fish and invertebrates for your aquatic ecosystem is crucial to maintaining a balanced and thriving tank. There are a variety of species to choose from, each with their own unique requirements and compatibility with other tank inhabitants.

Consider your Tank’s Environment

It’s also important to consider the size of your tank. Some species, such as large predatory fish or reef sharks, require a larger tank with ample swimming space. Smaller tanks may not be suitable for these types of species and can lead to stress and aggression.

Research Compatibility

When selecting fish and invertebrates, it’s essential to research their compatibility with other species in your tank. Some species may be aggressive towards others or have specific dietary requirements that may not be met by the food you provide.

Diversity and Balance

Another important aspect to consider when selecting fish and invertebrates is the diversity and balance they bring to your tank. A variety of species can create a more visually appealing and interesting display, while also contributing to the overall health of the ecosystem.

For example, adding bottom-dwelling scavengers, such as plecos or snails, can help keep the tank clean by consuming leftover food and detritus. Additionally, adding schooling fish or reef-safe species can create a more dynamic and lively environment.

Introduce New Species Carefully

Always monitor the behavior and health of new fish or invertebrates after introducing them to your tank. If any signs of stress, aggression, or illness are displayed, it may be necessary to remove the individual and seek appropriate treatment.

By carefully selecting fish and invertebrates that are compatible with your tank’s environment and each other, you can create a harmonious and thriving aquatic ecosystem. Remember to do your research and provide the necessary care and attention to ensure the well-being of your tank inhabitants.

Maintaining Water Quality in Your Aquarium

One of the most important aspects of caring for your aquarium ecosystem is maintaining the water quality. The health and well-being of your fish and invertebrates depend on the quality of the water they live in. Here are some essential tips to help you maintain optimal water conditions in your aquarium:

  1. Filtration System: A high-quality filtration system is crucial for keeping your aquarium water clean and clear. It helps remove waste, debris, and harmful chemicals from the water, ensuring a healthy environment for your aquatic species.
  2. Regular Water Changes: Regular water changes are essential to remove any buildup of toxins and maintain the optimal parameters for your aquarium. Aim to change about 10-20% of the water every two weeks, or as recommended for your specific tank.
  3. Proper Feeding: Overfeeding can lead to excess waste and debris in the tank, causing a decline in water quality. Be sure to feed your fish and invertebrates the appropriate amount of food and remove any uneaten food after feeding.
  4. Maintain a Balanced Ecosystem: Adding live plants to your aquarium can help maintain a natural balance by absorbing excess nutrients and producing oxygen. They also provide shelter and hiding places for your fish and invertebrates.
  5. Avoid Overstocking: Overstocking your aquarium can put a strain on the filtration system and lead to poor water quality. Make sure to research the appropriate number and species of fish and invertebrates for your tank size.

By following these tips and staying vigilant about water quality, you can create a healthy and thriving aquatic ecosystem in your aquarium. Remember to regularly monitor and maintain the water conditions to ensure the well-being of your fish and invertebrates.

Feeding and Nutrition Tips

In order to maintain a healthy and thriving aquatic ecosystem in your tank or reef, it is essential to provide the proper feeding and nutrition for your fish and other marine species.

Regularly testing and monitoring the water quality is crucial to ensure that your fish and other marine species are receiving the proper nutrition. Poor water quality can negatively impact their health and well-being.

By following these feeding and nutrition tips, you can ensure that your aquatic species are healthy and thriving in their environment. Remember to research the dietary needs of your specific species and provide a varied and balanced diet for optimal health and growth.

Disease Prevention and Treatment in Aquatic Ecosystems

In order to maintain a healthy and thriving aquatic ecosystem in your aquarium or vivarium, it is crucial to prevent and treat diseases that can affect your fish, invertebrates, and plants. Just like in any other living environment, diseases can spread quickly and have a detrimental impact on the overall health of your aquatic ecosystem.

Preventing Disease:

  • Water Quality: Maintaining optimal water quality is essential for the health of your aquatic organisms. Regularly test the water parameters such as pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and make necessary adjustments to keep them within the appropriate range.
  • Proper Feeding: Overfeeding can lead to excess waste and poor water quality, which can stress your fish and make them more susceptible to diseases. Feed your fish a balanced diet and avoid overfeeding.
  • Quarantine New Plants: Similar to introducing new fish, it is advisable to quarantine new aquatic plants for a period of time to prevent the introduction of any diseases or pests.

Treating Diseases:

Despite taking preventive measures, diseases can still occur in your aquatic ecosystem. Here are some common diseases and their treatment options:

  • Fungal Infections: Fungal infections can cause white or grayish cotton-like growth on your fish’s body or fins. Treat with anti-fungal medications available at pet stores.
  • Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections can lead to symptoms such as fin rot, ulcers, or cloudy eyes. Treat with antibiotics specifically formulated for use in aquariums.
  • Parasitic Infections: Parasites like ich or velvet can cause excessive scratching, rapid breathing, or white spots on the fish’s body. Treat with appropriate medications designed to target specific parasites.
  • Protozoan Infections: Protozoan infections like velvet or ichthyophthiriasis can lead to symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or white spots on the fish’s body. Treat with anti-parasitic medications.


Maintaining a disease-free aquatic ecosystem requires a combination of preventive measures and timely treatment. Regular observation, proper feeding, quarantine, and maintaining optimal water quality are key components in preventing diseases in your aquarium or vivarium. In case of an outbreak, prompt treatment using appropriate medications is necessary to minimize the impact on your aquatic organisms. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a healthy and thriving aquatic ecosystem for your fish, invertebrates, and plants.

Aquatic Plants and Their Care in an Aquarium Vivarium

The Role of Aquatic Plants in an Ecosystem

Aquatic plants are not just decorative elements in a tank; they are essential for the overall health and balance of the ecosystem. These plants help to oxygenate the water by releasing oxygen during photosynthesis, which is vital for the fish and other species in the tank. Additionally, aquatic plants provide shelter, breeding grounds, and hiding places for fish and invertebrates, creating a natural and comfortable habitat.

Choosing the Right Aquatic Plants

Caring for Aquatic Plants

To ensure the healthy growth of aquatic plants in your vivarium, you need to provide them with the necessary care and maintenance. Here are some tips for caring for aquatic plants:

  • Lighting: Adequate lighting is crucial for the photosynthesis process to take place. Use a high-quality light source and provide the correct light intensity and duration based on the needs of your plant species.
  • Water Parameters: Maintain the proper water parameters, including temperature, pH level, and water hardness. Different plant species have varying requirements, so it is essential to monitor and adjust these parameters accordingly.
  • Nutrient Supplements: Some aquatic plants may require additional nutrients to thrive. Consider using liquid or substrate fertilizers specifically designed for aquatic plants to ensure they receive essential nutrients.
  • Pruning and Maintenance: Regularly trim and prune your aquatic plants to maintain their shape and prevent overgrowth. Remove any decaying or dead plant matter promptly to prevent it from affecting water quality.

By providing the necessary care and attention to your aquatic plants, you can create a beautiful and thriving aquascape in your vivarium. Remember to research the specific needs of each plant species and make adjustments to your tank setup accordingly.

Aquatic Plants and Their Care

Choosing the Right Aquatic Plants

Planting Techniques and Maintenance

Maintenance of aquatic plants involves regular pruning to prevent overgrowth, removing any dead or dying leaves, and ensuring proper lighting conditions and nutrient levels. Fertilizers designed for aquarium use can be added to provide essential nutrients for plant growth.

Benefits of Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants provide various benefits to the aquarium vivarium. They act as natural filters, absorbing excess nutrients and preventing the build-up of harmful substances in the water. The plants also produce oxygen through photosynthesis, contributing to a healthy and well-oxygenated environment for the aquatic species. In addition, aquatic plants serve as hiding places and breeding grounds for fish and other organisms, creating a more natural and diverse ecosystem.

Aquatic plants also help to prevent algae growth by competing for nutrients and shading the water surface. They create a visually appealing and serene environment, mimicking the beauty of a natural reef or aquatic habitat.

Regular monitoring and care of the aquatic plants in an aquarium vivarium are essential to maintain their health and ensure the overall well-being of the exhibit. By selecting the right plants, providing proper planting techniques, and carrying out regular maintenance, you can create a stunning aquatic display that will be a source of enjoyment for both you and the inhabitants of the vivarium.

Equipment and Filtration Systems

When setting up an aquarium vivarium, it is crucial to have the right equipment and filtration systems in place to maintain a healthy and balanced aquatic ecosystem. These systems play a vital role in keeping the water clean, clear, and free from harmful substances.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Before diving into selecting the appropriate filtration systems, it is essential to have the right equipment for your marine exhibit. This includes an aquarium tank, a sturdy stand or cabinet to support the weight, a cover to prevent jumping fish, and a lighting system to provide natural light for the organisms in the tank.

When choosing an aquarium tank, consider the number and size of fish and other aquatic species you plan to keep. It’s crucial to provide enough space for the organisms to swim and thrive comfortably. As for the stand or cabinet, ensure it is strong and stable enough to support the weight of a filled tank, as water can be heavy.

Filtration Systems

Filtration systems are an essential component of any aquarium vivarium. They help to remove waste, excess food, and harmful chemicals from the water, ensuring a clean and healthy environment for the fish and other inhabitants. There are three main types of filtration systems:

  1. Mechanical Filtration: This type of filtration removes physical debris and particles from the water, such as fish waste, uneaten food, and plant debris. It typically involves filter pads or sponges that trap these particles.
  2. Biological Filtration: Biological filtration relies on beneficial bacteria that break down harmful substances, such as ammonia and nitrites, into less toxic compounds. This process helps to maintain the water quality and keeps the ecosystem in balance. Biological filtration can be achieved through the use of biofilters or live rock.
  3. Chemical Filtration: This type of filtration involves using chemical media, such as activated carbon or zeolite, to remove impurities, toxins, and odors from the water. It is effective in removing chemicals that cannot be eliminated through mechanical or biological filtration.

Regular maintenance is also crucial for the proper functioning of filtration systems. This includes cleaning or replacing filter media, checking water parameters, and monitoring the overall health of the tank inhabitants. By maintaining your filtration system, you can ensure a clean and healthy aquatic ecosystem in your aquarium vivarium.

Lighting and Temperature Control

 Lighting and Temperature Control

Lighting and temperature control are crucial factors to consider when maintaining a reef tank or any other marine aquarium. These factors play a significant role in creating a suitable environment for the aquatic species you choose to exhibit.

Temperature control is another critical aspect of maintaining a healthy aquatic ecosystem. Most marine species prefer stable water temperatures between 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius). A reliable heater and thermometer are essential for regulating the temperature in your aquarium. Regular monitoring and adjustment may be necessary to maintain the desired temperature range.

It is worth noting that temperature fluctuations can be stressful for marine organisms. Sudden changes in temperature can lead to stress, disease, and even death. It is crucial to avoid placing your aquarium near windows or drafts that can cause temperature fluctuations. Also, consider using a chiller or a fan during hot summer months to prevent overheating.

In summary, lighting and temperature control are vital elements in creating a healthy and thriving aquatic ecosystem in your reef tank or marine aquarium. Pay careful attention to the lighting needs of your chosen species and invest in a reliable heating and cooling system to maintain optimal temperature conditions. By providing the right lighting spectrum and temperature range, you can enhance the growth, coloration, and overall well-being of your marine organisms.

Regular Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Maintaining a clean and healthy aquatic ecosystem is essential for the well-being of your tank’s inhabitants. Regular maintenance and cleaning routines are necessary to keep the water quality at optimal levels and prevent the buildup of harmful substances.

1. Water Testing:

Regularly test the water parameters such as pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels using a reliable test kit. This will help you monitor the overall health of your tank and make necessary adjustments to maintain a stable environment.

  • Keep a log of your water test results to track any changes over time.
  • Perform weekly tests to ensure proper water quality.

2. Water Changes:

Regular water changes are crucial for removing accumulated waste, toxins, and excess nutrients from the tank. This helps to maintain a stable and clean environment for the aquatic species.

  • Perform a 10-20% water change every week or as needed.
  • Use a siphon or gravel vacuum to remove debris and uneaten food from the substrate.
  • Make sure to use dechlorinated water when refilling the tank.

3. Algae Control:

Algae growth is a common issue in aquariums, but excessive growth can disrupt the balance of the ecosystem and negatively impact the health of your fish and plants. Control algae by:

  • Reducing the amount of light your tank receives.
  • Regularly cleaning the glass and removing any visible algae.
  • Keeping a balanced nutrient level in the tank.
  • Introducing algae-eating species like snails or shrimp.

4. Equipment Maintenance:

Regularly clean and maintain your equipment to ensure proper functioning and longevity:

  • Clean the filter media and replace as needed to maintain optimal filtration.
  • Check and clean the heater, ensuring it’s maintaining the desired temperature.
  • Keep the lights clean and replace bulbs as necessary.

5. Cleaning Decorations:

Clean and maintain aquarium decorations to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your tank and prevent the accumulation of waste:

  • Remove decorations from the tank and clean them using a soft brush or sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove any cleaning products.
  • Replace any damaged or deteriorated decorations.

By following these regular maintenance and cleaning tips, you can ensure a healthy and thriving aquatic ecosystem in your marine or freshwater aquarium. Remember, a clean tank is a happy tank!