12 Types of Vivarium! (List + Images + Definition)

Aquarium, oceanarium, paludarium, jarrarium, and even terrarium. The possibilities are almost endless. There are many branches of vivarium out there and every type of them is fascinating. In this article, I will cover all the types of vivariums that I know of. 😉

Why am I doing this?

When it comes to vivariums, I’m usually a curious person. I’m always searching for more information about this subject. If you already have an understanding of vivariums, then you must know that it’s Latin for “place of life.

After doing thorough in-depth research, I couldn’t find all the information I was looking for when it comes to the types of vivariums. In fact, I wasn’t the only curious person. There are many people looking to learn about this fascinating topic.

what are the types of vivariums?
“I wonder what type of vivariums are there.” – by Katie

According to the Google Trend tool, there has been a surge in interests throughout the years for vivariums. When looking at the chart below, the interests for vivarium has increased by 10x after over 15 years. That must mean that a lot of people are interested in learning about these types of –iums.

vivarium interests

This applies to many of the countries that are interested in learning about vivarium! As you can see below, the top country is the United Kingdom. Now that’s interesting.


To be fair, there were a few search results, but it just wasn’t enough for me. Every article displayed the same information, so I had this idea of compiling a list of vivariums all into one post! I mean, every vivarium is different and unique in a way! How big can a vivarium really get?

I figured as a vivarium blogger, I should be introducing people to newer types of vivariums because there’s a lot of interesting categories. After gathering all the information and creating a list of vivarium types, I found about 12 types that I’m about to share with you. Be prepared to be amazed!

Let’s begin with the first.

1. Aquarium

types of vivarium
“I wonder what’s the aquarium meaning in English.”

What is an aquarium? There’s a probable chance that you already know what an aquarium is but in case you don’t, then here’s a helpful explanation. Aquarium also is known as aquaria is a type of vivarium that can range to any size in which plants that are aquatic and animals are being kept for display.

What are some examples of an aquarium? It’s very likely that you probably know someone with an aquarium. A few examples of an aquarium are fish tanks and fish bowls. There are also public large aquariums at zoos that display sharks, turtles, dolphins, and even otters.

What kind of living things can be kept in an aquarium? This all depends on the type of aquarium. There are aquariums that can be freshwater to aquariums with saltwater. But to give you a general idea, you can keep:

  • Fish
  • Aquatic Plants
  • Shrimp
  • Turtles

2. Oceanarium

types of vivarium, oceanarium
The difference when it comes to oceanarium vs. aquarium is that an oceanarium is mainly a marine mammal park. 

What is an oceanarium? An oceanarium can be several different things. For one, it can be a marine park for mammals or a large aquarium. This type of vivarium has no land and filled with water and usually holds large underwater creatures.

What are some examples of an oceanarium? Let’s say, for example, you’re heading to an Aquarium of the Pacific for one of the events and see these large tanks with killer whales. That’s an example of an oceanarium. To give you a better perspective, I posted an image above as an example.

What kind of living things can be kept in an oceanarium?  Here are a few examples of what usually lives in an oceanarium.

  • Killer Whales
  • Sharks
  • Dolphins

3. Paludarium

types of vivarium, paludarium

What is a paludarium? Paludarium is another type of vivarium that includes both aquatic and land elements. You can picture a mixture of aquarium and terrarium combined. This can include water and land-living creatures.

What are some examples of a paludarium? An example of a paludarium is a vivarium owner with both fish and plants living above water. When I was a kid, my uncle raised a snapping turtle in his tank which included plants and rocks for it to climb up. And there are days when it wants to be in the water. This is a great example of a paludarium.

What kind of living things can be kept in a paludarium?

  • Plants
  • Aquatic Plants
  • Turtles
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Reptiles

The great thing about paludariums is that there’s a lot of diversity and many things you can add.

4. Riparium


What is a riparium? Riparium branches off of paludarium. They are similar but what makes a riparium a riparium is that the water is usually deeper. There are usually mini-waterfalls in a riparium as well.

What are some examples of a riparium? An example of a riparium is a vivarium tank owner with water a little deeper. They might have a waterfall in their tank.

What kind of things can be kept in a riparium?

  • Plants
  • Aquatic Plants
  • Turtles
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Reptiles
  • Waterfall

5. Terrarium


What is a terrarium? Terrarium typically consists of a glass container or a jar that has soil and plants. There are two types of terrarium. There are closed terrariums and open terrariums.

What are some examples of a terrarium? An example of a terrarium is when plant owners keeping their plants in a jar. In most cases, terrarium owners will keep their terrariums and make it look as nice as possible. For some, watching their plants grow in a glass container can be therapeutic for them.

What kind of living things can be kept in a terrarium? This really depends. Some terrarium owners keep only plants and others keep living things. With living creatures, owners usually add a water dish to keep the animals alive. This also depends on the size of the terrarium.

  • Plants
  • Small Living Animals

6. Insectarium

insectarium, types of vivarium

What is an insectarium? Another unique type of vivarium is the insectarium. They usually contain insect-like creatures. An insectarium can be best described as a live insect zoo.

What are some examples of an insectarium? An example is an insectarium owner having a glass container filled with bugs and dry plants. You can visit butterfly gardens and that would be considered an insectarium.

What kind of living things can be kept in an insectarium?

  • Spiders
  • Butterflies
  • Large Bugs

7. Orchidarium

orchidarium, types of vivarium

What is an orchidarium? Another type of vivarium that isn’t as popular when it comes to other types of vivarium vs. terrarium is the orchidarium. Orchidarium usually consists of cultivation filled of orchids.

What are some examples of an orchidarium? Just imagine a garden filled with orchids. There are orchidarium owners that keep their plants in a giant tank just like the image example above.

What kind of living things can be kept in an orchidarium? There are a variety of plants you can add to an orchidarium. After doing research, I discovered this informative article about the orchidarium planting list that could help you with ideas if you’re considering starting one.

  • Aeranis Biloba
  • Aerangis Mystacidii
  • Angraecum Distichum
  • Athyrium Species
  • Barbosella Dusenii
  • Bulbophyllum Abrosia
  • Chiloschista Lunifera
  • Chiloschista Parishii
  • Chirita Tamiana
  • Dinema Polubulbon
  • Doryopteris Cordata
  • Gastrochilus Retrocallus
  • Humata Heterophylla
  • Humata Repens
  • Lepotes Bicolor
  • Leptotes Unicolor
  • Masdevallia Decumana
  • Oncidium Hians
  • Ornithophoro Radicans
  • Pellaea Rotundifolia

8. Formicarium

formicarium, ant farm, types of vivarium

What is a formicarium? Formicarium, another type of vivarium also known as “ant farm” which is designed for studying ant colonies.

What are some examples of a formicarium? An ant farm where myrmecologists use to study how ants behave. They are usually in a tank filled with dirt and you can see the movements of the ants through a glass container.

What kind of living things can be kept in a formicarium?

  • Ants

9. Mossarium


What is a mossarium? A mossarium is a mini-ecosystem vivarium that keeps moss. When it comes to the definition of moss, it is a plant without roots. They are usually kept in a closed container.

What are some examples of a mossarium? An example of a mossarium is having a little glass container (usually round on the outside) filled with moss. You can create a self-sustaining ecosystem for your mossarium by covering it and letting the water evaporation cycle through the container.

What kind of living things can be kept in a mossarium? According to an informative mossarium guide by batam.earth, here’s what can be kept:

  • Mood Moss (Dicranum Scoparium)
  • Peat Moss (Sphagnum Moss)
  • Feather Moss (Ptilium Crista Castrensis)
  • Fern Moss (Thuidium Delicatulum)
  • Club Moss (Selaginella Kraussiana)

10. Penguinarium


What is penguinarium? Penguinarium is another unique type of vivarium that’s mainly for penguins. This type of vivarium simulates what their environment is like for penguins to live like it’s in its natural habitat.

What are some examples of a penguinarium? A great example is the Detroit Zoo where they have a penguinarium zoo for people to come to watch.

What kind of living things can be kept in a penguinarium? You know it!

  • Penguins!

11. Dolphinarium


What is a dolphinarium? There are aquariums and oceanariums but a dolphinarium is even more specific. A dolphinarium is an aquarium specifically for your favorite ocean animal, dolphins!

What are some examples of a dolphinarium? You can find dolphinariums at zoos for aquatic animals.

Did you know? Dolphins are one of the most intelligent aquatic creatures in the ocean. In fact, according to this one article, dolphins are one of the smartest animals in the world.

What kind of living things can be kept in a dolphinarium?

  • Dolphins

12. Jarrarium

the cost of terrarium
Jarrium Vs. Terrarium: What’s the difference?

What is jarrarium? Jarrarium is a term that is popular with the Reddit community. Unlike terrarium, jarrarium is kept in a jar. At the time of writing this post, the jarrarium Reddit community has over 70,000 members.

What are some examples of a jarrarium? Just imagine a mini forest inside of a jar. Most jarrarium owners keep plants and mini living creatures inside of their jars. Some terrarium owners will keep underwater aquatic plants.

What kind of living things can be kept in a jarrarium?

  • Fish
  • Reptiles
  • Plants
  • Moss

From VivariumTips.com,


You made it to the end! To vivarium owners/fans, I hope you learned something new today. If I’m missing any types of vivariums, don’t hesitate to comment and let me know what to add. This will help many more vivarium curiosities around this world. If you enjoyed reading about the types of vivariums, you might also enjoy the cost of vivariums.

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