Hello everyone, here again with another bantamarium experience. With the autumn season in full effect, I figured it would be fun to do a project using Halloween aquarium decor. This build is going to be a riparium set to replicate a lake scene from a cult horror classic film. Much of this vivarium will be constructed very similarly to my other living diorama tanks with a few new aspects.
If you aren’t familiar with what a bantamarium is, I strongly recommend you take a look at this deep dive I put together. In a nutshell, it’s a concept I’ve been working on where we bring a diorama to life. The goal is ultimately to make photo-realistic vivariums anyone, no matter the skill level, can make!
A Cult Horror Classic Riparium
I finally got a chance to actually film the development of this vivarium which brought in a whole new level of challenges. Working through those difficulties was a fun experience that lead to an entertaining aspect I tried to incorporate into a story. I do hope you enjoy this form of content from me the same way you have with my written stuff.
Making A Cult Horror Classic Riparium
As usual, I’m still going to lay out the tutorial for this riparium in a step-by-step format so it’s just as easy to digest as my usual “how to’s”. The idea behind this bantamarium will be to incorporate a micro version of a boat dock on the edge of Camp Crystal Lake. This scene can easily be modified to showcase more or less… gore… depending on your personal preference.
- Bantamarium Case Kit (or any 6in x 6in square enclosure)
- Old Rustic Boat Pier Set (or any similar halloween aquarium decor)
- Dwarf Hairgrass
- Eco-Complete Aquarium Gravel
- Fine Grit Sand
- Pea Gravel
- Matte Acrylic Paint
- Locktite Extreme Glue
- Clear Sealant
Halloween Aquarium Decor Construction:
Before we dive into the cult horror classic riparium, let’s prep the Halloween aquarium decor to our personal preference. I’ve created this Old Rustic Boat Pier Set that comes complete with a wooden dock, a fisherman’s house, two boats, and two pairs of paddles. These models come in black and will need a little bit of assembly.
Using a little bit of glue, the dock is assembled together. I’m a huge fan of Locktite extreme glue because it dries clear and cures very quickly. Once fully cured, this glue is safe for aquarium use.
While the dock is drying, we can begin painting the boats, paddles, and house. Having these models come in black gives us a nice advantage with applying color. Hard to reach crevices will create depth and shading when the paint is applied sparingly.
I go around each model in a base color very lightly. This layer should be the color we want the models to be. For example, my boats, paddles, and shed are going to have a light brown color to represent the wooden planks they were made with. Dark brown goes on the dock to represent a darker hardwood panel.
The next layer of color is applied even more sparingly. I dry rub white on the boats, paddles, and shed walls to illustrate white paint the fisherman may have painted these objects with.
Finally, I go around and use a medium shade of brown to make the whole set look weathered and aged. These are also dry rubbed with the intent to not cover the deeper layers.
If you opted to add blood to these models, I have a technique that helped me achieve that bloodstained look. With a dab of red paint and a fine tip paintbrush, I repeatedly dip the brush in water to saturate the color. This method will allow the red to go on very weak aiding in transparency once the water dries.
with everything painted, I recommend spraying a clear sealant over the model set to lock the color in place and prevent leaching into the riparium later. Our Halloween aquarium decor is now complete and ready for placement within the riparium.
A Cult Horror Classic Riparium Construction:
I’m going to be using one of my bantamarium cases for this so no real assembly will be needed for this step. For those who prefer to make their enclosure or may have something similar already, make sure your measurements are appropriate for the Halloween aquarium decor. My tank is 6in long by 6in wide and has a height of 3in.
I lay down about an inch of the eco-complete substrate and stagger it so that one side is two inches high and the other is half an inch.
With the substrate in place, we can move on to the first riparium plant. I plant Dwarf hairgrass throughout the tank (I later decided it would all look better planted on the higher end of the riparium). Keep the plant moist as you work to avoid drying them out.
Once the hairgrass is placed accordingly, a small amount of sand is sprinkled generously around the area the plants are at to help lock them in place. Pea gravel is peppered along the border between where the sand ends and the eco-complete substrate begins to be revealed.
If all looks satisfactory, fill the tank with water to your preferred height. The Halloween aquarium decor can now go in and a little bit of duckweed is put in to further add to our realistic lake.
Mini Riparium Animals
I wouldn’t really recommend fish for a riparium of this scale. At the time of recording this build, I had a baby feeder guppy in it for scale. I did decide to go with a tiny snail and some pond scuds. The pond scuds are really fitting for this enclosure because they look like lobsters compared to the scale of the boat.
Mini Riparium Care
The maintenance required for a mini riparium of this size will be relatively low. The scuds and snail are scavengers that do pretty well with eating dead plant matter. Water changes are always recommended at least once every other week. As for the duckweed, depending on how much light this riparium receives and how much duckweed you like, this stuff multiplies like crazy. I usually just remove parts of it as I see necessary.
That’s pretty much it as far as the cult horror classic riparium goes. If you watched the video, then you know it didn’t come without its complications on my part. But if you learn from those mistakes then you should have a successful mini riparium. As always, see you all in the next one!
If you’re interested in seeing updates on how this as well as other enclosures progress follow me on social media. If you’d like to get your tall tweezers on one of these limited edition vivarium decors yourself, check them out in our shop.