Making A Semi-Aquatic Inner Cave Scene

Welcome back folks to another installment of bantamarium cave builds. If you missed the first cavern collectible where we made a mini cave terrarium, feel free to check that out at some point. Today I will be showing you how to make an inner cave paludarium which will be set up to look like the inside of that same cave!

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!

Bantamarium: Everything You Need To Know

Because I’m Batman!!

This project also pulls a lot of inspiration from both movies Morbius & The Batman so excuse my corny humor in some of these videos. It’s no secret I really do enjoy what I do!

Making An Aquarium Cave Enclosure

This project will be on par with the previous cave tutorial when compared to the difficulty. In other words, this is another easy one. I think the terrains I’ve started hand-crafting for these builds really do their part by providing detail while making things simple. Anyway, let’s get into the build:



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The Aquarium Cave Decor Terrain:

As I mentioned earlier, the terrain we will be using for this project is something new I’ve been working on for a while. My goal here is to offer something unique, highly detailed, and simple to work with. I truly hope these do justice to some of the neat ideas you may have for them moving forward.

Making A Semi-Aquatic Cave Scene:

To start this build-off, I decided to pull out one of the newer mega moon jars I haven’t done anything with yet. This jar comes with an actual moon engraved on the backside of it. I thought it would be really interesting to experiment with this cave paludarium.

Making A Semi-Aquatic Cave Scene

With the inner cave terrain already in position, I’m starting my substrate layer off with some black gravel. The idea here is to help better tie the terrain into the scene since it’s close in color to the gravel.

Making A Semi-Aquatic Cave Scene

The next thing I did was add an additional layer of coarse sand on top of the gravel to contrast the darker colors. This is already starting to look like something and there are only three elements. This is the simplicity I like to work with!

Making A Semi-Aquatic Cave Scene

Our next step will be to figure out how much water we want. I’m aiming for the shallow knee-high look a paludarium will give me so I add a few inches of water. I could definitely see this being a fully aquatic setup so feel free to go all the way up to the rim with water.

Making A Semi-Aquatic Cave Scene

The water will eventually clear up on its own so don’t worry if you see a cloudy mess at first, this is normal when working with most types of natural sand.

Best Plants For Aquarium Caves

Alright, I think we are ready for plants. As I mentioned in the previous cave guide, you could go with preserved mosses for the upper area where it’s dry (preserved plants should always be kept out of direct contact with water). For this tutorial, I will be using real plants for my cave paludarium.

Best Plants For Aquarium Caves

After adding a few pieces of moss around the steps, I have some English ivy I’ve been propagating in rainwater with its roots already exposed. I place these around the back of the terrain and try to get it close enough to the substrate to root itself.

Best Plants For Aquarium Caves

I took a few more of the exposed roots and draped them across the top of the cave decor to replicate the abandoned ruins look vines typically give. As long as this enclosure has a lid, the high humidity will be enough to keep the roots hydrated.

Best Plants For Aquarium Caves

Another bonus touch is the addition of floating plants. I’m using red root floaters for this one. It should help keep the water clean and clear as well as provide cover to eliminate any chance of algae taking over.

Best Plants For Aquarium Caves

Once the steps are in place, we can now wait for the dust to settle and see what we got. At this point, we have completed the build. I told you this would be another easy one.

Semi-Aquatic Cave Animals

To be honest, I haven’t given much thought to what I might add to this terrarium. A clean-up crew would do well in here since the fern leaves help to regulate the humidity within the enclosure. I wouldn’t recommend adding fish to something this small but if you went fully aquatic and stocked it with plants you could consider something like guppies or shrimp.

Aquarium Cave Care

The care requirements for this enclosure will be relatively simple… The only real maintenance will be pruning the ivy if it gets too overgrown and changing the water once a month. If you don’t have aquatic animals the floating plants should really make this easy to pass on water changes.

Aquarium Cave Care

Final Thoughts

This cave paludarium was just as much fun to do as the previous cave terrarium build. I look forward to watching this one progress as time goes on. I expect it to take on an even more abandoned cave as things grow in. See you all in the next one.

Aquarium Cave Care

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.

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