Can a Paludarium Survive Without a Filter?

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A paludarium is a water tank with both water and land elements. Many people think that adding a water filter to a paludarium is important to keep it clean. This isn’t always true. If you want to know how you can maintain a paludarium with and without a water filter, you are in the right place.

A paludarium can work well without a water filter if you add detritivores, clean the tank often, and choose the right species for it. However, adding a water filter will save you a lot of time and the paludarium won’t need frequent maintenance.

It is important to maintain the paludarium for the safety of the animals and plants inside. If you want to know how to keep the water quality of a paludarium high and when you should opt for a filter, read further!

Why You Should or Should Not Get a Water Filter for a Paludarium

A paludarium is a tank that consists of both land and water animals. It consists of a large amount of water and a land portion.

A paludarium doesn’t require a water filter. It can work pretty well without any filter but not having one will increase its maintenance process. So, let’s get you some reasons why a paludarium doesn’t need a filter and how you can make it work like that!

Decomposers Do the Job

Decomposers like springtails are added to the paludarium so that they can feed on dead organic matter. Organic matter can build up inside the paludarium due to waste products from different plants and animals inside the tank.

Cleaning this waste is important as it can affect the health of life inside the paludarium. This is where the decomposers come in handy. Decomposers feed on dead leaves and break them down into useful products.

Maintenance of a Paludarium is Easy

Maintaining a water tank is important for the health and safety of the animals and plants inside it. People usually install a water filter for this purpose as it reduces the need of changing water and cleaning the tank frequently. However, with a paludarium, the maintenance process is easy, making a water filter optional.

Plants Perform the Functions of Filter

Having oxygen in the water of your paludarium is important. Plants and animals inside the paludarium need oxygen to breathe and eventually, the oxygen level lowers down. In this case, you have to either change the water with new water containing sufficient oxygen or have a system that adds oxygen to the existing water.

The thing about paludarium is that you can add a lot of live aquarium plants to it. These plants convert carbon dioxide in the water to oxygen. It will keep the water quality high. The carbon dioxide level won’t increase and the oxygen will stay at a suitable level.

How to Maintain an Unfiltered Paludarium?

If you want to keep your paludarium unfiltered, you must know the tricks to keep the water quality good. A filter keeps the water clean and safe but there are other ways to do this. So, let’s get you some tips and tricks to maintain an unfiltered paludarium!

Choose the Right Species

Choosing the right species for your paludarium is essential. You shouldn’t only choose species that can survive in an unfiltered paludarium but also contribute to the maintenance of the tank. Both plants and animals that you choose should be beneficial for the quality of the paludarium.

Fish like Common Plecostomus are good for the environment of the tank. This fish is an algae eater. The growth of algae isn’t good for the quality of your tank. Therefore, adding this fish will maintain the water quality.


Moreover, live plants are important for a paludarium as they add oxygen to the water. Live plants also reduce the growth of algae.

Some other fish that are good for unfiltered paludarium include:

  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Neon Tetras
  • Fancy Guppies
  • Paradise Fish
  • Bronze Corydoras

All these fish not only survive in unfiltered tanks but also benefit it due to their lifestyle.

Choose The Right Plants

Choosing plants that don’t grow quickly is better to keep the maintenance of the tank easy. If you get plants that grow too fast, you will have to cut them frequently. This will increase the maintenance process and make it hard to keep a paludarium clean and healthy.

Moreover, plants that don’t require too much light are ideal for paludarium. Otherwise, chances are that the plants will die quickly.

Choose the Right Additives

You have to be careful with the additives that you add to the paludarium. Some additives can disturb the water chemistry or harm the species inside the tank. Adding detritivores to the paludarium is important so that they can eat up the dead organic matter.

Detritivores like springtails and isopods are ideal for paludarium. Moreover, nepenthes is also a detritivore and it feeds on insects and ants. The addition of nepenthes to the paludarium will prevent insects and other such creatures from affecting the water quality.

In addition, you can watch the below video and learn how to maintain a paludarium.

Why Should You Get a Water Filter for a Paludarium?

If it is getting hard for you to maintain an unfiltered paludarium, you can get a water filter for it. Adding a water filter to the paludarium has many benefits. It eases the maintenance process and you don’t need to change the water frequently.

Some of the benefits of a water filter are:

  • The water filter keeps the water clean and healthy for all the species inside. You don’t need to clean the tank frequently.
  • Water filters add oxygen back to the water and don’t let the level of oxygen get low.
  • The water filter maintains the pH level of the water which can otherwise get high. High pH can have side effects like stress, internal organ damage, and burns on the animals inside the paludarium.
  • A water filter keeps the water inside the tank in motion and imitates nature’s recycling process.
  • A water filter is an essential part of a bioactive system as it makes the tank self-sustaining and self-maintaining.

Best Water Filters for a Paludarium

Want to know which water filter would be the best for your paludarium? If yes, you are in the right place. Filters are either internal or external. They both are different from each other in various ways.

Internal FiltersExternal Filters
Ideal for small paludariumsIdeal for large paludariums
Easy to UseA little tricky to use
Usually silentCan be noisy

Choosing the right water filter is important but it requires a lot of research. We have made it easy for you by choosing the best water filters for a paludarium. So, let’s see them!

Fluval FX6 Canister Filter

Canister filters are great for large paludariums due to their capacity. This filter has an amazing capacity and smart technology that starts on its own. All you have to do is add water and plug it in.

Get it here (on Amazon).

ZooMed Paludarium Filter

For a small paludarium, the filter should be small but well-working. This paludarium filter from ZooMed is the perfect option for this.

Get it here (on Amazon).

Eheim 6685 Filter Pad Set

Canister filters are perfect for paludariums and this one from Eheim would be an amazing addition to your tank. It is a quiet filter, easy to set up, cleans the tank efficiently, and comes at a reasonable price. What more would you want?

Get it here (on Amazon).

Tetra Whisper X 70 Filter

If you want a silent filter for your paludarium, Tetra Whisper X 70 Filter is your go-to. Silent filters keep the animals inside the paludarium stress-free and peaceful. It has a big capacity and works in silence to clean your paludarium.

Get it here (on Amazon).

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Keep Paludarium Water Clean?

To keep paludarium water clean, add plants that benefit the tank. Change the water frequently and add decomposers that eat up dead organic matter. You can add a water filter to make the maintenance of a paludarium easier.

What Things Does a Paludarium Require?

A paludarium requires the following things:

  • Flora
  • Water
  • Substrate
  • Animals
  • Detritivores
  • Rocks
  • Perches

How to Prevent Mold in a Paludarium?

You can prevent mold in paludarium by following the tips below:

  • Add live plants and fish that eat algae
  • Add springtails
  • Don’t overwater the paludarium
  • Remove dead plants frequently
  • Give light to the terrarium

Final Thoughts

After reading this article, we hope that you can maintain a paludarium with or without a water filter. It is a personal choice however the addition of a water filter will enhance the quality of the paludarium and you won’t have to work for it as much. If you don’t want to add a water filter, make sure you clean the water often and choose the right species that keep the water quality high.


Meet Brad, the creator behind Vivarium Vibes, where his deep connection with nature and animals truly comes to life.

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