Originally Posted by hanuman
Would you consider a paludarium to be more a PITA than an aquascaped aquarium?
If by 'aquascaped' you mean a planted tank, then yes; planted tanks are simple. I have a 58g that almost runs itself -- the plecos and the cories breed regularly, cardinals and hatchets and pencilfish thrive, and the plants just grow. If you mean an Amano-style work of high art, then I can't say; those have never spun me.
I've never had a paludarium, so I'm not a good source of comparative information, but...
Like kblack3 said, a paludarium is twice the environments, so everything being equal it is twice as much input as either an aquarium or a viv.
But everything isn't equal, since in a paludarium you have this all squashed into one box. So, water processing equipment has to wedge in there, the viv portion has to somehow drain without messing up the water portion, there has to be enough space on the water surface to get your hands in there for maintenance, but there still needs to be enough ground surface for the frogs to feel secure in leaf litter and for microfauna to live.
The volume of the water area is necessarily low, so the total number and range of appropriate species of aquatic animals in there will be very limited, and water quality fluctuations will be amplified by the low volume (and all the fruit flies/crickets falling in, I'll bet). I've had ~5g freshwater tanks before, and they are a drag -- much fewer fish, but all the maintenance.
Then you have to somehow light this box with enough light for the water portion but not so much that the terrestrial plants burn.
People more ambitious than I have figured this all out, I admit.
I tend to start by considering what animal I want to keep, and then build the habitat around that. I can't think of one species that is ideally
kept in a paludarium.
I could be the kind of person who sees the value in a paludarium. After all, the point of interface between land and water is one of the most magical places in the world -- the first New World. But i do think that the more complex the display, the less the frogs are the center of attention -- and frogs are wicked cool.