Adding a waterfall into a reptile or amphibian enclosure creates a visually stunning focal point and boosts the humidity level within the enclosure.
Water is a crucial part of herptile husbandry, especially for amphibians. Not only do frogs, toads, lizards, and turtles drink the water but it’s partly responsible for the relative humidity.
You get the point, waterfalls are beneficial in more ways than one.
But what options are available? You’ll be happy to learn there are several on the market. Some of them contain water within a reservoir while others are meant to be placed directly into the water.
Listed below are the waterfalls I will review in this buyer’s guide.
|#1||Exo Terra Pebble Waterfall|
Best Overall – Beginner friendly, contains the water, easy setup.
|#2||Tetrafauna Waterfall & Filter|
Sits in the water, beginner-friendly, includes filtration
|#3||Repti Rapids LED Waterfall|
Beginner friendly, LED lights, contains the water
|#4||Zoo Med Waterfall Kit|
DIY, intermediate or advanced, requires work, sits in the water
The Different Types of Waterfalls
Determining which of these is right for you comes down to a few factors. The first thing and most important – do you want to design your own waterfall or do you want something ready-to-use out of the box?
Another thing to consider is the size. Will you have enough room in the enclosure? While the waterfalls listed here are fairly small, it’s always a good idea to measure the free space in your terrarium first before you buy.
The last thing you need to think about is the water container. Do you need the water to be contained within the waterfall system or can you put the device into a water reservoir (partial water bottom, water dish, etc)?
The Exo Terra and Repti Rapids waterfalls contains all the water in itself. The TetraFauna product needs to be placed in water and so does the DIY waterfall kit.
The Best Terrarium Waterfalls Reviewed
Now that you’re aware of the different types of waterfalls and how they work, let’s take a look the options available to you.
Exo Terra Pebble Waterfall
Brand: Exo Terra
Type: Pebble Waterfall
The “Pebble Waterfall” from Exo Terra is my favorite and the one I recommend for most hobbyists. It is beginner-friendly, looks nice, built well, and comes in multiple sizes.
Dimensions vary between sizes which include small, medium, and large. The small version (in the pictures above) is 6.3″ x 8″ x 6.7″. The size is important. Get one that will fit nicely in your terrarium without taking up too much space.
Friendly Tip: Don’t underestimate the size! Be sure to get the size that best suits your enclosure. A bigger waterfall might seem better but it can be a nightmare trying to fit into a small terrarium.
This waterfall is suitable for most reptiles and amphibians although a humidity-loving, tropical species would benefit the most; an exotic tree frog, for example.
Pros: Solid build, beginner friendly, reasonably priced, has a reservoir to contain the water, comes in multiple sizes
Cons: The thick power cord is difficult to adjust
This unit comes highly recommended because it is visually appealing and offers beginning hobbyists a means of adding a waterfall feature without having to build it yourself.
Type: Decorative ReptoFilter
The ReptoFilter is both a waterfall and filtering system. It’s also one of the cheapest waterfalls in this guide. It’s roughly 11″ x 13″ in dimension and it is designed to be placed in the corner.
Small intake holes are found on the front where water passes through and eventually gets pumped up and out the top. The filters are hidden inside. You only see them when you remove the lid. There are some downsides though, and you can read about them below.
A built-in water filtration device helps keep your frog’s water clean and replacing the filter is simple. The folks at TetraFauna placed the filter inside the rock so you won’t see it until you remove the lid, which also serves as a small basking area.
Pros – Its cheap, filters the water, easy to use, provides a basking area.
Cons – Does not contain the water – drainage layer or separate water container is needed.
This unit has some drawbacks, though. The main one is this; it doesn’t contain water within itself. The ReptoFilter does not come with a water container. It needs to be placed in water. In fact, the water level needs to be above the intake holes in the bottom!
Important: This product is designed to be placed in a corner.
Repti Rapids LED Waterfall
Repti Rapids is a close runner-up to the Exo Terra Pebbles Waterfall! The price is a little higher but it weighs less, includes an LED light, and, most importantly, contains all the water within itself! This means you don’t need to make an external water container! Just place it in your terrarium, add water, plug it in, and watch it go.
Brand: Zoo Med
Type: Reptile Rapids
Zoo Med has multiple different styles in the Repti Rapids series. The thing I like about them is that all the water is contained within itself. You don’t need a water pool. Just place it into your terrarium, fill it with water and plug it in. The LED light has a separate plugin that allows you to run the waterfall with or without the lights.
Pros – Looks amazing, water is contained within the system, optional LED lights are nice.
Cons – Becomes noisy when the water level drops.
Two common complaints about these waterfalls are small leaks and noise. Filling the waterfall with too much water results in spills, while not filling it with enough water results in a lot of noise. The reason it becomes loud is due to a lack of water. Be mindful to check the water level each day and occasionally inspect your Repti Rapids for leaks.
Zoo Med Waterfall Kit
The Naturalistic Terrarium Waterfall Kit from Zoo Med includes a water pump, hydroballs, terrarium mesh, plastic tubing and elbow, and an instruction book. That’s everything you need to get the water circulating. It’s up to you, however, to design and buy the other materials you need to finish the job.
Brand: Zoo Med
Type: Waterfall Kit
The last item on our list comes in the form of a do-it-yourself kit. The guys and gals over at Zoo Med have thrown together a package to help you get started. It includes everything you need to get water flowing but leaves the rest up to you!
Oh, did I mention it includes an instructional book? Well, it does! Whether you read it or not is entirely up to you but I recommend watching some YouTube tutorials on this topic before buying.
The waterfall kit is great, mind you. It comes with a water pump, hydroballs, terrarium mesh, tubing and, well, the instruction book. In case you don’t know, hydroballs go on the very bottom; the base layer. Water drains through the substrate, passing through the terrarium mesh, and fills the bottom of the tank. Without hydroballs and mesh barrier, your substrate will get soaked.
Pros – Create your own waterfall, has instructions
Cons – Does not include EVERYTHING you’ll need*
Other things you (might) need are cork bark, Mopani wood, rocks, decorations, etc. Basically, you’re making the waterfall yourself and you want to hide the hose that transfers water from the bottom to the top. This is great for hobbyists that want to make a custom waterfall.
Buying a waterfall for your terrarium has its benefits – we can all agree on that. As for which one is best for you, well, that ultimately depends on you and your pet’s needs.
Personally, I’m about to create a naturalistic vivarium for mossy frogs and I plan to make the waterfall myself, using cork bark, rocks, and other decorations. It’s something I’ll enjoy doing. So for me, I’ll be using a waterfall kit. If you’re not interested in creating your own, that’s okay too!
I recommend the Exo Terra Pebble Waterfall for most beginners. The water pump is hidden by rocks (pebbles) and sits within a container which also serves as a reservoir. This means you don’t have to worry about water constantly running into the substrate.
Remember, the TetraFauna ReptoFilter is designed to be placed in a corner and it needs to sit in water. Additionally, it helps by filtering the water in your terrarium! That’s a huge bonus. This device would be great for enclosures with partial water bottoms.
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