Custom Vivarium Design and Build

Get the enclosure you need to create your own sustainable, naturalistic ecosystem with minimal on-going maintenance and effort.

stream bank vivarium design side view

An enclosure is more than just a box for your plants and animals.  It is the foundation that enables you to sustain life. 

Why does this matter?

A poorly designed enclosure is more likely to fail over time, produces inconsistent results, and requires more modifications and time to manage.

However, a well thought-out enclosure design will anticipate your needs so that it...

    • requires no post-purchase modifications
    • creates a more sustainable, consistent environment that meets the needs of your plants and animals
    • requires minimal time and energy to maintain, and
    • gives you more time to enjoy your plants and animals

Most of our clients know from experience that they need a well-designed enclosure in order to create their own sustainable, naturalistic ecosystem with minimal on-going effort.  But, they’ve struggled to find what they need in the existing retail vivarium market.

At BioVivara, we specialize in designing and building custom naturalistic enclosures to meet our clients’ specific outcome goals for their enclosures. 

What does that mean exactly?

It means that we focus on...

1) Gaining Understanding

We seek to fully understand your goal for your enclosure – why you want the enclosure, what you want the enclosure to do for you, and the results you are looking for over time with the plants and/or animals you desire to keep.

2) Detailed Solutions

Outline how to achieve the outcomes you desire. For example, size and shape of enclosure, lighting and mechanical needs to reproduce necessary environment simulation, automation requirements, and more.

3) Build Your Solution

Then we enable those outcomes with a well-designed vivarium, its accompanying systems, and any other support you may need.

Your solution can be as simple or complex as needed to achieve your goals.  Below you can see examples of some solutions we’ve developed, from small to large and simple to complex.

Custom Vivarium Samples

Since 2008, we’ve been helping exotic plant and animal enthusiasts to create everything from miniature ecosystems for tiny lizards to large rainforest display pieces that rival some zoo exhibits. 

Sample #1: Miniature Enclosure

The terrarium below was a custom designed and built acrylic enclosure that was 10” wide by 7” tall by 5” deep (front-to-back) to house Matoatoa brevipes, a tiny gecko from Madagascar. The client wanted screens on top for air exchange, a clear front viewing panel, a way to lock the enclosure for security, and a clean, minimalistic design.

small custom vivarium by biovivara

small custom vivarium close up by biovivara

Sample #2: Enclosure for Miniature Orchid Collection

This enclosure was designed to house a miniature orchid collection.  It was 36” wide by 24” tall and 18” deep.  Air movement and maintaining water quality were very important to this design.

custom orchidarium by biovivara

Sample #3: Tropical Stream-Bank Paludarium

The enclosure below is our largest design to-date, measuring 54” wide, 34” tall, and 32” from front-to-back.  The full design includes integrated custom lighting system, integrated misting system, integrated air cycling system, removable front panel, side feeding door, custom stand and hood, and much more. 

It will feature a large water section in the front, complete with live plants and fish.  The interior landscape design was also created by our paludarium design team and company founders, Seth & Rachel Hiser.

custom stream bed paludarium by biovivara 
The custom stand houses the recirculating sump, misting system reservoir, CO2 reactor, automation system, reverse osmosis water filtration system, and other components.

Ready to start designing your custom vivarium?  
Yes! Design a custom enclosure for me.

Custom Vivarium Design Process

1: Start the conversation

It all starts with your custom vivarium design inquiry.  Tell us about the vivarium you would like to build and the goals for your enclosure.  If you have any particular dimensions, door size/placement, or other details you have in mind, be sure to share those too.

2: Capture the vision

Once you complete the custom vivarium design inquiry form, we work with you to capture your vision and create the ideal enclosure for your purposes, whether for an educational setting, research, public display, or your personal collection.  This is usually done by e-mail and/or phone consultation.

3: Review the design brief

Once we understand your vision, we prepare your design brief. 

But, we go beyond vivarium size and door placement.  After all, a naturalistic enclosure is more than just a box: it is an ecosystem simulator. 

So, depending on your needs, we can include everything necessary for proper ecosystem simulation:

    • air cycling systems to keep air fresh while maintaining desired temperature and humidity ranges
    • water cycling systems to prevent stagnation and improve plant and animal health
    • proper lighting for your application
    • other components, such as timers, controllers, heater, chiller, etc., as needed

We can also provide custom vivarium stands and matching hoods and even background and landscaping design.

This is the pinnacle of customization and control in vivarium design and application.

Deliverables: Your design brief will include a list of all components, a drawing of the vivarium, and all other details you need to be sure that the enclosure will meet your goals. 

Any changes to the design or components needed should be requested during this stage.  We won’t move forward until you are happy with the enclosure design and details.

Note: There is a small design fee required at this stage due to the significant time involved in creating such custom solutions. The design fee depends on the scope of your needed solution.  However, all design fees are credited toward the final cost of the vivarium build.

4: Schedule the vivarium build

Upon approval of the design brief and acceptance of the build quote, we move forward into the build phase.  At this point, we add your vivarium build to our production schedule and give you an estimated ship date.  We communicate with you every step along the way so you know what to expect and when.

Note About Build Quality

We design and build all of our enclosures completely in-house.  We combine the best acrylic enclosure build processes with the quality and feel of a handcrafted work of art.  Acrylic pieces are precision cut with laser technology and then assembled, hand-crafted to perfection, by our own highly trained staff.

Then, the enclosure is subjected to our robust testing and inspection process to ensure that you get the best combination of function and beauty for years to come.  That’s how we are able to produce long-lasting, beautiful, frameless enclosures that come with the most robust warranty in the industry.

5: Receive your new enclosure package

Once your package ships, you will automatically receive shipping notifications with tracking numbers for your convenience.  We also include any needed setup instructions, warranty information, and more to help you get started.


Ready to get started?
Yes! Design a custom enclosure for me.