I've gotten a few questions on this one so here it is. I'll do my best to talk you through it. If I'm unclear ask on instant message me.
The PC term for these is Paludarium. Their main adavantages are that they are designed for indoors and offer a side view of the pond, adding another dimension to the aquatic experience.With plants on top, a waterfall or stream, and perhaps a year round blooming tropical water lily, scenes of the Amazon spring to mind. Add fish, frogs, newt, or a turtle and natures sagas unfold before your eyes.
Materials: glass aquarium, plastic mesh to fit width of aquarium,filter pad media of same size as mesh cloth, very small recycleing pump, support rocks (brick size), aquarium heater (if necessary), air tubing, planting media, small pebbles, pea gravel, aquarium gravel (optional), plants, fish, etc.
1. Cut 1/2" hardware cloth or plastic mesh to fit tank for land area. Cut to create desired shoreline.
2. Cut filter pad to match cloth/mesh with a 1" overhang on all sides to secure a tight fit against the tank walls.
3. Place support rocks such to steadily keep mesh on top. Place pump in corner of tank behind rocks and cut a hold in the mesh for the pump cord and tubing.
4. Cut and place filter pad over mesh, cutting a slit to accomodate pump cord and tube.
5. Use extra filter padding aroung sides and back of tank to keep soil in place. Add planting media to areas where you plan to plant. If you are putting in species that don't like to sit in their water, build up mounds so that they have a drainage area bellow them. Plant bare rooted plants into soil.
6. Use heavy clay soil mix for lillies and other plants to go in water section of tank and plant the bare rooted plants into it.
7. Use pea gravel to cover aquatic soil and bottom of tank. Pea gravel may also be used in marginal area between your plants for you mini stream bed. PLant Azolla to create a mossy ground cover.
8. Add water VERY slowly to keep muddying to a minimum. Soil should settle from the water within a day or 2 though.
9. The roots of the plants will grow down through the filter pad and mesh into the water as the plants gain lushness naturalness. As long you do not fill the tank all the way up to whatever level you set the land your plants will always have a drainage area and not really sit in water to rot, it will always be circulating due to the stream.
10. Use a larger stone to hide to pump outlet. If water is too quickly absorbed use plastis kitchen wrap or scrap plastic to line the desired stream path and cover lightly with pea gravel.
**It is important to keep in mind that you need to cover you soil in some manner or it will get washed away.
**You do not have to build in the stream, it is just a natural way to airate/circulate the water and raise humidity. The height you set your shoreline at with your support rocks determines how deep your water level can be.
**Water level should always be bellow shoreline, this allows your stream to waterfall into your pond which looks very nice if done right.