Stacking rocks?

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Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:41 pm

Stacking rocks?

by bigwillcast

ok, this seems to be a common question on the forum.. Why doesn't everyone post the way they do it and give some suggestions to people trying this out. I know I would def appreciate it.

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

we've talked about this subject in another post, way back, a few months ago

but I'll try to follow up on this subject:

first you need to plan it out. Get a piece of paper, make a design of how it will look, choose which types of rocks you will use (sandstone, slate, river rock, etc...some rocks do better than others, that is, some rocks like the ones I just named will not raise your PH count); after you have done this, you need to find a good store that sells the rocks by the pound.

I have done my tank for as little as $10.80 (give a plug in case you live near Tulsa, OK: Hardscapes in Bixby, OK, great rock store, all types at very low prices).

After you get the rocks, you need to have at least 2-3 inches of gravel as its foundation. Of course you can use silicone to put together the rocks, but I prefer to go the all natural way, so I just use 2-3" gravel to anchor the rocks.

You put the heavier rocks on the bottom and build up from there. You may use pebbles or river rock strewn all over the floor of the gravel so potential fry can feel safe.

YOu can attach java moss to your rock, it will carpet the rocks and grow slowly if you provide low light.

Make sure you do not lean heavy rocks against the glass or it will crack; what I have done is place heavy rock, like sandstone, in the corners of the tank, that way, the corner glass supports the heavier stone.

Also make sure, more than anything else, that you boil ALL rock then cool it in a cold water sink. Boil the rock for at least 1 hour to get all the dirt and possible salt deposits out; then cool each piece for half hour. This is a must, you must boil the rocks.

One last thing, if you go about this web site you will see many pictures that may help you with your design set up

hope this helps...if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask

Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:18 am

by miami754


I use lace rock because of all the caves and jagged points and everything. The jagged edges allow me to put the rocks together like a puzzle so I don't have to use some adhesive. I just start with the large rocks on the bottom and then work my way up to the small ones at the top. After I put each rock in its location, I push on it from all directions to make sure it is stable. If it moves anywhere then I changes it angle or move it somewhere else. Keep doing this until the rocks are all built up. With cichlids you need to be sure the rock is stable as they get large and can get rowdy when they fight and such. Some will also burrow in the sand underneath the rocks which will cause them to be unbalanced. Watch for this.

You do want to make sure to do one of to things. Either have a deep substrate bed or use egg crate on the bottom. Either of these will help to disperse the weight of the rock so you don't end up cracking the bottom. In you 50 gallon, you should be able to get away with 100 or so lbs of rock (another reason I like lace rock is because it is porous so you get alot of rock per pound).

It is ok to lean the top rocks against the back and side of the glass as long as they are small. What you do not want to do it lean one of the bottom or middle large rocks against the glass where those rocks are supporting a lot of weight. What will happen is that the rock will have a few pressure points hitting the glass and all that weight above it that it is supporting will eventually cause the rock to crack your glass.

You will need to change up your rock formation every 2 months of so. This will break up the territories and help reduce aggression. This is why I don't use adhesive. Plus, I like to change the look of the aquarium every couple of months. It also gives you a chance to change the size of the caves as the fish grow. One problem with lace rock is that the jagged edges can scratch fish so you need to make sure you have caves large enough to match your fish.

I didn't boil mine and it worked out fine. I just rinsed mine in hot water and took a hard brush to it to get all the dirt and everything off. Boiling it certainly won't hurt anything so you can do it if you want, but it really isn't necessary.

Good luck.

Stacking rocks?

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