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We have already covered our numerous assorted driftwoods and stones in our hardscape article. While you can buy individual pieces of driftwood as single items in our web shop, decorative rocks are sold by the kilogram. With this article we'd like to help you choose the right kind of stones and the weight of the appropriate amount for your planted tank.
The joke "What's heavier - 1 kg of feathers or 1 kg of lead?” is also true for the various decorative stone types available for aquascaping. At the same weight, different stones may vary drastically in size. Porous stones such as most of the Lava types offer more volume than denser stones such as Frodo Stones or Yangtse Rocks. This becomes pretty clear when we take a closer look at Lava which has easily perceptible, large-pored air pockets and thus a low density. Island Lava is especially remarkable; in some cases the lava stones didn't even sink but floated on the surface for a short while due to their low density.
Here you can see all the types of stones available at Aquasabi in comparison. All of them weigh the same (1 kg), but they differs significantly in size. From top left to bottom right: Black Lava, Loa Rocks, Galapagos Rock, Tsingy Rock, Ohko Dragon Stone , Mini Landscape Seiryu, Black Pagoda, Black Rocks, Elephant Skin Rocks, Yangtse Rock, and Frodo Stone.
In our shop you can buy various types of stone starting at a minimum amount of one kilogram. Many customers buy only this amount, hoping that it is sufficient for a small nano-tank, but basically, one kilogram isn't nearly enough unless you decide to use a very light grade like lava rock.
When you are about to delve deeper into the world of aquascaping, it is good advice to always buy a bit more hardscaping material than you initially intended. Not all of it is going to be used, but you’ll have a better stash to pick from and also a selection of spares in case you want to complement or replace your hardscape at a later time. The golden rule: Don't save at the wrong end. Imagine a painter: He doesn’t calculate the exact amount of paint he’s going to need for just THAT one painting he’s about to work on, but instead has a vast supply of various paints at hand so he can spread his wings and draw upon a full scope of artistic aptitude and possibilities. An aquascaper should look at his stone materials in the same way
To be able to scape at the highest level of detail, you should have access to numerous shapes and sizes of preferably the same sort of stone – from large "main stones“ to tiny shards. Please keep in mind that almost all our types of stones have a certain minimum size we cannot go below for delivery. If you need shards and smaller fragments, you should make your own. Depending on the type of stone, they are easy to make: Just use a hammer and chisel, and do so liberally. Please note: For safety reasons, always cover the stone you want to crush with a piece of cloth so the shards won't hurt anybody.
Ohko Dragon Stone in various sizes. This type of stone is very easy to crush.
Especially if you are planning a planted tank with lots of fast-growing plants, make sure you use massive rocks for your hardscape from the beginning. Keep in mind that at least half of the hardscape is going to vanish behind the plants at a later time and that the initially massive impression of your hardscape will be diminished significantly.
Massive hardscape shortly after set-up.
The same aquascape a couple of months later with the plants basically dominating the view.
Calculating the amount of stones in kilograms you are going to need for your tank is a two-step process. First, use the following rule of thumb as a guideline:Gross volume of your tank in liters divided by six = the approximate amount of decorative stones in kilograms.
Now on to step 2: The approximate weight resulting from above formula can be adapted to the type of stone you have chosen a bit more precisely. To do so, we need to multiply the result of the rule-of-thumb-formula with a factor specific to each of the stone types listed below. This factor is the so-called bulk density, also known as bulk weight. The lighter the stones, the smaller the factor! You'll need considerably less of light types such as lava and more of heavy stones.
One example: We'll apply the rule of thumb for our standard 54 liter tank: 54/6 = 9 kg of stones. We have chosen Frodo Stones, and therefore we need to multiply the result with 1.2. This gives us a necessary amount of nearly 11 kilograms of Frodo Stones. Should you decide against Frodo since you want to use the lighter Loa Rocks instead, multiply amount of 9 kilograms with 0.8 - resulting in a mere 7.2 kilograms. A very noticeable difference!
Note: Of course, in addition to this list you can also find the ADA brand decorative stones in our web shop, such as Kei Stones, Koke Stones or Sansui Stones. All types of ADA stones are sold in packages prefabricated by ADA and are not available as loose goods.