Exploring the Impact of Rocks on Water Parameters in Aquascaping

**Editor’s Note: You’ll find in the second section, AI considered Mopani wood a stone… I found that interesting in the spirit of the AI experiment and left it as is – I  may re-run this blog post in the future to see if AI has changed its mind on the whole wood vs rock situation. Also, I just loved “However, rocks such as driftwood,” as the start of a sentence 🤣🤣🤣**

Aquascaping is an art form that combines creativity and science to create stunning underwater landscapes. While plants, substrate, and lighting play crucial roles, the choice of rocks also significantly impacts the overall aesthetics and water parameters of an aquarium. In this blog post, we will delve into the impact that certain rocks can have on water parameters, specifically focusing on three inert common aquascaping stones and three stones that can alter water parameters.

Inert Aquascaping Stones:

  1. Seiryu Stone: Seiryu stone, originating from Japan, is a popular choice in aquascaping due to its unique appearance. This limestone-based rock is generally inert, meaning it does not significantly impact water parameters. It usually has a rugged texture with jagged edges and often features intricate patterns of gray, blue, or green colors. Seiryu stone can provide an appealing contrast when combined with vibrant green aquatic plants.
  2. Dragon Stone (Ohko Stone): Dragon stone, also known as Ohko stone, is another inert stone frequently used in aquascaping. It is a type of sandstone characterized by its weathered appearance and rough texture. Dragon stone tends to have earthy tones, with shades of red, brown, and gray. Its irregular shape and crevices provide interesting hiding spots for fish and invertebrates. This stone is well-suited for creating mountainous or hardscape-themed aquascapes.
  3. Manten Stone: Manten stone, originating from China, is a dense and sturdy rock that does not significantly affect water parameters. It is typically dark gray or black in color, with a smooth surface and subtle patterns. Manten stone is often used to create elegant and minimalist aquascapes due to its sleek appearance. It pairs well with both vibrant and subtle plant choices, allowing for a versatile aquascaping design.

Rocks that Influence Water Parameters:

  1. Driftwood (Malaysian or Mopani): Although technically not a stone, driftwood has a substantial impact on water parameters in an aquarium. It releases tannins into the water, which can lower the pH and create a slightly acidic environment. Malaysian and Mopani driftwood are popular choices due to their durability and intriguing shapes. These types of driftwood can add a natural and aged look to an aquascape, making them ideal for biotope setups or setups that require softer water.
  2. African Cichlid Rock (Limestone): African Cichlid Rock, commonly made of limestone, is often used in aquarium setups for cichlid species originating from Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. These rocks have a high calcium carbonate content, which raises the water’s pH and hardness. This mimics the natural habitat of these cichlids, which thrive in alkaline conditions. African Cichlid Rock typically has a pale, sandy color and is composed of various shapes and sizes, enabling aquascapers to create intriguing rock formations.
  3. Shale Rock: Shale rock is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of clay minerals and fine-grained particles. It has the potential to release minerals and compounds into the water, which can influence water parameters. Shale rock often exhibits layers or laminations, creating an interesting visual effect. It can be used to create rocky slopes or terraces in an aquascape. However, caution should be exercised when using shale rock, as its impact on water parameters may vary.


The selection of rocks in aquascaping is a crucial aspect that impacts both the visual appeal and water parameters of an aquarium. Inert stones like Seiryu stone, Dragon stone, and Manten stone provide flexibility in aquascape design without significantly altering water chemistry. However, rocks such as driftwood, African Cichlid Rock, and shale rock can influence water parameters by altering pH, hardness, or releasing minerals. It is essential to understand the properties of different rocks and their potential effects on water parameters before incorporating them into an aquascape. By carefully choosing the appropriate rocks, aquascapers can create captivating underwater landscapes while ensuring the well-being of their aquatic inhabitants.

**AI Prompt write a blog post on the impact certain rocks can have on water parameters, mention 3 inert common aquacaping stones and 3 that will change water parameters**

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