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I have an interesting idea you can try if you have the right tools;

take a bunch of lava rocks, and using a saw with a ceramic cutting blade,
cut the lava rocks down the middle length wise. now glue the flat cut side
to the back of your tank using some silicon, creating a rock wall you can
lift an inch or so off your substrate so you can keep more planted area.
then attach Anubias, Moss, whatever you like and create a wonderful
backdrop your plants and animals will love to grow around and explore.
 

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That's a really awesome idea! Depending on the size of glass and amount of rock i would imagine it could create a lot of stress on the glass though.
 

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Depending on the size of glass and amount of rock i would imagine it could create a lot of stress on the glass though.
one would think so, but that's the beauty of lace, lava or feller stone.
it's nearly neutrally buoyant under water, so once you fill the tank it
should not cause your glass significant stress. of course you could
glue mount the rock halves as to support each other in order to share
some of the weight with each rock below. what I like most about this
idea is by using rock halves and a little silicone glue, you won't have
to worry about a lot of animals and crap getting stuck behind the rocks,
or accidentally knocking the rocks against the glass and risk shattering it.
keep in mind that as the weight of the rocks pull the glass in, the water
weight is pushing the glass out, so I don't think the glass will be stressed.
you might want to paint your tank glass black first so the gaps between
the rocks don't leak light in through the clear glass between the rocks.
 

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I think there is too much generalization of "lava rock". There are lots and lots of type of rocks formed from lava. Neutral buoyancy, or floating lava rock is pumice. Most people refer to the red or black basalts as "lava rock" and those are definitely not neutrally buoyant. There are also dense basalt from flows which are very iron rich, etc. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that not all "lava rock" is light, for the people who are not rock savvy.

I think on the cichlid forums, there are guys who have successfully stacked basalts by drilling the rocks and then cementing a rod (dowel maybe) through them so that the rods are hidden and the rocks stay together. The might be quite an easy project to undertake, if you have the right tools (basically, masonry drill bits).
 

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cutting them in half to double your coverage and have the rocks flush against the glass is a good idea, but wheels may have a better approach of using a threaded rod and link the rocks together by drilling holes through them. at least that way the arrangement is more portable and can be removed from the tank easily. just make sure the bottom of the rod is not against the bottom glass or that will create a fracture point in the glass bottom. of the three, lava, feller and lace, lace seems to be the lightest. lace stone color is pretty drab, but it won't matter if you plant on covering most of it in plants. James, I have not tried ANY of this, so do it at your own risk. I simply imagine it might be an interesting project to pursue. I don't think you can cut the rocks with a hand saw without them falling apart. the best thing would be to find someone who cuts brick or tile, and ask him to cut your rocks on his electric table saw.
 

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I have seen people use the "rod" technique to stack Lava Rock and it works well. Just make sure that the rod you are using is made from stainless steel (anything with Iron in it will rust, not good).

Attaching the Lava Rock to the back wall of the aquarium is pretty neat idea, but cutting the rock may be challenging. I agree that taking the pieces you want to cut to a masonry place to have it cut would be ideal, although could be pricey. I'm also concerned about using silicone to attach the pieces... Depending on the type of lava rock it may be difficult to physically attach it to the glass.. it might be difficult to get the silicone to bond to the porous rock. I suppose however if the rock were arranged so it supports itself the stresses would be reduced, but it would be difficult to tell without actually trying it.

You have me thinking a lot about this.. I might pick up a 10 Gallon tank to experiment with to see if its possible.. I have a bunch of sculpted lava rock already that would look pretty cool in this kind of setup.

I'll keep you posted.
 

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I've had a number of tanks where I stacked the red lava rock all the way to the top--I love a rock wall for Malawi cichlids.

Here's a stacking tip: Put the smaller pieces on the bottom and the bigger pieces on top. It's a lot easier to get a stable pile that way.
 

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Just stack them. No glue needed. Don't go at it haphazardly though. Chose your pieces wisely and make sure you get proper support, larger pieces on the bottom, smaller on top, etc., but mix it up a bit. I don't see how putting the smaller pieces on bottom would be more stable, like cherylh said. I'm curious though...





I have HC and petite nana in that tank now along with the moss. Nice, low maintenance and the shrimp have lots of places to hide and search for food.
 
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