How to stack rocks

SchrutesReefs

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The layout is entirely up to you. Some folks decide to plan their aquascape based on their coral wants, if any. You can buy a putty or adhesive to hold the rock together. I’m sure glue would work, but I wouldn’t use it since the rock is much heavier than a frag plug. Instant Ocean makes a cheaper putty ($5-$8) or Nyos reef cement ($20) or anywhere in between. BRS should have a few options on their site. As far as the rock against the wall, I prefer not to because I like the look of clean glass, but some like to have certain corals grow on the back walls so rocks close to or against the wall would work for that.

Whatever you decide, just be sure it is secure. A hermit or snail could knock a rock over if it isn't stable.
 

BoxKing

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My suggestion is to make something unique, and call it your own. Anyone can throw rocks around.

NSA scapes are simpler than they look. All it takes is CA thin superglue, + baking soda, combined with the rocks of your choice.
 

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Tonycass12

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Use just enough glue or the 2 part epoxy like stuff you can get from local fish shop to hold the rocks togeather enough to stay stable. You don't want anything getting knocked over and scratching the glass. Building your scape that way gives you a lot more opportunities to make overhangs and caves in my opinion rather then just stacking the rocks where they fit. I left a couple inch gap along the back wall for flow. With my tank 24x24x16tall I stacked up towards the left back side so from at least 2 sides of the tank you get a good slope for placing corals and allowing them to grow out. The other side is a little more vertical and will probably have more entrusting corals on that side. If you click on my build thread badge you can see some pics to help show what I'm trying to explain.
 
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ying yang

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Few different ways to aquascape with or without glue or epoxy or fibre glass rods or acrylic rods.
Can drill into rocks and then place rods through and then rocks are stacked and less chance rock falls.
Just stack carefully.
Or brs or tidal gardens has some excellent ways of aquascaping.i choose the nsa way which = negative space aquascape which i find best as i built 2 structures so each structure only 1 base rock which is touching bottom glass rather than what would of been maybe 10 or more rocks. And i incorporated caves at bottom and swim throughs and different heights/ hang overs for placement of different light loving corals later.
And get more swimming area for fish this way rather than mainly just at the top of tank.imo dont go higher with your rocks than 2/ 3 or 75% of height of tank as corals will generally grow upwards towards the light and when feeding fish will eat near top so dont want hazards.
Stack rocks directly on the glass bottom then place sand around the rocks ( instead of put sand in then stack rocks onto sand as rocks can shift on their own as generally lots flow in reef tanks plus burrowing shrimps or fish can cause rock slides) dont worry the glass more than strong enough.make sure tank on its cabinet has nothing sticking up like nail or screw head as this causes a stress point in the glass and all weight of water/sands rock on top no good so stand and tank on top of stand level as can be.( i seen YouTube videos of literally as many rocks as you can fit in a tank and even one of a guy in very small aquarium and stacked rocks then stood on rocks and all was ok.
Some aquariums bottom glass is tempered glass which is strong as hell ( do not ever drill through tempered glass as it will shatter/ break)
I used ca glue which is aquarium safe and no need to buy glue that says aquarium safe as it will cost you so much more because says " aquarium safe" and placed few splodges of glue then through sand into the joints.you dont want a gel superglue you want a very viscosity glue so ultra thin the better as gives more of a hold and sets faster i believe. For coral frags a gel is ok but for heavy rocks you want like waterish consistency. Then i used some cheap aquarium safe mortar to go over the joints for extra sense of security ( maybe the amount of glue i used would been string enough but mortar i used)
All ways have their pros and cons.
If dont glue or epoxy or use epoxy that can be pulled apart then easier to take rocks out tank if want to add corals or take them off or if get aiptasia or etc etc where as large rock structure be much harder.
 

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ying yang

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And as said above leave some room around all sides so can clean glass with algae magnet or scraper or your hand otherwise maybe bits you can't clean and may do your head in ^_^
I have stacked rocks in the past on the back glass with no structural problems but detritus ( fish poop and nasty stuff ) always collected there as less flow then got uneaten food/ poop slowly breaking down but all upto however you want to do it and what you want to achieve / your plans for future are and even what fish you want to keep,some lije caves/ some perch on rocks/ some swim constantly, sleeping places at lights out etc etc
 

zalick

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Few different ways to aquascape with or without glue or epoxy or fibre glass rods or acrylic rods.
Can drill into rocks and then place rods through and then rocks are stacked and less chance rock falls.
Just stack carefully.
...
This is what I do - drill holes and fiberglass rods. I also drill lots of extra holes for little fish and to place corals.

But when you drill rocks, you must wear a respirator! Inhaling rock dust is very bad!
 

Cell

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I'd recommend hopping on Youtube, searching "reef tank aquascaping" and watch some videos. Think of what you want your scape to look like, then make a judgement on what tools you need to achieve it. Looking for "impossible" gravity-defying structures? You are going to need mortar and perhaps a PVC or fiberglass rod skeleton for support. Going for a natural look? Then maybe you just use gravity and no glue at all.

Also consider the type of livestock you want and how your scape will suit them.
 
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