5 Ideas for Your Seiryu Stone Aquascape

Posted by Miles Harrison on 11/25/2022

Seiryu stones are some of the most popular stones in the planted tank scene. If you’ve ever seen famous aquascapes by Takashi Amano then you’ve likely seen these stones before.

Their unique appearance makes them a favorite pick for an iwagumi style aquascape, but they also look great in dutch style planted tanks. If you’ve recently acquired some seiryu stones, you might be wondering how to best position them in your aquarium. Well, you're in luck, because in this post, we’re going to discuss 5 of our favorite tank designs that incorporate the seiryu stone. Let’s get started!

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Seiryu Stones Explained

Seiryu Stones originate from Japan, where they are also referred to as dragon stones. They are limestone-based and have a blueish/gray coloration with white veins that ripple throughout the stone.

These stones dramatically increased in popularity with the emergence of Iwagumi aquascapes. These minimalistic aquariums make quite an impression as they are simplistic, and offer a sense of scale that isn’t as apparent in jungle-like aquascapes.

It’s no wonder that these stones are in high demand, so much so that they’ve been rumored to be illegal to export in Japan. Stores have attempted to sell ryuoh stones and mislabeled them as seiryu, as they have a very similar appearance.

5 Seiryu Stone Aquascape Ideas

Whether or not your seiryu stones are authentic, you’ll want to make use of them in the best way possible to create a unique aquascape.

The cracks and veins of these stones serve as perfect hiding spots for shrimp colonies and nano schooling fish love to swim near these stones for protection.

With so many interesting and unique designs you can create from these stones, the possibilities are endless! It’s always nice to have some design inspiration, so let’s get into some of our favorite layout ideas.

Two Mountains

Creating an aquascape with two distinct mountains can be quite enjoyable. If you plan on housing invertebrates, you may notice snails and shrimp climbing to the top of these magnificent peaks.

An aquascape like this is easy to set up, but you’ll want to plant carpeting plants heavily from the start. Otherwise, you’ll most likely encounter different types of algae.

Image of an Iwagumi aquascape with two mountains
Two mountains create the ultimate climbing challenge for your invertebrates

Centered Rocks

Positioning your seiryu stones in the center of an aquascape can give your aquarium a zen-like vibe. Your tank inhabitants will tend to hang near this space, as they’ll prefer the hiding places located in the center of the aquarium.

We recommend this positioning if you have schooling fish, such as purple moscow guppies or aquarium shrimp, such as orange pumpkin shrimp, as they have shy personalities. Since your hardscape is centered, it will put your inhabitants front and center, directly in the spotlight!

Image of an Iwagumi aquascape with centered stones
Centered stones can put shy inhabitants directly in the spotlight


Spreading out your seiryu stones and surrounding them with various stem plants gives a jungle-like, overgrown appearance. If you're into a more earthy feel, then the overgrown layout might be the perfect option for you.

You’ll want high-density stem plants, any rotala species or plants such as Hygrophila Salicifolia and Nymphoides Hydrophylla are excellent options for an overgrown tank with seiryu stones.

Image of an dutch style aquascape with seiryu stones
Overgrown aquascapes give an aquarium a jungle-like appearance

Sand Substrate

While many aquascapes feature gravel-based substrates, utilizing sand opens the door to many different layout possibilities.

Aquatic plants will not root as easily in the sand, allowing you to create intricate divisions along the bottom of the tank. Some aquarists will even use the sand to create small roads that wind throughout an aquascape. Smaller plants, such as Anubias Frazeri can be anchored to the seiryu stones as a foliage option.

Image of an aquarium with sand substrate
Sand can be used to create small paths and roads throughout an aquascape
Image by caffeinetherapy

Sloped Mountain

Creating a mountain that slopes downwards from left-to-right or right-to-left is a great option for those looking to add larger stem plants, and red aquarium plants can be added to give a nice pop of color to the green foliage.

You can position any filtration, aquarium heaters, or CO2 reactors on the barren side of the tank, making servicing and cleaning much easier. Stem plants won’t sway as much since they’re on the opposite side of the filter outflows.

Image of a sloped aquascape
Sloped aquascapes can make filter cleanings much easier


As you can see, there are plenty of interesting design options if you’re interested in creating a seiryu stone aquascape. Whether you choose to go with a more minimalist look or go full-blown jungle, seiryu stone aquascapes allow for limitless creativity.

If you’re interested in learning more about seiryu stones, or aquascaping in general, check out our community forum where we discuss all things aquascaping.

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Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!