Sedimentary rocks are some of the most common stones used as hardscapes in vivariums. Could it be the fact that there are some of the most aesthetically pleasing materials to use… Or because they are some of the more easily obtainable stones to acquire compared to some of the more pricey metamorphic and igneous rocks. Either way, they are undoubtedly great to use for aquascaping. Amongst the many sedimentary stones we cover on this site, Seiryu Stone is arguably one of the most sought after. This definitive guide will cover all aspects of this particular vivarium rock and hopefully explain the true value behind the legendary thousand layer stone.
Traditional Name: Seiryu Stone
Common Names: Thousand Layer Stone, Mini Landschaft
Habitat: Hills, Shallow Mountains
Color: Greyish Blue, White Streaks
Density (g/cm3): 1.93g – 2.90g
Hardness: 2.5 – 4
PH Impact: Raises PH, Elevates Hardness
Elemental Type: Sedimentary Rock (Carbonated Limestone)
What Is Seiryu Stone?
Seiryu Stone is a clastic sedimentary rock made up of mostly carbonated limestone with streaks of calcite veins running throughout its layers. This rock is also commonly referred to as Thousand Layer Stone and Mini Landschaft which is german for “mini landscape”. With this stone being composed mainly of calcium carbonate, it is a rather heavy rock to work with, in a vivarium. Furthermore, the marine-based sediments that form this stone make it more ideal for hard water environments.
Seiryu Stone Facts
There are a number of stones out there, that very closely resemble Seiryu Stone. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find similar rocks like Ryuoh Stone gets passed off as Seiryu Stone replicas do to their striking resemblance. Another variation of the stone often sold on the market is Black Seiryu Stone. This version of the rock has a darker hue of blue and will often time give the stone an almost black look as a whole. If you are thinking to yourself why would anyone go through the effort to counterfeit a rock? you aren’t alone… With Seiryu Stone skyrocketing in popularity within recent years, It has become illegal to export the stone from Japan. Any existing stock of the stone outside of Japan more than likely won’t be around long once it is sold out.
With so many Seiryu Stone decoys out there, it’s important to know key aspects of the rock in order to properly identify it from other stones. The color of this rock will range depending on the amount of calcium carbonate and other carbonic minerals are compacted into the stone.
Mini Landschaft has a greyish-blue color to it often sporting white veins pulsing throughout its surface. Darker shades of grey will more than likely be found in Black Seiryu Stone, a variation of the sedimentary stone covered here. The lighter, almost pale shade of grey is more than likely a different rock all together (Ryouh Stone). As I mentioned earlier, not all genuine Seiryu Stones will have the signature white streak of calcite found within it. This is a random occurrence usually found on stones mined from specific parts of an area.
Another striking detail of the Thousand Layer Stone is its deep crevices and pores found on the outer surfaces of the rock. This is an aspect of the stone that isn’t always found within the inner layers of the stone. Keep that in mind before breaking the stone into smaller sizes. Much like Dragon Stone, the revealing holes covering this solid mineral is a contribution of the weathering conditions of the environment this stone is native too.
The noticeably denser weight of Seiryu Stone is something else that makes this vivarium rock different from many others used in the hobby. Limestone is generally heavier than many other minerals. Since this rock is a sedimentary stone composed of mostly this organic matter, it will be worth noting that it should be placed firmly within a vivarium and not stacked too high.
Japan is such a resourceful place to find aquascaping stones and as one would expect, Seiryu Stone can only be found there. The shallow valleys this stone originates in is a dry slightly vegetated mainland. Due to its sudden increase in demand lately, Japan has made it illegal to export this rock as a way to combat the rapid mining of the precise mineral. Similar rocks harvested from areas other than Japan are not true Seiryu Stone and will look very different in person when compared to this particular stone.
As one would expect, Seiryu Stone does have an impact on its environment. Depending on how much of the rock is used, this stone can raise PH levels and make the surrounding water harder. This can have a devastating effect on inhabitants as well as plants that require low levels of PH and soft water parameters. One way to combat the effects of Mini Landschaft is to buffer it with low PH soils and wood. Adding these types of substrates and hardscapes is usually enough to keep water conditions at a consistently ideal level while still enjoying the aesthetics of an influential rock composed of limestone.
Seiryu Stone can be used in a variety of vivarium types. Ideally, it should go to aquariums that benefit from higher levels of hard water. Cichlid tanks, for example, require an almost brackish water setup this rock would be perfect for. Hobbyist that choice to use this rock in freshwater vivariums will often need to buffer the water with driftwood or substrate that will combat the effects of this stone.
Seiryu Stone is a very popular rock to use in simple design enclosures like iwagumi themed setups. This hardscape should be used as the centerfold of your tank being placed slightly offset from the center of your terrarium and/or aquarium. Being given a common name like Mini Landschaft should hint towards the fact that this rock does a wonderful job mimicking large mountain scapes… So use that to your advantage when designing the scape. Be sure to firmly mount this rock when working with it to prevent structure collapse later down the line.
Besides being an extremely aesthetically pleasing stone to work with… Seiryu Stone does have a number of other advantages one might not realize right away. The porous structure this rock exhibits makes it very suitable for microorganisms to anchor on. This allows healthy algae and other beneficial bacteria to form on the surface of this rock for smaller inhabitants like shrimp to eat off of. Epiphytic plants like moss also latch on very easily to this stone due to its pervious exterior.
Another great take away to using Mini Landschaft is its durability. This is a rather tough rock to work with and doesn’t break as easily as other types of aquascaping stones. That’s great for longevity purposes because it won’t easily wither away like many sedimentary rocks tend to do overtime.
Depending on the vivarium this rock is intended on going in, there might be some drawbacks to using Seiryu Stone. As I mentioned earlier, It has an impact on PH levels and water hardness. This is something to keep in mind if you are dealing with delicate livestock and you more than likely might be better off using a different hardscape material altogether if you aren’t sure about how to work with the stone. Another factor that might not be ideal for your set up is the density of Mini Landschaft. It would not be beneficial to stack this type of stone very high due to its overall weight.
Buy Seiryu Stone
With Seiryu Stone now being illegal to export out of Japan, it will eventually become nearly impossible to acquire anywhere outside of that region of the world. There are a number of retailers who currently still have a limited supply of it within the market. We were fortunate to find some available from some of those retailers over on Amazon.
When buying Mini Landschaft, consider the source and be sure it is what is listed in the description. No two pieces will look alike but it should still have many of the characteristics listed in this article. The stones may or may not come pre-cleaned so be sure to give it a quick rinse and test for any impurities that may still be present on the stones. Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info:
Seiryu Stone Recommendations
When it comes to working with Seiryu Stone for the first time, there are a few things worth keeping in mind. What kind of pieces you have and how much of it should be used are important facters. Preparing this stone for an enclousre is also a valuable step that will insure longivity. Also, making sure there aren’t unwanted elements tucked within this stone will also aid in preventing unwanted fluctuation of the custom habitat will also be recommended. Here are a few steps below to better understand the management of Mini Landschaft:
Cleaning Seiryu Stone
In most cases, newly aquired Seiryu Stone will need slight preparation before going into a vivarium. This will matter more for aquariums, ripariums and paludariums rather than terrariums since unclean stones will cause water to change color. Begin by placing stones in a bucket of cold water. Lightly rince each stone thoroughly with a medium pressure hose. Use a bamboo skewer to assist with breaking up debris trapped in small crevices. Repeat this process until you are able to place stones in a clean bucket of water and observe no noticeable change in color. Avoid using chemicals or strong water pressure so that the rocks aren’t worn down drastically and lose their aesthetic.
Breaking Seiryu Stone
Seiryu Stone can be a bit on the difficult side of the scale when it comes to breaking it into smaller pieces. Covering it with a towel and bashing it with a hammer more than likely won’t warrent aesthetically pleasing smaller bits. I would recommend the hammer and chisel procedure with this rock. Chiselling off parts of the rock is a more controlled way to break Mini Landschaft into desirable peices. No matter which way the rock is broken up, make sure to wear saftey goggles because parts of rock will go air born. Also, reclean rocks as needed once they are broken.
Rocks Similar To Seiryu Stone
When designing a new enclosure for the first time, it would be best to stick with one type of stone to use as a hardscape. Furthermore, this type of rock can be hard to come by due to its recent limitability. If, for any reason, you find Seiryu Stone difficult to aquire, or simply want to consider something different… There are a wide variety of stones to contemplate. Here are some other types of stones one might find are worth taking a look at in the place of Mini Landschaft:
Overall, I love everything about Seiryu Stone. It’s environmental effects on a vivarium is easily manageble with a little bit of understanding. No pun intended when I say it’s well worth its weight in appearence. It is an excellent stone to use in a setup that aims for simplicity… Mini Landschaft is also great for scale due to its cliff like appearence. The fact that it has become a little harder to aquire lately has lead me on a bit of a horde when ever I am able to run across this rock in local stores. One caution I would strongly recommend is being skeptical to any retailer selling this rock. Since there are so many look-a-likes out there… It is fairly easy to end u with something other than genuine Seiryu Stone.