View Full Version : Q: Using hebel as rock structures

12-15-2003, 12:48 AM
Hi All,
I have just started gettiung into African cichlids and was considering using carved hebel blocks to create rock structures for my aquarium. I have not heard of anyone else doing it so I thought I's ask.

The reason I wanted to use Hebel is because it is light, easy to carve and create beautiful structures and it's very cheap.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


12-15-2003, 05:10 AM
I don't think I've ever heard of Hebel before. I found on Google that it's a building material originating in Germany and used in Japan and Australia, but their site didn't mention the U.S. Hopefully someone else has experience with it. We do get a few posters from Australia that might have tried it.

12-15-2003, 05:25 AM
Don't think I'd trust it in a tank, here is what I found on a website.

"It was discovered in 1914 in Sweden that adding aluminum powder to cement, lime, water, and finely ground sand caused the mixture to expand dramatically. The Swedes allowed this "foamed" concrete to harden in a mold, and then they cured it in a pressurized steam chamber--an autoclave. Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC, also called autoclaved cellular concrete--ACC) is produced by about 200 plants in 35 countries and is used extensively in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. "

12-15-2003, 05:08 PM
Thanks for the info. I am from Australia and I did try to find out from google if I can put it in water but I couldn't find anything. Hebel is an aerated cement like (ie calcium based with aluminium and nitrate to help it set during the manufacturing process) product with the benefits being very light and easy to work with. A lot of sculptures are made from hebel these days because of these properties. And that's where my idea spawn from. I can create beautiful and simple rock walls to the full height of the tank and yet not waorry about the weight when moving it in and out.

I'm still hoping that someone out there has done it before.


12-15-2003, 05:59 PM
Eewww, just the thought of putting anything with nitrate in the tank for me would be a no-no.

I wonder if this type of nitrate would remain active in water?

02-03-2004, 07:01 PM
I live in Aust. as well and also have been thinking of hebel. I was also concerned about it being reactive, and thought it might look too much like concrete as well. What I was thinking of doing was along the lines of the numerous postings on heaps of sites about creating your own backgrounds. They all talk of using polystyrene coated with a two part epoxy resin which is then coated with the color sand of choice to seal it and also make it look more natural. I was thinking of doing exactly the same thing but using hebel blocks. The resin would seal any nasties in and the sand stuck to the resin would make for a more natural appearance. They would be heavy enough to sit on the bottom of the tank without the need to attach them with silicone, as you would with polystyrene, which would make tank cleaning much easier. Hope this gives you other options to think about. I'll be interested to hear your opinion on my thoughts.


02-05-2004, 12:27 PM
Just a thought: Siphon some water from you tank into a bucket. Add an air stone and the hebel and let it sit. Do water tests periodically and see if the nitrate is leaching into the water.

I would also thing that the epoxy coating that luap suggested would seal the rock itself from the water and should be fine.