Apricot stones were carbonised and activated after treatment with sulphuric acid (1:1) at 200 degrees C for 24 h. The ability of the activated carbon to remove Ni(II), Co(II), Cd(II), Cu(II), Pb(II), Cr(III) and Cr(VI) ions from aqueous solutions by adsorption was investigated. Batch adsorption experiments were conducted to observe the effect of pH (1-6) on the activated carbon. The adsorptions of these metals were found to be dependent on solution pH. Highest adsorption occurred at 1-2 for Cr(VI) and 3-6 for the rest of the metal ions, respectively. Adsorption capacities for the metal ions were obtained in the descending order of Cr(VI) > Cd(II) > Co(II) > Cr(III) > Ni(II) > Cu(II) > Pb(II) for the activated carbon prepared from apricot stone (ASAC). (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.