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 Post subject: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 10th, '16, 14:03 
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Hey guys,

I am new to aquaponics and can't get enough of it. I am planning my system now and I can't find the answer to my simple question that is 'can i combine growbed media together for a better effect?'

I ask this because each media has pros and cons e.g. Hydroton is more absorbent than gravel but its more expensive and gravel is heavier. If I combine the medias then can I get the best of both.

I understand that if I combine gravel and hydroton then then the gravel will probably sink to the bottom leaving the hydroton at the top but is that a bad thing?

Any thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 10th, '16, 15:42 
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I use Hydroton and red scoria and they get mixed pretty quick. Plants grow just as well. My hands get a bit more scraped up digging around in the scoria so there is an advantage to keeping them separate but it's not a necessity.


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 Post subject: Re: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 10th, '16, 15:48 
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Quote:
I understand that if I combine gravel and hydroton then then the gravel will probably sink to the bottom leaving the hydroton at the top but is that a bad thing?

nope. If you have deeper beds there are various people that make bottom half heavy gravel etc and top half as expanded clay (hydroton). Makes it easier to plant into as you can move the clay easily by hand. Clay has a big plus for moisture retention and wicking over stone/rock gravel and it also tends to heat up less in full sun. So not bad idea to have the rock fully submerged in the bottom.
If you mix the 2 the only real negative is that heavy gravel/scoria will tend to break up your expanded clay balls, so you end up with lots of chipped and broken clay.

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 Post subject: Re: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 10th, '16, 18:15 
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Welcome to the forum! :wave: I've got scoria (lava rock) in the bottom 20cm of my grow beds and expanded clay in the top 10cm; I want the scoria for surface area and cheap price and the expanded clay for ease of handling. They'll get a bit mixed up as I remove and replace plants, but it works fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 14th, '16, 19:20 
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Welcome to the fantastic World of Aquaponics!

I have blue granite rock chippings in the bottom and Hydroton on top.

Works like a charm.

Looking forward to see what you will build!

Cheers - Jens

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 Post subject: Re: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 15th, '16, 06:22 
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In my small system I have 9 GBs with mostly gravel and ~25% clay balls mixed in, but just went for straight river gravel in my 2nd, larger system to save a lot of money, since clay is 5-10 times the price of gravel. If you can get rounded 15-20mm size gravel, it isn't too rough on your hands.

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Last edited by Gunagulla on Sep 15th, '16, 06:49, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 15th, '16, 06:32 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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What ever you use will work as others have said the more money you spend [clay balls ] the easier to work with
I did an experiment a while back 4 beds same water everything
one clay balls one vecumlite [sounds like ] one scoria one 1/4 bluestone
They all grew exactly the same

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 Post subject: Re: Mixing growbed media
PostPosted: Sep 18th, '16, 08:22 
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Yea I mixed clay balls, blue metal and pea gravel. Anything works really.

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