Aquaponic Gardening

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Are there any advantages to your siphon drain over bell siphon? Where can I get lava rock in Orange Co.How does it affect PH and I assume it is cost effective.  I am using 1/2 hydroton, 1/2 pea gravel to cut the cost. I use the cement mixing bins from HD and only have about 4" of grow medium height, but my plants seems to be doing well. see my videos. thanks in advance.

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Bell siphons are one of the better siphons to use. If built correctly, they don't often clog or stop working properly. Normally the worst failure you can get in a bell siphon system is a permanent draining of your grow beds. Im not sure what you mean by siphon drain either. Personally I would leave out the lava rock I have never liked the stuff and hydroton works much better.


You should try a 12" depth for you medium in your grow beds, apparently many people have tried various grow bed depths, and 12" or 300mm is the best for almost every plant.

Hi Matt, thanks, I think it was a loop siphon. I am trying to budget my systems, what is a cheaper medium?
It depends on your local quarry/ landscapers call around and ask. Depending on your location pea gravel can be much cheaper then 3/4" no fines. 3/4" no fines is $16 per yard in my city. That is pretty damn cheap, lava rock here costs 30 something a yard.
is "no fines" a type of pea gravel. As long as we are talking gravel, I was thinking of putting gravel on the bottom of my fish ponds but most of the post on the internet say not to. what is your take?
well no fines is describing the type, sometimes if you call up a gravel shop and ask for just pea gravel or 3/4" you can get extra sand a grit. No fines just means the product has been screened well. At my local quarry they offer both, so if your not careful the cheaper stuff has the fines in it and can clog your system and hurt pumps.
3/4" or 20mm gravel is what's recommended if you don't want to buy Hydroton. Pea gravel will have higher surface area then 3/4" but lower air and root space. The main advantage of pea gravel: it's easy on the hands compared to 3/4".
ok, thanks,,
Oh yeah I forgot to ask if your ponds are hard bottom or liners?
I have two that are plastic tubs and one with pond liner.
In the plastic tubs you can use gravel in the bottom. There is a reason it is not generally recommended. It traps fish waste if not vacumed, and it has to be round with no sharp pieces so the fish dont get scraped if they run into it. Also you do not use gravel in a liner pond because rocks can pierce the liner quite easily.

First I will warn again that you need to find out what kind of rock the gravel is!!!!!!  Pea gravel only describes the size/shape.

Limestone and marble are not appropriate for aquaponics cause they will keep the pH too high.

The Place I get rock from is Just outside Orange County (but you didn't tell us the state so unless you are asking about Orange County Florida my info probably won't help you) pebble junction


I use 1/2" brown river rock which is mostly quartz type river pebbles.


If you are trying to set up aquaponics fish tanks to grow a fairly large number of edible fish in short order, then skip the gravel in the fish tanks.  Gravel in fish tanks is only if you are trying to keep crawfish happy or provide breeding situations for particular fish or if you are setting up a display aquarium and plan to vacuum your gravel regularly.  Gravel in the bottom of a fish tank in aquaponics situations usually just provides a place for fish poo to collect and become anaerobic and then if stirred up it can release toxic substances into the water.


Really heavy duty liner (The Firestone pondguard EPDM liner) can handle rocks and gravel just fine but I still don't recommend gravel in the fish pond except if it is an ornamental pond very lightly stocked and then the gravel is for planting the pond plants.

thanks for the detailed information. I only have feeder goldfish and a couple of koi, as I am a vegetarian. D am retired so I have plenty of time on my hands to keep the fish tanks clean. I am in Orange Co. Calif. so if anyone from here knows where to get the best pea gravel for the grow beds , please post here..

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