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I'm hoping to find someone who is actually using the Growstones recycled glass media.  I'm very interested in it since it is a much more sustainably produced material.  However, a quick read of their website indicates that it may increase pH. Is anyone using it and what has been your experience?

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Finally, found plantit, but I have not been looking, until recently. I have not added a grow-bed in sometime.

Re: Growstones

When a person is paid to discuss an issue, I am hesitant to trust them. If I recall correctly, Paula did research on growstones for her PhD.

However, I have been using Growstones for about a year. My two grow-beds using growstones are pond liner on plywood frames. One has a 300 gal fish tank the other has a 150 gal fish tank. In the 300 gal tank, I have crayfish, catfish, and tilapia.

I have not found shards doing any harm to my fish.

I have not found the growstones dissolving at an alarming rate.

I have not found the growstones doing any damage to my pond liner. Next year, when I move everything, I will know more.

I have not found the growstones doing any harm to my red wigglers. I have a bunch in my grow-beds.

The only drawbacks that I can see are or were the cost and delivery time. Growstones were about the same price as hydroton and you had to purchase it by the pallet and delivery took a long time. Now plantit is about half the price.

 

 

 

I have one bus tub grow bed that has growstones in it.  They are very light which allows me to transport this small grow bed for demonstrations without having to empty the media out of the grow bed.  I was keeping mosquito fish in the aquarium hooked to this grow bed until last week (when some one bought all the mosquito fish.)  No harm to the fish from the growstones. 

Only complaints about it might be;

As noted, price and shipping.

If I was planting into it constantly I would probably object to the sandpaper texture against my fingernails.

And if used in large beds where large crops might be grown it might actually be too light to provide good anchoring for thinks like sunflowers, corn, okra, papaya, and banana.

Hi Dave, 

I worked with Growstones since it first days, in greenhouses at the CEAC in Tucson. But, I am a grower at heart, so for my graduate research I actually studied a thing or two about greenhouse tomatoes (grown in rockwool! the most common commercial media at the time).

You are absolutely right about how bias one might seem when talking about your own product. Usually I would not have a say in this great open forum. But Sylvia was gracious enough to invite me in among all you great people, not to endorse or push anything about a particular media, but to learn and make myself available to answer questions and be a constructive element in an ongoing discussion regarding how Growstones in Aquaponics.
All I hope is that I learn a lot from everyone here along the way, even not being able to be as present in the forum as I would like. And clarify some issues, without bias, anytime I can. 

Thank you for sharing your experiences with Growstones, the good and the bad!
  
Please let me know how the liner looks when you move it all.
Best regards,  

Paula



Dave Story said:

Finally, found plantit, but I have not been looking, until recently. I have not added a grow-bed in sometime.

Re: Growstones

When a person is paid to discuss an issue, I am hesitant to trust them. If I recall correctly, Paula did research on growstones for her PhD.

However, I have been using Growstones for about a year. My two grow-beds using growstones are pond liner on plywood frames. One has a 300 gal fish tank the other has a 150 gal fish tank. In the 300 gal tank, I have crayfish, catfish, and tilapia.

I have not found shards doing any harm to my fish.

I have not found the growstones dissolving at an alarming rate.

I have not found the growstones doing any damage to my pond liner. Next year, when I move everything, I will know more.

I have not found the growstones doing any harm to my red wigglers. I have a bunch in my grow-beds.

The only drawbacks that I can see are or were the cost and delivery time. Growstones were about the same price as hydroton and you had to purchase it by the pallet and delivery took a long time. Now plantit is about half the price.

 

 

 

Thanks for the feedback TCLynx. They are in fact light, about 1/5 of the density of water. 
I am taking notes on all feedback here on cost and time of delivery. I will relayed this info to the company.
Best, 
Paula
 

TCLynx said:

I have one bus tub grow bed that has growstones in it.  They are very light which allows me to transport this small grow bed for demonstrations without having to empty the media out of the grow bed.  I was keeping mosquito fish in the aquarium hooked to this grow bed until last week (when some one bought all the mosquito fish.)  No harm to the fish from the growstones. 

Only complaints about it might be;

As noted, price and shipping.

If I was planting into it constantly I would probably object to the sandpaper texture against my fingernails.

And if used in large beds where large crops might be grown it might actually be too light to provide good anchoring for thinks like sunflowers, corn, okra, papaya, and banana.

LOL

back in aug 2012, I mentioned about the shards (sandpaper) hard on my hands. My fingernails are shot from handeling the red worms and compost and tea, I think. 
 
TCLynx said:

I have one bus tub grow bed that has growstones in it.  They are very light which allows me to transport this small grow bed for demonstrations without having to empty the media out of the grow bed.  I was keeping mosquito fish in the aquarium hooked to this grow bed until last week (when some one bought all the mosquito fish.)  No harm to the fish from the growstones. 

Only complaints about it might be;

As noted, price and shipping.

If I was planting into it constantly I would probably object to the sandpaper texture against my fingernails.

And if used in large beds where large crops might be grown it might actually be too light to provide good anchoring for thinks like sunflowers, corn, okra, papaya, and banana.

corn and banana, I have not tried. My papaya grew GREAT in the growstones, but I did wire it to the greenhouse frame. when the papaya was out the roof, I transplanted to a container with soil, Dec. 2012. this picture is at about a year.
 
Dave Story said:

LOL

back in aug 2012, I mentioned about the shards (sandpaper) hard on my hands. My fingernails are shot from handeling the red worms and compost and tea, I think. 
 
TCLynx said:

I have one bus tub grow bed that has growstones in it.  They are very light which allows me to transport this small grow bed for demonstrations without having to empty the media out of the grow bed.  I was keeping mosquito fish in the aquarium hooked to this grow bed until last week (when some one bought all the mosquito fish.)  No harm to the fish from the growstones. 

Only complaints about it might be;

As noted, price and shipping.

If I was planting into it constantly I would probably object to the sandpaper texture against my fingernails.

And if used in large beds where large crops might be grown it might actually be too light to provide good anchoring for thinks like sunflowers, corn, okra, papaya, and banana.

Paua,

tell the truth..

Do you miss Pat, Gene, and the whole group at the CEAC?

I bet florida is a lot less stress.

Hi Dave,
Yes at times I do. It was an important period for all of us. I keep in touch with Gene.
But...Florida is greener, and I like green. A lot.
Hope all is well with you.

Dave Story said:

Paua,

tell the truth..

Do you miss Pat, Gene, and the whole group at the CEAC?

I bet florida is a lot less stress.

Hi Rob - I hear your concern about these shards in Growstones.

Are you referring to pieces of glass in the bag or the sand ? Thanks

Rob Torcellini said:

I bought a bag of them to evaluate.  They are extremely lightweight, but were very abrasive on the hands.  There are a lot of shards in it too.  I was very concerned about a shard getting into the fish tank and having them ingest it.  At least with the shale, they are smooth.  Even a broken piece of shale isn't as sharp as the grow stones.  They may be fine but I didn't put them into my system.

Hi Roger, 
Yes. Growstones tend to slightly increase the water pH, say from neutral to 7.4 when initially in contact with water. A lot of the pH dynamics depends on the source water pH, and the volume of water to volume of Growstones used in the system. As I mentioned previously, for a higher volume of water than volume of Growstones, pH tends to stay around neutral. Please let me know if you have any other questions. 
Paula Costa
R&D, Growstone

Hi Roger, 

Sorry, this information might come too late by now. But thought it might be good to share it with you anyway.

The Growstones bag label shows the volume in ft3 and liters (1.25 ft3 and 35.4 liters).

Regarding the buffer - you are correct. A pH buffer is in fact added to the recycled glass powder before 'baking' the mix. The pH buffer we use is di-Calcium Phosphate, a substance that is OMRI listed as 'Accepted' for organic production, and it is only added in a very low amount.
Let me know if you have any further questions on this.  Best,
Paula Costa, Growstone 


Roger & April Frederick said:

That's the part I was concerned about, the fact that they added something to counteract the pH. Even though I don't have fish in the system yet, I'm really trying not to add chemicals to adjust balances.

It was about the same price (~.02 to .04 per liter cheaper) as the Hydroton at most of the suppliers I checked. You have to do a little converting to see it though since the Growstone is sold in liter bags and the Hydroton in cubic feet.  The thing I like best about it is that its a recycled rather than a mined product.

 

  Vanishing growstones

After a year of growing in this bed with growstones, I decided to clean and replant.

To my surprise, it appears that about 20% of the surface has dissolved. The dark areas are where the growstones appear to have gone back to sand/shards either at the bottom of the grow-bed or the 300 gal tank under this grow-bed. As mentioned earlier, this has not harmed the fish to my knowledge.

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