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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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Hi David,
Thanks for sharing this.
It is good to confirm that the sand (so called shards) did no harm to the fish as far as you can tell.

Regarding the Growstones turning into sand through time (I believe that is what you refer as 'dissolved') - I have a quick question: during the year growing in Growstones was there a lot of replanting, moving of the substrates?

The reason why I ask is because, if Growstones are moved frequently and the stones rub against each other in the grow bed, this will create some sand due to handling. I guess the amount of handling necessary depends on the crops grown as some have longer cycles (tomatoes), and need almost no handling of the media for longer periods, while others have very short cycles (lettuce) and need frequent replanting.

Growstones will not turn into sand when the media is not moved or handled frequently. But they will give up some sand if rubbing against each other for whatever reason. Note that this is not a 'dissolution process' - it is the shedding of a porous aggregate by mechanical forces due to handling. Same happens during shipping.

What types of crops did you grow and how well did they grow ?  


 

I paid $25.00 for about a 47 liter bag of Plant!t, which looks like and feels like hydroton. Whatever happened in my grow-bed to cause the Growstones to dissolve, I am sure that others are experiencing the same results. So even if growstones lowers their price to be competitive and provides better shipping, I believe, I will go with plant!t  for my next purchases.

Now I have this grow- bed re-setup with growstones . I took some of the growstones from the other bed to cover the dissolved growstones media. I will make a new evaluation in December.

Something I have noticed over time with every media I've used.......

IT SETTLES.

I can fill a bed so the gravel, stalite, shale, grow stones etc whatever are well above the water line in the bed.  Then let the bed flood and drain for a time and start growing plants in it.  In general in a few weeks I will find spots where the water is coming up over the media making it wet and I have to top up the media or lower the water level.  This is not because the media is dissolving, it isn't.  It is because it is settling, the bed is likely bulging a little or the bottom sagging a little and the media is settling into those spaces or just settling in tighter among itself.

I also notice there is a tendency for some plants to get pulled out roots and all and if the time isn't taken to get all the media out of the roots, the bed will loose some media volume that way.  I find the less porous media sticks to the roots less.  I can pull a seedling tray out of the quarts river rock without any media coming out stuck to the roots but the trays in the more porous media I have to spend time tickling the media out of the roots before I can take the tray to the transplanting station.

There will be pros and cons to each type of media you consider.

Sure. I have had the same experiences. What is the price of growstones, now? I ordered it by the pallet and it was about the same as hydroton.  For me, it is about doing the job at a reasonable price.

That makes sense Dave. As for the current price of Growstones, I know most stores have pallet discounted prices. You may want to check directly with a few local ones as the price varies slightly from store to store.




Dave Story said:

Sure. I have had the same experiences. What is the price of growstones, now? I ordered it by the pallet and it was about the same as hydroton.  For me, it is about doing the job at a reasonable price.

Paula,

I have a quick question regarding your statement "...but they will give up some sand if rubbing against each other..". In our system, plants are moved pretty frequently so I suspect we would see more erosion than less. Does the released and settling sand have an abrading effect on pump impellers?

Thanks,

Matt

Hi All,

This is an interesting discussion.  I have looked at hydroton and other growing medium.

Frankly, I can't justify the use of any other medium than pea gravel.  I pay $36 for a Yard

delivered to my back gate.  Yes, it needs to be washed and Yes, it is heavy, but I can't

justify the cost of anything else.

Besides, It won't ablate away, settle Yes, but not disappear.

I have purchased some foam shipping beads to use in a small vertical garden

I am building.  I am going keep the whole system separate from the rest. I will get

fish water from the pond but will dump it once it comes through the tower until

I know things are safe.

Paul.

As long as the pea gravel in your location is large enough and not made of limestone.  I have to warn people constantly that "pea" gravel describes shape/size but doesn't tell what kind of rock it will be.  In many places if you order pea gravel, it will be limestone.  In my location the cheapest rock is going to be limestone since that is the only rock mined in my state, all the other types of rock come in by rail from other states.

Hi Matt, 
Growstones don't disappear or disintegrate with handling. They are large enough and will remain a large stone or aggregate with all its physical properties, long after many years of usage. Yes, they will produce some fines as does Hydroton, and other media that is not gravel. The degree of handling and how the media is handled will have an impact on the amount of fines. For example using trowels to handle plants in Growstones will create more fines. I usually use gloves. But that might not be everyone else's preference. Each grower will have to determine which media best fits its system, crop and way to grow. 

Your question with regards to the effect of these fines on the pumps is the really important question here.
I can tell you that has not been our experience so far, but it really depends on the type of pump used and the length of time it is used.

This is an important issue and we want to take a deeper look at it ourselves. Hopefully will soon have a more definite answer for you. I will keep updating the forum with any new findings from multiple Aquaponic trials we will be conducting in this year. 
Paula Costa


Matt Freshour said:

Paula,

I have a quick question regarding your statement "...but they will give up some sand if rubbing against each other..". In our system, plants are moved pretty frequently so I suspect we would see more erosion than less. Does the released and settling sand have an abrading effect on pump impellers?

Thanks,

Matt

I have stopped following some of these groups because the "experts" have no experience. I feel sorry for the people who follow the inexperienced, but maybe following these people is better than doing nothing.

 

Originally, Paula said she did not use growstones in her grad research at UA. Because of that statement as well as other remarks, I feel sure that she has never used growstones and all of her information is coming from the propaganda putout by the manufacturing facility, her employer. 

 

Anyway, all anyone needs to do is take two growstones, rub them together, take the shards released, then imagine the pump impeller pushing that stuff into the grow-bed. I have the largest grow-beds of growstones of any person whom I know. I have the most experience of any person who I have heard of using growstones.

 

When all is said and done.. for me it is price.. What is the price of growstones vs plant!t? I see growstones working as good as clay balls.

 

 

 

 

Growstone believes in facts and sound science to back all ‘claims’ it makes about its products.

This is why we have chosen to spend time and money conducting sound research with Universities in the US and in The Netherlands since 2006, as well as greenhouse commercial trials in the US and Mexico in 2008-2009 (‘Village Farms’ in TX, and ‘Ganfer’ , Imuris, Mexico).

These trials proved Growstones are a great Hydroponic substrate. They also proved Growstones work great as a biofilter in Aquaculture.

It is only logic to think Growstones have a great potential to be a great lightweight growing media for Aquaponics.

Even so we choose to continue growing and fine tuning our understanding of Growstones in Aquaponics systems.

Side-by-side controlled trials in Aquaponics are starting as we speak.


Multi year research trials, with Universities were conducted at The University of Arizona, CEAC (2006 and 2007); at Wageningen University Research Center, WUR, The Netherlands (2006 and 2007);  and at University of Arkansas (2007-2012).

Trials in Aquaculture, were conducted at The University of Arizona, Soil Water and Environmental Science Department, SWES, (2009). Link to report summary http://www.growstone.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Aquaculture-Res...

Information about all Growstone trials is available either directly at each research institution listed below or at our website.  

http://www.growstone.com/technology/research-field-trials/


Research Institutions and contact information

The University of Arizona, Tucson, CEAC
Gene Giacomelli, PhD
Professor Ag & Biosystems Engineering Dept & Director CEAC
The University of Arizona
giacomel@ag.arizona.edu

 

The University of Arizona, Tucson, SWES
Kevin M. Fitzsimmons, PhD
Professor, Extension and Research Specialist
Department of Soil Water & Environmental Science (SWES)
kevfitz@ag.arizona.edu

Wageningen University Research Center, WUR, The Netherlands
Chris Blok 
Project manager Wortelmedia en Plantenvoeding 
Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw 
chris.blok@wur.nl 

 

University of Arkansas Department of Horticulture
Michael R. Evans, PhD
Professor, Horticulture Department
mrevans@uark.edu

 

Paula Costa
Growstone R&D Director



Dave Story said:

I have stopped following some of these groups because the "experts" have no experience. I feel sorry for the people who follow the inexperienced, but maybe following these people is better than doing nothing.

 

Originally, Paula said she did not use growstones in her grad research at UA. Because of that statement as well as other remarks, I feel sure that she has never used growstones and all of her information is coming from the propaganda putout by the manufacturing facility, her employer. 

 

Anyway, all anyone needs to do is take two growstones, rub them together, take the shards released, then imagine the pump impeller pushing that stuff into the grow-bed. I have the largest grow-beds of growstones of any person whom I know. I have the most experience of any person who I have heard of using growstones.

 

When all is said and done.. for me it is price.. What is the price of growstones vs plant!t? I see growstones working as good as clay balls.

 

 

 

As I said:

I see growstones working as good as clay balls.

Now I will add:

But 4 times the price

But this is only my experience.. as I have said.

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