Aquaponic Gardening

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I am going to be moving in the future, something I said I would never do again, anyway I have a hankering to move to the country. Be more sustainable, practice some permaculture, and aquaculture, I may even open a micro dairy.

I am planning a big Aquaponics system to help bring in the food for the family. When I look at the Expanded Clay Grow media I start to get sticker shock.

One good size greenhouse or greenhouses could chew up a lot of currency real fast.

Is there a machine that makes these little beauties I can buy and just start filling with clay? It might be less expensive than buying them if I need a lot of them.

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It would cost you more to buy the gear and set up.. than buying a few tonnes....

 

The clay is fired in a rotating furnance to really high temperature.... thus forming the "balls"... for a set period of time....

 

Then dumped into cold water... which causes the air in the clay balls to be expelled rapidly.... thus giving the pitted and light balls...

 

Cook the clay for too long... and you expel most of the air.... resulting in really heavy balls.... too short... and they're too light and float....

I am a really good at finding expensive machinery for next to nothing. Do you know what the contraption is called?

Look for lightweight expanded clay aggregate machinery. It is all industrial sized. In my opinion your time is better spent looking for a locally source media you can get on the cheap then trying to produce media yourself. 

A rotary kiln perhaps. Good luck with that one BTW...doesn't really seem like an easy undertaking. Probably akin to saying...

"Aquaponics...sure, you just slap some fish and plants together...easy as pie...cheap too. Nothin' to it"...

There are a number of reasons why I want to use expanded clay. But your right it isn't one machine, it's several different machines. I found the production line on a website that ships machines from china. I will try to source the clay another way.

hydroton or family have a lot of benefits for sure. Maybe your local cement company may have some suggestions for LECA which are safe for AP and cheaper than the local hydro shop.

Why can't you just get a normal kiln and mix your clay 50/50 with fine saw dust? As the clay bakes the wood would burn out leaving little holes throughout. If the balls are still too heavy at the 50/50 mix, up the sawdust in the mix. Then its just a matter of making thousands of clay balls quickly with an extruder. Thoughts?

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