Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello I'am new to the community and to aquaponics. I have spent the last couple months conducting research on the Internet reading/watching YouTube and reading Sylvia Bernstein's book Aquaponic Gardening. With all of this information I have started my first aquaponic system. I have a 30gal fish tank that feeds into my grow bed and I have established a Bell Siphon drainage system. I have tested the system and all appears to be working fine. My next step is filling my grow bed.

My questions at this point relates to grow bed medium/media. I have ordered (2) 10 liter bags of hydroton but that will not nearly fill my bed. I was wondering if I could use a different media in conjunction with the hydroton? Say lava or river rock with hydroton in plastic nets for the plants. Has anyone done this? What would be the pros/cons? Should I just suck it up and fill my bed with all hydroton?

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My hydroton does not float (Oketau / Easy Green), neither does my liaflor /hydrocorn (Oketau / Easy Green's Austrian sister company).

Rupert, (I know this belongs in the other thread, but...) I've not heard anything about hydroton (under that name and from that mine) that would indicate it will be produced again any time soon. There's some story that the owner Rudolf, wanted to retire and turn the company over to some family member or another. When that didn't work out he sold of parts of the company to various partners...Who apparently were not able to get along real well...Now stories abound as to the nature of their disagreements, but you know how that goes...There's three sides to every story "your side, my side, and the truth"...So who knows. Keep in mind none of this info comes first hand or anything. At any rate, the Liaflor being produced by the 'same' company... I'm happy with it so far, but what's not to be happy with at this point? I'll see how that pans out later...Seems kosher for now.

Liaflor is being sold/marketed as a horticultural product, while Liapor is being sold/marketed as a lightweight concrete aggregate... 

Vlad.. indeed the story seems to keep twisting...

Last I heard was that the brand name has been retained by the new "owner"... and manufacture had commenced... but using a new clay source... which was causing quality control issues... which were expected to be resolved shortly....

What's all that mean.... who knows..

I heard that too a good while back, (like spring/summer I think). It may very well have been true (to some degree or another). It may be equally true (to some degree or another) that some partners or or another want to partake in a bigger piece/expand of the "Easy Green" portion of the business (given the ridiculous mark ups/profit blablabla that the name and product hydroton brings). Again, who the hell knows (there's probably a tiny bit of truth scattered throughout the various stories). 

There are a number of mines in N. Germany, one in Austria and a 'new'-ish one in the Czech republic. I've even heard some silly crap from people here in the construction (suppliers/distributors) industry about how the same product (Liapor) made from the German/Austrian clay is "superior" to the product made from the Czech clay. These are guys who mostly deal with drainage and lightweight concrete (and are owners of supply companies to boot, not actually working with the stuff themselves or seeing it in action). How they have come to this determination that one is "superior" over the other is beyond me, but I'm relating this just to show that the "quality control" rumor goes beyond just the hydroponic/AP sphere...How it got that way IDK. People are funny sometimes. My Liaflor came from the Austrian factory, so I guess I could care less anyways 

Like you said "What's all that mean.... who knows.."...

I have and are using both GoldLabel Hydrocorn and GoldLabel Hydroton.  Here are the differences

Hydroton

Consistent shape and texture

Clean time 1/3 of Hydrocorn

Will not float when running high level water for cuttings and clippings. (not over the top of media but 1/2" below surface)

Retains moisture better

Hydrocorn

Varied size and texture, multi-surfaced

High Dust, required soaking and heavy washing compared to Hydroton

Settling occurs and smaller pieces can cause clogging

Will float/heave when water reaches within 1/2 of surface

Surface will dry quickly compared to Hydroton.

All in all the Hydrocorn has been great with cuttings that need to develop roots.  Just need to plant deeper and with longer cuttings to get good root stock.  Heavy washing.  I used a tub 2x's the size of the bed and filled with water and the Hydrocorn.  Let it soak for a few days stirring occasionaly.  The dust will settle out as well as pieces that might lift, clog or damage a media guard, siphon or pump.  Hydroton has be good for seeds, dill and lettuce have all done well when placing the seeds directly into the grow beds at the recommended depths.  It does wick and retain water well but the Hydrocorn has far more surface area.

Just my take on what I am using.  As for cost a 45l bag of Hydrocorn was $25USD and a 45l bag of Hydroton was $30USD as of Sept 15th when I purchased more.

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