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I've been asked a few times now by hydroponic store owners if aquaponics is compatible with the silica media product Higromite.  Has anyone used this in their systems?  The hydro guys are pumped about it because silica is good for the plants, but I worry about adding anything to the fish environment.  Thoughts?

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Is that the stuff that has the other retail name of Maidenwell or something like that?
If so, look into what it does to system pH, because maidenwell has a low pH. There is another problem that low pH could make even worse if Higromite is similar to maidenwell, that is the zinc content. This might not be too big a problem for tilapia in a system kept well buffered with limestone or something but if you let the system go rather low on the pH scale and are raising trout, it could mean dead trout since they tend to be more sensitive to zinc.

I know of some AP units that have used Maidenwell but they have to work hard to keep the system buffered enough.
What pH are your systems running at with this media?

P.S ... pH neutral/inert... just means that the pH wont vary due to any decomposition... the analysis still shows the pH to be 5.7...


jon and cat billings said:
Silvia, Here is the document that will tell you about the Higromite analysis- http://higromite.com/uploads/analysis.pdf
There is also another company out of Canada that sells a similar product- which I believe hails from Australia- same as the Maidenwell. This product, as well as the Higromite have a similar PH 5.7 or thereabout, but are considered PH neutral when heated to a certain temp after the mining process- see the following link. http://www.diatomitecanada.com/why-use-diatomaceous-earth.htm This product comes in different grades for horticultural use as does the Higromite. They are all essentially DE- which is a pest control that is safe for the fish so I see no issue with using it as a media. As I said before.. we have had some in one system without issue and the added benefit of the silica is worth it since it helps to combat disease by increasing resistance. In any case, I will take any natural means to produce a healthier, more productive plant in my garden! As far as the PH issue- I have not noticed any difference- nor with respect to any toxic levels of minor elements- but we are only growing talapia, pacu, catfish, and bluegill. It is a bit heavier than the Hydroton and is also- at retail -more expensive especially with shipping.
thanks everyone for your thoughts on this. Jon and Cat, you guys seem to be using it more as a supplement than the foundation of your media. How long has it been in that system and how much (%) of your media beds does it comprise?
thanks for the explanation. Very interesting, especially if you are finding that it is helping the plants ward off insects. I'll give it a try at some point.
At the prices I've seen for it, definitely only appropriate as a supplement layer in the media. The one place I found near by to get it, it is well over a $1 a pound!!!!!! And the 25 lb, $28.95 bag would only be about 6.35 gallons of media.

If anyone has info on where to get this stuff in bulk, please share cause the 25 lb bag price is a bit high for my wallet.
I wonder if one might get the supplemental benefits of the silica by using fossil shell flower sprinkled around (similar to how I sprinkled a layer of green sand for the potassium and Iron) How different is this stuff from the Diatomatious earth that many use to help keep bugs out of grain storage and fight fleas in pet areas and even feed to animals and eat themselves? I have some food grade DE on hand. Perhaps I'll sprinkle some around in some of the beds to see if I can tell any difference.
Hello guys and I hope all is well. I wanted to clairfy the Higromite availability and the back order stituation. The material was back ordered over this past summer however it has been readily available since August. Also, the super sacks are ready to ship. Wish you had checked back with us sooner.... Please contact me to discuss your current requirements and upcoming projects. Thanks!



jon and cat billings said:
We have used it in one of our systems for a while now and I would love to use it more, but after multiple attempts to buy a direct ship of their “super sacks” they were on back order. Retail for that stuff is pretty high compared to the hydroton so we just have it sprinkled around for whatever benefits the silica may add.
Hello, I wanted to let you know that we do sell the Higromite product in bulk super sacks. I understand the 25 lb. bag retail price can be a bit pricey for larger scale applications. I'm more than happy to discuss bulk pricing and logistics with you further if you're still interested. Please contact me: mwagner@higromite.com or 310-497-4704. Thanks!


TCLynx said:
At the prices I've seen for it, definitely only appropriate as a supplement layer in the media. The one place I found near by to get it, it is well over a $1 a pound!!!!!! And the 25 lb, $28.95 bag would only be about 6.35 gallons of media.

If anyone has info on where to get this stuff in bulk, please share cause the 25 lb bag price is a bit high for my wallet.
Hello again! Just some clarification about the Maidenwell product and Higromite. Maidenwell is classified as Diatomacious Earth and is imported from Austrailia. Higromite is classified as Pozzolan and mined in the Good Ol' USA. The major difference between DE and Pozzolan is the DE isn't mined from acient lakebeds that were exposed to active volcanoes. Because of the volcanic ash content in Higromite it is classified as Pozzolan. Higromite also has a better buffer rate for pH and has been proven in studies conducted by MSU to kick out Sodium Ions found in de-salinated water. http://higromite.com/uploads/MSU_Salt_Study.pdf
Higromite is superior to DE & Hydroton and I know we can find a way to offer it in bulk at a reasonable price.




jon and cat billings said:
Silvia, Here is the document that will tell you about the Higromite analysis- http://higromite.com/uploads/analysis.pdf
There is also another company out of Canada that sells a similar product- which I believe hails from Australia- same as the Maidenwell. This product, as well as the Higromite have a similar PH 5.7 or thereabout, but are considered PH neutral when heated to a certain temp after the mining process- see the following link. http://www.diatomitecanada.com/why-use-diatomaceous-earth.htm This product comes in different grades for horticultural use as does the Higromite. They are all essentially DE- which is a pest control that is safe for the fish so I see no issue with using it as a media. As I said before.. we have had some in one system without issue and the added benefit of the silica is worth it since it helps to combat disease by increasing resistance. In any case, I will take any natural means to produce a healthier, more productive plant in my garden! As far as the PH issue- I have not noticed any difference- nor with respect to any toxic levels of minor elements- but we are only growing talapia, pacu, catfish, and bluegill. It is a bit heavier than the Hydroton and is also- at retail -more expensive especially with shipping.
:) :)
Michael, my biggest worry about anything similar to Maidenwell and an aquaponics system has to do with the pH as well as things like zinc and copper. I know of some people who did have a real challenge keeping trout alive using maidenwell since the low pH tendency also made the zinc more toxic to the fish. They eventually managed to keep the system stocked with enough carbonate buffer material that they managed but it is something for people doing aquaponics to keep in mind.

So, you mention better buffer rate, what does this mean? What is the pH that water running through Higromite will tend to? And how do the zinc and copper levels of Higromite compare to that of Maidenwell?
Hi Sylvia and thanks for your discussion about Higromite. I've responded to a few of the posts within this thread and hope to have clarified a few things. The health of your fish and the compatibility of Higromite within an Aquaponics environment is seemless. Higromite is completely organic and won't leech anything harmful to your fish. Also, the benefits from the slow release of Silicon, porousity, and moisture control will definitely provide you with better overall health & performance in your plants.
Hmmmm...I wonder if I can get this in San Jose.

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