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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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How bout the pH. I'm really curious after the buffering comment.
Hi Michael,

I'm glad you've engaged here - thank you for adding your expertise. I'm also glad to hear you say that it won't harm fish, but I"m wondering how you can make that assertion? Do you know of trials it in aquaponics or other aquaculture applications that we can refer to? Do we also know that there is nothing that could be harmful to the nitrifying bacteria or red worms? Is there anything else besides Silicon that is released? thanks!
Yes, you can!


Chi Ma said:
Hmmmm...I wonder if I can get this in San Jose.
Details please? Don't see a dealer in this neck of the woods.



Michael Wagner said:
Yes, you can!


Chi Ma said:
Hmmmm...I wonder if I can get this in San Jose.
Your welcome! I would like to say that my expertise is purely relflected from Higromite's use in hydroponics. We have had 2 aquaponics clients that I know of and have been successful with the product. These are Backyard Aquafarms - Laurie Roberts and Backwater Provisions - Catherine Billings. I can make the assertation that it won't harm fish because it's mined from an acient freshwater lake that had a thriving fish population. This would also lead me to beleive that the bateria and red worms within the acient ecosystem were fine as well. As far as other elements and minerals, we have a document on the website discussing each element in ppm. http://higromite.com/uploads/analysis.pdf
Thanks

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Hi Michael,

I'm glad you've engaged here - thank you for adding your expertise. I'm also glad to hear you say that it won't harm fish, but I"m wondering how you can make that assertion? Do you know of trials it in aquaponics or other aquaculture applications that we can refer to? Do we also know that there is nothing that could be harmful to the nitrifying bacteria or red worms? Is there anything else besides Silicon that is released? thanks!
TCLynx Thanks for your reply and concerns.
Regarding the zinc & copper comparison. On the lab analysis the Higromite has (Zinc = 0.80 ppm) and (Copper = 0.14 ppm). These are very low levels that should not be toxic to trout. I do not have and have never seen any analysis or documentation for Maidenwell's product. Probably because it's imported from Austrailia and there are alot of middlemen pushing it. The pH is another topic you've mentioned. When I said it "buffers the pH", I'm referring to Higromite's use in various soil profiles on golf courses in the middle east where the earth is primarily sand based.
Within the hydroponics world the product has never raised any issues with pH fluxuation. One huge factor is obviously what is the water's pH prior to exposing it to Higromite. I've conducted my own personal test with pH nuetral water in a container and well rinsed Higromite straight from the bag. The pH level did not drop. Hope this helps....


TCLynx said:
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?
I just talked to these guys and you can special order it next week from this store in the Bay area:

Berkeley Indoor Garden
844 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94710
Phone: 510.549.2918

I don't have a full retail store list for the Bay Area from our wholesaler clients but these guys can help you out for now.



Chi Ma said:
Details please? Don't see a dealer in this neck of the woods.



Michael Wagner said:
Yes, you can!


Chi Ma said:
Hmmmm...I wonder if I can get this in San Jose.
Thanks again, Michael. That is compelling. The Billings have already commented about their experience early on in this thread - you may have read their thoughts. Terrific to have the expert as part of this conversation!


Michael Wagner said:
Your welcome! I would like to say that my expertise is purely relflected from Higromite's use in hydroponics. We have had 2 aquaponics clients that I know of and have been successful with the product. These are Backyard Aquafarms - Laurie Roberts and Backwater Provisions - Catherine Billings. I can make the assertation that it won't harm fish because it's mined from an acient freshwater lake that had a thriving fish population. This would also lead me to beleive that the bateria and red worms within the acient ecosystem were fine as well. As far as other elements and minerals, we have a document on the website discussing each element in ppm. http://higromite.com/uploads/analysis.pdf
Thanks

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Hi Michael,

I'm glad you've engaged here - thank you for adding your expertise. I'm also glad to hear you say that it won't harm fish, but I"m wondering how you can make that assertion? Do you know of trials it in aquaponics or other aquaculture applications that we can refer to? Do we also know that there is nothing that could be harmful to the nitrifying bacteria or red worms? Is there anything else besides Silicon that is released? thanks!
Zeolites are used for a variety of applications including filtration, growing mediums, etc. They have a very high CEC and the product is sometimes impregnated with fertilizers used for grow-in for turf. Zeolites are very porous and absorbent but little moisture is plant available. One of the biggest issues with Zeolite is salt sequestration. Due to the high CEC, it will hang on to salts to the detriment of plants (see MSU study on the Higromite website). Thanks!




Kobus Jooste said:
While I have no idea of this product's chemistry, which in turn sounds like it is great, I will caution against thinking that it must be safe because at some point it was at a bottom of a lake. We have a similar sounding product being marketed here for use in koi pond filtration called zeolite (clinoptilolite) is this the same kind of thing? The zeolite is a aluminium-silicate crystal formed in regions of volcanic activity according to the promotional leaflet I have.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Thanks again, Michael. That is compelling. The Billings have already commented about their experience early on in this thread - you may have read their thoughts. Terrific to have the expert as part of this conversation!


Michael Wagner said:
Your welcome! I would like to say that my expertise is purely relflected from Higromite's use in hydroponics. We have had 2 aquaponics clients that I know of and have been successful with the product. These are Backyard Aquafarms - Laurie Roberts and Backwater Provisions - Catherine Billings. I can make the assertation that it won't harm fish because it's mined from an acient freshwater lake that had a thriving fish population. This would also lead me to beleive that the bateria and red worms within the acient ecosystem were fine as well. As far as other elements and minerals, we have a document on the website discussing each element in ppm. http://higromite.com/uploads/analysis.pdf
Thanks

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Hi Michael,

I'm glad you've engaged here - thank you for adding your expertise. I'm also glad to hear you say that it won't harm fish, but I"m wondering how you can make that assertion? Do you know of trials it in aquaponics or other aquaculture applications that we can refer to? Do we also know that there is nothing that could be harmful to the nitrifying bacteria or red worms? Is there anything else besides Silicon that is released? thanks!

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