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So I found a media in my area that's lightweight (but doesn't float), cheap, and Ph-neutral call rock bark.  

I run my system all winter with 50 degree water and want to make sure to have enough surface area for nitrification.  If I used a deep water bed, would there be any negative consequence to filling the bottom half of the bed with media?

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No, I can't imagine there would be any problems with that.

the only problem that I can see is the dead zone that you will be creating with the media due to it's impedance of flow. you would be better off with putting the media into the filter, that way you do not have to worry about water flow.

Thanks guys.  I was presuming I'd also have media in the filter, but wanted to know if double filtration would be a problem.  I could put something under the media in the bed, like a spacer.  Would that do it?

Just be prepared for sharp nitrite spikes when the muck gets stirred up by anyone poking around in the media, whether in the grow beds, races, or sumps. I personally think it's best to remove solids via swirl and dump action rather than passive media. Plant roots don't have teeth or any desire or means to take up solids. They take up only nutrients in solution (in the water and air).

Yes, the solids will need to be removed beforehand.

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