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has anyone had any problems using hydroton pebbles recently?

the reason i am asking is because they have been recalled here (uk) due to the pebbles leaching out some nasties and increasing EC levels, possibly heavy metals. we can no longer get them from our supplier as they have had to recall them and are now supplying another brand. no one has seen any adverse effects within our industry (hydroponics) but its just a precaution.

i was just wondering if anyone has had any problems relating to fish? and whether the issue would be more of a problem for aquaponics? obviously heavy metals are not good.

just hoping my problems have nothing to do with it as the deaths im experiencing dont seem to add up at the minute. 

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I've not heard of any recall of hydroton... neither have either of my suppliers ( the biggest in Australia)....

Nor can I find anything suggesting that in a google search....


Ask him for the "recall notification".. or link to it...


I reckon he was either just trying to sell you another brand... because he was receiving a higher margin on it....


It wasn't the cheap and nasty Chinese rubbish was it??

no it really isn't my supplier trying to do that in fact they have credited all the hydroton we have already and said do not sell it. they are not in the business of ripping off their best customer. to be honest im not sure i should be making it public but its definately happening,

what we do know is we have no reports of it being damaging within our industry but i dont know about long term use of the product or how it will affect aquaponics its being recalled as a precautionary measure.

Ian, it appears there is indeed susbstance to your report about the quality of recent batchs of hydroton supplied to the UK....


Indeed... so much so... that as of the 28th of May.... Hydroton has closed it's production factory... and ceased production of hydroton completely...


The company is reported as saying that the ... clay was not meeting quality standards, so rather than sell a substandard product, they would close production.....

Sorry... it seems the Okotau factory in Germany may have actually ceased production around the 14th of May.... a month ago... possibly even a few weeks earlier...

Great information and I can also confirm that we can no longer get German Hydroton here in the U.S.  We have temporarily switched over to a brand called Gold Label Hydrocorn, which I"m not real fond of because it is unevenly shaped and rougher than Hydroton and is more expensive.  But in a week or so we are switching over again to a new brand called Plant!It Clay Pebbles ( which is essentially the same product as Hydroton, at the same price, just slightly browner.

Nice to have alternatives...our biggest challenge is not referring to it as "hydroton", which has become like a "Kleenex" brand - LOL

I was just going to ask about this as well.  The local hydro store here in Madison WI informed me that the company was going under and was closing production.  It seems the rumor is now confirmed.

good to know its not just a rumour coming from my supplier then. we are currently using the plant it pebbles in our store sylvia and they seem to be ok so far.

im worried if all the problems i have been having are due to this issue? the high e.c levels leaking out the hydroton goes back to before i set my system up and i have had nothing but trouble as some of you have seen in my other post.

i don't know whether to restart from scratch with a new media or drain the system and restart with fresh water but keep the existing media bed? i dont want to put fresh fish in and kill them all again.


the original product is called Argex, made in Belgium, they are producing full wack!


I prefer to use Growstone hydroponic growth medium.  It is really light and doesn't give off any debris.

I have had problems with "Mother Earth" hydroton purchased June 10.  When I put it in my system the pH went to 4.  Every day I added pH UP and got it to above 6, but the next day the pH was down again.  Over about a week I've added about 6 ounces of pH UP, plus ammonia, to my 50 gal. system, and still the pH keeps dropping.  Also I see a whitish haze on the upper surfaces of the pebbles in my grow bed, which appears to be tiny crystals.  I believe that I am going to have to empty the system and change the media.  Luckily I have not added fish yet.

I use PLANT!T clay pebbles.  Yeah, it is spelled right.  Not sure how one pronounces that.  Anyway it goes for about 30 - 31 bucks a 45L bag. 8 - 16 mm pebbles.  I like it.  I developed some issues with pH, but only after my tank was cycled and planted and then the pH was dropping.  That was easily cured after I buffered my system with Calcium Carbonate.  Now is runs 6.6 -6.8, plants are happy and the fish are active.  So, I feel confident it had nothing to do with the grow media.  Probably more related to my crappy water.  

It must be washed as there is a lot of red dust in the bags.  The easiest way is in small batches in a wheel barrow.  I was dumping one bag at a time into the wheel barrow, flooding it and then washing small quantities in a small waste basket until it ran clear.  It was pretty easy.

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