Aquaponic Gardening

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I have found Meramec C Gravel, but I'm not sure if it good to use in my grow beds?  Also I am not exactly which size PVC pipe to use. 1, 1 1/2 , or 2 inch. I can't afford any mistakes in these supplies right now so someone can help I hope. Thanks so much.

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Sounds good and I will post pix, but right now I have a pile on the ground next to my green house. I decided to put my grow beds inside the green house. The reason is because there are wild rabbits all around me. If I leave anything uncovered they eat the tops right off my plants.So I'm going to put the fish pool outside of green house and make holes in the wall to run the pipes thru. I have bird netting for the top of the fish pool because this fish farmer told me the birds may swoop down and eat the baby fish, lol.

David Waite said:
Adrena looks like your rock is 1/2 to 1 in size. I like that size in my beds it works great.  I am using koi for fish and really like them. Very hardy. Dont buy feeder gold fish as they are a sickly lot. Definitely use timed or affnan siphons . for ease of construction a timed system is easier. Affnan siphons can be a little tricky to the newby. Take lots of pics and post and these guys will jump thru hoops to help ya. Good luck. Sylvia sells siphons and timers here in her store.

Hi Andrena,

I've used both 1/2" and 3/4" for both inflow and outflow pipes in barrelponics filled with pea gravel river rock(Quartz) in my AP for the past year and the system is still running without any problems. Whatever size you eventually choose the general rule is that you want the outflow pipes to have a larger bore than the inflow pipes.

Adrena lee said:

Thanks Brandon. They do have a smaller rock , pea gravel. It's 3/8 inch in size but I thought it may be too small, any thoughts?



Brandon Koots said:

Ok then. It won't be a problem for the plants. 

Success with your system!

The question I was having with the size of the gravel was, would the smaller stuff ( pea gravel) go into the drain and not stay in the grow beds? Maybe your supposed to put a screen over the drain, but I didn't hear anyone say I need a screen. So do I need to use a screen over the drain if I would use the pea gravel. I am still trying to decide because I have gotten different answers. I have a couple more hours before I make the call and order. The good news is I will have it this afternoon and I can begin the work instead of just collecting the material for it. I haven't been so excited about a project for a long time. And I am always into some kind of project, makes life interesting.


Harold Sukhbir said:

Hi Andrena,

I've used both 1/2" and 3/4" for both inflow and outflow pipes in barrelponics filled with pea gravel river rock(Quartz) in my AP for the past year and the system is still running without any problems. Whatever size you eventually choose the general rule is that you want the outflow pipes to have a larger bore than the inflow pipes.

Adrena lee said:

Thanks Brandon. They do have a smaller rock , pea gravel. It's 3/8 inch in size but I thought it may be too small, any thoughts?



Brandon Koots said:

Ok then. It won't be a problem for the plants. 

Success with your system!

Most people use a larger piece of PVC for a filter. 1-2" larger then your drain pipe going straight up and down sitting on the bottom of your grow bed so no gravel can creep underneath it. You either drill holes or use a band saw ect. to cut drainage slits in the larger tube so water can drain but gravel cannot get in. Then just get a end cap for the larger piece of PVC so nothing falls into the drain and the lid helps reduce algae growth, but do not glue it on for access.

The reason I do not recommend pea gravel is not because it will get in the return line, technically 3/4" gravel is much more likely to clog a 1" or smaller return line. It is because the air, nutrient, bacteria, and root spaces will be much smaller in pea gravel compared to 3/4" gravel.

 

 

Hi Adrena,

Whatever the size of your gravel, screening is necessary around your outflow pipe. Your screen can be whatever size you design but always needs to be smaller than the media itself. There is the question of using pea gravel in AP. In my experience any plant grown in larger media will grow in pea gravel just as well, whatever the root size. It may very well offer an advantage due to its increased surface area(larger bacterial colonies), allowing for more nitrification capacity, and faster conversion of ammonia, we even have others on this forum using silica(pool sand) as media. I suggest you take a look at(and study) our rules of thumb document as well, and other relevant topics(media etc.) on this site as it is a large resource where you can also learn for yourself. 

I am taking in all this information and learning alot. I did get the pea gravel after all. I had my friend order it and I think he thought it was the best. I guess it happened for some reason. So I'm going to deal with what I have. Thank you so much

matt said:

Most people use a larger piece of PVC for a filter. 1-2" larger then your drain pipe going straight up and down sitting on the bottom of your grow bed so no gravel can creep underneath it. You either drill holes or use a band saw ect. to cut drainage slits in the larger tube so water can drain but gravel cannot get in. Then just get a end cap for the larger piece of PVC so nothing falls into the drain and the lid helps reduce algae growth, but do not glue it on for access.

The reason I do not recommend pea gravel is not because it will get in the return line, technically 3/4" gravel is much more likely to clog a 1" or smaller return line. It is because the air, nutrient, bacteria, and root spaces will be much smaller in pea gravel compared to 3/4" gravel.

 

 

I got the pea gravel. I am going to have to go to the rules  of thumb section and look for some more things, if I have time, to find out what I need to know. It is much easier though to ask a question and get an answer, then read a million things to get to what I need. I don't have all the time in the world, that's why I came here. I should of tried to find someone in my area and had them come and talk to me like a first grader in this stuff and then I wouldn't be in over my head, lol

Harold Sukhbir said:

Hi Adrena,

Whatever the size of your gravel, screening is necessary around your outflow pipe. Your screen can be whatever size you design but always needs to be smaller than the media itself. There is the question of using pea gravel in AP. In my experience any plant grown in larger media will grow in pea gravel just as well, whatever the root size. It may very well offer an advantage due to its increased surface area(larger bacterial colonies), allowing for more nitrification capacity, and faster conversion of ammonia, we even have others on this forum using silica(pool sand) as media. I suggest you take a look at(and study) our rules of thumb document as well, and other relevant topics(media etc.) on this site as it is a large resource where you can also learn for yourself. 

Hi Adrena,

I hope you got the quartz type pea gravel. Gravel high in carbonate will produce a high PH which is not particularly ideal for AP. Asking a question is good but at the same time its better to know for yourself, to me the learning is what makes AP both challenging and exciting. Imagine if you had a problem with your system after it set up and running and couldn't get an answer to a problem that developed, in time to save the fish? While we all on the forum enjoy helping each other and encourage any and all questions the operator is more empowered and capable with self knowing. No one here on this forum will ever allow you to get in over your head, we are all dedicated to make sure you are successful in your AP. Maybe you can poke around the discussions when you have the time as well as ask for input as you go along?

Good idea. I have no idea if my pea gravel is quarts or not.

Harold Sukhbir said:

Hi Adrena,

I hope you got the quartz type pea gravel. Gravel high in carbonate will produce a high PH which is not particularly ideal for AP. Asking a question is good but at the same time its better to know for yourself, to me the learning is what makes AP both challenging and exciting. Imagine if you had a problem with your system after it set up and running and couldn't get an answer to a problem that developed, in time to save the fish? While we all on the forum enjoy helping each other and encourage any and all questions the operator is more empowered and capable with self knowing. No one here on this forum will ever allow you to get in over your head, we are all dedicated to make sure you are successful in your AP. Maybe you can poke around the discussions when you have the time as well as ask for input as you go along?

Ok, I think what you need to do is use pour a acid over the pea gravel to test whether it is a strong base or high ph; from what I've read the best ph is between 6.8--7.4. (TCLynx has a 7.4 ph) If it is basic then test your ph somehow. If it does not "fizz" then use a base to test if it is acid, if it is put a ph buffer of calcium-bicarbonate or, seashells. (like TCLynx's system) Good luck!


Adrena lee said:

Good idea. I have no idea if my pea gravel is quarts or not.


Hi All,

Great idea Eric testing the PH. I did the same when starting my AP. It was suggested that i purchase a freshwater master test kit, test the PH of some of my intended system water in a container, get and record the reading( neutral water is PH 7), place some media in this container for approx. 24 hours and test again. This way i will find out if the media is raising the PH of the water. I was told that a neutral PH of around 7 is good and above that meant that the media was buffering(raising) the PH in the water.

Thanks for the help.

Eric Warwick said:

Ok, I think what you need to do is use pour a acid over the pea gravel to test whether it is a strong base or high ph; from what I've read the best ph is between 6.8--7.4. (TCLynx has a 7.4 ph) If it is basic then test your ph somehow. If it does not "fizz" then use a base to test if it is acid, if it is put a ph buffer of calcium-bicarbonate or, seashells. (like TCLynx's system) Good luck!


Adrena lee said:

Good idea. I have no idea if my pea gravel is quarts or not.


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