Aquaponic Gardening

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I put drains in . what should I put in these beds ??..stone type. or other .?

really beginning  to like this ....oh I spent a big $7.57 on this project so far ..lol...lowe's

washed lava rock is not much $

where can this be found .? what size rock ?. thanks for the reply .Bob

Lowes is the best price that I have found around here.  When I say washed lava rock, that means YOU have to wash it.  Keeps all that red dust out of your fish tank, just rinse it off with a hose.

would "Pea" gravel work .I can get 1 ton I have to screen it out .again   no $$ just pick it up .

A lot of people use pea gravel, I started with pea gravel but I am changing my beds out one at a a time to the lava rock.  The pea gravel has just compacted to much for my liking. The pea gravel is so much heavier than the lava rock also.  Also, it is more porus for your bacteria and does not affect the ph.  I have been fighting high PH with the pea gravel.  You would need to do the vinagar test on the pea gravel to ensure it does not have a lot of limestone in it.  Take a handfull of the pea gravel and put it into a cup of vinagar. If it bubbles, there is limestone in it and will raise your PH over time as it dissolves.

 

I also started with pea gravel but changed to what is known around here as "Pink Lady".  This is a quartzite granet, that is also pH neutral.  I am not partial to lave rock, I used it in my yard ONCE as a mulch around my trees, found it was too hard on my hands.  Granted it does have more pores than the pink lady, and yes a lot lighter but I didn't like the difficulties it made on my hands.    HEY, use what you can, if it is free just for the pick up, go for it.  As Bob just stated above, you may have problems with the pH spikes.  Just saying.

this is all good I thank you folks for all and any help ..this is great ..next fish tank ..

pea gravel generally describes shape/size not the type of rock.  I would say pea gravel is probably a bit smaller than would be ideal though.

I have used 1/2" brown river rock around here that is a quartz type river rock that doesn't affect pH.  3/4" might also work well.

Granite, basalt, lava rock, cinder etc can all work.  As can expanded slate or expanded shale and in some places you can get decent expanded clay if you can buy it in bulk rather than bagged.

The vinegar test is useful but beware that the expanded products might give you a false fizz if you test that with vinegar since some of the manufacturers use calcium hydroxide in the kiln process which will give an initial high pH but that settles down pretty quickly once the media is rinsed and the system is up and running.

I agree with Leo about the lava rock.  I have it in my first grow bed, but after putting in plants a few times my hands were just raw.  What I ended up doing is taking about 3 inches off the top and then replacing it Hydroton (or whatever it is called now - you can get it at the hydroponic shops).  Now when I add plants it is a breeze, and is easy to do manage.  You may want to consider this if you go the lava rock route, as I do like the lightness of lava rock.  My other grow bed is pea gravel and is indeed much heavier, and I got lucky when I bought it - I did the vinegar test AFTER I got it home and was lucky to find no bubbles.   

Leo I was taught by the best when I was a kid .."Grandma'  she always said .if you can't use it someone will...truth  ya think ?
Leo White Bear said:

Ron-

Looks like the epitomy of scrounge tecnology at it best, BRAVO

got the drain's in .what I need to know, how low can I make the drain recovery tank . and what test equipment should I look for , .

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