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Does anyone know where to buy grow media in bulk, cheap in Panama City?  We need approximately 25 cubic feet.

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Just find some pea gravel at a local rock dealer. I assume you mean Panama City, Florida - if so try Rock World

9000 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City Bch, FL 32407
(850) 235-9772

Pea gravel works well and is cheap. You can mix in a couple large bags of hydraton to hold the water better, but I have not found it truly necessary. 



Ron Thompson said:

Just find some pea gravel at a local rock dealer. I assume you mean Panama City, Florida - if so try Rock World

9000 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City Bch, FL 32407
(850) 235-9772

Pea gravel works well and is cheap. You can mix in a couple large bags of hydraton to hold the water better, but I have not found it truly necessary. 


Thanks!  I will try Rock World tomorrow. 
Can't seem to find anything but concrete companies in town. 

There is a Conrad Yelvington Yard in Panama City http://www.cydi.com/cydi10.htm

You might call them and find out if they have the quartz brown river rock in either 1/2" or 3/4".  But then you need a truck you are willing to let a BIG front end loader dump rocks on I mean in.  Or a trailer or something.  I believe the 1/2" brown river rock requires 1.25 ton to equal a cubic yard and I would recommend you probably need almost a cubic yard so it will probably require two trips unless you have a dump trailer and truck that can haul two tons.

You might also ask them if they carry any expanded shale (only get it if they have 1/2" or 3/4" you can get since the smaller sizes are not gonna be worth your trouble.)

Be sure to take some vinegar and a glass with you so you can test some media samples before you buy.  I recommend rinsing the media and dropping a hand full into a glass of vinegar.  If it fizzes like alka seltzer  don't buy it.  Expanded slate and shale need a quick soak in some vinegar before you rinse and then do the fizz test again.  The expansion process often involves hydrated lime which could give you a false initial fizz test.

don't automatically assume pea gravel is going to be suitable!!!!

Here in FL it is usually limestone and totally unsuitable.

  if in doubt do the fizz test

Ron Thompson said:

Just find some pea gravel at a local rock dealer. I assume you mean Panama City, Florida - if so try Rock World

9000 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City Bch, FL 32407
(850) 235-9772

Pea gravel works well and is cheap. You can mix in a couple large bags of hydraton to hold the water better, but I have not found it truly necessary. 

We live in PC too (Deer Point area) and are starting a set up with a 300 gallon tank. We are also having trouble finding media in bulk. I will be calling around today too. Haven't had much luck getting through to anyone anywhere. I will post back if I find out anything!

Try 814-SAND. They had good prices and gravel with or without limestone. They deliver or you can pick up and I think they are located in Southport.

The number doesn't work for rock world.  However went to it on 390....did the test...no fizz...getting some Friday.  We live pretty close....Bayou George....if you want to compare notes give me your number or vise versa.  $55 for half ton!

 

Tonya Bailey said:

We live in PC too (Deer Point area) and are starting a set up with a 300 gallon tank. We are also having trouble finding media in bulk. I will be calling around today too. Haven't had much luck getting through to anyone anywhere. I will post back if I find out anything!

I started with Lava Rock and went to small river rock as a mix. I got my rock from Home Depot..

While surfing the net doing my research for my system I found this: http://www.growstone.com/products/
They are in NM. This sounds like a great idea so I hope I can find a retailer in centeral FL.

We finally have the system running???  Thanks for all the help!  In order for the system to get "up and running" faster, can you use lake water?  Someone told me to use 50 gallons of lake water in our 300 gallon fish tank.  Here is the picture of what we have so far, with more media in the grow beds.  We will add more grow beds later.

Lake water may help but also has the risk of bringing in unknown life, parasites, and possibly pests.  If you have a healthy aquarium running, use the filter squeezings in your grow beds and this will also seed beneficial bio-filter bacteria.  Or if you know some one with an aquaponic system, maybe they will give or sell or exchange a bag of cycled up gravel for a bag of your fresh gravel to put into the middle layer of one of your grow beds.  Or water from an existing aquaponics system may help too.

However, even if you do one or several of those things, it still takes time for a system to cycle up.  Even if you were to get all cycled up gravel to put into a system, the bacteria is going to be disrupted and take time to re-establish before the system will be fully cycled.  It takes time for anyone to move into their new home and settle in and get back to life as usual, give your bacteria a chance to move in and set up home base before you expect them to expand and fully colonize all the surfaces of your system and have it all completely cycled up.  Even if you get kick starter bacteria, cycling up a new system completely still usually takes about 6 weeks under good conditions.  Guess what, If you don't start with any starter bacteria, it finds it's way in naturally and it will take about 6 weeks to fully cycle up under good conditions.  Provide a food source with appropriate conditions for them, and the bacteria will come.

i thought about the lake water and decided against it for the reasons you stated.  The system has been running for only a few days.  ph was high so added some vinegar today and will retest tomorrow, ammonia was 0, as well as nitrate and nitrite, which is to be expected.  I will wait (I think, unless you have advice) to put the catfish in the fish tank.  Should I place some plants in the GB's at this time?  I think I am a bit confused.  I assume you put plants in, wait for the cycling until the water is at right levels then add the fish???  Thanks for the advice, I really need it! LOL  I added some liquid seaweed to the tank as well.



TCLynx said:

Lake water may help but also has the risk of bringing in unknown life, parasites, and possibly pests.  If you have a healthy aquarium running, use the filter squeezings in your grow beds and this will also seed beneficial bio-filter bacteria.  Or if you know some one with an aquaponic system, maybe they will give or sell or exchange a bag of cycled up gravel for a bag of your fresh gravel to put into the middle layer of one of your grow beds.  Or water from an existing aquaponics system may help too.

However, even if you do one or several of those things, it still takes time for a system to cycle up.  Even if you were to get all cycled up gravel to put into a system, the bacteria is going to be disrupted and take time to re-establish before the system will be fully cycled.  It takes time for anyone to move into their new home and settle in and get back to life as usual, give your bacteria a chance to move in and set up home base before you expect them to expand and fully colonize all the surfaces of your system and have it all completely cycled up.  Even if you get kick starter bacteria, cycling up a new system completely still usually takes about 6 weeks under good conditions.  Guess what, If you don't start with any starter bacteria, it finds it's way in naturally and it will take about 6 weeks to fully cycle up under good conditions.  Provide a food source with appropriate conditions for them, and the bacteria will come.

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