Aquaponic Gardening

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How are you folks anchoring your gravel guards? Mine was dislodged from the silicone used to hold it to the bed. It seems the Hydrocorn media has a tendancy to float as a mass, and its shifting, and pulling away from the sides of the bed, and guard have torn it from its base. Been four days now, and the media is still somewhat bouyant.

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If the media is floating that much, you may be flooding too deep.  Does it actually float up even if you only flood to 2" below the surface of the media?

I've never secured my gravel guards in any way the media has always just held it in place but I've never used expanded clay media personally.

I started cycling the water rather high, at less than an inch from the surface of the media. I was hoping that the higher level would water log some of the hydrocorn. I'll try shortening the siphon hieght to lower the level.

   We have a lot of limestone near the Great Lakes, so I was a bit apprehensive about buying gravel here. The geologist concider this as a Super Limestone, as it doesn't fizz as much under vinegar tests. Still I feel it would not be ideal for aquaponics and I won't take the chance because I am a newbie at this.

If you are trying to waterlog it to see if it will stay down.  You might want to remove the bell for a few days and let the bed run constant flood for a while and see if that changes things before you shorten your stand pipe.

Already cut it own, and it seems to help. I could prob. bring it down even more, but thinking I should leave it at an inch below to give the new bacteria as much of its surface as I can. Hopefully this will help bring down the PH as well, when things start to get established. Instead of throwing in PH Down, I figured I'd let nature do what it can 1st. No fish or plants in the system yet...

Pulling the bell off and letting the bed run constant flood for a day or so might still help get the media to stop floating so much.

Sounds logical. I'll try that. It won't harm the bacteria I wouldn't think. Undergravel aquarium filters work this way. Thanks TC.

Howdy Matt, I  had floating problems with hydrocorn myself. Hydroton is greatly missed. I use a product call Plantit! As far as I'm concerned it's Hydroton renamed.

Hey Matt, What kind of gravel guard are u using? A high pressure pvc 3" pvc pipe is very heavy and the center tube should keep it from wandering. I have never used glue and never had floating media so that's all I have on this. Good luck. Any pics?

Matt

My grow beds are full of 1/4"-3/4" river rock and my gravel guards are made of 4" PVC with slots cut in.

I just loose set the guards onto the ibc bottom, and then evenly piled the gravel around the guard. 

I know you don't have river pebble as media, but thought I'd tell you what I did, because maybe a good pile of river rock around each guard extending up maybe 6" might be a solution for you. I did a silicone test on something in my IBC and it eventually gave way also.

I did find a product that is supposed to work by 3M called  3m 5200 (comes in caulking tube) that is supposed to bond real well to the totes...BUT I haven't used it yet and seen that for myself.  My boss used it on his boat and said it sticks like a son of a gun !!   Once tube is opened you have to use it all in like a week or it goes bad.

Home Depot has it.

Its 6", with a 4" bell. I had more clay get into the bed. The bottom of the tote is uneven, and it gets thru. Maybe I should have located it in the center cap? Prob why TCLynx likes the bottom half for growing. Think I'll try Bradly,s idea with the river rock. At lease that would filter the clay also.

Jim Fisk said:

Hey Matt, What kind of gravel guard are u using? A high pressure pvc 3" pvc pipe is very heavy and the center tube should keep it from wandering. I have never used glue and never had floating media so that's all I have on this. Good luck. Any pics?

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I'll have to see if I can find close by for future purchases.

Tommy D said:

Howdy Matt, I  had floating problems with hydrocorn myself. Hydroton is greatly missed. I use a product call Plantit! As far as I'm concerned it's Hydroton renamed.

I enter the water in the left rear corner and exit right front. There is quite a flat area in the corners of my IBCs, tops or bottoms. Not all IBCs are the same. I pick mine for lots of reasons other than what was in them:-) I use 4" gravel guards and 3" bells and 1" down tube. Never had floating media though. I have settled on granite pea stone for now. The exit hole is right by the drill. That Vari-Bit or Step-Bit is about 50 bucks but well worth it. I should add that I give extra support under the area around the cap using short pieces of decking.

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