Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners


Media Based Systems

This is a group for members who grow using media, such as gravel, Hydroton, expanded shale, etc. 

Members: 198
Latest Activity: Nov 13, 2017

Discussion Forum

What media do you use?

Started by Sylvia Bernstein. Last reply by Dave & Yvonne Story Feb 4, 2015. 45 Replies

I'm a big fan of Hydroton, although I know it is crazy expensive...but you will have it forever.  Lightweight and easy on my hands.  Even looks nice.  Ok, I know I'm sounding like a girl here. What…Continue

Tags: media, grow, community, aquaponics_forum, aquaponics

Siphon Guard

Started by Stephanie Bader. Last reply by TCLynx Oct 8, 2012. 19 Replies

As anyone ever used a siphon guard like this one? or made one like it? And how did you do it? Any pro's or cons to using one like this?…Continue


Started by Eric Warwick. Last reply by Eric Warwick Oct 4, 2012. 11 Replies

How and for what purpose could you use perlite or vermiculite? Since these growing mediums are cheaper than hydroton and take the guess work out of buying gravel (bring some vinegar and baking…Continue

Tags: alternatives

Grow Beds

Started by Sylvia Bernstein. Last reply by Hydroponics Curacao Jul 29, 2012. 10 Replies

Tell us about your grow beds.  Rubbermaid tubs?  …Continue

Tags: grow, bed, group, media, forum

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Media Based Systems to add comments!

Comment by TCLynx on July 2, 2012 at 6:18am

And Rob's stuff is nice since it is very well sifted.  When getting it from a yard it would be good to know a bit about the other sizes they carry.  See if you get stuff that is 1/2" and smaller you might be getting a huge amount of 3/8" and fines but if the yard also carries a separate grade that is 3/8" there is a bit better chance that the 1/2" stuff won't contain as much of the smaller size.

That said, the rock is going to vary from place to place and so will the expanded versions of the slate and shale.  Different companies may use different sifting and grading processes as well as different kiln processes.  Some of the kiln processes actually utilize hydrated lime in a pollution capture process and hence the plants might not be releasing as much pollution into the air but you may fine you need to do an acid rinse or soak on the media before it will settle down and be pH inert.

Comment by Rob Torcellini on July 2, 2012 at 5:45am

We purchase it by 18-wheeler truckload and resell it through various resellers.  I will sell direct for larger palatalized orders or local pickups.  It's not from TXI.  I've sampled their stone and it has a lot of fines in it and not as many cracks and fissures.  Most of our sales are on the east cost because of the freight costs...but when someone needs a pallet, it can be very competitive against buying hydroton from.  The cost of freight is going to be in there somewhere!

Comment by Dave & Yvonne Story on July 2, 2012 at 4:45am

Back when I was testing Expanded Shale, there was one place to buy. That was out in the nottheast. He was looking for places to redistribute.The costs of shipping a heavy media were too high, even bulk ordes. I went back to buying hydroton, locally.I believe, I can buy 50l of hydroton for about $30.  

Comment by Eric Warwick on July 2, 2012 at 1:43am

Actually, Bob, I'm confused by this too. I just assumed I was missing something on the website. When I click the links I can't buy the product. 

Comment by Bob Campbell on July 2, 2012 at 12:37am

@Rob - I'm a little confused.  I clicked your link and it goes to Bigelow Brook Farm.  Then I click where to buy, and it's a list of resellers.  Does Bigelow Brook Farms manufacture expanded shale or do you buy it from TXI?

Comment by Dave & Yvonne Story on July 1, 2012 at 8:04pm

Most people go with the cheapest.

I want the best for me to work in a grow-bed, for the next 20 years..

Comment by Rob Torcellini on July 1, 2012 at 7:58pm

Most people just go with stone when you need to fill a large area.  ;-)

Comment by Dave & Yvonne Story on July 1, 2012 at 7:28pm


the sharpness of the GrowStones was not a problem in any of the grow-beds where I tried it, 2 pond liners and a rubbermaid. I am thinking, I tried 200 cubic ft. The stuff melted into glass shards of dust from rubbing together. The price seems to be a rip-off because it does not last as long as hydroton.

The expandedshale was more difficult to work with than hydroton, but I have expanded shale mixed with hydroton in two grow-beds. I do want to find the best before I expand.

Comment by Rob Torcellini on July 1, 2012 at 5:57pm

It's easy on the hands...I've been working with it all day in our new greenhouse.  As a disclaimer, I sell a ton of the stuff.  ;-)  I got a bag of the growstones to evaluate.  It's very light, but really sharp.  It also needs to be washed....basically all media should be washed.

Comment by Bob Campbell on July 1, 2012 at 4:55pm

@Pices - Thanks for the evaluation.  I'm wondering what it's like to dig your hands down into the expanded shale.  Hydroton is easy since it's light and round.  I don't like the way 3/4" crushed gravel feels.  It's much more difficult to plant in gravel.


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