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 Sylvia Bernstein on July 3, 2012 at 6:38am

Bob, my concern with pumice you are holding in your hand  is that it looks both on the small side and it also looks like it would break down fairly readily.  Both will lead to root compaction and limiting the flow of solid waste through your bed.  You will probably ultimately experience clogging, and possibly failure, of your pump with small particles working their way past the media guard and into the pump.

Comment by Eric Warwick on July 3, 2012 at 12:00am

Bob, I've had a good experience with pumice. It is like perlite, but tougher. As a hydroponic medium I definitely support it! As a aquaponic medium, not so much. I'd guess that the size of the pumice you get in soil amendment stores are too small for a good growbed, and it still might be brittle for the gills liking. Still, I'd give it a try--it's light, airy, and good with flooding conditions (a few mistakes in my self watering, as in I water it, grow-tray). Currently I have a butternut squash plant in there, but I need to put it in soil sooner or later. As for rootballs--the roots really cling to it.! Just shake it off. Perlite wicks water better and is more...err...idiot proof for passive hydroponic systems that have small reservoirs than pumice. (You can see where I was going with that--don't neglect systems.) Anyways, have fun with it!

Comment by Bob Campbell on July 2, 2012 at 10:05pm

Robert C. Rowe (Bob)  suggested pumice so I checked a local landscape supply here in Chico, and found this.  The handful below may need a little screening, but the price is right and the description says it's pH neutral! 

I'd suggest looking around at your local soil suppliers

Pumice(3/8 x 1/16) Pumice is an excellent soil conditioner, as it is highly porous giving it excellent water and air holding properties.

Advantages of Using Pumice:

  • Excellent conditioner for soils that need increased aeration and drainage.
  • Loosens the density of heavy soils, letting in the air and water plants need.
  • Increases water retention in light and sandy soils.
  • Reduces crusting, cracking, flooding and shrinking & swelling of clay soils.
  • Holds moisture in the soil, reducing watering requirements by as much as 35%, but pumice will not compact or become soggy.
  • Is inorganic, so it will not decompose or compact over time, meaning it functions continuously and can be recycled and reused.
  • Does not attract or host fungi, nematodes, or insects.
  • PH neutral
  • These advantages can be realized with as little as 10% addition of pumice to the soil or growing medium.

$28.50 ½ yd. - $55.00 per yd.

Comment by Dave & Yvonne Story on July 2, 2012 at 6:39pm


I am searching for the best. So if you need a place to test, let me know.

Comment by Debra Colvin on July 2, 2012 at 6:31pm
This discussion is giving me ideas, and I may try out some of this in the near future.
Comment by TCLynx on July 2, 2012 at 5:50pm

There are expanded clay products that come from places other than Europe.  There are people who get an expanded clay product from South America.  I believe Cosmo got some of that to try out though an orchid growing supplier.  It wasn't as regular as the Hydroton and look a likes.  There are also expanded clay products that come from China. 

Beware, not all products are made equal.  As Hydroton found, if your supply of good clay becomes unreliable in its quality and makeup, your product suffers.  And if the company making the product doesn't care that much about what gets into your food, you might be getting a product where they don't care that much if the clay being used to make the product is going to make an inert product.

And then in the bits I have picked up from Bulwinkel II, the temperature and time involved in the firing of clay will greatly impact it's longevity.  And in some threads he has written, He tell how you can make your own fired clay products (if you have the clay and a willingness to play with big fires.)

Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on July 2, 2012 at 5:03pm

Sheri, the don't both come  from the same company, they just have the same distributor.

Comment by Sheri Schmeckpeper on July 2, 2012 at 4:36pm

Chris, I'm increasing my meditation time and reducing my TV time these days. LOL!

As for the GrowStones qualities you mentioned, I very much appreciate those attributes & hope to see more companies do the same. I just hope GrowStones reconsiders their marketing approach. If their product is good, they don't need to lie.

Sylvia, I did notice the odd sizes in the images of Hydrocorn, but didn't realize Hydrocorn & Plant!It were from the same company. You're right, consistency is a benefit of the clay products.

Vlad, right now everything comes from Europe, but I'm sure well start seeing US companies join the market in the near future. The limiting factor is where the quality clay happens to be.

Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on July 2, 2012 at 3:27pm

@Sheri - Hydrocorn is sold under the Gold Label brand name and is available through Hydrofarm.  I don't like it personally, though, because it is more expensive than their new Plant!t line and it is rough and asymmetrical, which negates part of the reason for LECA in the first place.  100% agree with your assessment of the GrowStones web page.  Stuff like that repels me.

@Vlad - I evaluated a LECA product for aquaponics about a year ago at the request of the Ökotau company and concluded that it was virtually identical to Hydroton...I couldn't tell a difference.  I thought it was basically a clever way to get a foot into the AP world.  And you had to bring in a container full or you got hammered on shipping costs.  But maybe they have brought their prices down?  I'll check...thank you for the heads up!

Comment by Chris George on July 2, 2012 at 3:06pm

Sheri, thanks for the clarification.  Though I do think GrowStones has a few sound points going for them...using recycled glass, being a US based company, trying to use sustainable methods of production, and they are right next door in NM.  Just my 2 cents.  And ps, hope you have your seat belt buckled....for this election year....;-).


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