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PostPosted: Dec 22nd, '14, 08:00 
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I'm setting up my first aquaponics garden. the beds will be made from food grade blue 55 gallon drums cut lengthwise. i don't think i want to use hydroton. what are you guys using? is there something cheaper that won't mess up the pH? hope to get some input.

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bryan from huntsville alabama


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PostPosted: Dec 23rd, '14, 03:31 
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This covers most of your options

Hydroton/expanded clay
Expanded Shale
Volcanic rock
Pretty much any gravel that doesn't contain Calcium carbonate (So limestone is not good). Test with hydrogen peroxide to see if they fizz. If they do, don't use them because you'll have problems controlling your system pH. Try for around 1/2 to 1 inch in size.
People have also used rounded bits of glass and plastic bottle caps (I'm sure there were others, I just can remember them).

The first three options are going to be lighter than gravel. You'll appreciate this if you have many grow beds to fill.

Volcanic rock has lots of fines.

Hope this helps


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PostPosted: Dec 23rd, '14, 10:55 
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thanks for that advice. ill continue my search in that directions.
bryan


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PostPosted: Jan 1st, '15, 12:59 
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Scotty345 what do you mean when you said that volcanic rock has lots of fines?


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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '15, 04:27 
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scotty435 wrote:
This covers most of your options

Hydroton/expanded clay
Expanded Shale
Volcanic rock
Pretty much any gravel that doesn't contain Calcium carbonate (So limestone is not good). Test with hydrogen peroxide to see if they fizz. If they do, don't use them because you'll have problems controlling your system pH. Try for around 1/2 to 1 inch in size.
People have also used rounded bits of glass and plastic bottle caps (I'm sure there were others, I just can remember them).

The first three options are going to be lighter than gravel. You'll appreciate this if you have many grow beds to fill.

Volcanic rock has lots of fines.

Hope this helps


Is there any other name for expanded shale?

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '15, 07:18 
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I think Haydite is another name for it and you might be able to find it at a local rock quarry or landscape supply place. I suppose that it might also be packaged as a light aggregate for concrete but I think other things can be called this as well and since much of the concrete comes as premix I doubt you'll have much luck finding it separate. Watch the shipping costs!

Haydite - http://www.amazon.com/Soil-Mender-Expanded-Shale-lb/dp/B00AAJ214E

Rob (Web4Deb) also carries this and you can sometimes find it at landscape supply companies.
http://www.bigelowbrook.com/Products/Shale/ExpandedShale.aspx

I think it's not easily available in some locations - perhaps because scoria and other products are :dontknow:


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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '15, 16:00 
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scotty435 wrote:
I think Haydite is another name for it and you might be able to find it at a local rock quarry or landscape supply place. I suppose that it might also be packaged as a light aggregate for concrete but I think other things can be called this as well and since much of the concrete comes as premix I doubt you'll have much luck finding it separate. Watch the shipping costs!

Haydite - http://www.amazon.com/Soil-Mender-Expanded-Shale-lb/dp/B00AAJ214E

Rob (Web4Deb) also carries this and you can sometimes find it at landscape supply companies.
http://www.bigelowbrook.com/Products/Shale/ExpandedShale.aspx

I think it's not easily available in some locations - perhaps because scoria and other products are :dontknow:



I came across a thread that called it something else , i cant seem to find it right now .
Im in India , im trying to find something local

Thanks for the help

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '15, 16:24 
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Might give you a bit more

https://books.google.com/books?id=BIfEfqS8iKcC&pg=RA1-PT80&lpg=RA1-PT80&dq=aquaponics+for+dummies+haydite&source=bl&ots=WjZuPf5hZ4&sig=01AKqnYC7DpzgCutvFkJHiI_9wU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=m_eoVNvQMIW1ogTJloD4Cw&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=aquaponics%20for%20dummies%20haydite&f=false


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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '15, 20:27 
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scotty435 wrote:


Thank you :D

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '15, 21:52 
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i ended up buying river rock from the local feed store. i tested it and it's gonna be good.
bryan


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '15, 14:42 
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Scotty,

I see you suggested testing the grow media with hydrogen peroxide, does it react the same way as the vinegar that is usually suggested?

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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '15, 16:34 
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Hmm, I think I was reverting back to when I used to do the Catalase test :oops: . Just use the vinegar.


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '15, 18:58 
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I tested both. It was non reactive with both samples. I also tested the ph of the water after 2 days. Ph was 7


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '15, 19:41 
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hey what about something called nodular concrete ?

http://www.gbcindia.org/nodullar.aspx

Its similar to expanded clay pellets , light weight and close to ph neutral :D

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PostPosted: Jan 6th, '15, 05:03 
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I don't know :dontknow: . It looks like it should work but you'd need to check to see if it has an affect on the pH once it's wet (doesn't look like it would but maybe they've added a buffer, like Calcium carbonate, which would be used up over time). Try the vinegar test on this one as well.

You might check with the manufacturer and ask them about your intended use and see if they throw up any red flags. See if you can get a look at the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) before you call, in case it gives you some additional questions.

That looks like it will be great if it can be used.


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