Tuesday, 10 March 2015

What type of growmedia not to use

A lot of people have been asking me if we can use smaller pebbles, sane or cocopete for the grow media in an aquaponics system.
So i decided to give it a try.
I used small pebbles in this experiment, the pebbles were about 5 mm in size. easy to handle and the system started to grow well.

Well as a lot of experts from various online forums did mention that this will not work.
And after a few months, tomatoes were happily growing until one day i noticed that the water flow was not the way i would have liked it to be.
This is precisely 5 months  after i started the system and the problem started.

Root clogging, had caused the problem .. the roots were really big and used up all the space between the small pebbles and there was no space for the water to flow. Also the flood and drain did stop working and this adds to the supply of oxygen the to roots to be cut off.

 So what i have learned from this experiment is that, for a media based Aquaponics system to work well, the grow media have to be atleast 20 mm. The ideal material is LECA - Light Expanded Clay Aggregate also known as Hydroton.
This is a little expensive material and one ca use 20 - 25 mm gravel or river pebbles as well.
 Gravel or river pebbles are a lot heavier compared to the LECA, so having a large system on your roof top with gravel or river pebbles will be a bit challenging.

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