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I built my first aquaponics system in Palm Harbor, FL several years ago. I did about six months worth of research and design before I started my build. The effort paid off. I mainly use solid grow media. Most of which is clay pellets. Some of which is a combination of clay pellets, shell, and river pebbles. I've added red worms into my designs in order to keep my system clean and provide worm castings tea. I ordered my red worms online and had them delivered to my home. I've never had to buy more worms since they have multiplied to the extent that I have them in abundance for new grow bed builds. I've read numerous posts, articles, and books in which the authors have stated that they build their systems w/out adding in red worms. They've stated that the grow beds will populate themselves with red worms. My question is how do these red worms work their way into their systems w/out being added? I imagine most systems like mine are up on stands and most tanks do not appear that they would provide much of a surface for a worm to climb. This has always been a mystery to me. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Dan Jerome - Palm harbor, Florida
I do not have the money to purchase expanded clay or any of the other fancy grow bed media. I have used pea gravel in the past, and in my area the pea gravel available has lots of limestone in it, which rocks the Ph constantly. I've washed and washed but the limestone stays in and breaks down slowly causing big swings. Not good. I've looked at river stone, but it is either too large, or has limestone in it as well. Lava rock is not readily available in my area, what little I can find is very expensive. So, the other day at Walmart I see they carry bags of marble chips. Actually the chips are about 3/4 of an inch, which I think would be perfect. 2 Cu ft sells for $3.48 so it's pretty inexpensive. I'm thinking the marble chips would pretty much be inert, and have no effect on the system, making them an excellent media choice. What do you guys think?