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craig1267

Pea gravel media helps prevent root rot for me BIG TIME

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I'm going to start a thread about pea gravel in hydroponics systems.

 

I have used pea gravel in a single loop aquaponic system, and a pure hydroponic system over the past 2 or 3 years.  I've tried deep water culture in two other forms using large diameter pipes and a unique approach using fence boards that are placed on the sides with net pots danging in the water.  I have found that I have a lot of trouble keeping particulate matter from clinging to the roots in DWC and killing them, but the plants in pea gravel just don't have this problem.

 

Based on my experience so far, it seems to me that deep water culture in aquaponics without really really good particulate filtration would just end in disaster. It seems the only thing to do with my DWC is to make a serious effort to clean out the water, but I would be constantly fighting that due to dead leaves, dead roots and other things falling into the water.

 

I am considering replacing my DWC with gravel all the way.  I wonder what alternatives there are since the stuff is so heavy and I will need literally a ton of it, or more.

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Hi Craig,

 

Have you contemplated setting up an iAVs?  It ticks all of the boxes from a backyarder's perspective.

 

Sand beds have also been used in hydroponics almost since its discovery.  While they would not have the soil microbiology that is evident in an iAVs, they would certainly overcome your concerns around crown rot.

 

Gary

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Bulk Polyester or Plastic shavings??????

 

I think plastic has properties that attract particles to it.  I use bird netting to pull out very small particles in my RAS.  I wonder if there would be similar issues with using plasic around the roots.  It's just conjecture though.....

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Hi Craig,

 

Have you contemplated setting up an iAVs?  It ticks all of the boxes from a backyarder's perspective.

 

Sand beds have also been used in hydroponics almost since its discovery.  While they would not have the soil microbiology that is evident in an iAVs, they would certainly overcome your concerns around crown rot.

 

Gary

 

 

At the time, I don't think I'm going to be moving towards something completely new, such as iAVS.  When I asked the question about alternative media, I shortly thereafter realized that there probably really isn't any, besides perhaps all of the usual things that others use.

 

So far, I think it boils down to two things.  More pea gravel, or sand.  So far, pea gravel is the winner since I know where to get it, it's cheap and I know exactly what to expect out of it since I've used it for a while now.  Sand seems to be a close second.  It's seems close or equal to pea gravel in terms of weight, wicking ability...or lack thereof, but there is one difference.  It seems sand can pack down and stop oxygen from penetrating down far into the roots.  If pea gravel gets dirty, The same thing can happen, but I am not sure if the effect is as bad.  As far as wicking ability, I run larger volumes of water and do a hydroponic version of subsurface flow, so wicking isn't really a problem.

 

I know there are other medias, but I don't want to use something that isn't so biodegradable. It just doesn't sit right with me.  I could use recycled products, which would help keep the stuff out of the landfills or ocean, but still the end result would eventually be the same.  That's why I've ruled those out, FYI.

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I'm wondering if sand would help filter the small particles out that build up around the DWC roots.  Gary, you mentioned in iavs, the solids dry out on the top of the sand.  The problem is that these very fine particles come from dirt falling into the system or from rotting leaves, etc.  It's not fish waste, but the end result looks very similar.  

 

The real problem is that they settle in the hydroponics tank and don't make their way into the pump reservoir ever, so they don't even have the chance to get sucked back up and pumped back on top of a sand bed where they might dry out like in iavs.....I might need to think about that for a while.

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