Aquaponics media is simply the material you use to grow your plants in. With Aquaponics you don’t use soil so you need something to support the plant and roots to grow sturdy and healthy.
The most commonly used media for grow beds are clay pebbles (buy here link) and often times some sort of gravel.
In addition to a support mechanism for the plants, the media is used as a filter as well as a great breading ground for bacteria. In the case of Aquaponics, bacteria is essential for growing your plants. Once you get started with Aquaponics you will see how much faster a well cycled system will make your plants grow compared to a typical soil based grow bed. It’s truly amazing…
Some rules for choosing the media:
- Size matters – Media should be anywhere from 8 to 16 mm in size. If they are smaller, air and water flow may be obstructed which is bad for roots. If they are bigger, the overall area for bacteria is reduce and a solid foundation for the roots is minimized.
- pH neutrality is important. The clay pebbles we first spoke about are pH neutral, hence why they are so popular. While most river rocks are pH neutral, not all are so be conscious while buying.
- Weight of media needs to be taken into consideration as well. When you are building your system, depending on size, you have to make sure you build a sturdy enough base to support the weight of the gravel otherwise you will regret it once your system has crashed to the ground… Clay pebbles are light weight but a bit more expensive than gravel. Often times, some gardeners will fill the bottom half of the system with gravel and the top half with clay pebbles. This reduces cost a bit but still keeps the weight at a reasonable level.
Regardless of what type of media you choose to buy, try and stick to the 3 points above and you should be safe.
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