• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Haasl
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Carla Burke
gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean

Straw as growing medium in aquaponics?

 
Posts: 35
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am considering installing an aquaponics element to my garden and or greenhouse. I am pondering what kind of growing medium I should use. I like the idea of using very small gravel/very large sand because of the more natural root growth and distribution. Then I thought about the possiblity of using straw, either entirely or chopped and mixed in with some small gravel. What do you think?

One problem I was thinking of is the fact that straw is organic and will break down, but it can be changed out after every crop.
 
Posts: 9002
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
676
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Straw will decompose and consume lots of oxygen in the process.
 
Posts: 63
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Floating raft is what most of the commercial people do.

 
pollinator
Posts: 506
Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
81
kids monies dog forest garden fish homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would avoid the straw for a few reasons.

1. It will cause clogging problems. With... virtually every component in the plumbing. Pump, drain, bell syphon if you use it, etc. etc.
2. It will suck up the nitrates and other minerals you are attempting to get into the water.


For gravel/media size I have seen many systems have issues with gravel that is less than 3/8" inches in diameter. Most clogging/dead zone issues. You want the water to flow freely and remain oxygenated/aerobic. Anaerobic conditions cause bad/wrong bacteria colonies to form. They grow/spread MUCH faster than the good bacteria. They also SMELL. A good running system never smells bad. The also REVERSE the nitrification process... killing the fish.

Be sure that whatever you use it is solid and PH neutral! Look up "Vinegar test". I have had Great luck with scoria/volcanic/lava rock. Hard to find in smaller size (I just use the larger ones). They have Excellent mineral content (that breaks down to feed the plants over time), surface area, and lock together to give the plants something solid to hold onto. Not to mention the large voids between the rocks than enable great water flow over time.

Let me know if you have any further questions and I might be able to point you in the right direction.

~Marty
gift
 
Rocket Mass Heater Manual
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic