Hydroton vs Lava Rock

Discussion in 'General Aquaponics discussion - Aquaponics system ' started by livinontop, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. livinontop

    livinontop Guest

    Just wondering why I'm not hearing much about using this porous "natural" rock, tho I know it would definitely require "gloves" to dig into! Do you know what I mean? The little lava rock with sharp edges used as yard decoration? I'd think it much more affordable than the hydroton, yet similar? Am I wrong? (Maybe thats why I've not heard of folks using it??) Thanks!
  2. Hotrodmike

    Hotrodmike New Member

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    Almost all rock is porous ,lava just tends to be more visual . Keep in mind the bacteria you are raising are microscopic so you dont see the same holes they do .Hydrotron is great but imported and over priced . Most of the lava rock here in the states has been dyed ,has lots of fines ,breaks down more than most rock with water running over it ,tends to be a bit sharp for you and the roots , root tend to grow into the larger pores , and tends to be rough on liners ,,,but it is lite . I would just look for a local rock that is 1/2-3/4" and cheap and not worry so much !
    I use crushed granite ,was it my first choice ,no it was not . Then again the quarry is 25 miles away and transportation is always more expensive than the rock it self . I was going for expanded shale but transport was going to kill me . In the long run ,the more I think the granite was the best choice when you weight all out . It has lots of trace minerals ,decent porousity and was cost effective . The only bad thing is that S**T is heavy on an old mans back !

    Have A Kind Day
    Mike
  3. Murray

    Murray Site Admin

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    Hydroton and the like is fine for inner city dwellers who just cannot get gravel delivered and may not have a trailer for their Porsche !

    It is also great of smaller systems that may be indoor/outdoor moveable systems such as the Aquabundance system.
    It is light weight and convenient.


    3/4" gravel is the way to go for economy. The lava rock is widely used and is very good. Make sure you do not make the mistake of choosing one that is too fine.

    Don't worry about it being hard on your hands, use a small garden spade/trowel. The cost well under $10.00 at a hardware/gardening store.

    [​IMG]
  4. marty01

    marty01 New Member

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    Scoria

    Hi Folks ...I presume that lava rock in the US is what is known as SCORIA here in OZ!( South Australia). I've been using scoria in my GBs and is just fine. I had to wash it b4 i put it in the tanks as it has a very fine powdery residue that can clog up root systems. Some say that it breaks down readily and produces a sluge in the bottom of GBs but hav'nt seen that yet.
  5. livinontop

    livinontop Guest

    Thanks ALL!! Hey Mike, I hear ya, bout the back! haha....My hubby 'n I are gonna "sleep well" once we get this thing going, I'm sure! Gonna want rock hauled for the "floor" of our greenhouse as well. We are out in the country....so I'll just check the rock prices. Thank you all!!
  6. Hotrodmike

    Hotrodmike New Member

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    It was not bad enough to move it all to the beds but Ma & Pa Kettle out there sieving and washing a 6' pile of granite ,by hand across a shaking screen . That at least had a plus side as I tossed about 1-2" of the fine stuff <1/2" on the greenhouse floor ,then used most of the rest in one of my dog runs .
    Tried to sucker a few people in to helping as granite has a lot of pyrite in it (fools gold) told them they could keep all the gold they panned out :(
    Was a bad week for suckers ! I sure do not look forward to the next batch :eek:
    Have A Kind Day
    Mike
  7. APcapetown

    APcapetown New Member

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    If you buy hydroton, does it last forever or does it have a limited life span?
  8. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Be careful i think its lifespan is 100 years
  9. DaveOponic

    DaveOponic New Member

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    As long as it's not made in China! I bought 20 or 30 bags of the expanded clay balls at a one dollar shop a few years ago. It was about $ 3.50 for a 5 kg bag.

    Filled a few GB's with it but much of it now has just cracked and disintergrated.

    The real stuff here is just way too pricey. I now use road gravel but washing and lifting the stuff cost me a hernia operation.

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