Choosing the grow bed media

The grow bed is the hydroponic part of any aquaponic system. For someone that is new in this field, selecting the correct material can turn out to be a difficult job. You can reuse material from your household or you can buy new one.

But the choice should be taken accordingly to the depth of the water channels, the nutrient film technique used and the media filled grow bed.

Basically, a grow bed`s definition is that of a container that is filled with gravel or other hard material. This has tremendous importance to an aquaponic system due to the fact that it is home for the roots and offers support for the plants. Filtration is another important thing you should keep in mind. Whether it is mechanical, biological or mineralization, filtration should be chosen depending on the type of system you want to set up.

The material for your grow bed should be selected depending on the location of the system. Indoor or outdoor placing, it does not matter: you need to build a strong, waterproof support for your plants. As an example, for a small system you can use wooden or plastic containers that are usually found around any household. For a larger one, you can opt for buying an IBC barrel.

The perfect grow bed needs to be waterproof in order to prevent unwanted substances to leak into the fish tank. Furthermore, it does not need to interact with the pH of the water because it will create an imbalance in the fish tank. It is recommended to select a material that does not allow the direct sunlight to fall on the roots. This can cause the appearance of algae and the deterioration of the quality of roots. The most regularly used material include plastic, wood or fiberglass, but you can select other waterproof items.

The depth and size of any grow bed is proportional to the dimensions of the entire system. As you may already notice, the stress is on creating the perfect balance. A general rule states that the volume of a grow bed should be the same as the one for the fish tank. Furthermore, you need to properly distribute the space. For the top layer leave about 5 cm, for the root space 20 cm can do the job, while for the solid space on the bottom, 5 cm are sufficient. Anyway, you can create variations starting with those values by matching them with your system`s dimensions.

Finally, following strict measurements is not always the perfect way to go. Constructing a personalized aquaponic system may include selecting different measurements depending on your space availability or further updates you plan to do. It is important to keep an eye on filtration and providing the proper planting area. Being creative is a must! Choose the design for your system and from there start thinking about how your grow bed should look like.

growbeds, hydroponics, IBC barrel