Since materials used in grow bed setup is one factor in growing healthy and productive plants, you need to plan on the materials to be used when setting up one.
What’s in a grow bed?
– Grow bed. The industry standard is to be at least 12 inches deep to allow growing many variety of plants and provide filtration. Must be strong enough to withstand the lateral and downward forces of water, media and plants roots. Material should be food-safe and should not alter the PH of the aquaponics system. Some grow bed materials that can be utilized are used bathtub, IBC (intermediate bulk container) totes, 55-gallon storage barrels or customized tank made of fiber glass.
– Grow bed media. Gravel, expanded clay (hydroton), or river stones. Media must not give off anything that changes the PH of the system. Limestone and marble tend to create high PH due to their calcium carbonate levels. Media must never decompose as the process of decomposition may leach tannins into the water that may turn it dark and hard for you to see the fish. The right size of the media is about half to three quarters of an inch in diameter.
– Pipes and bell siphon with media guard. Create a media guard to facilitate easier cleaning of plumbing fittings.
Picture above is a grow bed with expanded clay and media guard (inside the media guard is the bell siphon that automatically drains the water when it reaches the desired water level, the drained water flows back into the fish tank via the connecting pipes)