The light expanded clay aggregate also known as clay pebbles are made with hydroponic substrate process into marbles or peanuts size. Its popularity increases because they are lightweight, easy to transport and harvest. They are most preferred by the small producers who use media bed or Dutch bucket techniques. Moreover, these hydroton clay pebbles can be used in both aquaponic and hydroponic growing medium.
Here are some of the pros and cons of hydroton in the hydroponic process:
- Pros of hydroton
- More pore space
Compared to sand, perlite and other small particles, hydroton made from hydroponic mediums have larger space between each rock and pebble. The biological surface part is not usually as high, and the pore space is higher. But why these larger pore spaces are beneficial? It means a better run of solution through the media even when they are covered from algae or microbes. This results in the effective draining of water.
- Air-holding capacity
These clay pebbles have some capacity to hold bubbles. When the plants find difficult to accumulate air, this clay becomes a great help from them. Hence, combined with great percolation, its air holding capacity makes doesn’t let challenging for the anaerobic system to happen.
- Environment-friendly and moderately renewable
Since the clay is available in copious quantity, it is fairly considered as an environmentally-friendly medium. Moreover, lesser clay is used to create the hydroton. Therefore, compared to other alternatives that use the demanding earth’s supply in greater quantity, hydroton is considered environmentally friendly.
Even if the hydroton is not considered as a pollutant as it is a mineral, it is not supposed to go landfill after use. Fortunately, it can be reused. Simply, you need to wash any built up silt or organic matter from it. Remember that unless there is extreme salt build up in the clay pebbles, you can rinse and reuse it many times.
- Easy to plant and harvest
Due to larger pores, hydroton is a loose medium. This makes it easy to transplant and pull plants out after harvest without much effort. Hence, your time and the amount of work wrestling with plant roots will be saved.
- Cons of hydroton
- Poor water holding capacity
Clay pebbles hold the air efficiently but when it comes to water, it has the poor holding capacity. This is what allows the substance to stay hydrated. Hence, low water holding capacity means the crops will remain dry and wilted if not water frequently. However, it is not a serious issue, you just need to take care that you are watering the plants as per its need.
- Fairly costly
Many small growers prefer these clay pebbles as they are easy to work with. Hence, with the growing demand, the prices are also getting high. And, it is a bit costly for many large growers.
- Cause problems with pumps and plumbing
The hydroton floats until they are saturated in their initial months. This can cause the blockage as the clay pebbles can be stuck into drain lines and filters.
As against the pros, the cons are negligible which makes the hydroton an advisable media for small as well as large growers. Though it might be expensive as compared to other alternatives, it is certainly worth spending. Moreover, it looks more appealing in the pots. For lightweight concrete manufacturers, one can look out for manufacturers at https://www.expandedclayaggregate.com/ for expert advice, collections and much more.