Hydroton vs Growstones?

Discussion in 'Aeroponics' started by AliCakes, May 7, 2011.

  1. I made a DIY Aeroponics system, and I am ordering some final supplies for my first ganja grow ever.

    I need a substrate to fill my net pots and both products look like they could work. Question for you guys is which do you like better and why.
  2. Hi with what I have seen opinion wise is that people tend to lean twrd the hydroton. Really many differant rocks can be used as "grow rocks" Id say with hydroton your sure to make it fairly easy on new roots. Hope this helps a little.
  3. I don't know if I elaborated enough. I was asking about a brand called "Growstones" They are made out of recycled glass and have more of a pumice texture. Supposedly creating better capillary action. I was trying to decide if the extra cost was worth ordering those instead of hydroton. Since I didn't get any responses quickly, I assumed they probably weren't worth the extra $$ and just bought the hydroton. Thank you, though.
  4. Prob a smart assumption. Maybe down the road you can try the growstones, they do sound interesting, (just read up on them a bit) and who knows...maybe they are better! From the sounds of things thats what the product is claiming...
  5. AliCakes: I don't really think you can go wrong with Hydroton. People have been using it for a long time and as long as you rinse it thoroughly before you use it you're not likely to have a problem. Recently I attended a hydro class where the subject was different growing mediums and they spent a of of time on those two products. We had a guest speaker who was a sales rep from Grow Rocks and he pointed out a few things that might make a difference to you the next time you're in the market for growing medium. I know he got me to thinking but it may depend on how 'green' you are.

    He agreed both are great hydroponic growing mediums but he pointed out that Hydroton, being made of clay, is strip mined and he claimed those mines are becoming played out. If you've ever seen what's left after they're through strip mining that may make a difference too.

    Obviously he hasn't been in my outside garden. I've been breaking down clay soil with compost for twenty years and a foot down it still has the consistency of concrete.

    He also pointed out that Hydroton is an imported product from a German company.

    Grow rocks, by comparison, come from, as you said, recycled glass manufactured here in New Mexico in the good old USA where it keeps food on American tables. To some people that makes a difference.

    Either can be used and reused. He recommended soaking Grow Rocks in bleach before you do reuse them and admitted they might be harder to recycle because the roots have more of a tendency to grow 'into' the rocks rather than around them.

    One student in the class gave us an interesting tip: he uses aquarium marbles like you see at Wal-Mart and pet shops. I haven't had a chance to compare the price but he claimed they're cleaner and easier to use and reuse. Now there's something to think about.

    One instructor we had in the past claimed the 'red' in Hydroton was iron oxide and that in a magnetic driven pump it could be deposited in the pump and eventually cause the pump to fail. A subsequent teacher with an electronics engineering background agreed that was possible but not likely unless you had a non grounded two terminal plug on your pump. But at what pumps cost now a days I wouldn't want to risk it.

    In my Aerogarden it's a moot point because I use their grow pods and they're made of ground up coco.

    The Grow Stone rep's last point was when you do eventually get rid of the Hydroton it usually goes into the land fill where as the Grow Rocks were bottles that were rescued from there in the first place. And when you're done with them and you can till them into your dirt garden to improve the soil's ability to hold water and air. What do you think?
  6. I thought about aquarium marbles as well, but those don't have the capillary action of Hydroton or Grow Stones....not a deal breaker, but I don't think they are ideal either.
    I have no problem prepping a medium before use, but I didn't think about the iron oxide being an issue. I can see how that might cause problems with a pump, and I like the idea of using the old grow product to improve your soil when/if I ever stop growing, but I would think that could be done with both products.

    It sounds like you were impressed with Grow Stones. I'm shocked Aerogarden uses ground coco for their plugs - wouldn't that clog the pump?
  7. #7 Hank Alvarez, May 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2011
    AliCakes: Aerogarden's grow pods are pretty tightly packed and I've never had a problem. It may not be 'only' coco. The disadvantage with Aerogarden is that everything is proprietary and they're pretty tight lipped about their products. After the knock offs I saw the last couple of years I guess I can't blame them. I'm still in love with the sponges Aerogarden used to have and did away with.

    I've got a bag of Hydroton that I use occasionally in a DWC and I'll keep using it until they're gone but then I think I'll switch over to the grow rocks or marbles. As far as any capillary action with Hyfroton is concerned, I don't think so. I think they're just anchors to weight down your plants. I think you could use bricks and do the same thing. Hank
  8. Have you ever herd of sure to grow grow medium. It's like a sponge like material you see in couches.. It's sterile, soft allowing roots to penetrate easier and it is neutral on the ph scale doing away with peeping the medium. Only down side can't resuse but it's not that expensive.. J was turned on by the glass grow rock you had mentioned and I prefer them over clay simply because it's less messy and the cost about the same if not less. The glass marbles work but won't hold nutes or air.. In a dwc it would not make that big of a difference as the roots are always submerged in a nute solution. But in an ebb n flow it might make a moderate difference as the capulary concept comes into play.
  9. #9 Hank Alvarez, May 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2011
    xSpecialEDx: I have to agree with you on most of what you said. The 'sponge like' material might be the way to go, even if you can't re-use it. That would depend a lot on how much it costs. Also, you have to consider the 'green factor,' the disposability. I'm not sure if that's really a word and I don't have the time to look it up right now, but we've got to start thinking of ways to not fill up our land fill dumps. The grow rocks you can till into your dirt garden and re-use them for the same reasons you mentioned above but I sure wouldn't want to do that with the clay balls where I live. Hank
  10. Any one else have any info on these "growstones"
  11. Rockwool in 2" net pot = <3
    Not only do you avoid buying additonal 'fillers' to hold up your plant, but you can directly install it into your aero garden and let the misters mist! no need to ever water it yourself to start the plant as the rockwool can absorb and retain sufficient moisture for the roots to pop out of the net pot, after which the roots will dangle and see the beginnings of your aero grow!
  12. [quote name='"osidenposeidon"']Rockwool in 2" net pot = <3
    Not only do you avoid buying additonal 'fillers' to hold up your plant, but you can directly install it into your aero garden and let the misters mist! no need to ever water it yourself to start the plant as the rockwool can absorb and retain sufficient moisture for the roots to pop out of the net pot, after which the roots will dangle and see the beginnings of your aero grow![/quote]

    I am thinking about using the grow rocks on top of my soil, they say they keep the gnats away and hold lots of water and air
  13. I also recommend running a 1% H2O2 solution through your system as the gnats won't like the new living environment and move on. Make sure to do a .25, .50, .75, 1% gradual increase to be nice to the plants if possible, even though these amounts are so small it may not affect your big babes.
    Also Cover those exposed pots! They don't need to be open to the environment which allows water + light to meet, which is ideal for pesty gnats. I recommend using a simple and preferably cheap reflective material (aluminum foil is great, not the most reflective material but for its undergrowth placement it does just fine, prevents light from passing through, and doesn't rust just in case there's upsplashing mist/droplets).
    By doing this you will also do your roots a favor as it will be an additional layer to prevent light getting to them, and the gnats won't commute from you grow medium to fly around in the warm HID air. especially if it's placed nicely.
  14. I'm using Growstones and they seem to be working really well. Better than the Hydroton's we use at work. You need to strategically place them in the cups to make sure the water doesn't squirt out if you're using a powerful Aeroponic system. Make sure to rinse them first and that's it. Good luck!

    I can post a pic if you're intersted in seeing them in place. They do hold the water very well.
  15. Id like to see a pic if possible. Im planning on doing a hempy bucket next with either grow stones or perlite in the res. Ill be using coco on top.

    Sent from my GT-S5830 using GC Forum
  16. Found this on youtube [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUPsIpd9TmQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player[/ame]

    Sent from my GT-S5830 using GC Forum
  17. I have done some research on this and have found some people recommend river rock as a medium to put them in, and another to take clay pots and break them. Sand down the sharp edges. The clay will hold the moisture really well.
  18. [​IMG]


    The unit I'm using is custom. The baskets are 3". The only issue I've had so far is that the glass rocks are odd shaped with a lot of different sizes. My aeroponics system was blasting water and nutrients up through one of the baskets because I didn't have enough Growstones in them. Other than that.....I can't complain at all.

    Images shown are one week into flower with the tallest plant being 34".
  19. I grow Hoyas, an epiphytic liane, and I have just discovered growstones.  I love them!  I find rooting cuttings they work as well as Hydroton...and I am using it in the bottom of the larger pots to give air pockets for the roots.  I like the moisture retention capabilities...
  20. I really like grow stones so far.  They hold water very well, they also seem to have great capillary action.  I didnt have to pay any extra for them, I got them as a sample...dunno if I'd pay the extra to go the greener route though.

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