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Hydroton alternative for DWC

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    HYDRO Hydroton alternative for DWC

    I'm just about ready to get my new DWC setup running, but I'm going to be short on expanded clay pellets to fill my net pots.
    I'm in a remote region so alot of sellers either won't ship to me or it's prohibitively expensive. Sometimes I just have to go with what I can find. The hydroton type clay pellet product I ended up with is in smaller packages than anticipated, and I only have enough to fill one of my net pots.(planning two plants) All I have available locally is a hardware store, with limited gardening supplies.

    Is there something else I can use instead? I'm thinking perhaps a layer of sterilized pebbles with the clay pellets on top. I just worry about something leaching out of the rock over time, not sure if this is really a concern though. My net pots are 6", which is bigger than most people seem to use.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts. If left to my own devices I'll probably end up filling the pots partially with clean pebbles, or put something else in the pots to fill the perimeter before putting the clay pellets where the roots will grow.


    Are you going to be using a rapid root or rockwool? if so then you can use clean pebbles or gravel to hold it in the net cup. As long as there is something else (like rockwool or starter plug) to hold onto moisture while the seed sprouts and roots grow out the bottom of the net cup then using a non retentive, non porous medium to stabilize the plant should be fine.


    • Northernbud
      Northernbud commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes I have rapid rooter cubes I will be using.

      Thanks for the reply, I'm leaning more towards the pebble route.

      The ground is frozen but the lakes aren't yet, looks like I'm going wading for pebbles after work! Nice round lake rock is probably the best thing I can find around here.

    And btw I already have more clay pellets coming, but it could take a few weeks and I'm pretty much ready to rock other than this.

    I'm also thinking about making my own net pots with smaller pots and a drill. I think I could fill a couple of 3 or 4" pots with what I have.


      Howdy Northernbud, The main thing to look for in an alternate for the Hydrotron pebbles would be a pH neutral rock or river gravel. I have reused the pebbles by washing them with water, DO NOT use soap or chlorine bleach to clean and sterilize them! You can sterilize them (after washing) by baking them in the oven for one and a half to two hours at 300° F. Put them into the over cold and let it heat up. There will be some breakage of the pebbles so You will need to screen out the 'fines' before reusing them.
      To check out the suitability of other material, adjust the pH of a quantity of water to 7.0 pH. Add in an amount of the material to test and let it stand for several hours, or over night is better. After standing for a while re check the waters pH, if there is no change in the water's pH, then the material will be O.K. to use (unless it is toxic,like arsenic or cyanide! LOL!)
      Smoke weed,.....grow peace!


      • DW2
        DW2 commented
        Editing a comment
        The clay pebbles are porous and might take up too much water by boiling them. I suspect that the water that is absorbed while rinsing them, expands when baking them, causing the breakage As well, the higher temperature of baking, instead of boiling, will kill off more microbes.

      • Northernbud
        Northernbud commented
        Editing a comment
        I think I'll get my lake rocks and bake those and all my dry clay pellets at the same time to make sure everything is sterile.

      • LurkingInTheGrass
        LurkingInTheGrass commented
        Editing a comment
        To sterilize/clean, I let them sit overnight, in a peroxide bath. (Netcup on top to hold them under the surface)

        But if its cost prohibitive to get hydroton, will likely be same for peroxide

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