What is Expanded Clay Aggregate

Expanded Clay Aggregate Substrate

 It is made by heating clay to over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit using a rotary kiln, which gives it that signature pebbly form.

This process fills the clay with little air bubbles, making it perfect for holding oxygen as well as moisture around plant roots. It can be mixed with soil or used alone.

The clay is formed into round pellets and fired in rotary kilns at 1,200 °C (2,190 °F).

This causes the clay to expand, like popcorn, and become porous. It is light in weight, and does not compact over time.

The shape of an individual pellet can be irregular or uniform depending on the manufacturing process.

Ecologically sustainable, and re-usable growing medium because of its ability to be cleaned and sterilized, typically by washing in solutions of white vinegar, chlorine bleach, or hydrogen peroxide and rinsing completely.

Related: What Is The Hydroponics?

Benefits of Expanded Clay Aggregates – ECA in Hydroponics:

– These porous Expanded Clay Aggregates absorb moisture and allow for fantastic drainage of water from the roots of the plant.

Not only do they absorb moisture, but they’ll also absorb any nutrient solution you choose to add.

– The pores in the aggregates, the space between them, and their superior drainage function keeps air circulating so roots get plenty of oxygen.

– They can last a long time. Just wash and reuse as many times as you need.

You don’t have to worry about losing nutrients through numerous washes because there aren’t any, to begin with.

If they lose their usefulness, you can add them to the soil of your outdoor gardens to increase aeration and organic content.

Related: SIMBR Hydroponic Growing System Review

Expanded Clay Aggregate Substrate
Expanded Clay Aggregate Substrate

They’re pH neutral and rather inhospitable to bugs. 

You can crush them to increase water retention for use in the germination stage of growing. ( We also supply crushed Expanded Clay Aggregates)

They’re inexpensive since they are cheap to make and can save you money reusing them over years.

– Expanded clay is also sometimes called Hydroton, clay pebbles, light expanded clay aggregate (LECA), or simple clay. It resembles brown pebbles.

This grows medium can be rinsed and reused, making it a popular, economical choice. It’s often paired with net pots or mesh pots, which hold the medium neatly in the system.

Related: Hydroponics and Greenhouse Gardening Book

Tips

Expanded Clay Aggregate Substrate
Expanded Clay Aggregate Substrate

Rinse the pebbles thoroughly before using. Skipping or skimping on this step may lead to more expensive problems down the road.

Soak the pebbles for at least six hours or, even better, up to 24 hours. The medium will be heavier but your plants won’t have to work hard to get to the water they so desperately crave.

Remove the plants and rinse occasionally. While these clay pellets are known for their neutral pH and lack of nutrients, they can still absorb and hold onto the nutrients you add along the journey.

After a time, phytotoxicity can build up and starve the plants.

Add a small amount of nutrients after rinsing your pebbles.

You can use one-quarter strength of your base grow nutrient or a nutrient solution of 0.4 electrical conductivity or less.

Give starting your seeds a try using clay pebbles. You can crush the medium to increase saturation or you can keep them whole, use small net pots, and cover the seed with a couple of pebbles.

Misters set to bursts lasting four to 10 seconds every two or three hours will bring on germination. Just make sure you have soaked the pebbles beforehand.

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