How To Clear Media from Aquaponics Plants

This is an issue I have struggled with for a few years, How to clear media from aquaponics plants simply and easily.

I used to pull the plants up and painstakingly sit there trying to pull out the media by hand one clay ball at a time.

At least I am using Clay Pebbles as my media, would hate to be doing that with rock or scoria. Mind you it would be great way to keep your nails trimmed!

You could just throw the pant and media away but I think it’s a bit of a waste of media and it’s not that cheap to have to top up your system after every harvest.

There are two methods I use depending on how big the root ball is?

How to Clear Media from Aquaponics Plants – Method One.

What I like to call the bucket method.How to Clear Media from Aquaponics Plants - Method One

Basically is it the same method I use to clean the dirt from the seedling when I buy them before they go into the Aquaponics.

Take a 10 litre bucket fill it up to about 3 quarters full with water then carefully pull up the plant from the media, try to shake of as much loose media as you can.

Next start to dunk the root ball into the water like an over sized tea bag until till pretty much all of the media has been removed.

Then use your fingers to dig out the last few remaining bits, there shouldn’t be much left. I find this method will clear out 90% – 95% of the media.

Do this to all of the plants you are removing until either you run out of plants or space in the bucket. This might happen if you are doing lots of plants.

Once you have cleaned out the media from all your plants then it’s a simple process to recover the media from the water.

In the video I use the colandar from the kitchen to separate the balls from the water, a quick squirt with the hose to give them a clean and your done.

I wouldn’t worry to much about any roots left in the media, if you have worms in your aquaponics beds they will make pretty quick work of them.

How to Clear Media from Aquaponics Plants – Method Two.

What I like to call Cut and Wait!

How to Clear Media from Aquaponics Plants - Method Two

Now if you’ve had celery like I did this year in your aquaponics system, pulling it up really isn’t an option.

The root ball is just too big to pull up and would stir up too much mud in the bottom of the bed.

I find it’s best to pull up plants between cycles to help keep the water in the fish tank as clean as possible.

Just get a sharp knife or a pruning saw and cut the plant of as low as you can to the media leaving the roots in the bed.

Then let the worms and the water do there jobs. Before you know it you should be able to pull up the woody pieces in a few weeks.

If your system doesn’t have worms yet, add some in from your compost system and it won’t take long for them to fill up the bed.

Having worms helps to not only break down the old roots but also any food and solids that get sucked up by the pump from the fish tank.

I hope this post on How to clear media from Aquaponics plants was helpful?

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