Hydroponics and Aquaponics

How to sterilize Hydroponic Clay Balls

Clay ball, also known as clay pebbles, are my favorite hydroponic growing medium. They work in most systems. I even have used them with soil for plants the like loss aerated soil. they last forever but you do need to know how to sterilize hydroponic clay balls

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They are a bit expensive but unlike other growing mediums, however, they last forever.

It is important that you clean and sterile the clay balls.

When you first open a new bag you will notice that they are very dusty. To clean them simply rinse underwater. I use a standard kitchen colander. Put the ball in and rinse until the water runs clear. Then they are ready for use. You don’t need to sterilize them for the first use.
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You should clean and sterilize the clay balls as part of your normal system maintenance.

The little air pockets in the balls are a perfect place for bacteria to hide. I typically have no issues with bacteria when using them. Only twice in the few years I have been growing with them have I had a problem.

The solution is simple.
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Remove clay pebbles from your system.

Place them in a plastic container large enough that the balls will completely be submerged.
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Add a water /10% bleach solution.

Let the ball soak for at least day or until you need them again.

Raise very well.

That’s it. You now have clay balls ready for your next planting cycle.

Make sure you clean the rest of your system in between plantings also. Bacteria can hide in lots of tiny places. If you can run the once you take any growing mediums out, run your system with a 10% bleach solution. That will ensure things like the pump and read lines are clean. Don’t forget to remove the growing mediums first.

Some sites will tell you to use hydrogen peroxide. I have tried this with very poor results.

Bleach works great, it’s easy to get in large quantities and is inexpensive.

Let me know your thoughts. Happy gardening.

Dorothy

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