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Substitute for Clay Pellets

This is a discussion on Substitute for Clay Pellets within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Originally Posted by Magnus A As long as the material has a capillary effect, that ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus A View Post
    As long as the material has a capillary effect, that it suck the water up, it should vork. Then you have to consider the size of the pieces to balanse air, moisture and wet surface.
    This is what I have made out of the bricks


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    Gurjeet, you could try out a simple experiment before you plant your orchids in it. Just take your SH pot fill it up with these pellets and water. Weigh it on day one and then weigh it every day at the same time, see how much water is evaporated everyday. If there is capillary action a lot of water will evaporate. Another test to see if there is enough capillary action would be to take one of these samll brick pieces from the top layer in the pot and touch it slightly either above the lip (between the nose and lip) or under the lower lip between the lip and the chin. These spots on our body are very sensitive to temperature and moisture. You will feel the moisture or if it is dry. If after several days you notice that the wtaer is evaoratinf and that the pieces on the top are moist, I will conclude there is sufficient capillary action to support orchids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halloamey View Post
    Gurjeet, you could try out a simple experiment before you plant your orchids in it. Just take your SH pot fill it up with these pellets and water. Weigh it on day one and then weigh it every day at the same time, see how much water is evaporated everyday. If there is capillary action a lot of water will evaporate. Another test to see if there is enough capillary action would be to take one of these samll brick pieces from the top layer in the pot and touch it slightly either above the lip (between the nose and lip) or under the lower lip between the lip and the chin. These spots on our body are very sensitive to temperature and moisture. You will feel the moisture or if it is dry. If after several days you notice that the water is evaporating and that the pieces on the top are moist, I will conclude there is sufficient capillary action to support orchids.
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    Alrighty, here it goes. This container has everything it needs to be an SH, hopefully. The green band shows the water level and the three capillary materials sticking out on the surface is an added wick that goes all the way down to the bottom to wick up the nutrient solution. I will follow your experimental procedure and test it for the next week. Enough time for my orchids to show up and observe the test results. Thanks to all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halloamey View Post
    Another test to see if there is enough capillary action would be to take one of these samll brick pieces from the top layer in the pot and touch it slightly either above the lip (between the nose and lip) or under the lower lip between the lip and the chin. These spots on our body are very sensitive to temperature and moisture. You will feel the moisture or if it is dry.
    I can't do that due to my mustache and beard! LOL but I will figure it out somehow.

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    Very interesting experiment! Please keep us updated!

    I have had some plant in S/H in expanded clay pellets over the years. My experience is that the top layer never get wet but you get a gradien of moisture down to the waterlevel. This give the root a possibility to adopt to wetter and wetter condition as they grow down throug the media and finaly happily grow straight into the water. Therefore I would not be to conserned if the topp brick pieces stay "dry".

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    I've seen plants growing in straight lava rock. It is very light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdayinflorida View Post
    I've seen plants growing in straight lava rock. It is very light.
    Sure, in this case its an experiment with crushed bricks and its a test phase. I will keep updated. I am not buying materials for SH because of the quantity availabe in the market. Minimum 5ltr bags which is too much for a trial run.

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    I just couldn't take the risk and chickened out, I confess. The expanded clay pellets are soaking outside and I just didn't have the heart of using crushed bricks for Psychopsis Mriposa. I have yet another batch of them to come by the end of this week and thinking of their survival and the amount of stress they will have to put up I don't want to use that state in my experiment. Perhaps, I will never use crushed bricks. I have been thinking about this ever since I started to experiment with the bricks. Its the sheer weight, as some of my fellow members raised some concerns. I couldn't get a 5ltr bag so I heaved a 10ltr all the way home. With a promise of growing orchids better. Giving them what they deserve to flourish.

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    You made a good decision. Actually you should still continue the experiment regarding the water capillary effect and note your readings regarding water loss. It might be helpful incase someone thinks of this very experiment, because there are many places in the world where you cannot get LECA.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gurj View Post
    I just couldn't take the risk and chickened out, I confess. The expanded clay pellets are soaking outside and I just didn't have the heart of using crushed bricks for Psychopsis Mriposa. I have yet another batch of them to come by the end of this week and thinking of their survival and the amount of stress they will have to put up I don't want to use that state in my experiment. Perhaps, I will never use crushed bricks. I have been thinking about this ever since I started to experiment with the bricks. Its the sheer weight, as some of my fellow members raised some concerns. I couldn't get a 5ltr bag so I heaved a 10ltr all the way home. With a promise of growing orchids better. Giving them what they deserve to flourish.

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    Its going on fine by the way. The wick I included is for the sole purpose creating even moisture in the container. Until now no significant loss of water through evaporation is noted but it will happen in due course. I think a Phal would be the first one I'd transfer to that brick media.

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