Why Matrix Media?
There are a lot of different aquaponics and hydroponics medias out there. Since some work better than others and each performs best within a specific application, aquaponics growers have quite a decision to make!
Choosing a media that will fit your system is important as it will determine the health of your plants, fish, and microbes. Although we have our favorite media chosen already, we experimented with many medias before choosing Matrix Media and compared various factors of each.
So why did we choose Matrix Media?
It's all about Biological Surface Area (BSA)
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Matrix Media is it's insanely high BSA, or Biological Surface Area.
If you remember...
"BSA is the amount of surface area inside your system that microbes can live on. BSA is very important in aquaponic systems because these microbes are the engines of a healthy aquaponics system. They oxidize ammonia, assist in nitrification and mineralize materials, like iron, in order to foster healthy plant growth and a healthy system overall." (Read more)
Thus, a media with extremely high BSA per square inch assists in your system's overall health.
When designing our ZipGrow towers, one of our goals was to not only grow more in a small space, but also maintain healthy, stable microbe populations to maximize nutrient cycling.
When compared to the BSA of crushed granite (21 ft² per cubic foot), or even pea gravel (85 ft² per cubic foot), Matrix Media's high BSA (290 ft² per cubic foot) gives your system's microbes a lot of space to grow and thrive.
This not only assists with good nitrification and other nutrient processing, it also creates a nice home for red worms, which are a great helper in breaking down solids and making nutrients more bioavailable in aquaponics systems.
Heavy media is old news
Matrix Media is light weight, flexible and reusable.
What does this mean? It means no heavy gravel, sand, or immovable water tanks (DWC) for you.
It means you can now transport truly living food from your hydroponic or aquaponic system directly to grocery stores, farmer's markets, or heck, even to homes of your customers.
It means life as a greenhouse grower just got more manageable. Matrix Media helps our ZipGrow towers stay light enough to move for harvesting and replanting, making greenhouse maintenance super simple.
Oh, you can reuse our media for years, too. Aren't reliable products great?
Matrix Media inserts are also give growers peace of mind knowing media can flex and bend without surrendering its structural properties. You can fold our inserts in the opposite direction every time you use them so that they age evenly, and pulling them in and out of the towers is not difficult.
How are they so light weight you ask?
ZipGrow Matrix Media is 93% air.
This not only helps transport towers to market, it also does something spectacular for your system's health.
Abolish Anaerobic Zones
The open space in the media (also called "void space") also allows for incredibly high percolation rates. Basically the water moves through your media and past your roots quicker than traditional media.
Why does this help your system?
With fast-moving water, you can not only increase dissolved oxygen but also abolish potentially deadly anaerobic zones.
Anaerobic zones - the pockets around your roots deprived of oxygen needed for sustaining life - cause the roots to starve and die. The more anaerobic zones you have in your system, the more decomposition, which produces nasty compounds like hydrogen sulfide as well allowing a number of pathogens.
If you haven't pick up on it yet, anaerobic zones are not good.
Matrix Media creates a highly aerobic environment for your plant's roots leading to better growth.
You might think that with all that air in the media, the temperature fluctuates a lot, but that is simply not true.
ZipGrow towers stabilize root zone temperatures better than any other media-based techniques and here's why: the continuous flow of nutrient solution - whether hydroponic or aquaponic - actually creates consistent temperatures and helps roots truly thrive.
This is especially valuable in hot climates, where the percolation creates a sort of swamp cooler so that your towers don't overheat.
Safety First, Then Productive Power.
A few questions we often receive are:
- "What goes into making Matrix Media?"
- And, "Is it safe?"
First, you should understand that we developed Matrix Media knowing it would be the media we rely on to feed our families. And we know our Upstart Farmers and other ZipGrow users rely on it to feed their markets, their families, and themselves.
Do you really think we would put the health of our friends and families at risk? Heck no.
We've ensured the safety of our media material. We know that our growers care about sustainability and the safety of their produce and that's why we've developed a media that's both environmentally responsible and safe.
Our media is constructed from recycled PET-1 (water bottles) without any BPA, and each poly fiber is inclosed by a binder which not only increases the longevity of your media but also minimizes contact with the water in your system.
It's a beautiful design with even more beautiful functionality and productive application in either your hydroponic or aquaponic system.
Don't forget the Grower's Guarantee
And, just like our ZipGrow towers, our media is built to last (why wouldn't it be if we made it for ourselves?) We use our media inserts for six or seven years before we have to replace them, and media inserts come with a one year warranty.
Why did we go to the trouble of finding the best media out there?
The answer is simple: We care!
We never make tools that are cheap and flimsy; instead we provide our growers with high quality, long-lasting tools that enable you to grow the highest quality produce on the market.
Want to experience that service? Check out our store for more info on our products and team.
Learn more about aquaponic medias with Dr. Storey: