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Coconut Fiber As Plant Substrate?


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  • Regular Member

I was looking into hydroponics to give some hints as to how to grow plants in a pond. I currently have some plants in the pond, in floating islands which have basket-type pots. The pots are filled with sort of a gravely planting material, and it seems to work fine. But I would rather not use the gravel stuff, so I was looking for alternatives.

One of the materials that hydroponics people use is coconut fiber. It says it does not affect pH, and is also sold as a bedding/substrate for animals like toads. Since these are sensitive creatures, I am thinking that coconut fiber would not do much to the water, and wouldn't harm the fish, while at the same time being a good thing to grow the plants in.

I know it's an off-the-wall idea, but I wondered if anybody had any thoughts on it.

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Sorry I missed this! I use it in my crab tank all the time. When it's wet, it floats. I suppose if you really soaked it first, it would probably be okay, though it still seems like it might crumble and make a mess. It would also likely turn the water brown.

I used regular organic potting soil in my pond and it seemed to do just fine (after the initial messiness of pieces floating and such). But if you decide to go with the coco fiber, let us know how it turns out! I've grown terrestrial plants in it so I'd like to know how it does in water!

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Thanks for the info on coco fiber, jsrtist. Based on that, I'm not going to try it right now.

I ended up making my floating island with a plastic basket, some rocks on the bottom for ballast, then some lava rocks (pond bio-media), and then some "Hydro Balls - Lightweight Expanded Clay Terrarium Substrate." Found it while researching frog stuff. As it turns out, it acts as a bio-media for damp-loving terrestrial animals. But you can also use it under their damp "forest floor" material and pump water through it, so it apparently doesn't degrade. I first noticed it because of the clay component, because that is what my gravely water plant potting mix is - only this is not gravel, more like little rounded brown clay lumps. I thought it looked natural. I also put some round aquarium media in there, because I was short a little.

Anyway, this experiment is to see if a bio-media is good for growing plants on the floating island. I like the idea of putting more media for beneficial bacteria in the pond.

P.S. Based on your experience with the dove building a nest in the coco-mat hanging planter, I bought two of them at the fabric store - on sale! I think I'll put one out this year and see if any second-nesters use it. A longshot, but something to try. Also an excuse to grow some more plants.

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