What are the beads this guy is scooping out in this video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/3Gjd5DRyeks

2 Answers 2


That look like Hydroton, which explained above is expanded clay.

It is highly porous and holds moisture very well, and is used in a lot of Deep Water Culture/Aquaponic/Hydroponic applications.

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    That's a lot cheaper than the previous answer. Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 22:53
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    It's for a hack-a-thon project, so we're shoe stringing the project. Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 23:00
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    Yes, with PLCs, why do you ask? Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 23:10
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    I am (slowly) working on a pH/Nutrient controller with Raspi. Interested in similar type projects and how they're executed.
    – DevOops
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 23:21
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    That project sounds like: FUN!!! Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 23:24

These are called by various names but the one I am familiar with is LECA. It stands for Lightweight Expanded Clay aggregate and is made by this company.

Having seen this material used in twenty and thirty year old installations I can attest to its durability. Lightweight? Not so much.

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