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Hi.  I'm copying Traves Hughey's free DIY manual for a barrelponics setup.  I have an old, powerful pump I got for a large reef aquarium that was never set up, a Reeflo Dart pump.  It's rated at 2,160 GPH at 8'.  The DIY manual recommended 60 GPH at 7'.

 

Is this pump too powerful or can the pumping power be controlled by using ball valves?

 

This is my first post - any help will be appreciated - thanks.

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with the IBC's there is plenty of water depth to use an air lift to lift water up to a barrel half sitting on the IBC.  Quite a different thing to lifting water about 5 feet above a barrel on it's side fish tank.  If you want to use air to lift water higher than the depth of the pipe down into the water you would need to use a geyser pump instead and still you don't get much lift along with flow.
Not sure why people feel a airlift is restricted by how high it can lift. Airlifts must match air volume to pipe size but they can lift water hundreds of feet in the air. The higher the lift the lower the water volume of course but they really do a great job.
David, do you have any numbers about air pump sizing and pipe sizing and all that so people can actually estimate the flow rate they would get from a particular airlift set up?  That has always been my problem, people keep telling me they work but they can't tell me how to find out how much water any particular set up will lift without my having to buy it all set it up and time the interval it takes to fill a bucket.  Really hard to invest in such a set up if you can't compare efficiency to a regular water pump which does give you a pump curve that tells you about how much water flow you will get at different heights.
Count me in on air lift 101 too.  I have messed around with them before, but have never really committed to trying to make one.  I got the idea that bubble size was almost more important than pipe diameter, but as I said, I was not really trying to get a good one going at that time.

It always seemed to me that airlifts were appropriate in certain situations but not necessarily all that efficient under other circumstances.  Like in a big facility where large blowers are already going and the heights are minimal, airlifts are useful and you don't have to worry about needing separate pumps and electricity to each system if you already have air lines running everywhere anyway.

 

Or if you are dealing with very debris ridden situations where solids would foul most small water pumps but are easily handled with an airlift of appropriate design.

 

Or if you are dealing with a heavily sediment laden well where the sand would be hard on a traditional water pump the air pump can still handle the job without worry of an impeller being sanded down by the sediment over time.

I am not saying they are more efficient than submersibles. Quite the contrary. I am only stating if a aquapon wants to use air to lift water they will do it to any height regardless. Bubble size is not an issue in air lifts. It is air volume to pipe dia period. What takes place is archimedes principle or bouyancy principles come into play. If you have to little volume for pipe dia the bubbles mearly percolate up and dont create lift. A small aquarium pump with 1/8 tube into a 3/16 tube will create lift as and example. Put the 1/8 inch tube in a 1/2 and the air wont displace enough water volumn to create lift. Is there a set of specs for airlifts. Sure in salvage operations in dealing with hundreds of cubic feet of air. Nothing out there for what we are talking about. Airlifts are really great at moving solids as well. They are used in dredging operations world wide. Clear as mud I hope............

It always seemed to me that airlifts were appropriate in certain situations but not necessarily all that efficient under other circumstances.  Like in a big facility where large blowers are already going and the heights are minimal, airlifts are useful and you don't have to worry about needing separate pumps and electricity to each system if you already have air lines running everywhere anyway.

 

Or if you are dealing with very debris ridden situations where solids would foul most small water pumps but are easily handled with an airlift of appropriate design.

 

Or if you are dealing with a heavily sediment laden well where the sand would be hard on a traditional water pump the air pump can still handle the job without worry of an impeller being sanded down by the sediment over time.

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