Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I have been working with air lifts in Aquaponics and wondering if anyone else is trying them. 

We first tried the air lifts to deal with a problem of theft at school locations. Submersible pumps were being stolen regularly. So we put the air pump in the class room, a super quiet model, and ran the air line out the upper window to the fish tank. We had to invent our own pump because we could not find a commercial model.

If anyone is interested I will email them our manual for building several models.

Some of the advantages are....much less electricity. 

The piping does not clog, like the filters on submersible pumps or external leaf filters.

The air lift picks up the fish solids and pumps them to the cinder bed were the Indian Blue worms eat the fish waste.

There is NO electricity in the water.

Since the air pump is located inside the building or a dry location, no GFI outlet is required.

The air pump super aerates the fish water on its way to the cinder. Most of our systems have no additional air pumps or air stones. 

We have never cleaned or had to clear a air lift pump. No clogs. 

The air lift is not bothered by sand or corrosive salt water or gritty water. Since we use volcanic cinder that gets sanded, this is a big deal.

We are pumping 150 gallons of water with 24 watt air pump, 24 inches high.

with a 38 watt, I can pump 300 gallons per hour at 24 inches head, and at 36 inches head only drop down to 200 gallons per hour. 

I will post some pictures ASAP.


Glenn Martinez

Views: 17915


You need to be a member of Aquaponic Gardening to add comments!

Join Aquaponic Gardening

Comment by Glenn Martinez on June 21, 2016 at 1:23am

At Olomana Gardens the smallest pump we use in Aquaponics is generally 24 watt Hakko or Matella on a /3/4 inch or 1" riser pipe. Normal water depth is 2 foot fish tank and we pump two feet above the water level, or 100 & head. Normally we want 300 gallon per hour in a production system.  Most often 40 to 60 watt pumps, pumping 600 gallons per hour. with 24 " head, at 4 foot head down to 450 gallons per hour.

We do little aquarium pumps for grow towers and making cold coffee.



Comment by Glenn Martinez on June 20, 2016 at 7:42pm

Go to our web sell two manuals, $50 and $100. The $50 one should do you. has our manual for setting up the Aquaponic system and the original patent drawings for our "pipe-in-a-pipe" pump. You can also go to our web site at and see many videos for free of our pumps in action. 

Comment by Brian White on June 20, 2016 at 7:39pm

I have done some work on mini airlift pumps and their maximum lift to submergence ratios.   This is likely to be smaller tubes and perhaps higher lifts than what you need but perhaps it is a "foundation" to at least start to figure out what they are capable of.    The smallest tubes (3/16 inch diameter) have a limit lift to submergence ratio of about 25 to 1. (obviously the tiny amount of water that a 3/16 tube delivers at its limit is pretty useless but it helps define the best ways to work mini airlift pumps in general.  I use 1/4 inch diameter tubes in the greenhouse and in planters to deliver water to the plants.  The larger diameter tubes that you guys use have substantially lower limits but if you go 1 to 1 with lift and submergence or 2 to 1 lift to submergence and with 3 or 4 ft submergence,  you might be surprised how much they can produce.   Consider splitting the air between several lift pipes.  Each pipe needs a tap to control its air delivery.    The last 2 videos might be of help to people in this group.     It is in a youtube playlist


Comment by Leo White Bear on June 20, 2016 at 6:22pm

Well I have been requesting this info from others and have not received any reply one way or another.  If you have the info you described pertaining to the air lift system, I am VERY interested, please forward me the manual you have developed.  Thank you for understanding me as others didn't bother to respect my request.

Comment by Eddie Beuerlein on June 20, 2016 at 8:11am

Do a google search - it's very easy to find...

Email me directly and I can send you a copy.

Comment by Leo White Bear on June 16, 2016 at 2:56pm

Glen - This is my second request for your air-lift manual, do you still have it available?  If so could you please send me a copy.

Comment by Francois Retief on June 16, 2016 at 1:16pm

Hi Glen, I am very much interested in your manual. Kindly send me a copy. Thank you! Francois

Comment by David on January 12, 2016 at 7:40am

It is still working without fail since April 2014

Comment by Richard Lobwein on January 11, 2016 at 4:07pm

Hi David - Many thanks for the link. Great job!

Comment by David on January 11, 2016 at 2:55pm

Take a look at my youtube video on the airlift pump I built designed by Glenn

© 2022   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service