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: 17771


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

Join Aquaponic Gardening

Comment by Arvind Venkataraman on June 7, 2012 at 2:43am

Hi Glenn,

This is great info. We are facing a similar problem in terms of missing pumps from time to time. This would be a great add on to our viewing systems especially. My email is

Thanks again :)

Comment by Rob Nash on June 5, 2012 at 6:03am

Hi Glen, i love the burper! i have tried to build geyser pumps, and could never get the volume needed. I would be very pleased to receive the instructions... and will always explain to others that this is the "Glen Martinez creation”. My email is, thank you, Rob Nash

Comment by Japan Aquaponics - アクアポニックス 日本 on June 3, 2012 at 4:54pm

...has anyone tried piranha in an aquaponics system.... might solve the problem of people stealing the submersible pumps!

Comment by Steve Olson on June 3, 2012 at 4:51pm
Hi Glenn,
I am intetested in the manual for building air pumps well.
Comment by Raychel A Watkins on June 1, 2012 at 3:20am

Ok Glen I will take you up on the manual I really want to get started on this as we can share it with the students we are helping to build systems.  I will also look at the video Jim recommended.  Mahalo  You know my email but I will give it again   Mahalo Raychel

Comment by Japan Aquaponics - アクアポニックス 日本 on May 31, 2012 at 6:16pm

Hi Glenn,  I would be interested in the manual if that is ok.  We are currently looking at an aquaponics setup in a community in Tohoku in Japan that would need to be completely off-grid, and so am looking at different ways to reduce electricity consumption.  I have heard others in these forums comment that air pumps are not always so efficient, but you are suggesting otherwise so would love to find out more from you if that is ok.

Comment by Jim Hall on May 31, 2012 at 11:58am
Comment by Jim Hall on May 31, 2012 at 11:57am
Here is a video of Glenn explaining the air lift pump (burper pump) he put in on Maui.
Comment by Michael Clegg on May 31, 2012 at 11:35am

Glenn, Good work. Airlifts have proven to be invaluable, we even use them in large systems. They are quite practical but for many of the groups or individuals that we consult with, they often use generators or have a low amp service. They prove themselves day after day.

If you could, I would be interested in any info that you might present, pictures, if you will.  Your earlier stated numbers are excellent. 

We are located in Arizona, near the Mexican border. Our system is based on the UVI model, I have used this model for years and as they say, "If it's not broken, why fix it."

I thank you in advance, Michael          my preferred e-mail is as follows: 


Comment by Jim Hall on May 31, 2012 at 10:48am
Hey Glenn, I installed the 40 liter Haako air pump like the one we did at Lokelani's system in Waihee. Funny, but a noisy 80 liter eco pump doesn't seem to do the volume of air.
I have it it my shed and piped via 5/8 poly tubing from my backyard to my front. Probably 80 feet in all. I have 3 systems getting air, couple bins with water & taro, 2 55 gallon barrels of backup water with air stones for adding to the systems and a converted jacuzzi with a modified version of the air pump we used at lokelani. Played with a version of the pump and sent water up a 20' length from a 55 gallon barrel. Air pumps are great and I can see much more could be done with them.

© 2022   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service