Aquaponic Gardening

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In an attempt to promote and improve the economics, safety and security of our aquaponic systems we started developing efficient airlift-pumping technology.
The recording of both May 30 and August 12, 2013 webinars are now available along with the YouTube video and a PDF copy of the presentation at

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Comment by Natalie Dias Cash on August 23, 2013 at 9:57am

The webinar has only just begun. The show was to give people a heads up of what is being done by Glenn here at Olomana Gardens. Ben and Glenn only had a limited time to show the different air pumps. The webinar is an on going process that Benny had started with Glenn to get people interested in the air lift pump. Such as yourself Bob. As the webinare continues, more in depth details will come from it. But Ben and Glenn weren't able to do everything into one event. This was the teaser. Stick around to see what happens as the webinar continues.

Comment by Glenn Martinez on August 23, 2013 at 1:33am

Bob...the HEAD is the height the water is lifted to ABOVE the water in the tank. Does not matter how deep the water is, or at what depth the water is injected. You mentioned in you video that the HEAD was 36 or 37 inches, with the air pint being under the water 18 iches dn the height being pumped in 18 inches, so 36 inches lift. Not measured that way.

The deeper under the water that I inject or release the air, the higher HEAD I can lift, If I say I have the water injected at 36 iches under the water and I lift it 4 feet above the surface of the fish tank, then that is 48 inches lift.

If I have a 36 inch drum, I can put a hole in the side of the drum and connect to a wet well pipe 3" that is dug 48 inches in the ground and capped at the bottom. Now I have 7 feet of water, because the water in the drum will flood the stand pipe or wet well. Now I drop the 2 inch riser in the 3 inch well. WHen I inject air at the 7 foot level under water, I can pump 20 feet high. Keep in mind that to get air down 7 feet, I will need about 4 psi of air. The volume of the air pump will determine the pipe diameter of the pumps riser. With you big 200 lpm pump , you could do 2 lift.

1.25 iches in my favorite riser size. IF I need more water, I install a second pump.


Comment by Glenn Martinez on August 23, 2013 at 1:20am

Aloha Bob....I think you are missing a few important points. In the check valve, the air comes in the TOP of the horizonal cross pip, not on the side as shown. Being on the side, the check valve does nothing, it is just an air lift.

Sure you simple air pump works in 25 inches of water....just try it in 12 inches of water, or just 4 inches of water....NOTHING.

I can exit the bottom of the drum and the check valve pump assembly pumps it completely dry! nothing left. 

No other air pump can do that, as far as I know.

If you want simple, take a 2 inch pipe, cut the bottom at 45 degree angle, run it up 12 inches above the barrel, put on a 2 inch T and keep going up another foot with the two inch. Now drop in a 1.5 inch piece of pvc down the center of the two inch, cut it such that is is one inch from the bootom of the 2 ich riser or one inch off the bottom. Drill 1/16 inch holes in the last two inches of the 1.2 inch pipe....and cap the 1.2 inch pipe.

Now at the top of the 1.2 air riser, place two 90 degree fitting and connect you air source. The air will be pumped down the 1/2 inch pipe, forced out the air holes and lift the water in the 2 inch pipe. 

Try it at 12 ich lift, 24 inch lift and 36 inch lift. and 48 inch lift. Make sure you lengthen the 1/2 air pipe so it is always within 1 or 2 inches of the bottom of the tank. That is a simple air pump...getting the air released at the lowest point. 

Note that when you put the air in to your test rig, we measure how far below the surface of the water the air is injected...lower the better. 

Keep testing and you will see. Try using smaller air pumps, 40 watt is my favorite. 

You currently have a V8 engine, in a moped frame. Out of proportion. 



Comment by Glenn Martinez on August 23, 2013 at 12:56am are doing a lot of testing that I find no worth the time or effort.

In the video on the aquaport, we use nothing larger than 40 watt pumps....and pump well over 200 gallons per hour with 30 inches of head.

You are using a 280 watt pump that puts out 200 liter per minute!!!!! You are blowing out more air than water.

I am using 25 watt and 25 lpm with 1.4 psi

40 Watt 45lpm with 1.8 to 2.0 psi

60 watt 60lpm.  at 2.2 psi

The biggest air pump we have ever used is, 100 watt, at 5 psi

Next, we start testing at 24 inch lift....anything else is a waste of time. In aquaponics most folks need to get 24 inches of lift, minimum. If their fish tank is sunk in the ground, they may need up to 48 inches lift. 

We cut the water riser in the 'collector" at the top of the output T. 

We only use a butterfly in a three inch tee fitting, otherwise not enough room to let the water go left or right. When we leave the T of the collector, we like to have a 45 degree down, to get the water away fast. Often we vent the horisontal piece just pass teh two 45 exiting the collector.

This lets out trapped air bubbles. We see you have a T fitting on the down spout of your test rig, careful, that will throw off results, because you can cause a siphon effect of suction. 

I have only watched the first test and will go back and watch the others.

Keep testing and write down EVERYTHING and every variable. 


Comment by Glenn Martinez on August 21, 2013 at 7:27pm

First the baiscs: use a rubber mallet to hit your fitting together. Buy a Milwakee screw gun, they are small and great quality and cheap. I own almost every tool they make. Buy 1/2 and  3/4 inch stainless steel "self tapping" screws with phips head. Hit the pipe together, then put ONE screw to hold it together. No more leaks, no more falling apart,and you can reuse all the fittings. Stay in the middle of the fitting when screwing and away from the edges.

The Check valv is best when I cannot have a well and it will put 48 inches high with one inch of water in fish tank. In fact, it i put drain in bottom of tank and then pump out, I can completely drain the tank....I do not know of any other air pump that can do that. 

If I have a well, I dig 48 inches deep and use a 40 watt pump that puts out 40 liters per minute, and is only 2 psi. With that I can pump 300 gallons per hours at 24 inches of lift (above the water tank surface and lose 20% volume for every foot higher that I pump So at 48 inches avobe the water tank level, I am still pumping over 200 gallons per hour. I can pump solids and I have NO MOVING PART. no check valve.

If I use the displacement method, the first pump pushes the water up 4 foot to 5 foot. I inject air at the bottom (under the 4-5 foot of water an that air pump lifts the water continously 25 foot high. 

That help?


Comment by Glenn Martinez on August 20, 2013 at 11:14am

Yes, once we have lifted the water four feet, we dump it into another lift pipe (right in the middle) of what is 8 foot high. That takes it up another four foot, at each pass. Problem is you need an air pump at each stage.

So we closed the bottom container, inject air, use displacement to send the water up 19 feet to the next container, then a float valve clses and sends the air to the next chamber, that displaces the water up another 10 foot, thus we can pump water up a ten story building using on one 60 watt pump the whole way. The air pump feeds thru each sealed container till it is at the top, the vent at the top opens and the whole process repeats itself. If I can move 50 gallons in five minutes, 10 foot, then I can get 50 gallons on a ten story building in under an hour. IF I have 10 60 watt pumps, I get it there in five minutes. 

Comment by Glenn Martinez on August 18, 2013 at 8:20pm

You can replace the rubber fitting with a 2 inch to one inch or to 1.25 inch reducer, just dremmal out the pipe stopper to let the pipe go all the way thru. Some brans I can just use a pocket knife to remove the stopper ridge.

Comment by Tetsuzan Benny Ron on August 17, 2013 at 7:00pm

Aloha Bob,

     Great to see that Glenn is helping with the questions. We will update you of our next webinar. The recording of both May 30 and August 12, 2013 webinars are now available along with the YouTube video and a PDF copy of the presentation at

Comment by Glenn Martinez on August 17, 2013 at 1:08pm

When we test our airlifts, we do it at 24 inch lift, 36 and 48 inches.

That shows true pumping that is practical. Six inches does not do much good in aquaponics.

Next is to have the pump running, then put bucket under to time the flow, and have the bucket sitting in the water that you are pumping from, thus as the bucket sinks with the water, it is displacing the same amount of water as you pumped. 

We use the pipe int he pipe model of airlift, using a small pipe in a larger pipe. That way they fit in wells.

See the film of the webinar shot last Monday, we show some neat pumps.

Also go to You Tube and search for Olomana Gardens.....we post videos continously....or so it seems.

Aloha, Glenn

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