Thursday, August 22, 2013

Airlifts, Geysers and AquaZen

I want to begin by saying I am not an expert with airlift design.  My results  differ from others who have spent more time experimenting with airlift technology.

I like airlifts because they are less expensive to operate and can be built for only a few dollars.   Airlifts aerate the water and are able to pass objects such as way ward fish without clogging.  They have no moving parts; instead they rely on an external air pump which would in most aquaculture systems already be present.

In the video below I experimented with three types the pumps.  A simple Airlift, a Geyser Pump and an AquaZen Airlift.  This video documents the results.

This video shows me running five different airlift configurations.
All of the designs performed very close to each other.
Some factors that may be influencing the differences are the diameter of the pipes and the number of turns.
Each test was performed with a 200 lpm EcoPlus 7 air pump running at 93W.
The vertical pipe was submerged 24-1/2" and the rise was 13-1/2" +/- 1"

Test #1 Simple Airlift with Separator - 5 gal/62 seconds
Test #2 Simple Airlift w/o Separator - 5 gal/58 seconds
Test #3 Geyser with Separator - 5 gal/74 seconds
Test #4 Geyser w/o Separator - 5 gal/50 seconds
Test #5 AquaZen - 5gal/58 seconds

In each case the separator appears to actually reduce the performance. Sorry I did not run the Aquazen test without the separator.  I believe the loss of performance is due to my design and I will try to make this part more efficient.

The Geyser and Simple Airlift performed as well or better than the AquaZen. But there are many factors that may have been overlooked. As far as I know the check valve was installed correctly and there were no significant leaks. The submersion and rise were kept within a 1" tolerance and the barrel was filled to the top each time.

I hope others will take the time to build and test these, and other airlift pumps. More data might help. It may also be that they each operates best at different lifts. I still have so much to learn

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