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    Thread: Air-lift Components

    1. #1
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      Air-lift Components

      I have worked for over two years at putting together a line of air-lift components that would simplify the use. When I first started my quest to use air-lifts I could only find one airlift available and it wasn't very useful when it arrived. What I wanted was a system of components that could be placed down the center of a bio-filter for easy access and maintenance over time. In the last 2/1/2 years I have developed several components and built ponds and quarantine tanks testing as I went. I wanted a group of components that anyone could use easily in any manner they wished.
      Since I couldn't get any useful info for what I wanted to create I built my own air-lift test area and spent a lot of time and money trying to figure it all out. My first Q-tank was 2 1/2 years ago and my first 10,000 gal 1/2 air-lift, 1/2 standard pond pump pond was right after that. I'll post my Air-lift projects ahortly.
      Here are some shots of my early tests and my air-lift test area. I built several air delivery devices with mixed results and tried several depths before I realized I needed more depth than the tank I was using had.
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    2. #2
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      To make the tank deeper I added a nipple to the bottom which extended the tube length. This worked and allowed me to fine tune the other components over time.
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    3. #3
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      Then I built the test area I have now. I needed to keep the air-lift tank full while it was being emptied and at the same time fill a tank at a timed rate. Flow meters won't work due to the air in the water. The total flow rates can't be calculated until after the air is purged from it.
      Then I started my multi-tube tests.
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    4. #4
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      Once I made the multi tube hub at the bottom the water had to be collected at the top again. Collection with a multi tube assy is much more difficult than with a large single tube! I assembled this collection of fittings that worked but was a lot of pieces that didn't quite fit without a lot of massaging.
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    5. #5
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      Once I had figured out pipe diameters, lengths and air pump sizes, I could build filter systems around it. I also built a much cleaner header collector.
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    6. #6
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      These are all made to go inside an 8" tube and the whole assy can be lifted out through the center. I recently started molding my own hub assemblies and now it all fits inside a 6" tube which custs the cost significantly. These are pics of my first protoype.
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    7. #7
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      I use them in both aerated bio and static bio. One of the first issues was a purge tank. Originally I made an external purge tank but later I incorporated them inside the biofilter which was much cleaner and easier to install. I have also incorporated the UV light into one of the purge tanks which really saves space. Bio-filter, Air-lift, Purge tanks and UV all contained in one tank and completely disassemblable in minutes. The photo is of an Air-lift Dilution Reactor with an air-lift pump. The drawing is of an air-lift operated static filter.
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    8. #8
      WAC is offline Senior Member
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      Amazing work Kent! I can't imagine the number of manhours & research & development involved in developing this.

    9. #9
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      Thanks, I also have a line of smaller components originally designed around 55 gal drums but they can be used for any depth tank. The 55 gal drum performance is harder to get because of the short depth of the tank. I do have a 6" flange system for making an extended nipple on shorter tanks.
      The air-lift Q-tank components work really well and I have them in two and three tube systems.
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    10. #10
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      The first drawing was in a 55 gal drum Air-lift Dilution Reactor. This one is inside a 55 gal drum static filter. This single barrel system is good for small 150 to 300 gal tanks.
      The hubs come in down-flow and up-flow configurations. I'll explain that tomorrow.
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    11. #11
      Paultergeist is offline Senior Member
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      This is really cool stuff, Kent! I appreciate you sharing it with all of us!

      ......except that....these photos really put my attempts at DIY work to shame!

    12. #12
      lukef's Avatar
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      Kent
      You're a perfectionist, huh?
      "Those aren't poodles. They're Dobermans with afros."

    13. #13
      lukef's Avatar
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      kent in the second post, third pic.
      What was the air pump used?
      "Those aren't poodles. They're Dobermans with afros."

    14. #14
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      It's good to see you posting some of this innovative stuff Kent and always a treat to see them in action at the shows. I just happen to be putting the finishing touches on a qt with the static pre-filter and ADR for the bottom drain line.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    15. #15
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      Excellent Stuff Kent

      I`m still looking for a Version which would run my TT

    16. #16
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      Nice work kent! I wish I had your testing area for things! More questions to follow after I study you pics!
      Anthony
      Anthony

      it is, what it is..



    17. #17
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      Airlift

      Kent.
      Thank you for sharing all this hard work and knowledge.
      Elias

    18. #18
      birdman's Avatar
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      Pretty awesome Kent.

    19. #19
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      I am guessing that you are using a submersible pump to return the water back to the airlift tank? That is the only way i can see how you can allow the water to build up in the airlift outlet tank....
      Mu guess on the setup...
      airlift suction tank w/ airlift manifold inside it, that pumps into the graduated tank for water flow measurements, that tank has a bulkhead connecting it to the return tank w/ a submersible pump inside it pumping back to the airlift tank. This way you can turn on the airlift and the submersible pump and allow them to be synchronized as far as flow goes. Then just close the valve connecting the second tank and third tank and calculate how long it takes to fill to a certain level, then reopen the valve connecting the two before the sub pump goes dry?

      Pretty nifty setup. I have been using a digital flow meter on the bottom drain line between my qt tank and airlift tank and using those numbers as rough estimates. The problem with that is you need a 12' long piece of pipe to get the turbulent water to calm back down into a smooth flow. The you loose accuracy because of the excess draw down between filter and qt tank. But then again it is a lot quicker to test different setups because you aren't constantly making minute adjustments to the output flow of the submersible pump.

      You got any rough flow numbers yet that can be shown?

      Zac

    20. #20
      Kent Wallace's Avatar
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      Luke, my first tests were with a Medo 120 lpm and a Hakko 60 lpm pump. I soon realized that air pumps like pond pumps widely vary in pump performance and efficiency. My goal at first was to mimic the performance of William's smallest pump, the Wave I 1 1/15 hp(3000 gph at 1.3 amps. The Medo pumps have shown to be the most efficient so far but I'm always looking for a better one. The Medo 80 lpm pump is the best so far. You can run two 80s for the same energy as a 120. The Hakko pumps are much less efficient. The Medo pumps are also piston and not diaphram. These are much more reliable. I've had several of these running nonstop on various projects for over 2 yrs.
      Zac, you're right on the set up. I just added a system to keep the test tank at a constant level contimuously. As you know, flow rates on air-lifts vary in a wide range depending on a number of variables with each installation. It will always be the case that with a little tweaking you can get more but my main goal was to develope a component system of interchangable parts that could be used and maintained easily by anyone. That also led to filter designes that accomodate air-lifts in a practical way.
      I am to a point now that a system could be built into about anything including an external tube setup that can be buried and still allow easy access. This would work with existing inground gravity flow systems such as chamber setups or a Nexus type filtration system.
      Chichi, Two things you can't run with an air-lift are seive screens and shower filters/trickle towers. I do have an idea for the shower filters though.
      My whole approach was to make air-lifts as easy to apply to a design and install as all the other pond equipment out there.

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