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#274714 - 12/01/11 11:50 AM Muddy Water - Aeration
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
I have a small private pond, about 150-200 feet by 75-100 feet. Roughly 8-10 feet deep in the middle. When I bought the home, it had a small handmade fountain that didn't move any water.

The pond has several pine trees and other plant life around it, but we recently had it renovated, cutting back on the plants hanging over the water and adding natural man-made bogs with appropriate water plants.

We also added underwater aeration and a better fountain (about 82gal per minute). The aeration units are the Easy Pro single membrane air diffusers. I have two of those spaced out in the pond, which I was told was good aeration for the pond.

As I mentioned in another post on Tilapia, the water was tested and all aspects were near or at perfect. I had the aerators running a few hours a day and visibility was about 3-4 feet with some patches of white sandy bottom where the fish forage.

I've noticed the water turning more cloudy, silt, etc. The lily pads just under the surface are all dark with silt on top and I figured this is from the aeration stirring up the pond and dispersing silt, etc.

I do realize, I probably have 15 years or so of decayed plant life, pine needles, etc. on the bottom. Along with probably 20 or so walking catfish that have been in the pond for years I was told.

I asked the person renovating our pond and they agree it's probably so much decay/silt on the bottom that is being drawn up by the aeration. He cited that it would take some time, but running the aerators constantly would eventually draw up the decay, disperse the proteins through the bubbles on top of the water that pop and the pond will eventually start to really clear up.

However, there is a part of me that is concerned about the aeration on 24/7 now. I've had it run for 36 hours straight and all the areas that were sandy white are now covered in the dark silt. The protein bubbles are starting to remain in the shallow flats of the two man made bogs on the surface, looking muddy.

He did say, even running the aerators a couple hours a day, with the size of my pond, that would be plenty of oxygen and circulation. But he still recommended I leave it running constantly.

Should I? Will the silt being stirred up, eventually settle again with the water always moving? Should I go back to leaving the aerators on for a couple hours (the water was much clearer then) or leave them off for x number of days, then on?

Is this cloudy, silt in the water a harm to the fish and what about the protein bubbles on top of the water along some of the shoreline?

Thanks in advance for responses and suggestions!

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#274720 - 12/01/11 01:04 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
rmedgar Offline
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Hang on Mc, they'll be some people with answers along shortly. We have some
very knowledgeable people concerning aeration etc...
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#274722 - 12/01/11 01:29 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: rmedgar]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
Agreed! I've been searching and learning quite a bit here. I'm fine if it's "normal" to go through this process AND if it's best to leave the aeration on 24/7. But I don't want to make any mistakes and have more problems later.

I'm not looking for crystal clear water or anything, just natural.

I've put up a series of photos of the pond from March 2011 when I bought the house until today. Perhaps that gives some better ideas to the size of the pond, what the water looks like, etc.

It's on Flickr and I started with earliest to most recent, adding comments to each picture of what I am seeing.
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcphenius/sets/72157628235306689/

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#274727 - 12/01/11 02:49 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Bill Cody Offline
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In my experiences, bottom aeration, clear water, and koi do not blend well together. Koi tend to be bottom rooters creating mud clouds as they forage for food. Bottom aeration creates mixing currents in the zone of the diffusers dispersing / agitating the mud/silt clouds whenever they are created in the influence of the mixing zone of each diffuser. From your pictures it looks like your entire main pond basin should be in the mixing zone of the two diffusers (assuming a 4-5cfm compressor).

Extent of the mixing currrents and resulting turnovers per day depend on amount of air (cfm) to each diffuser, size of pond, number of diffusers, depth, plus probably a few other items. I've seen where bottom aeration can get strong enough that it moved almost neutrally bouyant leaves around in the water column which is maybe close to your situation. This strong aeration can result in rapid digestion of bottom organics although it also produces turbid water; again probably similiar to your situation. If clear water is more important to you than rapid digestion of bottom sediments then cut back on aerator run time. Since you have koi you would IMO have to reduce aerator run time more compared to if no koi were present. Number of koi/ac will have a big influence on aerator run time and desired water clarity.


Edited by Bill Cody (12/01/11 02:58 PM)
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#274728 - 12/01/11 03:38 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Bill Cody]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
Thanks Bill!

If the aerators continue to run, creating the turbid water, etc. Will it eventually clear up some over time?

I'm fine with some sediment as I want a natural pond. I'd like to have some patches of sandy areas in the shallows, created by the fish, etc. I just don't want a murky brown looking pond down the road. I'm not looking for a crystal spring either.

Regarding the Koi, I wasn't aware of that and it's good info. I only have a few in the pond around 8-10" I got those to help speed the foraging along since I lost most of the Tilapia within a week of them going in (another separate post which looks like stress related). Otherwise, I'm looking at the pond as a habitat for Bass, Bluegill, Tilapia and couple Koi (yes, I know I need big enough Koi to not be a Bass meal smile




Edited by McP (12/01/11 03:41 PM)

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#274735 - 12/01/11 05:17 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Bill Cody Offline
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Others with experience may have additional advice for you.
With aerators running 24/7 the pond will eventually clear up but it may take years with koi present. If it were my pond, I would experiment with varying aerator run time per day. Bottom sludge digestion can be improved with sludge reducing bacteria that work best in aerated or oxygenated conditions. See a private message(PM) for you.

First try a jar test by collecting a glass quart jar of pondwater. Let it sit undisturbed for 3 days. In 12-24 hr you should see sediment on the bottom and after 48 hrs the water should look pretty clear. After 72hrs the water should be quite clear which means if you turn off the aerator the pond will settle out and appear clearer. then restart the aerator to a couple to a few hours a day. Experiment with single run times and two run times per day. Decide what cycle works best to achieve your desired clarity. As the water clears,,,,, the less you will have to run your aerator to maintain DO deeper in the water column due to phytoplankton, benthic attached algae and maybe some submerged plants living and thriving in deeper water. If you have water clarity of 3ft (Secchi reading), the pond can naturally maintain DO near the bottom depths of 9-10ft during the daylight so aerobic bacteria are thriving on all bottom sediments. For 2 ft of clarity DO production is normally down to 5-6ft deep. With clearer water near 2.5 to 3ft, then maybe run aerator at late night near dawn to maintain night-time DO in deep water. Koi are less active at night so aerator runs when they are not normally stirring up as much sediment.

I suggest you make a secchi disk and use it to measure clarity so you have an inches measurement for the clarity for comparisons and making adjustments. A white plastic lid from a Cool Whip lid tacked to the end of a broom stick is okay for a crude Secchi disk. Adjust aerator run time to maintain clarity near your goal. See below.

See this for discussions regarding pond bacteria:
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=266363#Post266363

Secchi Disk Discussion:
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=157930&page=1




Edited by Bill Cody (12/01/11 07:14 PM)
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#274755 - 12/01/11 07:33 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Bill Cody]
esshup Offline
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Questions that hasn't been asked:

How are the diffusers placed on the pond bottom? Are they up off the bottom a ways? Is there something under the diffuser to keep it from stirring up the bottom sediment directly adjacent to the diffuser?

I've seen diffusers built in such a way that they are up off the bottom by a foot or so, and others that have a 3' square sheet of plastic under them.
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#274756 - 12/01/11 07:39 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: esshup]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
I actually sent this same question to my pond renovator earlier in the week and awaiting a response. I know he has "duck" floats attached to both so they can be easy maintenanced. But I asked if they are directly on the bottom, suspended, etc. I know they are not setting on anything.



Originally Posted By: esshup
Questions that hasn't been asked:

How are the diffusers placed on the pond bottom? Are they up off the bottom a ways? Is there something under the diffuser to keep it from stirring up the bottom sediment directly adjacent to the diffuser?

I've seen diffusers built in such a way that they are up off the bottom by a foot or so, and others that have a 3' square sheet of plastic under them.


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#274788 - 12/01/11 10:52 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Brad Vollmar Offline
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Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 40
Loc: Fredericksburg, TX
+2 for Bill Cody for Koi as potential problem

+2 for esshup on diffuser placement, you could add some cinder blocks for height and a 3'x3' plat underneath it all to help it not sink into the sediment.

How large is the compressor?
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#274796 - 12/02/11 10:20 AM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Brad Vollmar]
Bill Cody Offline
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Easy Pro disk diffusers normally have a rectangular tub basin filled with sand-gravel. This puts the disk about 10-12" off the bottom. It is possible the diffuser base is burried in 18"-2ft of botom muck but this is not likely since McP had diffusers operating for 2-3 hrs a day and water had an estimated 2-3ft of visibility. With ample air those diffusers can create some relatively strong currents and mixing in a pond as small as his 1/4 ac. Suspended organics can be quite small 0.1-3um dia and it doesn't take much movement to keep them in suspension. Koi can have a big influence on turbidity in a small silty pond with strong aeration. I am not familiar of the foraging habits of walking catfish.


Edited by Bill Cody (12/02/11 10:20 AM)
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#274800 - 12/02/11 12:27 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Bill Cody]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
That is correct Bill, I do believe they are not sunk that far. Plus, I was not seeing clouds of silt pushed up to the top. Where one difuser is, it's probably 5-6 feet deep. The other is closer to 8 feet.

It was much clearer at 12 hours a day vs. 24 hours a day. The water went from looking natural "dark" but with visibility to brown with no visibility. Already, in 24 hours since reducing the difusers to 3 hours in the early morning (3am) and one hour around 11am, it's looking better than yesterday.

I am not a huge fan of the walking catfish and they were there since day one. All being about 14-18 inches, maybe a little larger. They are very aggressive when I feed the Bluegill & Turtles, competing for the food. As quick as they are around the surface looking for food, I imagine on the bottom that they stir stuff up quite a bit!

I think the answer is less time on the aeration and let the good bacteria work on the sediment and decay at the bottom that has been there for years before I did this renovation. I realize it will take time, perhaps a year or more. I am ok with that as long as the pond doesn't get worse!

I do appreciate all the helpful responses and I'll try to continue to add more pictures to that Flickr link as the pond progresses!

Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Easy Pro disk diffusers normally have a rectangular tub basin filled with sand-gravel. This puts the disk about 10-12" off the bottom. It is possible the diffuser base is burried in 18"-2ft of botom muck but this is not likely since McP had diffusers operating for 2-3 hrs a day and water had an estimated 2-3ft of visibility. With ample air those diffusers can create some relatively strong currents and mixing in a pond as small as his 1/4 ac. Suspended organics can be quite small 0.1-3um dia and it doesn't take much movement to keep them in suspension. Koi can have a big influence on turbidity in a small silty pond with strong aeration. I am not familiar of the foraging habits of walking catfish.


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#274804 - 12/02/11 02:37 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Bill Cody Offline
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Build that secchi disk and take readings for some actual water clarity numbers.


Edited by Bill Cody (12/02/11 02:40 PM)
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#274805 - 12/02/11 02:44 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN Offline
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Posts: 969
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Depending on the cfm requirement of the discs and the pump cfm capacity you may be able to simply slow the verticle lift down by bypassing or exhausting some of the air off prior to entry into the airlines . Your compressor may be too large for two stations to meet your goal.Consider finding out how much lift you are getting on a GPM basis with each station before slowing them down as too little lift can simple "hangup" nutrients in the water column and cause other growth problems.Your lift per day should not be less than .75

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#274809 - 12/02/11 04:40 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
Thanks Ted.... I opened up the housing to the pump and I do see valves for each difuser. I am not sure how to tell where the .75 per day would be. I posted a picture of the pump/valves on Flickr at the link in the earlier post along with a short video clip of the difusers running.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcphenius/6443325887/in/set-72157628235306689/

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#274812 - 12/02/11 05:49 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN Offline
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That pump appears to be a Stratus ERP Series single piston which has an open flow of 3.5 cfm and at 5 psi backpressure is in the 3.1 cfm range. You have a "lot" of air for two diffusers. 1.5 cfm would of been enough.The punch on your discs may be medium which even for that size bubble will create a lot of turbulance.That blue aluminum manifold may have a threaded .375 plug in the end. I would put a 90 degree elbow in that and put the brass relief valve there and then add another valve between the two you have to act as a bypass. The bypass will be loud and you can just add another hose to it and submerge it in the pond to quiet it down.I think running it just now and then will resuspend things. I would consider just slowing the system down as mentioned. Also note that the water is now moving up to the unrocked shoreline and you may be pulling some clay back into the water column. As far as the lifting rates this is something your dealer should be able to tell you when you state the depth of each diffuser to them.For example you may have one stsion at 7 ft and have 1.55 cfm going to it and that lifting rate "could" be 1500 gpm ( just a WAG) then with the other one calculated you may have 2500 GPM total which equates to 3.6 million gallon per 24 hr day. If your pond is 1/4 acre at 5 ft average it has approx 418,750 gallon so you may have 8.597 turns per day which is a lot for your goal. So the math would say for .8597 turns per day run it just 2.4 hours per day but it wont work that way. You may need to lift less per minute but do it over a longer period. Hope this makes sense as I know it can be confusing. Bottomline, You are probably overcirculating from what youve shown me.

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#274813 - 12/02/11 05:54 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
I agree, it does seem too much for the size of the pond.

Would turning down the flow help with those two valves? Or what about one diffuser instead of two?

Next time I see the guy that installed it, I'll ask about relief valves.

Regarding the shoreline, we had sod placed there. However we are getting ready to start a deck & dock there, up to the house. Once that is completed, I will go back and shore that up.

Originally Posted By: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN
That pump appears to be a Stratus ERP Series single piston which has an open flow of 3.5 cfm and at 5 psi backpressure is in the 3.1 cfm range. You have a "lot" of air for two diffusers. 1.5 cfm would of been enough.The punch on your discs may be medium which even for that size bubble will create a lot of turbulance.That blue aluminum manifold may have a threaded .375 plug in the end. I would put a 90 degree elbow in that and put the brass relief valve there and then add another valve between the two you have to act as a bypass. The bypass will be loud and you can just add another hose to it and submerge it in the pond to quiet it down.I think running it just now and then will resuspend things. I would consider just slowing the system down as mentioned. Also note that the water is now moving up to the unrocked shoreline and you may be pulling some clay back into the water column. As far as the lifting rates this is something your dealer should be able to tell you when you state the depth of each diffuser to them.For example you may have one stsion at 7 ft and have 1.55 cfm going to it and that lifting rate "could" be 1500 gpm ( just a WAG) then with the other one calculated you may have 2500 GPM total which equates to 3.6 million gallon per 24 hr day. If your pond is 1/4 acre at 5 ft average it has approx 418,750 gallon so you may have 8.597 turns per day which is a lot for your goal. So the math would say for .8597 turns per day run it just 2.4 hours per day but it wont work that way. You may need to lift less per minute but do it over a longer period. Hope this makes sense as I know it can be confusing. Bottomline, You are probably overcirculating from what youve shown me.


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#274819 - 12/02/11 06:59 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN Offline
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I dont like to see the flow turned down at the valves for two reasons 1. It increases the back pressure on the pump, I see no gauge on your system so I dont know the pressure (you need one)The lower the pressure the longer the pump will last 2. Higher pressure means more amps pulled which is more $$ to operate.Those compressors are made to run continously and start stop will shorten any motor life.The item between your valves is the pop off relief valve. This is not the correct way to slow the system down "but" for now if you pull that ring back on the relief valve the system will slow down, again not the correct way to do it.Once you have a liquid filled pressure gauge on it let me know the operating pressure. Also if the compressor head has any additional threaded ports on it I can give you some other options.

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#274857 - 12/02/11 11:06 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN]
Bill Cody Offline
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Ted has provided very good similar input as my following post.
Hopefully your compressor manifold has a pressure gauge. Now I see on Flickr that it does not have an air gauge. For minimum stress on the compressor the pressure should always read about 4.5-5psi for your water depth (9-10ft). If you cut back on the total air volume outflow with both valves partially closed, the pressure will increase due to not getting rid of all the air. This increase indicates that you are not getting rid of all your air produced which results in increased back pressure (increased psi on the gauge). This is hard on the compressor and prematurely shortens its life span. The only way to prevent this for a two diffuser system is add a third valve to bleed off excess air volume as Ted suggests. The compressor should get rid of all the air it produces. In your case with only two valves I suggest that one of the valves should be always full open. Other experts should verify this suggestion which I now see that Ted has done.



Edited by Bill Cody (12/02/11 11:08 PM)
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#274858 - 12/02/11 11:20 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Bill Cody]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
Definitely good information, although I wish the system had the pressure gauge and maybe more specific to my needs (1.5). The deepest diffuser valve is all the way open. It looks like the one in the shallower area is partially closed.

I will inquire about the requirements for this unit and I understand the shortening of life by closing off valves and creating back pressure.

What if I only went with one diffuser, leaving the second one to bleed off the air? Would one diffuser be enough for the pond? The diffusers are single membrane units.


Edited by McP (12/02/11 11:36 PM)

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#274862 - 12/03/11 12:57 AM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Cody Veach Offline


Registered: 09/20/10
Posts: 384
Loc: Central PA
Reading the post I do have a qustion? If a pond is filled with silt, not organic waste keeping the silt suspended by over aerating say in times when very rainy and a ponds overlow is running hard should remove a far amount of silt? Right?

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#274870 - 12/03/11 08:18 AM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Cody Veach]
Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN Offline
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Cody, in theory that would be correct but getting silt to the very top of the column so it could be drawn out may be replaced with silt moving in during very rainy events.I see the same thing with floating FA during major discharge that much can still remain once the outflow stops.

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#274873 - 12/03/11 08:43 AM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN]
Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN Offline
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McP, To borrow Bills accurate answer to a lot of questions "Depends" as far as will one disc work.Membrane discs are constructed with a mechanical operating suggested range, perhaps 1-3cfm. The higher the number in the range the more likely the slits are med to large punch or more leaning towards being a wastewater membrane.Most 9-12 inch discs have from 6000-8000 slits of different design. C-slits I- slits etc etc. Then you get into pattern of the slits ie delta pattern etc. The center often in not punched so that as the waters down pressure when the system is off can push the membrane flat over the exhaust side of the disk holder to prevent backflow, If you put too much air in these discs you can stretch the membrane out so it cant close when it needs to or you can pop it off of the holding ring thus a blown bladder (ouch)Perhaps run this idea by your installer, Add an extension to each disk of perhaps 25-30% of the depth 10 ft depth would take a 30 inch disc extension. Visit www.cleanponds.com and link to the photo gallery and on page one I have a pic of these extensions that we use for other reason but may help your situation. Your disc thread size is probably 3/4 inch so a trip to your local Lowes or H Depot will have these in Schedule 80. Make sure altering your discs will not effect warranty as each company may view this differently.Perhaps giving this suspended material a place to settle while continuing to circulate will help.Then as the pond clears you can lower the discs slowly lower the discs back to the original height. This along with slowing the system down may be a step in the right direction.

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#274878 - 12/03/11 10:21 AM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
Thanks Ted,

I took a better look at the pump and the blue manifold. The pump is a Stratus Piston Compressor ERP25 like you mentioned. Like this one... http://www.underwaterwarehouse.com/Strat...sor-p-1537.html

It does show it's a 3.5. As far as the blue manifold goes, there is a threaded end at the end of it. What kind of store locally would have a 90 degree elbow to fit it. Home Depot?

If I understand your earlier post, remove the relief valve from the center and put it on the 90 degree elbow. Then put another valve in between my two hoses. In normal circumstances, would I leave that valve wide open, partially open, etc? I understand if it's too noisy, to get a section of air hose and run it to the pond to help reduce the noise.

It seems the easiest way to go for me (that I can handle on my own) is find the elbow and a valve. That is if in fact the pump is too much for my two diffusers in the size pond I have.

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#274879 - 12/03/11 10:35 AM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: McP]
Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN Offline
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Registered: 01/08/04
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Hd or Lowes type store will have the elbow which is called a 90 degree street el, get galvinized, then get a gas valve that is .375 as I believe that manifold ported that size.The newly installed valve will then be regulated partially open with the other 2 valves staying in the original run positions. I believe you will only have to open the new valve 10% or so but just play with it until the boil is a "lot" less. While your doing this consider those schedule 80 extensions.If you can get that liquid filled gauge you could put a T in place of the 90 elbow and run the relief valve on the bottom of it and the guage on the top.

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#274885 - 12/03/11 12:59 PM Re: Muddy Water - Aeration [Re: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN]
McP Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Florida
I stopped by Home Depot just now and looked at both brass and galvanized. As soon as I said ".375, the guy looked at me like I had three heads and said "what size?" So I don't know if the fitting is 1/4", 3/8" etc. The smallest valve that I saw was 1/4" so I am not sure where to look if I need a smaller fitting.

Any suggestion to size or is it better just to unscrew the pressure relief while the pump is unplugged and take that with me to get the size fittings?

Originally Posted By: Ted Lea FOREVERGREEN
Hd or Lowes type store will have the elbow which is called a 90 degree street el, get galvinized, then get a gas valve that is .375 as I believe that manifold ported that size.


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