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#32612 - 10/06/05 12:34 PM Solar Aeration???
Limb Bream Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Raceland, LA
I have a newly built pond that is located on some property that will be my future house site. Unfortunately, there is no electricity run to the property yet so electric aerators are out of the question for now. Has anyone had any experience with using solar aeration systems? Do they work as well as electric? The one that I am considering is made by Malibu Water and costs around $750.00. I know Solar Bee makes a system, but is initially more costly than I would like to spend, and probably much bigger than I would need. My pond is 1/3 acre and 8' deep. Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.
_________________________
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

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#32613 - 10/06/05 05:37 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
L bream, I can tell you how to buy and set up for a little more than 1/2 that. I looked at the Malibu deal, it doesn't tell about the compressor. You are in no hurry, as it is a new pond and not stocked(correct?) Look into the specs of the pump and post it. I can tell you how long it will run. It is best to have a deep cycle battery instead of running the pump directly from the solar panels.
Find out if AC or DC pump, how much current it draws, and how deep it will operate(how many cfm @ what psi). It looks like it is advertised mainly for de-icing.

You should be able to wait for electrical, but if you are dead set on solar, collect the above info and post or send me a PM.
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#32614 - 10/06/05 11:25 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Limb Bream Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Raceland, LA
Burgermeister,

That's right. The pond is not stocked yet, but my first order of fish is scheduled to be delivered at the end of October. I'm not in a real rush to get the aerator, nor am I dead set on a solar system. I would like to hear what your thoughts are though. If I can get any useful information on the Malibu Water system I'll post it here. Thanks.
_________________________
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

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#32615 - 10/07/05 03:53 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
jimmy wheels Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 120
Loc: Bonham, TX
Limb Bream,

I too have a pond that was recently constructed. I'm going to be installing a Keeton solar aeration system in the next month or so. My pond isn't close to an electrical source and I also like the long term savings of going solar.

Your situation really depends on the timing of your house construction. If you plan on building in the next few years, then wait and go with an electrical aeration system. If it's going to be a decade or more, then go solar.

With your pond size, I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry. You can manually remove algae from it pretty quickly with a net.

Whatever you do, don't go the cheap route. Pick a solid, well constructed system and you'll get great production.
_________________________
0.6 acre pond / 13' max depth / Bonham, TX

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#32616 - 10/07/05 04:33 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
Jimmy, I looked at the Solaer SB-1 system. It looks like quality solar panel and high enough current to keep a good sized battery charged. I didnt see anything about the compressor. Can you tell us if it is 24vdc, 12vdc or what. I saw a 24-12 volt converter, but no specifics. You can still buy components and set one up much cheaper, but if the warranty is 5 yrs or so, it may be a good deal. It definitely looks like your pond is remote. No cell phones either, I bet. That's nice.
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#32617 - 10/07/05 06:16 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
jimmy wheels Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 120
Loc: Bonham, TX
Here is an email response I received from Luke Keeton. Hope it sheds some light on your questions:

Our Solaer Lake Bed Aeration systems are wonderful! We have been manufacturing them for close to 8 years and are now in their 4th generation. Most of the components are specially designed and manufactured for this specific purpose. Our systems are very reliable and have proven to be almost maintenance free. In the last 5 years we have only had 2 compressor malfunctions and both of these were replaced under warranty. We offer a 1 year warranty on our systems, but we offer an 5 year extended warranty on all of the "wet end" equipment including the diffusers and self-weighted tubing. Also, there are extended manufacture's warranties on the solar panels (20 years) and the charge controller (5 years).

The solar panels are actually very strong. I have seen a manufactures representative punch a solar panel quite hard with no ill effects.

These systems come with a complete installation and maintenance manual and also have technicians available for you M-F 8-5. Our technicians can usually trouble shoot your problems over the phone and get you up and running in no time. The systems are actually very easy to install. All of them are pre-set and tested here before they are sent out, so basically you would just have to mount the solar panels, set the box, drop your diffusers and hook up a few loose wires.

If there is a problem with one of the components it is usually easiest to pull that part and send it in for evaluation. As for the solar panels themselves, we have never had a client with broken panels before so honestly I'm not sure what we would have to do. Replacing a solar panel will probably run you about $650.00.
_________________________
0.6 acre pond / 13' max depth / Bonham, TX

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#32618 - 10/10/05 08:00 AM Re: Solar Aeration???
Limb Bream Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Raceland, LA
Burgermeister, I think my decision has been made concerning the Malibu Water sytem. I posted a question on their message board with all the things you asked about and got no response. I called Malibu Water only to find that the lady on the other end of the phone didn't know anything about the system. She did give me her managers phone number, which I called and left a message with your questions. Once again, no response. So if you think that you could help me build a decent quality solar aeration system, I would like to here your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

By the way, it will probably be 2-3 years before I begin to build a house near my pond. So, I'm not dead set on solar aeration if I can wait with no ill effects. I'm not dead set against it either though. Any opinions are appreciated.
_________________________
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

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#32619 - 10/10/05 11:13 AM Re: Solar Aeration???
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Went to the web site for "Solaer". Here's the link:

http://www.keetonaqua.com/products.asp?cat=207

Looks like a good system, but its pricey...least expensive models starting at just over $4000. They say you can recoup their costs in the first year via the electricity savings, but the numbers don't back that up...

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#32620 - 10/10/05 12:15 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
jimmy wheels Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 120
Loc: Bonham, TX
Meadowlark,

They are probably factoring in a hefty fee to have an electrician run wires from the box to the pond, which have to be buried. Then add the monthly bill on top of that. If it doesn't pay for itself in the first year, it won't be long after that. That's my guess.
_________________________
0.6 acre pond / 13' max depth / Bonham, TX

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#32621 - 10/10/05 12:32 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
JW,

Yep, you are probably right. I was thinking of my own do-it-yourself installation and it would take about ten years to cross the break-even curve in that case. I ran air lines to the pond, rather than electricity.

I'm building another pond that is completely inaccessible to even air lines...depending on its size, I may try one of these units. Thanks for the info.

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#32622 - 10/10/05 01:54 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
JW, I was going to leave your scenario alone, but since it has come back up; any aeration system, if bought, is a do-it-yourself project. At least the Solear system is only component parts, not like a car that you just drive off the lot. The system looks VERY pricey, assuming they said a 120watt solar panel is about $650 to replace. That would be the heart of the system. Lets look at the remainder. 200amp hr. battery, about $200 dollars unless gel cell, then $350. Mounting box, fan, compressor, air line,timer, diffuser,, 400 watt inverter unless the compressor is DC. That's over $3000 excluding the battery and panels. $650 not bad for 120 watt of solar power, 5-6 dollars per watt. The rest seems too pricey and can be bought anywhere. Just dont want to see you get hosed. At 15 feet deep, you need a compressor that will end up being 250-300 watts, so I doubt you can run it more than 8 hrs.daily. Now if you got a second battery and charger for home, and swapped them out every couple weeks, you will be OK for 14-16 hrs daily.

Hope this makes sense. In the LB's case with only 8 ft depth, a much smaller compressor can be used. :Gast has one that will produce 1cfm at 4 psi and uses only 60 watts.
_________________________

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#32623 - 10/10/05 02:32 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
BM,

It doesn't sound too difficult to build one of these, if you have the right knowledge? Any plans?

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#32624 - 10/10/05 04:31 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
ceadmin Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/13/05
Posts: 202
Loc: Iowa
Have you considered a windmill system instead. They seem to be much cheaper and they are "hands-off" also.

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#32625 - 10/10/05 05:17 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Limb Bream Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Raceland, LA
I've considered a windmill, but decided against it due to the fact that there might not be any wind on the days when you really need dissolved oxygen the most. I do like the aesthetics of a windmill though.
_________________________
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

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#32626 - 10/10/05 05:55 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Frank Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 369
Loc: Macon Georgia
I would be interested in any plans for a 3 acre pond.
Or kits?

Frank
_________________________
Book Owner and Magazine Subscriber 3 acre pond central GA

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#32627 - 10/10/05 06:35 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
jimmy wheels Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 120
Loc: Bonham, TX
burgermeister,

I appreciate your thoughtful input. I'll be interested to see how long the system will run on a daily basis. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that 8-10 hours of aeration is 8-10 times better than no aeration at all. I think I'll get more than that however. Plus, I'm using nature's energy, which beats paying the electric company more than I already do.

As for the cost of the system, you're absolutey right. If I were to do it myself I'd save some money. The same could be said for changing the oil in your car or building a deck, etc.

However, people make a living by performing services for others. Sometimes it's wiser and more cost effective to let someone else do the work for you. In this instance, that's how I feel. I don't have the experience in this matter.

I don't want to rely on a stranger's plans that may or may not be functional. I don't have the time to fix costly mistakes that would surely occur.

Again, I do appreciate your input. I just see it differently.
_________________________
0.6 acre pond / 13' max depth / Bonham, TX

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#32628 - 10/10/05 10:12 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
JW, understood. As, I said before, if a 5 yr. warranty, and they send someone to set it up and repair it; money well spent. From your e-mail from them, and lack of information on wed site, I would be concerned. But, as you said, much better and cheaper than windmill. Don't misunderstand, I'm not in this business and am not trying to sell anything but I DO design and install emergency backup power systems for ship's communications equipment, so this is very simple in comparison. I priced component parts before deciding to run electricity to my pond. Keep us informed of results. Would also like to know compressor type.

Meadowlark, I have solar panels I bought for my sister to run fans with after Katrina, and a small gast compressor, inverter, and such. If this is for your kid's pond under construction, let me know when you need to get cranked up. I will let you test it out. How deep will it be? As you know, that is the big determining factor on the power used. My pond is down to 7 ft. from 11 where the diffuser is. Will see if the gast will push air out(I bought it for $40 from C & H(S?). Send a PM if you need to.
_________________________

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#32629 - 10/10/05 10:16 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
Sorry, LB. I will be testing my compressor in similar size pond and similar depth as yours in a month or less. Will let you know the outcome. I will try to get more info from Malibu on the system you are comtemplating.
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#32630 - 10/10/05 11:29 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
BM,

Yes, it is for Kid's pond. Probably only 6 feet or 7 at the most in depth. I say 1/4 acre but that is being generous. I'm game to try out your approach. Let me know. Thanks.

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#32631 - 10/11/05 07:35 AM Re: Solar Aeration???
Limb Bream Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Raceland, LA
BM, I'm interested to know how it does also. I wouldn't mind making my own system also if it works well.
_________________________
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

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#32632 - 10/11/05 10:07 AM Re: Solar Aeration???
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
LB and ML, both your ponds sound just right depth and area for the small system. TKhe thing that concerned my about the Malibu system, is that no battery is mentioned. At a 64 watt panel, that tells me that is is an extremely small compressor and will only run during the day. LB, with you just now stocking, and winter coming on, new pond, yu won't need anything until spring, but will have info by Thanksgiving.
ML, when will yur pond be ready. If you have a pond similar depth, you can do testing on it. What is the compressor you are using on your smallest pond.
_________________________

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#32633 - 10/11/05 02:01 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
BM,

My kid's pond is ready now for stocking...and aeration. It is only about half full, but that will change now very quickly.

The compressor I have (from Vertex systems) is pushing air to diffusers in my 4 acre pond. I don't have one for the kid's pond yet.

I'm open to suggestions and/or experiments...always wanting to learn. \:\)

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#32634 - 10/11/05 04:33 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Limb Bream Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Raceland, LA
BM,

I'm using your knowledge on this one. I'll be waiting to hear your success story and some additional info on your new product! \:D Thanks again.
_________________________
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

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#32635 - 10/11/05 07:01 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
ML and LB, You guys may want to begin some preliminary searching on solar panels. I bought a 45 watt panel at Fry's(which ML can use for testing) for $300.They are more than some, but very high quality, ICP made in Canada, and work on very cloudy days. Harbor Freight has 45watt on line for $200.00, Chinese made. They are supposed to have them in Pasadena, tx., that is, for the Oct. sale. I have a gast 1532 series rotary vane compressor good for 1.25cfm at 5 psi, or 10-12 ft. The solar panel size(watts) depends on how long you want it to run, and how much at night. Remember, panel costs are 5-8 $ per watt. If you want to run the system full time, you would need 150watt solar and 100amp hr. deep cycle battery minimum. No way the Malibu system with 64 watt panel will do that. They dont mention a battery, so assume they are using a very small 12VDC compressor, probably an air brush compressor. This gast is 0.55 amps at 115vac, or 65 watts. There is a DC version too, but probably $200 or 300 unless you can get it surplus. I went to C & H website and they have 2 of what I have for $32.00.(they are new, never used) I paid $40.Meadowlark, all you need is a deep cycle battery and hose and diffuser to get started. You may do well with a piece of soaker hose, or a coiled soaker hose, or stone. I got a diffuser from Aquatic solutions that has a check valve, and operates at 1cfm. LB, you will probably need a check valve to keep water out of system and not have to push water back out at startup. Maybe a soaker hose or stone wont need this. Not familiar with this. Much on aeration methods on past posts. ML, know you know this, it is for Limb bream.

Enough rambling. ML, whenever you want, I can meet you somewhere and give you the panels, compressor, and inverter. You will need a light timer to cut the compressor on and off. It wont run 24/7 with this panel. I'll send your a PM with mobil #.
_________________________

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#32636 - 10/11/05 10:04 PM Re: Solar Aeration???
Limb Bream Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Raceland, LA
WOW BM!!!! Thanks for all the info and time you put into this one. I'll start price comparing in the near future.

One more question, AGAIN...

What is the recommended time that aerators should be run during a 24 hour period? I know 24 hours would be ideal; but what time frame is really sufficeint for a 1/3 acre pond 8 feet deep?
_________________________
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

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