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DIY Aerator
#525231 08/26/20 07:00 PM
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In an attempt to save as much money as I possibly can while providing quality aeration to my pond, I have come up with a diffuser design that I would like to hear your opinions and feedback on about what I have built. I have had a few online companies "design" systems for my pond using data that I've provided and using google earth. I do find it interesting how different some systems are from others but I assume that is because of the type or style of diffuser each company sells. After hours and hours of researching and reading posts from this forum I decided that the membrane diffusers that Vertex sells are the best bang for the buck. I was told that I would need 6 Vertex Airstation XL2 for my pond at a cost of $212 each for a grand total of $1272 just for the diffusers.

I have attached a picture of my prototype and currently have approximately $20 in the PVC frame. I will fill the 2" PVC with sand to hold it down. If I use these diffusers, https://pentairaes.com/flexairr-9-disc-diffuser.html I will have a total cost of $70 in each unit. If I use the vertex diffusers the total cost is $120 per unit.

Please understand that I am not able to just shell out cash to put in a $5k+ system and am trying to save money where I can.

The base of the frame I built is 40" x 26" and the diffusers will be 14" above the bottom.

Please post questions and concerns.

Thanks,

Dean

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Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525234 08/26/20 08:03 PM
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Saving money is okay when on a limited budget. I've built lots of different styles of diffusers and manifolds. So that is just the manifold frame to hold the two membrane disks? FlexAir disks are good and acceptable. On paper your manifold looks good, However your frame with sand is not heavy enough to hold the entire unit in place on the bottom. What is its current sand filled weight??? Inflated membrane disks have quite a bit of buoyancy. When inflated the diffusers will lift the current frame off the bottom. The bubbles on the Pentair example do not show the height of the inflated membrane. To test my opinion put air to them in shallow water and report back to us.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/26/20 08:10 PM.

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Re: DIY Aerator
Bill Cody #525235 08/26/20 08:23 PM
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Thank you for the feedback. Yes. The two membrane disk screw into the 3/4" pvc fittings on top. I had no idea that the inflated disks would do that. Do you have any idea what type of weight I would need? I could fill with concrete or change the lower pieces to 3" pvc.

Question. How much do you estimate the Vertex XL2 weighs with the sand inside it? Just thinking, I've got to be able to hoist this beast back up for cleaning occasionally don't I?

Do you know the dimensions of the Vertex base so that I can calculate the volume of sand and compare to the volume my unit will hold?

Thanks again for your great insight,

Dean

Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525236 08/26/20 08:32 PM
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Bill,

I Googled the dimensions of the Vertex base and have determined that the volume is 1080 cu in. If I change the length of the lower skids to 31" each it will have the exact same volume as the Vertex base.

Thoughts?

Dean

Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525253 08/27/20 08:33 AM
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Here's the diffuser stand that I built. It's heavy enough to be stable, but not so heavy that I can't haul it into the boat for cleaning.
If I did another one I wouldn't bother with the float noodle bits. After a year in the drink that stuff shriveled up to nothing.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525257 08/27/20 11:25 AM
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It does't get much cheaper than this...

[Linked Image]

The bases weigh about 25 pounds each which is more than enough. They are about 10 inches square and 4 inches thick. The only things I would change is to use iron pipe instead of PVC and I would add a long eye bolt to each to tie the floating plastic ducks that I use to mark their locations. I have broken a PCV nipple when pulling the diffuser up, they get sucked to the bottom after a year. I had the rope tied to the upright plumbing...I might have $20 a piece in them.

I really like the professional look of your base! I just thought this might save you a few bucks. I got the idea from HighFlyer here on PB.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: DIY Aerator
Augie #525263 08/27/20 08:09 PM
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Augie,

Interesting design. Did you purchase the aerator or make that also? How is it working for you? I've wondered about the maintenance on the diffusers as far as which ones require less.

Thoughts?

Dean

Re: DIY Aerator
Quarter Acre #525264 08/27/20 08:11 PM
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Ace,

I love the simplicity of your design. What style diffusers are you using?

Dean

Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525269 08/27/20 09:05 PM
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Generally in summer in low warm density water,,,, diffusers on stands do not mix water below the depth of the diffuser and water under the level of the diffuser does not get well circulated often not circulated. In winter the cold denser water and will tend to mix to the bottom under the diffuser on elevated stands.

Each 9" disk membrane diffuser needs around 13lbs of weight to keep it on the bottom. As the membrane 'clogs up' the membrane balloons up more thus a little more weight is needed.

IMO it is important for the diffuser to have a stable base that can be pulled or moved around by a rope if needed. You don't want the diffuser to have any chance of laying on it side nor have any more weight than necessary to hold the unit on the bottom. Extra weight is a disadvantage and IMO not necessary.

Plan on raising and scrub clean or power wash the diffuser each year for optimum performance.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/28/20 08:33 PM.

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Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525278 08/28/20 08:42 AM
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I bought this one:

http://www.fishpondaerator.com/files/bigmaxdesc.html

There are other forum members running this system. You will find the bigmax mentioned in several discussions in the aeration section here.
Others have had poor outcomes with this one, but I have no complaints. It is working great for me so far. It's not a bells and whistles system, and
probably not what you want if you're looking for friendly service and help/advice after the sale. You get a pump, a starting capacitor, a power cord,
plain rubber air line, some hose clamps, and two ring diffusers. If you want weighted air line that costs a little extra. Even with the extra cost for the
weighted hose you will have a hard time finding a system that will move the same water, from the same depth, for the same money.

I don't have any experience with the disc diffusers, so I can't speak to their particular maintenance requirements. The ring diffuser is basically zero
maintenance. It's just a 4' piece of soaker hose, with a tee fitting and a check valve to prevent water from backing up into the air line when the pump is off.
The ring has a handful of steel bearing balls in it for weight, so I guess you could just chuck it out on the bottom if you wanted to. When it gets clogged
up just pull it, cut it up, and replace the ring with a new piece of soaker hose.

I built the tall stand to keep the diffuser off the bottom - 1) to prevent stirring up the sediments, and 2) to preserve a cool water refuge for my YP.
I don't run it at all when the surface water temp is below 50°F.

Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525282 08/28/20 09:19 AM
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I have 3 single 9" Vertex diffusers in my 1/4 acre pond. I bought them form Hoosier Pond Pros. I meant $20 a piece in the stands, just to be clear. The diffusers are about $50 each plus shipping.

https://shop.hoosierpondpros.com/main.sc


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525288 08/28/20 10:20 AM
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I use vertex diffusers because they move the most water with the tiniest bubbles. The clean up/yearly maintenance is easy and requires only a good microfiber cloth. You can buy cheeper, but know your value. If you spend less on the part, but more on the electricity, have you saved anything? I know vertex replaced a diffuser that had been bitten by an alligator, that is customer service.

My bases are made of concrete that I poured into a bucket and let set. I can make three stands using one 80 pound bag of concrete. I can remove the plumbing and do any maintenance I wish. They have been rock solid (pun intended).


Don't do this the hard way, in the end it does cost more and you will get lesser performance.


Brian

The one thing is the one thing
A dry fly catches no fish
Try not to be THAT 10%
Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525308 08/28/20 08:09 PM
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So has anyone done a comparison between the Flexair disks and the Vertex? With the Flexair costing almost half the cost it's difficult not giving them a serious look. My system requires 12 disks. Thats a huge difference in price.

Also, I read where the Flexair has a built in check valve. Does the Vertex have one as well?


Dean

Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525309 08/28/20 08:30 PM
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Vertex and all disk membrane brands that I know have built in check valves. I've looked with magnification at both disk brands and several others. Flexair and Vertex have the same size pores ~1mm. Each Vertex diffuser has a special built-in air disperser valve that evens out the air flow among multiple diffusers, however this feature causes a slight increase of air pressure needed to operate / inflate the diffuser. This causes the pump to operate at a slightly higher psi which has been discussed previously on this PB Forum. I do not know how much of an advantage it is to have this special internal valve. FlexAir diffuser appears to visually operate very adequately compared Vertex diffuser. The difference is IMO likely not significant, although I have never seen any brand comparison of disk diffuser brands for air - water flows.


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Re: DIY Aerator
Deancutler #525330 08/29/20 11:43 AM
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Also would somebody mind pointing me to where I can buy FlexAir diffusers? If the cost is significantly less I'm leaning that way now, but I can't seem to find an actual station anywhere. All I've found is the disks without a base.


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