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Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
#532918 03/27/21 03:02 PM
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Hey guys - finally got my pond full and trying to determine my aerator system. I’m new to ponds so want a pretty turn key setup, but trying to decide between Airmax PS10 or HiBlow hp150
The pond is about .2 acre and depth is 8-8.5’.

The hiblow setup is $400-$500 cheaper than the airmax but I know my depth is pushing it’s rated limits. Thoughts on which I should go with? Or some third system? My main goal is to keep the water clean enough for swimming (no fish for now)

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #532927 03/27/21 07:52 PM
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Hi-Blow when running at maximum depth will result in shorter times between rebuilds and maximum depth stress will shorten it's life span. Rebuild kits are expensive. HiBlows are designed for shallow lily ponds and septic tanks. IMO it is better up front to spend a little extra money for a unit that can better handle the 8.5 ft depth. Cheaper often ends up costing more money in long term.

If you are handy one can often buy the individual parts from different locations to lower the total cost. If you can figure out a way to not need the pump cabinet this will save significant dollars. Easy well ventilated pump cabinets can be built or one can use modified small dog houses or other box-like items.
Good air circulation (venting) is important for homemade pump shelters without an in shelter electric air mover.

Other places to cut cost is the weighted aeration tubing. Various types of hoses with homemade weight can save a lot of money. . Lots of aerators are sold using the cheap 1/2" ID black plastic pipe as airline; but note this pipe has an actual 5/8" ID. It takes around 1 brick every 4 to 6 ft to hold this airline on the bottom.
Strand cable or re-rod will also hold airline on the bottom. I have been using a good kink proof quality garden hose as aeration tubing for 21 years and it is still in very good condition and expect at least 10 more years from it.

Diffusers can be home made and save around $90-$100. Although there are a lot better homemade aerators than using PVC pipe with 1/16" holes as noted below. For starters use a 1/32" drill bit instead of 1/16". Smaller holes move more water. Homemade membrane diffusers are the best.
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=532880#Post532880
Here in Colorado I run my aerator, a simple piece of PVC with 1/16th" holes drilled in it, 24/7 in winter.
All homemade aerator low cost items can be replaced later as more money is available.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/27/21 08:17 PM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #532941 03/27/21 09:31 PM
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Thanks Bill, that’s some great info to look into 👍

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
Bill Cody #532954 03/28/21 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Hi-Blow when running at maximum depth will result in shorter times between rebuilds and maximum depth stress will shorten it's life span. Rebuild kits are expensive. HiBlows are designed for shallow lily ponds and septic tanks. IMO it is better up front to spend a little extra money for a unit that can better handle the 8.5 ft depth. Cheaper often ends up costing more money in long term.

Bill, respectfully I suggest you give the Hiblow pump a second look.
At .2 acres,the OP is an excellent candidate for the Hiblow system.
Reliability wise, I’ve seen nothing to support the need for rebuilds that you suggest. I’m coming up on four years running nearly 24/7 without a rebuild. For the first full year I was running diffusers deeper than the OP’s pond is. Another factor to keep in mind is monthly cost of operation, for which the Hiblow is a fraction of those compressor style pumps. Hiblow

Wings,
If you do decide to get a Hiblow, make sure there’s an LL at the end of the model number. The LL stands for Long Life, well worth the added cost. I use the 120LL and recommend it to everyone.

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #532960 03/28/21 02:44 PM
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Journeyman - For pond aerator life span and rebuilds for the Hiblow - get back to me after 20 years of operation and then we can talk about rebuilds and pump reliability. I know Hiblow makes quality compressors because I have one, but I am not sure yet that 8ft+ depth is their designed or engineered intended usages. If you look at the link you provided, the company specification charts and in the user feedback Hiblow recommends the 100 and 120 pumps operate optimum at 5.14 feet deep(2.57psi). The pumps will operate in deeper water but they suggest they will not perform as well as at 5.14ft.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/28/21 03:04 PM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
Bill Cody #532974 03/28/21 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Journeyman - For pond aerator life span and rebuilds for the Hiblow - get back to me after 20 years of operation and then we can talk about rebuilds and pump reliability. I know Hiblow makes quality compressors because I have one, but I am not sure yet that 8ft+ depth is their designed or engineered intended usages. If you look at the link you provided, the company specification charts and in the user feedback Hiblow recommends the 100 and 120 pumps operate optimum at 5.14 feet deep(2.57psi). The pumps will operate in deeper water but they suggest they will not perform as well as at 5.14ft.

Bill, I'm not sure where you got the 5.14ft from. HiBlow 120LL specs call out 'Max Cont. Operating Pressure of 30 kPa (4.35psi). Mine has been running near 4 psi for almost 4 years now and still running strong, only maintenance has been - Clean the filter once a year. It's running three diffusers quite well.
If you ever get to Wisconsin, look me up I'd be happy show you what I got here. Come to the dark side Bill. LOL

For the 20 year comparison, we don't need to wait.
Here's some operational cost figures on the HiBlow and the so popular Gast 0523;

HiBlow 120LL -
Power draw = 100 watts x 24 hrs = 2400 watts hours or 2.4 Kilo Watt hours x 365 days = 876 KWh per year x .12 cents per KWh (average cost of electricity) = $105.12 per year x 20 years = $2,102.40 to run this pump.

Gast 0523 -
Power draw = 4.7 amps x 115 volts = 540.5 watts x 24 hrs = 12,972 Watts hours or 12.972 KWh x 365 days = 4,734.78 KWh per year x .12 cents per KWH (average cost of electricity) = $568.17 per year x 20 years = $11,363.47 to run this pump.

Energy savings on running the HiBlow over the Gast is $463.05 per year. That pays for a lot of rebuilt kits. I have one on the shelf waiting to be used, almost 4 years now, it cost $140. The Gast rebuild is $80, seems cheaper, but only if you look at the price of the kits.

I estimate that I enjoyed an $1,800 energy savings in four years now, minus the $140 kit, which is still new.

The Gast pump puts out 10-15psi, that's a lot for a diffuser, so people add a regulator, to bring the pressure down. It wastes money to to do work that's not needed. It makes no sense to me that a guy would ever put one of these units in a small pond.

I've been sharing the news of the HiBlow success for years, but It's unclear to me why some of our members here are slow to embrace the information.

note: I'm not affiliated with the HiBlow company in any way, just trying to give back to the forum where I learned so much!

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #532980 03/28/21 09:17 PM
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There are benefits to both brands of compressors. The Hiblow 5.14ft suggestion operation comes from their website where their optimum operation pressure is 2.57psi (yellow dotted line on their pressure curve chart for HP100&HP120) and from the Hiblow operational suggestion to a Hiblow user.
HiBlow does have lower electrical operational costs plus they run with less noise than a rotary vane. Main differences are company suggested operational pressures. Most all air compressors create less air flow(CFM) as the head pressure(depth) increases. Manufacturer air flow charts show these outputs.

Gast 0523 can operate at 10psi and suggested operation is 10psi or less which works great in ponds deeper than 6-8ft up to 18ft deep. Your quoted info about - "The Gast pump puts out 10-15psi, that's a lot for a diffuser, so people add a regulator, to bring the pressure down. It wastes money to to do work that's not needed", is misleading.
The Gast 0523 can create but does not put out 10-15psi unless pond diffuser depth requires that amount of pressure(psi). This can be measured with pressure gauge. The Gast rotary will only create a psi that is needed due to the amount of air release resistance or pond depth (head pressure). So at X ft deep the 0523 unit only creates X amount of psi where operational amps are also proportionally lower (example 8ft=4psi); no psi waste nor need for a regulator. Do not confuse PSI with CFM. Your operational cost estimate numbers for the Gast are also biased toward the higher $$ depending on the numbers used. More air flow can mean the pump does not need to run 24/7 to produce the same water flow compared to one with less cfm air flow. Over aerating can be similar to the benefits of hyperventilating.

Pushing the Hiblow deeper than 5.5ft adds additional psi stress on the unit; manufacture's opinion and also mine. Deeper than 5.14ft also reduces the CFM, the pump does both, just with added mechanical stress. Running the Gast 0523 deeper than 18ft puts added mechanical stress on the 0523. It can do it but just with more stress similar to that of the Hiblow. Which compressor is best for a pond depends on the needs of the user. Both brands have benefits - pros and cons.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/28/21 09:38 PM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #532984 03/28/21 10:48 PM
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I can vouch for more head pressure means faster rebuild times. I know of one guy that runs his Gast 1023 at 28' water depth. He needs to rebuild it about once every 18 months.


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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
Bill Cody #533007 03/29/21 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
The Hiblow 5.14ft suggestion operation comes from their website where their optimum operation pressure is 2.57psi (yellow dotted line on their pressure curve chart for HP100&HP120) and from the Hiblow operational suggestion to a Hiblow user.

Bill,
Thanks for clarifying where that came from. What you're calling Optimum Pressure, is what they call their Rated Loading Pressure. As I understand it, that's the back pressure they picked to determine average flow output of that model and to compare data between models. But there is a Curve, ranging from much more, to much less, depending on the load.

The Auto industry also does something like this to compare MPG between models and like the curve in pumps, that MPG is not constant across the board, so there is City MPG and Highway MPG.

The key piece of data on the HiBlow pressure specs is - "Maximum Continuous Operating Pressure = 4.35 PSI". This is what the pump is designed for. At this pressure the Curve chart shows an excess of 3 CFM, which as you know, is very capable of running 3 Diffusers at 8ft depth. I used to run my diffusers at the 11ft bottom for 'maximum effect', but later learned (here) a thermocline is advised for the fish, so it's at 7ft now and is probably what most pond owners should be doing. Importantly, well within the wheelhouse of the HiBlow.

I'm not biased against the Gast pump, I know it's a good pump, but IMO it's just not the best choice for the average cost conscience pond owner.
If I had a very deep pond and didn't care about maintaining any thermocline, I'd consider the Gast. But I'd be reminded of this choice every month, when the electric bill arrives.

When comparing the Gast and HiBlow at 4psi back pressure, I see the Gast is capable of running 5 diffusers, the HiBlow 3 diffusers. I'm not sure the average pond owner (an Acre or less) needs 5 diffusers and Gast takes more than 5 times the energy to run.

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533008 03/29/21 11:37 AM
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The "rated load pressure" of 2.57 psi is the pressure that the test pump was operated at to determine the other ratings...air volume (4.2 CFM), power consumption (100 W @ 60 Hz), & noise level (42 dBA). This can be verified by looking at the flow curve and seeing that at 2.57 psi, the flow is 4.2 CFM. Actually, their numbers and curve do not match up perfectly, but they are close. The "Max Cont. Operating Pressure" of 4.35 psi is the highest pressure that the manufacturer suggests running the pump. Unfortunately they do not supply power consumption or noise level curves.

At a Max Cont. Operating Pressure of 4.35 psi...the pump will be louder, flow less air, and use more power than at the rated load pressure of 2.57. EDIT: It turns out the pump uses less electricity as pressure rises see below post.

That is how I interpret their pump data. I think we are all saying close to the same thing, however. The only problem one might have is to assume that the power consumption (100 W @ 60 Hz) and noise level (42 dBA) ratings are for when the pump is operating at its Max Cont. Operating Pressure.

Last edited by Quarter Acre; 03/29/21 02:33 PM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533015 03/29/21 01:16 PM
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Hi QA, I was wondering when you might chime in.
I going to make a prediction. One day, you will own one of these pumps and wish you did it sooner.

As for the power draw and noise level. I can report no matter what the load is, it's remarkably quiet and it actually draws 100 watts or less. It's been running just under 4psi continuously for my setup.

I'm going on 4 problem free years of service from this unit and my confidence in it is growing.

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533018 03/29/21 02:45 PM
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My curiosity got me and I reached out to HiBlow and received the below info that describes the pressure, flow, amp, watts, & noise levels throughout its practical range of use. I was impressed with their quick reply, only a few hours.

I was interested to see that its power usage goes down the harder that it is working. I suppose that the diaphragm frequency slows at higher pressures reducing its ability/need to draw more power. Kinda makes sense to me now that I have seen the numbers. You actually use less energy at higher pressures at the loss of CFM.

The noise level bounces around some throughout its operating range, but its all negligible IMO.

The 120 would be a fine choice so long as its pressure never gets above the 4 psi mark (or thereabouts). I do believe it would be happier at the 2.5 mark, but it is certainly capable of more and energy savings to boot.

Anyhow, I thought this would add to the thread.

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Last edited by Quarter Acre; 03/29/21 02:46 PM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533074 03/29/21 11:03 PM
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We have a customer that is using a single Gast 0523 rotary vane compressor (1/4 hp) to push air to 3 different ponds at the same time. 5 single membrane diffusers. That single compressor replaced two Koenders 1/4 hp compressors (that could only run 3 single membrane diffusers), and the Gast is pushing more than 2x the air volume of the two Koenders for half the energy cost.

BUT the Gast rotary vane isn't the one I'd recommend for a deep pond, that would be a Thomas Rocking Piston compressor. They can operate to a higher PSI than a Gast rotary vane.

Both the Gast and Thomas are easily rebuilt when needed.


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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
esshup #533086 03/30/21 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by esshup
We have a customer that is using a single Gast 0523 rotary vane compressor (1/4 hp) to push air to 3 different ponds at the same time. 5 single membrane diffusers. That single compressor replaced two Koenders 1/4 hp compressors (that could only run 3 single membrane diffusers), and the Gast is pushing more than 2x the air volume of the two Koenders for half the energy cost.

BUT the Gast rotary vane isn't the one I'd recommend for a deep pond, that would be a Thomas Rocking Piston compressor. They can operate to a higher PSI than a Gast rotary vane.

Both the Gast and Thomas are easily rebuilt when needed.

: ) the OP is looking for a pump for his single .2 acre pond.
Which one would you recommend to him? The often here recommended '5 pond' Gast?

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
Quarter Acre #533088 03/30/21 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Quarter Acre
I was interested to see that its power usage goes down the harder that it is working. I suppose that the diaphragm frequency slows at higher pressures reducing its ability/need to draw more power. Kinda makes sense to me now that I have seen the numbers. You actually use less energy at higher pressures at the loss of CFM.

All true but the reason the energy use goes down is because lesser quantity air is moved. At higher pressure, an air pump moves a smaller weight of air at a lower velocity and so it does less work at high pressure than at low pressure. The energy consumption is proportional to the product of mass rate of air and the square of its velocity at the discharge less losses of inefficiency.


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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
Journeyman #533118 03/30/21 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Journeyman
Originally Posted by esshup
We have a customer that is using a single Gast 0523 rotary vane compressor (1/4 hp) to push air to 3 different ponds at the same time. 5 single membrane diffusers. That single compressor replaced two Koenders 1/4 hp compressors (that could only run 3 single membrane diffusers), and the Gast is pushing more than 2x the air volume of the two Koenders for half the energy cost.

BUT the Gast rotary vane isn't the one I'd recommend for a deep pond, that would be a Thomas Rocking Piston compressor. They can operate to a higher PSI than a Gast rotary vane.

Both the Gast and Thomas are easily rebuilt when needed.

: ) the OP is looking for a pump for his single .2 acre pond.
Which one would you recommend to him? The often here recommended '5 pond' Gast?

For the OP, for the longest pump life, I would look at getting a pump (paired with 2 Vertex XL1 air stations, one for deep water, one @ 3' water depth to keep part of the pond open in the winter) that produced 4 cfm @ 6-8 psi. That way the OP isn't running the pump at or near max rated psi and shortening the life of the pump. Just like anything mechanical, the harder the item is worked, the shorter the life of it is.

Combining that cfm/psi with those diffusers will allow the OP to run the pump 8 hours per 24 hour period and move enough water to properly aerate his (or her) pond. They should turn the system on so the system is still running for 1/2 hour after sunrise.

Using different diffusers changes the equation, and are unknown, unless the diffuser mfg lists the lift rates @ different water depths in GPM.

The shallow water diffuser doesn't have to be the Vertex XL1, in fact a diffuser that produces coarse bubbles will work better at keeping a hole open in the ice. BUT unless the OP is handy or willing to make their own diffuser base, (it's easy to do) I stand by my recommendation.

Last edited by esshup; 03/30/21 11:43 AM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533313 04/01/21 04:22 PM
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Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate it. Circling back to look at the 120-ll as well as Vertex. Thanks Again.

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533339 04/02/21 08:22 AM
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So if I run 1 Vertex XL1 with a Hiblow 100ll or 120ll is that too much CFM? I haven't been able to find the capacity of the XL1 - I may add a 2nd diffuser down the road, but want to try 1 for now as one in shallow water would most likely get damaged by all my kids smile

Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533344 04/02/21 10:32 AM
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Wings NOTE- the Vertex diffusers have an internal air handling/distribution check valve that causes an additional psi requirement of maybe 2psi. This may put added PSI stress on the Hiblow compressor. You may want to use a different brand of diffuser. with zero back or head pressure. I would check with a really good Vertex technician as to the added PSI requirement of Vertex diffusers. Not all Vertex sales people may know this fact because Vertex is normally sold with high pressure compressors and the added PSI is negligent or not important for them. I would start your info search with 'esshup' a Vertex representative in the post above. Also on the Hiblow air flow charts notice how much air flow(cfm) will occur at the depth you will be placing the diffuser. CFM is reduced with each foot of water depth.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/02/21 10:36 AM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533345 04/02/21 11:05 AM
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So are you saying in a situation where I was running a Hiblow at say 3psi the true impact on the hiblow would really be more like 5psi if using a Vertex diffuser with it?

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/02/21 07:03 PM.
Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533347 04/02/21 12:32 PM
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When determining the pump size, you need to add up some pressure numbers to determine what the pump will "see".

A vertex diffuser needs around 1psi to pop the check valve (maybe 2 per Mr Cody - I would like to find out for sure as I do not recall exactly where mine popped open).

With the diffuser at 8 foot deep, that will require and additional 3.44psi. (0.43 psi per foot of the deepest diffuser)

Air line and fittings and valves will add more psi requirements. A simple pump-line-diffuser system would be minimal depending on the line diameter and length. I'll throw out another psi.

That totals 5.4 psi (or 6.4 if the Vertex's need 2 psi to pop). The HP-120 would be putting out about 1.5 CFM at 5.4psi and less than 1 CFM at 6+psi. The smaller HP-100 would be about 1 CFM and 0.5 CFM respectively. The 120 would work for a single Vertex diffuser, but you would not have any room to add another diffuser should you want to down the road (unless you added a larger or another pump). You could move the diffuser up in the water column to lessen the pressure, however. Doing so increases the turnover time of the pond too.

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Last edited by Quarter Acre; 04/02/21 12:34 PM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533356 04/02/21 07:04 PM
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""" So are you saying in a situation where I was running a Hiblow at say 3psi the true impact on the hiblow would really be more like 5psi if using a Vertex diffuser with it?"""

Cody Note - Well it depends. I do not know the exact PSI back pressure that is needed to operate the Vertex diffusers. That discussion is somewhere in the old posts. The final pressure of a Hiblow at 3 psi with Vertex diffuser could be any where from 1 to 3 additional PSI, It would be best to check with a Vertex retailer or find the old PBoss post that discussed this topic. As I recall the discussion was around 3-4 years ago. I doubt I saved this thread. 'esshup' I think was a part of this thread, he should know and was going to take apart a Vertex diffuser to see how it was made. Maybe some member can help with this?.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/02/21 07:05 PM.

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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
Bill Cody #533369 04/03/21 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
""" So are you saying in a situation where I was running a Hiblow at say 3psi the true impact on the hiblow would really be more like 5psi if using a Vertex diffuser with it?"""

Cody Note - Well it depends. I do not know the exact PSI back pressure that is needed to operate the Vertex diffusers. That discussion is somewhere in the old posts. The final pressure of a Hiblow at 3 psi with Vertex diffuser could be any where from 1 to 3 additional PSI, It would be best to check with a Vertex retailer or find the old PBoss post that discussed this topic. As I recall the discussion was around 3-4 years ago. I doubt I saved this thread. 'esshup' I think was a part of this thread, he should know and was going to take apart a Vertex diffuser to see how it was made. Maybe some member can help with this?.

I had a diffuser stick closed this Fall. At a customers, and I didn't have an extra diffuser with me. I will be going there in a few weeks to swap it out and will be taking the bad one apart. To fix it I just took the diffuser off of the base, stuck a screwdriver in the diffuser and whacked it with the crescent wrench I had in the boat. I only got to hit it once, the dang screwdriver jumped out of the diffuser and made a direct hit in the pond, never to be seen again. Air was flowing, so I didn't care at that point as the compressor wasn't going to be turned off for the winter. I will be dissecting it soon, and might do the same to a good one to see the difference if I can't determine what went wrong.


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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
wings #533381 04/03/21 08:22 PM
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esshup - Have you ever connected a new Vertex diffuser to a compressor with an air gauge and a short piece of hose??? No water involved. What is the reading on the air gauge??? Inquiring minds want to know.


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Re: Airmax vs hiblow- small pond
Bill Cody #533388 04/03/21 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
esshup - Have you ever connected a new Vertex diffuser to a compressor with an air gauge and a short piece of hose??? No water involved. What is the reading on the air gauge??? Inquiring minds want to know.


Bill:
The only compressor I have is a gast 1023. You need to connect it to a compressor that produces 1-2 cfm, or a manifold and a cfm regulator, and the psi gauge post cfm regulator. The pressure on more volume than 3-4 cfm will give you an incorrect psi reading because of trying to force all the air through the one membrane.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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