Bubble Lift Hydroponics

Introduction: Bubble Lift Hydroponics

About: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.

This is an old project from 2000, so please excuse the low res pictures. This is a hydro setup similar to my recirculating hydroponics with the exception that it uses an air pump instead of a water pump.

Step 1: Parts

You'll need
a pair of buckets, check you local grocer's bakery, they'll often have them for free or a buck.
a lid
an air pump
window screening
a piece of pex tube 3/8ths
aquarium tubing
1/4 inch irrigation connector

barbed hose elbow
clear tubing.

Step 2: The Bottom Bucket

Optional part
drill a 3/4 inch hole near the bottom of the bucket, insert the grommet and barbed hose connector, attach the clear tubing. This serves both as a water level and as a drain, you can do with out, but draining will require disassembly.

Take the lid and drill several 3/4 inch holes in it, Snap onto the lower bucket and drill a 1/4 inch vent hole in the side of the bucket near the top.

Step 3: The Air Lift

Using a piece of 3/8ths PEX tubing cut one end at a 45 degree angle, drill a hole in the side of the tubing about 1.5 inches from the bottom and insert the 1/4 inch irrigation connector, attach the aquarium tubing to the connector.

Insert the air lift into the bottom bucket.

Step 4: The Top Bucket

Drill some holes in the bucket bottom, slide over the airlift and slip a piece of window screening into the bucket.

Step 5: Finally

Fill the top bucket with perlite, fill the system with nutrient solution by pouring in through the top bucket, attach an aquarium pump, clip the pex airlift so it extends about an inch above the perlite and invert a film canister over the pex. Now you're ready to plant.

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    3 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    So.. You push air into this PEX tube that's in the water, and then water gets pushed up several inches? How does that work?


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    the point where you insert the air is under the water line but the tube continues on a little deeper still. So the water is constantly trying to level itself off inside the tube by entering in through the bottom, while air bubbles you are inserting under the water line but above this hole are pushing up the water that is in the top space of the tube (air inserted about halfway inbetween is a safe bet to make it work, too low and the air will exit through the bottom due to insufficient backpressure)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I look at it like a percolator for coffee... if you watch the hot air bubbling and rising. Instead of the heat pressurizing it up the tube, it's an actual pump with the air valve below the surface of the water. so the water is always trying to reach it's level inside the tube. instead it's being pushed up the tube through the pressure of the air pump.

    If i'm wrong on this, please let me know, but this is how I understand it.

    My question is this, how much pressure is needed. If it's not too much I'm thinking you can run multiple unit off one air pump. I guess it would depend on the size of the tube you are pushing the water/air up, right?