You are browsing the archive for airlift.

Air Lift vs. Water pump – the rationale?

10:05 am in made from scratch (without a kit), Materials and Resources, pumps by steve campbell

This is coming from a completely genuine place of curiosity.  Sorry if it’s been covered elsewhere, I couldn’t locate any threads on it since the search function on here is kind of clunky.

Does anyone know why the window farms system (diy version) uses an air lift system as opposed to a water pump system?

Is it energy consumption?




It seems like the air lift system over complicates the system – adding additional parts and experimenting.  Wouldn’t it be more simple to get a larger water source (E.G. 5 gallon bucket) and drop the water pump in and use the rest of the setup the same?   This would obviously require you to use non-recycled materials – but I think most people are just buying water bottles anyway for the system, and a 5 gallon bucket would last forever with adequate care.

Is the reason aesthetics?

I guess a bucket on the floor doesn’t look nearly as visually pleasing as the hanging bottle version, but there has to be some kind of work around for this.

Really interested to hear other builder’s thoughts on this.

I have mine currently set up with the air lift system and it seems to work out alright – but in the spirit of the project I am on the lookout for alternatives to make everyone’s lives easier.

Air Pump Or No?

11:49 pm in Education, questions, Uncategorized, Version 2.0 airlift system, Version 3.0 Modular Airlift Columns by Kristina

For those of you who wonder why you even fiddle with the finicky contraption: It serves two purposes. It pumps the water up to the top of the windowfarm and (most importantly) it oxygenates the water.

The transfer of oxygen from the air to the water through passive means does not deliver enough O2 to the plants. So even though they have all the water in the world, they are sufficating. It’s like a person going all day without drinking any water. They drank tea, coffee, soda, juice, etc, but no water. You’re dehydrating yourself and don’t even know it.

The air-lift method allows you to use the same water supply, only topping it off when necessary. If there were no pump, you would have to use a fresh supply everytime to enusure everyone is getting their fare share of O2.

Anybody have any suggestions for how we can O2-ify our gardens using less energy?

What Dean did/does on Urban Green Survival, with his no pump system, is change the water/nutrient mix after cycling it through his set up 3 times.

Reposting his link:

My Father’s Airlift System

2:01 pm in Completed Window Farms, electronic components, posts with pitcures! by Leonis Sayfire

I was inspired to start a window farm after the success of my Father’s automated airlift system.  It is a large 8 foot tall system with an upper-reservoir and is set to only run for a certain period of time every 3o minutes conserving water and energy.  Of course this required some more advanced electronics, but he is wonderful with that kind of stuff and open to any questions you may have for him.  You can find him on if you search for William Belcher in the members, or you can e-mail him at  He gave me permission to post some pictures and he will be soon sending me more detailed pictures of the entire system and will be uploading a video to youtube.  I will add further comments to this blog once I receive them, but for now, here are some wonderful pictures of his thriving plants:

Airlift experiment for aquaponics

5:04 am in Getting Started, Materials and Resources, posts with pitcures!, Projects in Process by Adrian Thornton

I recorded a brief video to document my experiment with an airlift system.

If the video doesn’t show up (the preview certainly isn’t showing it), then you can see it here:


7:15 pm in Getting Started, questions by herbalcat

We are building the easier three bottle window farm, and have put it together according to the directions, but aren’t getting a drip!

Should we make sure the needle entrances are properly sealed or make a smaller drip exit?

Help us out!