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Thread: DIY, floating surface skimmer using air.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    DIY, floating surface skimmer using air.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has ever experimented and tried to DIY a floating surface skimmer using air lift only (to lift water out of the skimmer)? I'm wondering what kind of lift is possible using air only and would it be enough to have an effective skimmer. I should point out that this would be for a natural pond and not a lined or concrete pond.

    The idea in my head is try and create such a device that would not just use air only to allow for the collection of leaves etc but would also take advantage of the airlift (up through pipe) to make a foam fractionator.

    Does it sound possible?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    pacific northwest, USA
    Hi Raz:

    I'm having a tough time figuring out how you can do both on the same circuit. On one end, you're trying to "lift" debris out of the watercolumn, while at the same time, you're trying to "lift" the water back into the pond.

    Running a skimmer (say, a simple, "no-niche," in-pond basket filter) circuit on an airpump is no big deal, because it separates the two roles (filtration from water movement). You've filtered the debris from the water, and now you simply need to "lift" it to allow it to flow back into the pond. With some fine tuning and an open return, you might then be able to skim off a little surface foam (ala the return on a Clarity unit), although I imagine that would get a little fussy.

    But, that shouldn't stop you from trying! I'd recommend looking into counterflow-type protein skimmers, as airlifts just aren't the right tool for lifting water high enough to make a stationary bed effective.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I have had a quite look through youtube and it seems using airlift with a skimmer is nothing new. In my case however I want it floating. I found this video which shows how a airlift skimmer could work in a normal koi pond (YouTube - ‪Airlift opstelling naar idee van Yamabuki‬‏). I would use that principle and collect the foam via those 2 outlets you see in the video.

    My idea is this...

    I was thinking of using a 55 gallon plastic drum (top cut off one end) of which 98% would be under water. I would make doors in top edge of barrel which would allow surface water into the drum. Inside the drum I would have 3 or 4 PVC pipes traveling a few inches from the bottom of the drum to a small a distance above the water surface. U bends attached to the top of the pipes would direct water out of the drum, a little more pipe to the end of these so its back below the water surface (reduce splashing and no air escape through water exit). On the top of the u bends I would have smaller pipe connected to allow the air and any foam to exit. It would probably work out that the pond surface level is equal to somewhere within the u bend section. Lastly inside the drum would be a collection basket which is easily removable. There would be some boyancy to make sure the barrel floats as required.

    It would be a big skimmer but this will be for a 300,000 litre pond.


    Forgot to mention of course the system would work by injecting air into the bottom of the pipes to lift water out.
    Last edited by Razoola; 05-19-2011 at 05:28 PM. Reason: see update

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