New Compost Tea Brewer - Air induction ideas wanted please

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by jerry111165, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. Hi all.

    First, I just wanted to say thanks yet again to Stankie for his ideas regarding the absolutely cool tea brewer that he posted, and which I definetly used to get the idea for my own brewer that i am in the process of building. I kind of hated to start a whole new thread, but at the same time felt like i was "hijacking" Stankies thread with all of my posts regarding the one that I am building...*lol* If so, that wasnt my intention.

    Anyhow -

    So, I did buy a 15 gallon tank and stand from When I get home later I will work on getting a picture of it up here. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got home yesterday to find it on my porch, and to find that it wasnt as huge as I had previosly thought that it might be. I was expecting this huge monstrosity, being 15 gallons, but again was really pleased to find that it wasnt big, giant and bulky.

    My Alita AL-60 air pump is supposed to be at my house tomorrow. I did run into a temporary snag when "" sent me the AL-40 model, but this one got shipped back and the new one is on its way. I have no doubt after looking at the "slightly" smaller AL-40 model that the AL-60 is going to kick some serious tea brewing butt! Hey, LD and others) told me that when buying the air pump, which is really the heart of the brewer to "Go big or go home"! - so I did! :)

    My reason for this post is this - I am in a bit of a "quandry" as far as the actual induction of the air into the tank chamber. I saw that Stankie had run his air into the drain bottom of the tank, and it looked like it worked really good, but as far as getting the tea out of the tank? I'm not sure how he did it, and this will be much heavier to simply tip over, or pour out into a 5 gallon bucket.

    I have attachjed several CADs that I whipped up here, showing several ways that I have thought about doing this. There are several pros and cons to each, and I value the Blades of Grasscity opinions highly and really want as much input here for the build. I can go thru the bottom like Stankie did, but have no diffuser at this point. Is one really needed? I can go thru the top, but then have to drill a (tight) hole thru the new tank...

    take a look at my CADs. Input Blades!

    Thanks in advance!


    Attached Files:

  2. Jerry, I was thinking about your setup and I wondered about fixing a screen in the bottom somehow that is fine enough to add to your aeration and fine enough to catch a major part of your residue. Maybe use a Food Grade silicone type adhesive?

    Also, I think you should have your valve close to the outlet of the tank. While the air is still blowing into the tank, you shut the valve. Remove the airline, then put your bucket underneath to catch your tea. You could have a fine mesh bag tied on the end of the line to catch the residue as the tea runs into your bucket. If you don't use any glues, or you use a threaded fitting, you shouldn't have any problems cleaning the valve out and reusing it with no problems.

    Just a couple random thoughts. Love the set up, Jerry.

  3. I had thought about ordering/finding a PVC gate valve. I think that may work better than a ball valve. All the hardware stores around here have is ball valves. Maybe a plumbing supply or interwebs.
  4. A quality ball valve shouldn't have a problem. The best I've used are the Asahi omni, mind you that a brass valve will probably still have a PTFE seal. If you have enough air (easy to say when you have a regenerative blower) an airstone stuck in the bottom bulkhead of the tank shouldn't leave much if any anaerobic spots. Y off to some more airstones to keep the o2 up and you should be fine.
  5. My ball valve was full of silt and impossible to use after the 2nd brew. But that was whatever brand HomeyDepot had.... Those Omni's look nice, especially with the 'low stem torque' claim.

    Have you considered an airlift system like MI Wolverine?

    • Like Like x 1
  6. This is so great and exactly the kind of info I am looking for. Stankie, I am going to check out Wolverines design - it does look very cool - but what about the cover? I'm very afraid that w/ the AL-60 heavy duty pump theres just gonna be tea everywhere without a lid on it?

    Is it possible to do this type of system while still using a lid?

    Gonna have to look into this some more. I have time and want this to be so right.

    Thanks to all - and going to look into different valves too...

    • Winner Winner x 1
  7. The AL-60 is rated at 68 lpm. My pump is rated at 70 lpm and I use it with about 3.5 gallons of tea in a 5 gal vessel. There is a little splash over but not much. I would probably plan on only using 12 gallons or so, unless you make an air lift.

    I am thinking of moving to an air lift design, or maybe getting an air stone that sits in the bottom of my tank. The hard part to making a diffuser is finding a piece of PVC to attach on the inside of the bulkhead pass through fitting. They are just random sizes. I tried Lowes, HD, and a fitting-type store. I tried 'whittling' down a piece of PVC to jam in there, but it was blown out after not much time. That was a 'homemade' PVC diffuser I attempted. If you have a way of neatly, uniformly shaving some PVC off a piece of pipe, thinning the walls so to speak, it could maybe work. Whittling was my best attempt. I have not attempted to thread a tube through.

    Stuff will still come out the vent, if your lid has one. I cut out the female thread part so my lid just sits in place on top of the vessel. I did this to get a heater in there for winter time brews and the lid works just as well when resting on the surface like I have it now.

    With an air lift design you wouldn't have the splash over, as far as I know, but I've never seen one first hand. It seems to be a gentle pouring. The hard part with an airlift is tweaking everything to get the air pressure just right.
  8. Jerry,

    LD built this diffuser and gave me one and I've used it for over a year. It's built from a piece of flexible PVC and a tee and a bushing with a ferrule tip for the air hose. There are 1/16" holes drilled through the black PVC at 1/2" centers.

    The hose removes from the tee for easy cleaning with a bottle brush and it was only about 7-8 bucks to build. You could customize yours with 3 tees and a center pipe with 2 half circles teed to the center(hope you understand what I mean) and perhaps even put some holes in the center pipe that goes to the bottom of the cone to eliminate dead spots.

    This little DIY unit really throws out the air bubbles in my 7 gallon bucket brewer. I'm a little behind the times with the tank lol. Stankie, this may be something you could use rather than try to build one with fittings and pipe<shakes head laughing at self>.....been there, tried that. Anyway, here's a pic:



    • Like Like x 1
  9. #9 Stankie, Sep 11, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
    What I'm trying to say is the bulkhead pass through on my tank is 1 1/2 MNPT. The plug screws into that and then the 1" pvc pipe that is hooked up to my air pump attaches to the 'outside' (left side in pic) of the plug via slip fitting.

    The 'inside' (right side) outlet of the pass through is not a standard pipe size. So essentially you can't hook anything up the the right side of the plug without customization, since it is a random size and not a slip fitting.


    The best option would be to pass an air tube through the fitting to hook up to an air stone or diffuser. I would imagine a premade round one would be best, but I still think you would get a nice anaerobic sludge underneath. Maybe there would be enough agitation to knock the crap out though.

    One way to find out . . .
  10. Jerry

    The 3 most important considerations for building a brewer are as follows:

    1. Tank shape - precluding dead zones

    2. Air supply

    3. Ease of cleaning

    You've taken care of the first 2 but you need some more information before you start drilling and assembling. The first thing that I would do would be to add about 10 gallons of water to the tank and hook up your air pump and stick the air hose into the tank and hold in in place close to the bottom.

    This will give you an idea on how efficient your pump is working and the amount of air that you're actually moving through the cistern.

    The last of the 3 considerations - ease of cleaning. If you do not remove the biofilm from the internals of your aeration device, discharge system then you will be introducing a huge number of problems into your soil after just a couple of brew cycles.

    Don't get in a hurry - you can make all of the teas that you want with just your tank and an air hose. Getting it perfected and dialed-in may take a few weeks while you look at how others have approached it.

    And finally, Tim Wilson at is probably the best designer out there. He is also one of the most helpful individuals that I've met. Contact him after you've read his 'blog' (a real stretch of that term) and you'll end up with a first-class AACT tool.


  11. send me a pm can getya a blower that pushes a shit tun of air for 100 bucks waymore than the little ones.Mine pushes like the 1500 ones for 150 bucks:D.I with you where closer or we could hook up Im trying to make mine over .I got all the stainless pipe now 1 1/2 inch 4 bolt stainless flange 1 tee 4 90s tig weld that bad girl up.if you could get that kind of stuff I would make you one.Gota love stainless steal;)for free;)
  12. You guys are the best - I sincerely appreciate the help from all.

    I spent ALOT of time today several different places, including MicrobeOrganice site, looking at multiple designs to get this brewer up and running.

    (first off, tho, the Aquacave ppl sent me the smaller pump, hadda send it back, then they ran out of the one I ordered, and are now telling me that mine is on the way direct from the Alita factory - I guess we'll see during the week this week...)

    Anyhoo - lots of info feeding my brain today. All of what I believe to be the superior design brewers are utilizing the relatively simple "airlift" design...please see attached sketch from Microbe Organics. The airlift seems to do two things - especially if the lift tube is pointing at an angle back into the brewer - first (copied from MO website) -

    The reason for suspending the other pipe(s) above the water is so it splashes into the water, breaking the water's surface tension and additionally pushing more air into the water like a water fall or running river does.

    Second, by angling the pipe back into the brewer at the proper angle, a "vortex" can be created -

    One thing a vortex brewer is very good for is ensuring a full circulation of all the water and compost added. There can be no ‘dead zones'; none of the feared anaerobic pockets!

    At the very least the circulation created will/could mix the compost tea constantly.

    Anyhow again...from the feedback I read today, this seems to be, perhaps, the way to go. At the very least, there wont be any holes drilled or the tank ruined if I do try this method - and if, hey, it doesnt work out for me for some reason, I can simply cap off the "T" at the bottom drainage area, keep the ball valve (or perhaps gate valve - thanks Stankie) there to use for drainage and simply go back to the "airhose and diffuser-thru-the-top" method - no muss no fuss. Seems I could at least try this method for pretty cheap - will just be a few simple pvc fittings at that point.

    Back to reading. The internet is a very useful tool under the right circumstances. :)

    Maina - we'll get there buddy! :)

    LD - Tims design shown seems fairly simple for cleanup. Take it apart, put it in the sink and scrub, I guess. Maybe get some kind of long "pipe cleaner" dohickey?

    All - more to come, by golly! Ayuh! By hook or by crook...:)

    darn air pump better be here this week...grumble grumble mumble....


    Attached Files:

  13. Going to try this - but of course the pump isnt in, and wont be untilThursday -

    LD - I came up with a "quick connect", for thewhole bottom end for cleaning. Cleaning should be much easier without having to phsically take it apart.

    I guess the real test will be with the pump - I also need to come up with a way to maybe get a diffuser into the air lift line? Thoughts? Neccessary?

    Going to have to raise the whole stand up, too. Definetly cant get a bucket under the drainage valve. Stanky, couldnt find a gate valve? Well, they had one, but was very cheesy...Found this HD ball valve - gonna try it at least!

    Also had a good order from BioAg come intoday! Very cool.

    Thanks - and of course criticism is definetly wanted.


    Attached Files:

  14. #14 LumperDawgz2, Sep 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2011

    Tim Wilson is personally responsible for teaching the overwhelming majority of professional AACT people out there. Anything that he tells you is gold - it's been researched over and over, compared with other systems running the exact compost/humus products sourced at the same time, etc. He's as thorough as they come.

    You might know him as MicrobeMan around the web. I consider him a friend and he taught me everything that I know about compost teas and related subjects like nutrient cycling. His work in the area of Sphagnum peat moss is extraordinary in the breadth and width of the testing using this material as a humus source for an AACT. Pretty interesting results.

    You've got the ear of the best teacher around - take his advice and you'll be successful and end up with a legitimate and viable professional tea brewer.

    Next up is your humus source - around here I live by the Don Corleone admonition: "Keep your friends close but keep your humus sources even closer"

  15. LD -

    I know, I know. I did start the 2 large worm bins 2 weeks ago, and am hoping to be using castings from them in another month or two. At least I know they're getting good stuff vs. shredded newspaper & cardboard.

    What are your thoughts on also using the Coast of Maine compost products in the brewer? They seem to be pretty good quality and they are working very well right now in the indoor grow. Not sure if we could ever know without a microscope?

    Maybe someday...but in the meantime,,,,

    Wont be able to test the brewer until Sunday now :(

    The wife seems to feel our 20 year wedding anniversary is more important than the new brewer and wants me to take her down the coast.

    Doesnt she understand that the air pump in coming on Thursday??!!? AArrgghhh.....

  16. Jerry I have heard nothing but good from coast of Maine products, another good one would be KISS compost teas.

    And do take care of your wife. I just had a couple of weeks of vacationing with the misses, and have not grown MJ since the end of July. But I'm itching to get going, locked, cocked, and ready to rock, being I'm all recharged and all. It is really easy for us to get obsessed, (ask my wife) so try to keep a balance in your life....MIW
  17. I really am looking forward to going away with the wife tomorrow morning. It just figures the new pump is arriving tomorrow too...*lol*

    We're going down the coast to a cool town called Bar Harbor - best seafood anywhere! :)
    We got a really great room for a couple of nights right downtown amongst the shops and restaurants and stores - should be a good time. Oh - and no kids for a couple of days! *lol*

    I know what you mean about the obsession...*grin*

    Good luck when you start back up man, but I know you wont even need it.

  18. Chunk, what exactly is that hose like? Is it reinforced? I saw some at Ace, but I couldn't find the right size for the fitting I had. the only thing they had was 5/8" OD. Is that what you got? that's for that pic again.

  19. JaK.

    Check out your local Home Depot for this item. It fits right into a standard 3/4" PVC tee. Get the tee with the threads in the middle outlet. Get 1 of these that has a barbed fitting that will fit your air hose size and you're home free.

  20. you reccomend that over an airstone?

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