I posted a video on YouTube, watch it now:

If you prefer to watching the video on Vimeo, please click here.

Before I came up with the version I call “DripGrow Tower”, I had tried several versions, some of which you can see in the video, including one made with a long bamboo pole. The time I spent the most was on various kinds of airlift pumps (some are shown below). Eventually I found that the simple airlift pump made with a T connector works the best.

This is a tube-inside-tube version with many small holes drilled on the inner tube
Geyser Airlift Pump
Foam ball inside as a check valve
Don’t make this type – I tried, no better

This is the simplest and best version, using a T connector to joint the air feed with the water feed:

This photo shows it all

Watch this video showing the simplicity of the airlift pump based on a T connector. The man making the video liked it so much that he started a challenge:

So that explains how I went through the pains and steps to get settled with the following design I call “DripGrow Towers”:

Another issue is the grow media that other growers tend to stuff inside the towers, for example, ZipGrow towers are stuffed with a type of folded pond filter fiber foam. After testing it the first hand, I find there is no need to use any grow media inside, unless you do not have a bio-micro-organism filter bed or barrel in your aquaponics system. Yes, for hydroponics you do not need media at all as you simply feed the tower with nutrient solutions.

OK upon request, I post now more pictures showing how my DripGrow towers are doing. Note that during the testing for about two months, I had used several ways to construct the towers, but the water feeding system is the same, i.e. using low power airlift pumps.

This first picture below shows two systems using five towers: one system is an aquaponic system (blue is the fish tank) with four towers – one black tower built with double wyes is blocked in the first picture so I will post several more pictures, and one bamboo tower for a hydroponic system with two rectangular plastic containers:

Note that the two towers built with double wyes were the hardest to get water onto the grow zones. I had to use sponges and rockwool to stuff inside the tower right above the grow zones. For the four grow zones on the top, I used four vinyl tubes to directly feed water there. The two downspout towers and the one bamboo tower, however, are doing well in getting the dripping water, whether using net cups or rockwool cubes directly. As I said in the video, as long as the water is dripping from one net cup to another one underneath, everything is wet and fine.

Published by Aubrey

After obtaining his PhD in Electrochemistry in 1994, Aubrey has done many things over the past 24 years, such as post-doctoral research work in Materials Chemistry at UIUC (Urbana-Champaign at University of Illinois), lifetime free-lance preaching, current director of TheoLogos Publications, 014599190 Global Inc, and SelfWebHosting.com, former salesman of diamond tools for Superprem Industries, former director of DiaSolid Kitchen & Bath, finishing carpenters, etc. Currently taking injury leave from working for CRE Green, a solar company in Kelowna, BC. After all these experiences, his life motto is this: sharp mind must combine with skillful hands.

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  1. This air lift is not working for me. I tried to get a response from you as to parts list. Using standard tubing with a 4.5 watt air pump, this has not worked for me. From the picture it looks like you are transitioning from one size tubing to another. Can you send me specics? Thanks

    1. Sorry Norm for not logging and checking/approving your comments. Any T connector will work and specs depend on the size of the T. One thing is that, the water entrance tubing has to be reduced in size so that water entrance speed becomes faster. Another thing, if you need to reach a certain high level, you have to reduce the tubing sizes in steps.

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