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We have a big sort of pond which is aerated by a largish aquarium pump (air pump only). We have carp and two turtles in the pond. My guess is the capacity is in the 1000 to 1500 gallon range.

I was wondering about the possibility of incorporating aquaponics into the structure as it currently exists. Ideas included adding styrofoam deep water floats with some light plants on them or trying to grow aquatic plants for food (lotus being a possible example). Given that the water does maintain ample aeration, what sorts of problems am I likely to face?

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Definitely doable.

As a 'proof of concept' water lilies can be grown in floating pots and survive many years. We found the limiting factor was preventing ducks eating them - a losing battle :-).

Air lift or bubble pump:

You can make a water lift pump using a "bubble pump". Some of your air bubbles are lead into the bottom of an open tube whose top protrudes above the water by the desired distance. The expanding bubbles drive a column of water above them, which flows out of the open topped tube.

With suitable sizing of bubble size, bubble rate and tube diameter you can pump water to a head of many feet. Energy input is the obvious limiting factor for flow and as usual head and flow rate trade-off.

Bubble pumps:

Many many many ideas here

Wikipedia - gas lift pump

Solar gas lift pump using fluid boiling

Renewable energy design - bubble pumps refs and links.

Analysis & desig of bubble pumps - closed cycle cboiling type - includes Einstein cycle regrigerator. More for interest than value here.

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