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Bubble power

by Harris

I have a homemade compost tea brewer using a pail, pantyhose, and a marine bubbler, and seem to have some success. The bubble action isn’t close to the aerator in the picture of the brewer you sell; so I was wondering, will aquarium bubblers (the $40 kind) do the trick for a medium-sized pail?

Thanks for such a great site!

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Apr 08, 2010
3 Points to Consider…
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi Harris,

Thanks for visiting, and posting your question.

The equipment you’re using is great. To be honest, we’re just happy to hear about others brewing compost tea. You mentioned that you’ve had some success with it, so you’re definitely doing something right.

What are your favorite ingredients to use?

I’d just like to highlight a couple points to consider when using this type of set-up (i.e. aquarium pump and aeration stone).

First of all, you want to pay attention to the odors coming from your pail. If the brew smells sweet and earthy, then keep on brewin’; however, if you start to notice an “off” odor, your brew has gone anaerobic, and you’ll want to start over. If this off odor returns in the next batch, it may be a sign that you need to invest in a more powerful aerator/bubbler. The reason that a brew suddenly goes anaerobic typically has to do with an increasing microbial population, but too little oxygen to meet their increasing needs.

The second thing to consider is the size of the bubbles that your aerator stone can produce. If the bubbles are too small (under 1 millimeter), they may actually cut up, and destroy, your microbes. The size of the bubbles is dependent on the type of aerator stone you’re using. If the bubbles are too small, just try changing your stone. This leads in to the third point to consider…

When using an aerator stone, you must make sure it is kept clean. If these stones are not frequently cleaned, your bubbles will become smaller and smaller as the pores in the stone gradually become clogged. We suggest changing your stone every 7-10 brews, or allowing it to soak overnight in a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water after each brew.

Happy Brewing Harris!

Apr 08, 2010
another factor at work
by: Harris

Hi Dave,

Thanks for that – I’m hoping to get a microscope soon, where would you recommend getting one and what power / features should I look for?

You asked about foods I’ve been using, mostly molasses and I’ve tried oats too. Thinking about this I realized that food / recipe could be a factor too, the more I provide, the more the microbes get to work, the more oxygen they need.

Lots of info on your site, one of the best I’ve seen, thanks for putting it together.


Apr 12, 2010
Microscopes for Compost Tea
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi again Harris,

Your question regarding the proper microscope to be using when making compost tea is quite common. There are so many makes and models of microscopes on the market that it can be quite daunting at times.

I recommend you get in touch with a wonderful gentleman by the name of Tim Wilson. Tim operates a business called Microbe Organics. I consider Tim one of the gurus in the compost tea industry.

Here is a link to his section on microscopes. Tim is always more than happy to answer any questions regarding microscopes and compost tea. You’ll notice that Tim offers two different microscopes, both of which would meet your needs.

As for your comment about increasing the food levels in your compost tea, you are very correct; the more food you provide your microbes (within limits), the faster they will multiple, and the more oxygen they will require. That being said, we don’t recommend overloading your brewer with microbe food. Instead, we always recommend you start by following a common compost tea recipe. After you’re comfortable with this recipe, mix in a small amount of another ingredient and observe your results.

Thanks for the encouraging words regarding It’s always great to hear feedback (especially when it’s positive).


Apr 13, 2010
Comment on: Bubble Power
by: Tony

Harris, The most important factors to consider when using a standard aquarium pump is not the cost of the pump but the quality of the pump and the volume of air it puts out. First do your research and find a reputable brand for pumps, look for good warranties and solid manufacturing. Secondly, make sure the unit you choose opperates really quietly. I have found that using aquarium pumps that are rated for 80 gallon(or higher)aquariums, with two air outlets work the best with 5 gallon buckets. They deliver great air volume output. Attach your air tubing to two 6″-8″ standard air stones, secure both stones with weights or suction cups to the bottom of your bucket, turn the pump on high and you should get great aeration of your compost tea. Lots of foam!

Good luck on future batches! Tony

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