Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Georgie Smith
Farmers are continually looking for methods to provide good quality as well as save money. With hydroponics, you can do both, and the result is fantastic. You will save many liters of water and spend less energy practicing hydroponics, which is a subset of hydroculture.
However, this does not mean everyone does it right. You have to be keen on the conditions favorable to your plants if you hope to reap maximum yields at harvest period.
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Vegetables are very popular with this type of farming but can equally be prone to dying from lack of care. Plant examples ideal for this system includes the following:
- Cherry tomatoes
Everything comes down to what you choose to plant as well as what you have the resources for altogether.
Understanding the Basics
Then there is the aspect of the hydroponic system, which if not adequately managed, in the end, you will reap very little for your effort. You will need to accurately control your system due to having your plants in an aqua environment.
You can use a medium such as clay pellets, Rockwool, perlite or any other that is ideal to support the plant root system. Remember you want to do away with barriers that hinder plants from accessing nutrients, oxygen, and water. It is this reason why soil is unheard of in this method of farming.
On the flip side, the hydroponic system can be costly depending on the readymade system types you go for, albeit, worth the taking. Alternatively, you just need to prepare well for it, both mentally and financially.
However, again, you can make your own artificial system at home with the right lessons. Those include ensuring everything your plants need is appropriately balanced out. There are tutorial videos on the web to guide you on this. A mishap in the system such as a poor light supply or failure of the pumping system can be your greatest undoing.
Moreover, it is for this reason that experience is vital here. However, this is not to say you are doomed if you have never tried hydroponics.
Now, before I take you through the best air pumps ideal for growing plants hydroponically, it is vital to know the different systems at your disposal. Let’s take a look and the various Hydroponic System Types:
This system is relatively easy to set up on your own if you choose this method of handcrafting it. It works on the principle of controlled water dripping into the medium of your choice with a reservoir connected to an overflow drain.
Drip System is preferred in commercial hydroponics because they support large-scale growing as opposed to a small garden at home. It has some advantages such as being cost-effective, allowing for controlled watering and feeding schedule using a timer, and doesn’t break easily.
On the downside, it is prone to waste due to a more regular changing of nutrient solution (this amount to underutilization of nutrients) and demands regarding controlling PH levels in the circulating system. This system is not ideal for smaller gardens.
Also known as the flood and draining system, Ebb-flow is a system you can opt for even though not commonly used. It depends on your hydroponic situational needs. With this method, the roots of your plants do not undergo constant exposure in a nutrient solution.
Planting takes place in a medium where flooding the solution is done a couple of times a day. Some things determine this such as the stage of plant growth in a circle, air temperature, and size of the plants as well as their water needs.
This system has the advantage of flexibility, which means you can customize the setup to suit your needs. Also, it is highly efficient regarding energy and water use. On the flip side, the disadvantages are equally notable.
For instance, plant roots are prone to dying if the watering pump fails or when conditions fall below optimal. You will also use a significant amount of your choice of medium in the system like this.
NTFT is an abbreviation for Nutrient Film Technique and is a hugely popular system among those who practice hydroponics. Here, plant roots are completely submerged into a medium and grown in channels as water flows accurately through.
There is a horizontal channel through which water flows back and forth the primary reservoir, technically, a recalculation.
Often referred to as Deep Water Culture (DWC) system, the Water culture is arguably the easiest of them all. You will need an air pump, a reservoir, an air stone, tubing, culture, and plants to set it up.
The solution remains in the reservoir where you would submerge the plant roots so that they can have access to nutrients, oxygen, and water. The air stone and air pumps are used to pump bubbles into the culture solution to prevent the roots from drowning.
The plants contained in net pots dip into the solution. While there are many reasons why this system is popular, however, the main reason is its benefits. First and foremost, it is easy to make your own at home, or if you choose to buy one, the expense is low.
Another benefit is that the cost is low regarding maintenance. The circulating culture solution minimizes waste. On the contrary, it does not do well with plants that are large as well as those whose growth takes more time.
Aeroponics is a system regarded as complex or high-tech to set it up. However, the good part is it is simple to understand. It bears a close resemblance to the NFT system in that roots suspends in the air. The difference is that the root zone of plants has a constant mist with the nutrient solution.
The benefit here is that it offers this steady stream as opposed to the case of running a film of the solution through a channel seen in NFT. Spray nozzles are a necessity if you choose this system.
One of the other benefits is that the plant receives excellent exposure to roots oxygen when compared to complete submersion. The disadvantages are that setting it up is quite costly when compared to others.
A major setback is that you would need to contend with the possibility of the roots drying out and the failure of the high-pressure nozzles used in the pumps.
The Wick System is sometimes called a passive hydroponic system, the reason being that there is hardly any need for air or water pumps. It is the most basic of them all and simple to build. Also, the wicking system has a long-standing history of hydroculture farming.
A wick, which can be something as simple as a rope, functions as a passage of nutrients to the root zone. It equally has some advantages. First, it does not require any manual engagement instead it is free running and hands-off if properly set up.
The wick system is a favorite for small plants, and anyone can use it including starters and kids. It is adequate for transporting water and nutrients. The downsides are that poorly placed wicks would be a recipe for plant death. It is also not ideal for large plants.
What Size Pump Do I Need For My Hydroponic System?
The size of the pump depends on your hydroponic needs which will depend on the type of plants you are growing, their size, and operational scale; whether commercial or small-scale basis as well as the cost. Then there is the horsepower, a hugely important factor when it comes to choosing the right pump size, not to mention your growing goals.
Solar Powered Air Pump:
Power challenges can be a significant hindrance to hydroponics. However, with solar-powered air pumps, power source challenges are no longer a headache, and you can easily install the solar pump.
Your only concern should be how much power your system need and whether the solar panels can tap enough UV light energy to see it through the night.
Again, it also depends on the system, and you will need an MC-4 connector, DC converter, and ideal cables to set it up.
Top 10 Best Hydroponic Air Pumps For The Money:
|Homasy 400GPH Submersible Pump
– 2 NOZZLES
|Homasy 80 GPH (300L/H, 4W) Submersible Water Pump
|– 80 GPH (300L/H)
– Very Quiet
|EcoPlus 793 GPH Commercial Air Pump
|– 793 GPH (3000 LPH)
– Strong & Durable
|Active Aqua Air Pump
– 3 W
– 7.8 L/min
|VIVOSUN Air Pump
|VicTsing Aquarium and Fish Tank Oxygen Air Pum
– Very quiet
– 12-month warranty
|Supreme-Hydroponics 40514 Low Volume Air Pump
|– 2 outlets
– 3.5 W
– 1 year warranty
|Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump
|– 4 Watt
– 4 LPM
– 2 Outlets
|Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump
|– 8 Outlets
– 70 L/min
|General Hydroponics Dual Diaphragm Air Pump
|– 320 GPH
– 4 adjustable 1/4″ outputs
The following are the leading hydroponic air pumps on the market today. Each of these you can easily find and purchase through Amazon. The leaders are:
CWKJ 400GPH Submersible Pump 25W Fountain Water Pump
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The CWKJ is a 25W pump with a power code that measures up to 5.9ft for lift height. It has two nozzles and is ideal for not just hydroponics but also, fish tank, ponds, and statuary. The Homasy has an adjustable knob that allows it to regulate the flow of water depending on the ideal pressure required, but the rate can as well be adjusted up to 400GP as its name suggests.
It is vital to make sure the joint is tightly sealed once you connect it to the nozzle during pumping. Also, the two nozzles have heavy-duty threading for tight and stable fitting, and a stainless impeller shaft is there for durability.
The long power cord with a suction height of up to 5.9ft makes installation pretty straightforward. The combination of the benefits works alongside four suction cups placed at the bottom for stability. It comes with a 12-month Homasy warranty and free servicing within 24 hours after purchase.
CWKJ 80 GPH (300L/H, 4W) Submersible Water Pump, Ultra Quiet For Pond, Aquarium, Fish Tank Fountain
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Here is another Homasy air pump that is ideal for your hydroponic requirements. It is compactly designed to reduce noise during operation to ensure a low noise effect while in use. A water lift of up to 2.6ft makes it even more sufficient. Not to mention that the flow rate is adjustable up to a maximum of 80 GPH or 300L/H.
Having an adjustable knob for controlling the water flow rate makes this possible. Each component of this pump is simple to remove for cleaning. Due to its small size, this makes it easy for complete submersion in the culture solution. It comes with two nozzles with different diameters for different flow effects.
EcoPlus 793 GPH (3000 LPH, 18W) Commercial Air Pump w/ 6 Valves
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If you are looking for the best oxygen supply pump for your hydroponics, then EcoPlus is all you need. It comes fitted with pistons and cylinders, and you can be sure of its durability due to its compact design.
A chrome air manifold with between 4 and 16 outlets gives you the room to choose what works for your commercial growing needs. Nevertheless, you do not need oil to operate it, and you can be sure of a less noisy environment when in use.
Active Aqua Air Pump, 2 Outlets, 3W, 7.8 L/min
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Anyone practicing hydroponics understands why having enough oxygen circulation in the reservoirs is essential. Aqua Air Pump makes this possible regardless of the size of your storage tank.
It is fitted with air pumps to give your plant root system enough supply by pumping dissolved oxygen into the nutrient solution. Thus, you can always rest assured of a complete aerated system. What’s more, is that this is one pump that is fitted with a multi-level muffler and equally renders a quiet environment.
The air pressure dial makes it possible to adjust airflow in and out of the diaphragm designed from unique synthetic rubber. You do not have to worry about power consumption because it is equally energy efficient. There are a variety of sizes of up to four, so it is up to you to choose the one that perfectly meets your needs.
VIVOSUN Air Pump 950 GPH 32W 60L/min 6 Outlet Commercial Air Pump for Aquarium
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A premium hydroponic air pump is what everyone needs and VIVOSUN varieties of pumps are a perfect fit. You choose what wattage meets your requirements. There is 10w, 15w, 30w, 50w and 120w. The 950 GHP, operated by an electromagnetic motor provides an adequate enhanced air flow by a straight-line alternating motion pump.
Designed with aluminum alloy for maximum durability and efficient dissipation of heat rays. The operation is further enhanced by compressed purification of air, and the six outlets supply for your plants always provide the right amount. The pump requires less lubrication due to its design and is and provides constant pressure and temperature further enhancing reliability.
HITOP Dual Outlet Aquarium and Fish Tank Oxygen Air Pump with 2 Air stones/2M Silicone Tubes
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An air pump designed for water and oxygen flow for the health of your hydroponic plants perfectly fits the description of VicTsing. It has two air vents, which means it is perfect for the concurrent supply of oxygen and water into two separate systems.
With a multi-level muffler fitting, the environment where HITOP is in use is always ultra-silent, which makes it an ideal overnight pump without distracting your sleep. The pump comes accessorized with two silicon tubes measuring differently in diameter (3.77 ft and 3.28ft), so you can always position them anywhere of choice and two air stones.
The HITOP comes with a money-back guarantee of up to 45 days and a one-year warranty. Your plants will enjoy up to 3.5l/min of oxygen pumping in supply in both small and medium hydroponics systems.
Supreme-Hydroponics 40514 Low Volume Air Pump, 4-watt
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Next is a 4w and low air pump volume from supreme hydroponics. With a 6ft power cord, this means you can position it anywhere of your choice and start pumping air to its maximum capacity of up to 275 cubic inches every minute. You can submerge this pump into the water with depth measuring up to 4ft. You will equally enjoy its adjustable airflow made possible by two vents.
Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump 4 Watt 4-LPM 2 Outlets with Accessories, Adjustable Oxygen pump
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Now, this is another pump that will meet your quality needs for everyday hydroponics operations. With its low power consumption and air compression capabilities, this product of Uniclife has everything you need.
It comes equipped with a 4-watt and 0.016Mpa. The pump comes fitted with two air vents and is extremely compact for quiet operation. The only sound you hear from it is reminiscent of the ticking of a watch or the rustle of leaves during a low-end flow rate.
It has all the necessities of a great pump such as an air stone, a return valve, two connectors, and an airline. The Uniclife comes with a 12-month warranty on purchase.
Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump, 8 Outlets, 60W, 70 L/min
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The Active Aqua is everything you need in an air pump. Designed for efficient commercial use, the Active Aqua air Pump comes fitted with eight vents! That means you can use it together with several air stones all at once.
It has an air compression capability that is electromagnetic in nature for excellent efficiency. You can rest assured the sturdy aluminum allow casing provides the maximum durability you need. There is a multi-outlet divider making it possible to pump air at high pressure and with maximum output.
This pump is equally ultra silent (60 decibels), thanks to its compact design and multi-level muffling. Airflow is adjustable and steady. It is a 60w pump that equally guarantees low power consumption requiring only 120 voltage to operate and pumps up to 70 liters every minute.
General Hydroponics Dual Diaphragm Air Pump
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This product of General Hydroponics is designed strictly for plant growing needs. It is the only one in the world made for exclusive use in hydroponic systems. It has a high power pump of 320mhp for output, pumping up to 28, 800 cubic meters per minute. It comes with adjustable outlets that measure a quarter inch in size. The pump will provide you with sufficient supply into your hydroponic plant root zone using air stones.
How to use
Hydroponic systems are primarily meant to supply plants with sufficient oxygen and also enhance the dissolving of nutrients in the culture solutions for easy access by plants’ roots. Using any system is simple however there are times when excess pump noise can be a primary concern.
Air stones are a vital requirement here used alongside pumps. Their sole purpose is to enhance aeration around the root system as well as prevent stagnation of the same. They are most effective when deeply submerged into culture solutions to the area where roots dangle in your reservoir. Air stones are available in any garden shop near you.
You will also need airline tubing, preferably a dark-colored one or an aquarium one because clear ones are prone to the growth of algae. Air stones that produce smaller bubbles are always better because it means an enhanced surface area around the root zone, and slower movement of bubbles thus maximizing the dissolving of oxygen.
How to reduce Hydroponic Air Pump Noise
Many people who practice hydroponics do complain about this issue. However, not every company provides a solution. An air pump with multi-level muffling will be ideal here for quiet operation. Decibel labeling is something to also look out for, and anything in the range of 45db or below is perfect. Hanging the pump also helps reduce the vibration. Wrapping it in a sponge, a lightweight rubber or foam typically helps.
FAQs about air pumps for hydroponics:
Q: Is it possible to prepare my own hydroponics nutrient solution?
A: Yes, this is practically easy even though it can be quite challenging to someone new to this method of farming. All you need are ideal chemicals that will help dissolve nutrients and compost. That is to form a nitrate culture solution. If you can buy bottled chemicals which come with prescribed mixing rations, it is quicker and easier. Note that each stage in plant growth requires different mixing formulas.
Q: What is the best Air Pump Size?
A: It depends on the size of your nutrient solution container, 500-600cc is a standard size and a safe bet.
Q: How often should I change the nutrient solution?
A: It is recommended to do this every 2-3 weeks because it helps to regulate PH. Clean the reservoir by running fresh water through it. The temperature should maintain at around 65-75, and a water chiller or heater can make this possible. (more about Best Hydroponic Nutrients).
Q: What is the ideal water level?
A: This depends on the system you are using. However, the important thing here is to ensure the roots are kept moist. You need to most sure it does not reach the stem of your plants because that will cause the stem to rot.
If you are looking into how to grow veggies that are healthy and lush green, hydroponics is the answer. This system of farming produces quicker and more robust so that your customers can receive their orders in good time. You can equally use it for home growing needs.