5 Best Air Pumps 2017 For Hydroponics System: Plants Need Oxygen, Too!

Learn the importance of having an air pump in hydroponic gardening and learn how it works in order to keep your plants healthy and prevent oxygen deficiency.

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Hydroponic gardening can be confusing for new gardeners. Oftentimes, we are confused about how the system works. In hydroponics, there are so many variables that you need to consider for your plant system to survive. One of these variables is oxygenation. Many hydroponic gardeners often invest on hydroponic air pumps to ensure that their garden receives the right amount of oxygen. This is particularly important in NFT hydroponic gardens. In this article, we are going to talk about the best air pumps for hydroponics systems.

Gardeners spend more time and money for their hydroponic gardens

Gardeners spend more time and money for their hydroponic gardens

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Why Is Oxygenation Important In Hydroponics?

Dissolve oxygen helps improve the plants’ health and strengthen their roots. Plants need oxygen as they undergo aerobic respiration. In this process, the plants release energy for nutrient uptake and root growth. In a water-based hydroponics system, oxygen is dissolved in as a nutrient solution in the water reservoir. That is why many hydroponic gardeners would invest in the best air pump for hydroponics.

The more bubbles in the surface, the more oxygen is spread throughout the reservoir

The more bubbles in the surface, the more oxygen is spread throughout the reservoir

The Top 5 Best Hydroponic Air Pumps

These air pumps are hailed the best air pumps for hydroponics due to their bubbles output and durability. It is best that you read several reviews before getting one for your system. If you are unsure, it is best that you consult an expert to assist you.

#1 Active Aqua Air Pump 6 Watts and 4 Outlets

This air pump comes with a 4 outlet and runs on a 6 wattage per hour.

This air pump comes with a 4 outlet and runs on a 6 wattage per hour.

Via Amazon.com

This air pump received a good customer rating because of the amount of oxygen it can dissolve in just a short period of time. It can produce a maximum of 15 liters per minute. Aside from that, it is equipped with a multi-level muffler system, which silences the device when it is at work. This is the best air pump for hydroponics if you are a hobbyist. The device comes with a special artificial rubber that keeps the air blowing steadily. It has low consumption rate; you don’t have to worry about your bills going sky-high..

Pros

  • You can easily adjust the air pressure that the air pump produces.
  • It doesn’t create noises when you turn it on.
  • ​The pump is very easy to set up.
  • It comes with a one-year warranty.

Cons

  • Its plastic mounts get damaged easily.
  • The device is good for one gallon of hydroponic grow.
  • The device doesn’t come with an instruction sheet.

#2 VicTsing 80 GPH

It might be small, but this pump works with at least 5 gallons of water.

It might be small, but this pump works with at least 5 gallons of water.

Via Amazon.com

The VicTsing 80 GPH is considered as the best air pump for hydroponics because of its eco-friendly feature. You don’t have to worry about seals or messy oils. This pump is electricity-powered, and its cords can reach up to 5.9 feet. Its small size makes it easy to hide around your reservoir. It also comes with a suction cup that holds the device in place when you submerge it in your nutrient solution. The pump is multipurpose; it can be used for garden fountains, spouts, aquariums, and hydroponic system. This device also comes with an adjustable water flow rate. This is the best air pump for hydroponics for small hydroponic systems.

Pros

  • Despite of its tiny size, the air pump is heavy-duty.
  • It doesn’t produce any noise once you turn it on.
  • It is a multi-purpose device which can be used for aquariums, hydroponics, water fountains, and much more.

Cons

  • The device is not very durable. It only lasts up to 4 to 6 months when used consistently.
  • The pipes used for this machine are sold separately.

#3 Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump

It is equipped with 8 hose outlets and comes with garden tubing upon purchase.

It is equipped with 8 hose outlets and comes with garden tubing upon purchase.

Via Amazon.com

If you are looking for the best air pump for hydroponics that is for commercial growing, this might is the pump that you are looking for. This device has a magnetic air compressor made from the best aluminum alloy casing. It comes with a multi-outlet divider which you can open and close manually. The said device comes with a high pressure and high output setting which you can easily adjust. Like the other models of Hydrofarm, this device is also equipped with a multi-level muffler which silences the device when it is working. It comes at 1100 GPH and has a maximum amperage of 0.5 and a maximum decibel of 60.

Pros

  • This device is very durable because of its aluminum alloy casing.
  • Its piston and cylinder can withstand heavy usage.
  • The machine can produce so many bubbles in a short period of time.
  • The sounds are muffled outside of the garden; you can barely hear anything.

Cons

  • However, the device is noisy inside the hydroponic farm.

#4 EcoPlus 728450 (793 GPH)

This hydroponic air pump is ideal for commercial hydroponic farming.

This hydroponic air pump is ideal for commercial hydroponic farming.

Via Amazon.com

This air pump is one of the best air pumps for hydroponics system, especially if you are planning to grow them commercially. The said device comes with an air manifold which can fit at least 4 to 16 outlets. Its cylinder and piston are made from the best materials. It can operate with less noise. This device doesn’t work on oil; you don’t have to worry about an oil spill.

Pros

  • It works well for the deep water culture hydroponic system.
  • The pump is solid and heavy-duty.
  • This device is eco-friendly. It doesn’t use gasoline. It keeps your plant safe from oil spill.

Cons

  • The pump can be noisy when placed inside the house.
  • There are times that the air pump would produce hot water which can be bad for hydroponics and aquaponics.
  • It is not suitable for the summer season; it can cause the temperature to go higher.

#5 EcoPlus Eco Air Pump

It can easily dissolve oxygen in just a few minutes.

It can easily dissolve oxygen in just a few minutes.

Via Amazon.com

EcoPlus Eco Air Pump is the best air pump for hydroponics, specifically for an indoor setting. This device is equipped with a dual chamber with an oscillating pump that produces high bubbles output and stable pressure. This device is cost-effective; it doesn’t use too much electricity. It also comes with a double damping noise reduction system that lessens the noise it produces. Aside from that, it has a heavy-duty, water-resistant housing.

Pros

  • This device can create a large number of bubbles which is beneficial for hydroponics system.
  • It is also durable and heavy-duty.
  • You can easily adjust the air pressure settings.
  • It is best for smaller hydroponics garden system.

Cons

  • The device can be noisy, especially when used inside the house.

How Does Hydroponic Air Pump Work?

Gardens and hydroponics system often differ in terms of needs. However, when compared to the other gardening equipment, hydroponic system equipment are more expensive. Gardeners would invest on equipment like aquarium water chiller, hydroponic tents, HPS grow bulbs, and hydroponic air pumps to ensure that the system gets all the nutrients needed.

Air pumps are also used to oxygenate fish tanks and water fountains

Air pumps are also used to oxygenate fish tanks and water fountains

The plants are usually placed in small tents. In these tents, plants are planted with a little bit of soil or completely soil-less, and then partially submerged into the water. The small tents have tiny air pockets to allow the dissolved oxygen to absorb into the plant roots.

Without an air pump, the water may stagnate and can accidentally drown the roots of your plant in the nutrient reservoir. The lack of oxygen can also produce Pythium. Pythium can easily kill the roots of your plants.

An air pump is used to diffuse the air into the water. Once you can see bubbles on the surface of the nutrient reservoir, it means that the oxygen is dissolved successfully. Aside from that, the bubbles will evenly mix the dissolved oxygen in your nutrient reservoir.

This vertical hydroponic plant plot receives the right amount of oxygen it needs to improve plant health and have better growth

This vertical hydroponic plant plot receives the right amount of oxygen it needs to improve plant health and have better growth

How To Calculate The Right Size Of Your Hydroponics Air Pump

To get the right size of your air pump, it is very important that you get the size of your nutrient reservoir. It is a common rule that when you buy an air pump, it is important that you consider the wattage and the number of gallons of the nutrient solution that you use in your reservoir. However, many growers would often discourage this because it can drown your plants in the process. The right air pump for your reservoir should be able to provide at least 500 to 600 cubic centimeters per minute. This number can create at least 500 to 600 milliliters of dissolved gas per minute which is a safe amount for hydroponic gardening.

On the other hand, the best air pump for hydroponics in term of commercial gardening should be able to produce at least 2.5 liters per minute. You should also consider getting an expert to help you plan out your set-up to accommodate your hydroponic equipment such as your air pump, chiller, etc.

Plants usually rely on soil for sustenance while in a hydroponic system, they rely on controlled technologies to give them nutrition, oxygen, and light

Plants usually rely on soil for sustenance while in a hydroponic system, they rely on controlled technologies to give them nutrition, oxygen, and light

Other Things That You Should Consider When Getting A Hydroponic Air Pump

One of the things that you should know about hydroponic air pumps is that it can be noisy. Most pumps would emit a dull humming sound; some would vibrate if placed on a strong and solid surface.The best air pump for hydroponics should have at least 45 decibels.

The size of the pump depends on the size of your water reservoir

The size of the pump depends on the size of your water reservoir

Another feature that you should check is the multi-nozzle feature. If you are growing a multi-system, it is best that you get a powerful pump that can work all throughout your hydroponics system. You don’t have to spend too much money and effort adding a separate pump for another system. However, you need to make sure that the power capacity of your air pump can sustain your garden. In that way, you don’t have to go through the trouble of getting air tubing, which is an additional expense on your end.

Some gardeners would often get air pumps with compressors to get a good amount of dissolved oxygen

Some gardeners would often get air pumps with compressors to get a good amount of dissolved oxygen

Things That You Need Alongside Your Hydroponic Air Pump

Your air pump cannot function alone. It needs other things to make sure that your hydroponics can sustain. Below are the things that you need aside from having an air pump.

Air Stones

Air stone is also known as aquarium bubblers. The air stones are often used to help diffuse the oxygen inside your nutrient reservoir. It also eliminates the noise and helps filter dirt inside your reservoir. Aside from that, air stones help produce more bubbles.

Go for the smaller air stone. This creates small but a lot of bubbles. It allows the bubbles to move slower on an exposed surface.

Airline Tubing

When choosing the best tubing for your hydroponics system, go for a garden-safe plastic. Many plastic tubes can be harmful to your plants. It is also best that you get a dark-colored tubing. Clear tubing is more susceptible to algae growth, especially if the line is a bit moist. You should consider getting an aquarium tubing. Aquarium tubing is designed to withstand algae growth.

Dark-colored garden tubing is perfect for hydroponic gardens. It is insusceptible for algae growth and easier to clean

Dark-colored garden tubing is perfect for hydroponic gardens. It is insusceptible for algae growth and easier to clean

Conclusion

Oxygenation is an important variable in hydroponics gardening, and one way of adding oxygen is by using air pumps. Air pumps allow oxygen to diffuse evenly throughout the reservoir. It does not only improve plant health and root growth, but it also gives better yields and abundant harvest.

Hopefully, this article has answered some of your concerns about which air pumps to use in hydroponics. Thanks for dropping by and don’t forget to comment!

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Lucy M. Clark
 

Hi there! I’m Lucy, and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.

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