Air pumps are used in a hydroponic system to ensure adequate oxygen supply to the plant. Without this oxygen, plant roots fully submerged in a hydroponic nutrient solution will not be able to grow to their full potential, and can develop root rot.
What is an air pump?
An air pump sits outside the hydroponic reservoir, and connects to an air stone or diffuser inside. These two components work together to deliver oxygen from the air in the grow room into the reservoir and nutrient solution. This oxygen is then broken down by the roots when the water pump send this nutrient solution to the plants.
Do you need an air pump for hydroponics?
Every hydroponic system can benefit from additional oxygenation, and some will require it.
Systems like the DWC system will have roots fully submerged in water and nutrients, and without the use of an air pump and stone will drown. This can occur in ebb and flow systems as well, where the root zone is periodically flooded.
While there is some level of aeration in hydroponic drip and aeroponic systems, supplementing these with additional oxygen will only increase the size and yield of your plants. For the low cost of these components, there is no reason for plants to not have all the dissolved oxygen they need!
Choosing the best hydroponic air pump
It is much easier to size an air pump than a water pump. Hydroponic air pumps can be measured in terms of both LPM (liters per minute) and GPH (gallons per hour). If you have a smaller reservoir with just a few plants to feed, 1-40 LPM will be adequate. Large commercial hydroponic systems or those growing in larger systems may need an air pump rated 200+ LPM to ensure proper aeration.
Want some guidance while selecting an air pump? Our expert growing staff can be reached at 888-815-9763 and are happy to talk you through the process!