Hydroponic Systems Water Pump Sizing Guide - 3 Easy Steps
How to Choose the Best Size Water Pump for your Hydroponic System
There are many different types of hydroponic systems but most of them include a few basic components: growing chambers, reservoir, delivery system and hydroponic water pumps. To determine what size of pump you need, you should know a few key details about the system you are building. Most importantly, the water volume being used and how high you need to pump it.
1. Calculate the Volume of Water
When using a system with a separate reservoir that will flood your growing chamber, determine how much water the reservoir is capable of holding. The easiest way is to use a gallon jug or 3-5 gallon bucket to fill your reservoir, then multiply the number of times to fill it by the gallons in the jug or bucket. If you have more than one reservoir repeat this method for each one and add it together.
If your system uses a constant flow of water through a growing chamber then reservoir size is not as important. The typical system has a shallow growing chamber that declines. The angle, not the pump, controls the water depth and speed of the water. With a shallow growing chamber, you will only need to pump a few gallons through each one. Calculate this by taking the water water depth and size of the chamber into account. Water that's 1/4 inch deep inside a 4 inch chamber that's 10 feet long, will be about 1/2 gallon. Circulation every 10 minutes equals 3 gallons per hour. Circulation every 5 minutes would require a 6 gallon per hour pump. Follow this method for all growing chambers and add them together. Our great sizing calculator can help with this step.
All Little Giant pumps will have the maximum gallons per hour (or GPH) listed on their packaging and on our website. Keep in mind, the maximum GPH listed is typically at ground/water level or 0 feet of head height.
2. Measure the Head Height
The next step in finding the right hydroponic water pump is determining how high your water pump needs to lift the water into the growing chamber. When a pump lifts water there is back pressure on the pump from the weight of the water and gravity. This head height will lower the maximum GPH the higher up it pumps. Will your reservoir or growing chamber be on the ground with the pump near it or will you be mounting the system along a fence or wall or placing it on a table? You will need to measure this distance between the pump and the discharge point to determine the length of vertical feet between them. All Little Giant pumps show a pump curve. They allow comparison of the GPH at different head heights so you can choose the best pump for the application.
3. Select your Hydroponics Water Pump