How To Measure Aquaponic Pump Size — The Best Guide 2023

How To Measure Aquaponic Pump Size — The Best Guide 2023 Aquaponics

What is an aquaponic pump size optimal for you? Human hearts are the heart’s pumping machine, it circulates blood throughout the body, providing its vital organs by providing nutrients and oxygen

and the water pump is an organ that circulates water through the aquaponics plant system, providing plants and fish with vital nutrition.

However, careful consideration should be taken when choosing and installing the water pump because of the exact calculations that the aquaponic system is based on.

Inability to correctly size the water pump could cause an unproductive pump cycle.

This article explains the numbers that make it difficult for beginners to understand and also shows how to correctly size the water pump in simple terms.

What Is The Reason You Need An Aquaponics Pump Water Pump?

A water pump performs important roles in an aquaponics system Here are a few of them:

  • Water pumps to aid in the efficient transfer of water from the tank to the growing bed, and return to the fish tank.
  • Pumps in the water supply oxygen to the water, making sure that the fish are supplied with oxygen in their tanks.
  • A water pump will ensure that both plants and fish in the system are receiving the nutrition they require for optimal development.

What Is The Best Way To Size An Engine? First, Determine The Type Of Pump You Require.

You’re creating the system. You’re placing an order for items, and the only thing left to do is purchase pumps.

How To Measure Aquaponic Pump Size — The Best Guide 2023

Open the browser on the internet and search for hydroponics pumps, and you will find:

  • Sump pumps
  • Air pumps
  • Submersible pumps
  • Inline pumps
  • Pumps peristaltic

Which one and which size?

The size of the pump varies depending on the type of hydroponics you’re using or aquaponics, your total system’s size, and also the kind of aquaponic or hydroponic system you’re using (the ones discussed in this article including DWC, NFT, media bed, Bato bucket, and ZipGrow Towers).

Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Water Pump


There are two important aspects when choosing the correct system for water pumps in your aquaponics system. These are:

1. Wattage

You should be aware of the electricity usage of the pump you’re contemplating purchasing. This is a way of knowing the number of watts that the pump consumes to determine the potential cost of your electric bill. The lower number of watts used will mean lesser electricity consumption.

2. Flow Rate

Another aspect to take into consideration is the quantity of water to be circulated into the pump. The pump must be able of circulating the entire system in two hours. In other words, if your system has 200 gallons of water, it must be capable of pumping 200 gallons of water in two hours (100 gallons in one hour) So you’ll require a pump that is at a minimum of 100 GPH.

It is essential to choose the right water pump that has an increased GPH than the amount required. It will guarantee you that the fish that are in the system receive healthy, nutritious, as well as oxygenated, water for at the very least two hours. For a successful system, it is essential to get the right water pump that will create the flow your system requires.

How To Determine The Right Size Of The Water Pump For Your System

To determine the right size of the water pump it is necessary to calculate what is the GPH (Gallons per Hour) and then measure the head’s height, after that, combine your GPH as well as the head’s height.

  • How to determine GPH (Gallons per Hour)

The first step to determine the right size of water system you have is to calculate your GPH which is also known as Gallons Per Hour. A majority of water pumps come with a Gallons per hour (GPH) rating which tells you the number of gallons of water they can pump each hour. In certain areas that utilize the standard metric system, the numbers are Liters Per Hour.

Determine The Right Size

The standard is to ensure that the water pump needs to be able to circulate the further your system volume of water within your system twice a day. Therefore, you should choose a pump that meets this minimum requirement, which is to cycle the majority of your system’s water consumption every hour.

Let’s say there is 100 gal of water within your whole system. It is necessary to have water pumps that can be able to circulate a minimum of 50 gallons of water every hour. Therefore, you’ll need a water pump with at the very least 50 GPH.

  • Measurement of the Head Height

The head height refers to the distance between the fish tank’s levels, fish tank gallons, and desired levels of the growing bed. To determine your aquaponics setup’s head height, simply take the distance between two water levels using an instrument such as a ruler or tape.

Note that the higher the head’s elevation will require more energy takes to pump the water. Maintaining the temperature at a minimal level ensures that the whole system is effective. However, for certain aquaponics systems in which the fish tank and the growing bed sit at the same height the head is not at a certain level.

  • Mixing Head Height and GPH

After you’ve determined your GPH and the height of your head then the next step is to combine both factors to determine the proper size of the water pump to fit your aquaponics system. The majority of water pumps include an equation that incorporates GPH along with head size.

The Pump Curve

Each water pump has an indication of its pump curve in the datasheet or user’s manual. When studying the pump curve for your water pump take a look at its left-hand axis, then determine the head height you have calculated for your system. Draw an arc to the left and then search for the minimum flow rate. Then draw an upward line. The point at which the lines intersect can be considered the point where your pump’s “working point.”

Different Types of Water Pumps

Different Types of Water Pumps

Inline Pump vs Submersible Pumps

Two main types of pumps you’ll be selecting from are submersible and inline pumps.

A submersible pump is cooled by water and is sized according to GPH. They are placed directly in the tank’s water or gutter, and then pump water via fittings (and the hose you connect) to the upper part of the pump. Submersible pumps are restricted in capacity and are only suitable for systems that have a total GPH requirement of less than 1200. These pumps are suitable for most hobby systems displays, as well as extremely smaller commercial units.

Inline pumps are air-cooled and sit in the tank’s exterior, and are usually best suited in bigger (50 and 100+ tower) operations. Inline pumps generally have more power, and this is measured not by the volume of water they can transport like submersible pumps, but rather in horsepower, or HP.

submersible pump

“Sump pump” is a term used to describe an instrument that pumps fluid from one sump tank into another or is used to create turbulent flow and mixing of nutrients within the sump tank. These pumps help to maintain the consistency of the water and also aid in oxygenation. We employ submersible pumps for this.

An air pump can be utilized to pump small amounts of air at high pressure, generally to aerate the water. Aeration is essential for providing oxygen to the root zones and avoiding anaerobic degradation. Seedling carts that have fertilizer solutions could benefit from a pump, as an example.

Peristaltic pumps are pumps of a smaller size that are employed in auto-dosing. The majority of auto-dosing systems have pumps.

3 Steps To Size The Right Pump

Finding the perfect pump isn’t nearly as difficult as it may seem! We’ve put together simple formulas that you can use specifically for hydroponic growers, as well as an aquaponic one. To determine the most suitable pump for your needs you’ll have to complete three things:

  1. Determine the amount of GPH that your pump is expected to move
  2. Check the height of your head system
  3. Combining these two values with the chart included with the pump.

Step 1: Calculate the amount of GPH

Pumps are almost always equipped with the gallons per hour (GPH) rating which tells you the number of gallons of water they are moving every hour. Naturally, those who favor using the standard metric method will utilize Liters per hour. (You could use the same equations, but be aware that if you alter one unit, you must change them all.)

The calculation of GPH for hydroponics

Total GPH will be the amount of flow multiplied by the units that have the same flow rate.

The calculation of GPH for hydroponics

Hydroponics using ZipGrow Towers You’ll need to pump two gallons of water through each of the towers every hour. That means the amount of GPH per hour is basically the number of towers multiplied by 2. This gives you the GPH to hydroponics such as that: (where t=towers)

Examples (DWC): DWC hydroponics system consisting of two tanks of 500 gallons.

Illustration (Media bed):400-gallon media bed system that has a 2/hr turnover and 60-gallon tank for fish.

The calculation of GPH for aquaponics

Imagine our hypothetical scenario would be ZipGrow Towers in aquaponics. In aquaponics, you’ll need to move between seven to ten gallons of water through each tower at least once an hour. Because you have fish tanks it is necessary to add in the gallons of the fish tank.

Also, you’ll have to turn the water for the fish every hour, which means that the gallons per hour equation for aquaponics is as follows: (where t=towers)

Make sure you run your system’s size and type through the proper computation using the tables below. Make sure you have your GPH number in your wallet Then, we’ll talk about head height.

Step 2: Determine system head height

Since most aquaponic and hydroponic growers have to move upwards, you’ll need to understand how efficiently your pump performs at various levels. If you’re using a traditional vertical grow bed or the NFT model as well as ZipGrow Towers, however, it is still the case that you have to move the water horizontally, from your tank for fish tank or tank for nutrient into your beds or troughs or Towers. To adjust for the rise, we employ a measurement known as the head’s elevation.

The height of the head determines the space between the highest point of the grow mattress (or ZipGrow Tower) and the top of the tank’s water. There is no need to calculate this. Simply take a measurement of the distance of the line between your water inside your sump, and then the point of exit for your watering system (in the case of a ZipGrow system your exit is the line that is above the Towers).

Step 3: Combining GPH and Height

After you’ve determined your GPH and the head height you have measured the next step in determining the appropriate size of pump for your system is to combine the two factors.

Combining GPH and Height

In general, water pumps have an indicator chart that incorporates that GPH with head height. The way a lot of charts are presented differs based on the pump brands and models (inline as opposed to submersible pump). You can find them on Amazon.


Operating and maintaining an aquaponics setup isn’t a difficult job to complete. However, you must be outfitted with the appropriate equipment to make sure that your investment will succeed. The reliability of a pump is crucial for every aquaponics setup because it makes sure that the water flow is continuous across the system. It is essential to decide and purchase the best water pump to ensure an effective system. Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

Look also – Hydroponics vs Aquaponics Ultimate Comparison 2023

Aquaponic Pump Size FAQs

What size of water pump do I need?

Pumps are rated by GPM (gallons each minute). The typical 3- to 4-bedroom home needs 8-12 GPM. If you are determining the water consumption of your home needs, including one GPM for each fixture that is water-related within your home. These fixtures include dishwashers, washers for clothes faucets, refrigerators, and faucets. showers, and the water supply for outdoor spigots.

What is the best pump for aquaponics?

Hydrofarm Active Aqua submersible pump is the most efficient pump for aquaponic systems because it has been tried as well by ours. We purchased a 550GPH unit to fill a 200-gallon tank with fish. The Active Aqua pump has been running for three years with much stopping or maintenance.

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