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Irrigation and pumps for hydroponics

Bringing water to your crops will often be the heart of your hydroponic system.

Choosing a water pump for hydroponics

To choose the right water pump for your hydroponic system, you need to consider

  • How much flow do you need?
  • How high should you send it? Generally, this is not crucial, but you can have vertical systems, which require raising the water to 2m, which requires more energy than moving it to table height.
  • Is your pump sensitive to pollution? If so, you will have to be even more careful about the clarity of your water. You don’t want algae to grow, for example. Some pumps have a built-in filtration system, which makes them less sensitive.
  • Will your pump be inside or outside the nutrient liquid? Some are submersible and some are not.

In addition, there are different types of pumps:

  • Surface centrifugal pumps.
  • Turbine pumps for deep wells.
  • Submersible pumps
  • Propeller pumps

In practice, we will mainly use small submersible pumps.

Let’s take as an example the pump on the right. It costs 25€ and has a 25W motor with a flow rate of 1800L/H that can send water up to two meters.

It comes with three nozzles and a 1,9m cable. It seems to have a small filter. It should be cleaned every two months. As far as noise is concerned, it is quite discreet, emitting only 20 to 30 decibels.

Hydroponic irrigation piping

To get water from your pump to your crops, you will need to set up a whole system of pipes and nozzles. There will be three elements:

  • The hose. In terms of color, it should not be transparent to avoid the formation of algae. For the material, it will generally be a plastic, such as polyethylene. Be careful to choose one that is compatible with food use. If you use PVC, you do not want it to be plasticized (PVC-P).
  • Connectors
  • The nozzles. These are the ones that will deliver the nutrient liquid to your plants.

All these elements can vary depending on the water pressure inside. In principle, you will not need any material resistant to “high pressure” (>3bars).