Aquaponics Pumps - an Overview
When designing your aquaponics system you need to put a lot of thought into minimizing your costs (both capital outlay and running costs), and maximizing your production.
A reliable water pump with the right capacity is central to any aquaponics operation.
Consider the following factors when searching for the right pump for your system.
Wattage is important. The more watts the pump uses, the higher will be your power bill.
Litres per Hour (LPH) or GPH (gallons per hour) is important because the water needs to be completely recirculated every single hour. Therefore the size of your tank will dictate the necessary LPH (GPH) capacity of your pump.
Head height is important. The higher the water is pumped, the less the flow until the maximum pumping height is reached. It is critical that this is understood. Head Height is where the water stops flowing. The usual set-up is to place the grow-beds above the fish tank. Not only does this save space and save you from the need to bend over to tend your grow-beds, but it also makes it possible to drain the grow-beds directly back into the fish tank. This configuration of your fish tank/grow beds will require the pump to push the water upwards, so the strength of your pumping system needs to be large enough to cope with this extra work. For more information about Head Height, click here.
Reliability is important. The pump will need to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A pump working on a timer may use less power and therefore be cheaper to run, but its life will be shorter than that of a continuously-running pump.
The voltage of a pump is not a big problem. It is possible to obtain equipment to convert your power to the required voltage. A “current inverter” will boost your power from say 110v as used in the USA to 240v as used in Australia. Conversely a “current converter” will decrease the power from 240v to 110v. These are quite widely available and you should be able to get one for between $70 to $120.00. It is worthwhile to consider getting an inverter/converter if this is necessary to get the correct pump for your system.
Maintenance is important. No system will ever work completely satisfactorily without some maintenance. Of course your pump will need to have a filter to prevent small fingerling fish being sucked through the system, but even so it is possible for a pump to get jammed with a build-up of solids from fish castings. Monitoring of your pumping system needs to be undertaken regularly.
With electric pumps there is always the danger of a power blackout. During mild weather conditions, your system should be able to withstand a period of 24 – 36 hours of non-circulation of the water. However, if the air temperature at the site of the system is very hot or very cold, you may well be faced with the loss of your fish. In such a situation it would be best to salvage what fish you can, Scale, gut and clean them and freeze for later use.
Another type of pump you should consider when designing your system is an air pump.
Oxygenation of the water is essential for the growth of healthy fish. Air pumps such as those used in aquariums are very effective in oxygenating the water.
We are in the course of building our sister-site hydroponicaquaponics.com which will provide you with in-depth informnation on the different types of growing media, water quality requirements, pump capacities, the when, what and how-to of fish feeding. rotating the planting and then harvesting your vegetables and fruit. In fact on hydroponicaquaponics.com you will learn all the tips and tricks that will help make your aquaponics an outstanding success.