The water pump is the heart of your ecosystem. It allows the water to go from the fish tank to the growbed and to bring nutrients and oxygen to the plants and bacteria. Without pump the system will not survive for long and therefore it is important to select a reliable water pump.
When selecting the pump there are a number of points you want to check.
First you want to make sure the size of the pump is adapted to the needs of the system from a water flow perspective and heads height (quantity of water moved per hour and height of the outlet). I already made a video on this point so I will no develop this point further here.
Secondly you want to make sure the type of water pump is adapted to the specificity of the needs of your system. Here the water pump is probably going to run 24/7 and raise the water at a certain height.
There are different types of water pumps available on the market, the most famous are:
Centrifugal pump: They offer a High water flow and low pressure.
Positive displacement water pump: They offer a high pressure and a lower water flow
In aquaponics we generally don’t need to raise the water too high. This is the reason why we generally work with the centrifugal pumps.
The material used to build the pump can make a significative difference…
Inside the pump there is a rotor turning around an axle. This axle can be made of different materials. Most of the time it is made out of metal but it gets damaged with the time. Metal axle pumps have a limited lifetime.
Other pumps are equipped with a ceramic axle. Ceramic is a very hard material, it doesn’t get damaged with time and ensure a perfect rotation of the rotor. It improves the performances of the pump and decrease the power consumption. The lifetime of the pump is also way longer than a classic pump with metal axle.
I highly recommend the ceramic centrifugal pumps for aquaponics. It is probably one of the best options to get a sustainable aquaponics system that produce well with a minimum power consumption.
If you are new, you will probably be interested to discover Jonathan’s six steps to build and manage an Aquaponics system. Click here to access for free! Thanks and good reading 🙂
How to select the best water pump for your aquaponics system: This is what we’re going to see together in this video today but just before, please subscribe to the channel, and if you haven’t done it yet, get the free aquaponics guide from the description of this video. It’s a free training to help you to build your own aquaponics system but also to produce sustainable, healthy, and tasty food in your own backyard.
Hello, this is Jonathan from Melbourne Aquaponics, and today we’re going to see how to select the best aquaponics water pump for your setup. So I already made some videos in the past about water pumps, what is the good size for your setup, and if you haven’t watched them, I really recommend you to have a look at those videos but right now what I want to discuss is not really the size of the pump but the type of pump that you need to use for your setup.
And there are some aspects to check in the water pump. You know you can have different ranges of pumps, some good quality and some bad quality, and what I want to discuss with you today is what is a quality water pump and what is a poor quality water pump?
So there are two types of pumps that are quite different. So centrifugal pumps they work with this force you know, when you turn a wheel you are always pushed outside of the rotation and this is basically helping the water to go through some pipes. So that’s most of the pump that we use in aquaponics, and those pumps they are able to basically move a very large water flow with a very limited quantity of energy.
On the other side, the positive displacement water pump are more adapted to a lower water flow but with a higher pressure. So in aquaponics, most of the time, we want to raise the water from the fish tank level or from the sump tank level to the grow-bed so sometimes you got one meter. Sometimes you got 50 centimeters. In some very small backyard aquaponics systems we got 50 centimeters most of the time.
But sometimes it can go up to 2 meters. Very rarely, we have to do 10 meters, 20 meters and I think for aquaponics, the best pumps, the most adapted are the centrifugal pumps. So they look like this. You see, that’s one of them. This one is 1,400 liters per hour but that’s the maximum capacity of the pump.
So when you read the capacity of a pump, they’re going to tell you what is the maximum water flow that it can produce so that’s if you don’t raise the water above the level of the fish tank. But then if you go above then the quantity of water flow decreases.
So if this pump is 1,400 liters per hour of maximum water flow, you can imagine that once it’s at 1 meter it’s going to be divided by almost maybe 800, it’s going to be maybe 800 liters. I mean, normally when you buy a pump, you can see a curve and it gives you basically for each height that you want to raise the water level you want to raise the water, it’s going to give you the specific water flow for the pump at this specific height. So those types of pumps, 1,400 liters they are particularly well adapted to backyard aquaponics such as the one I have behind me, 1,000 liters setup.
And again, if you want to know exactly how to know the best pump for your system, have a look at the free aquaponics training that is in the description of this video. So that’s what I recommend, centrifugal pumps for aquaponics, if you are working with backyard aquaponics systems such as the one I have behind me.
Now, we got different types of pumps. So you see this one is quite interesting. It’s quite large but we got small ones that are looking like this. So this one is 1,000 liters per hour and also what you can read on the pump is there is the power that is the power consumption. So this one is 20 watts and this one 18.5 watts.
So you see this one already is more efficient than this small one, but it’s moving more water. So you see, the two pumps they look the same. You could think that one has more capacity so it’s going to consume more electricity but in reality, when you read the specs of the pumps, the specification of the pump, you realize that one pump has more capacity and it’s using less power than the other one. So straight away you can see that there is a difference between those two pumps that are both centrifugal pumps, and what is interesting is that there are some very big differences that we can see here.
This one is sucking the water from the bottom here but this one is sucking the water from the side and you can see there is a large panel. So it’s really good because in aquaponics, one of the works you will have to do for maintenance is to check that the pump is still working correctly and is not clogged. You know, there are not too many things that are clogged on the pump. You know, sometimes you have some leaves or whatever that are clogged here and the pump is not working correctly.
If you see that the outlet water flow is being reduced, it means that here you have something that is clogging, and if you don’t clean the pump after a while, the pump is going to start to use a lot of force to try to suck the water and it’s going to damage the equipment. So it’s important to clean your pump quite regularly.
Here you can see another difference then. That’s the area of obstruction where the pump is able to suck the water. So the larger the area and the better it is. So we’re going to open these pumps. So this one is completely new. This one has been used and I want to show you what happened on a poor quality pump that has been used for a few months or a year.
So let’s open them. So this one inside you got access to the rotor. So it’s here. Just open this, yeah and here we got the rotor. So here we have the rotor or there is a little seal that I don’t want to lose that is here. So I put them together but what is very interesting on this pump is the axis. So you know that’s the axis of the pump and here I will try to get it. Yes, I do have it. You see it’s white and this axis is ceramic actually. So ceramic is very hard. You can break it but it’s not going to be alterated with the time you know because you got a friction between this part here the rotor that is turning around this axis and after a while in some pumps, you got this axis here that is used and it decreases in diameter and after a while it’s broken. You can’t use it anymore. So on ceramic part this part here is not going to be used and it can run for years and years and years. So that’s a very important thing.
Now, if we have a look at a classic pump such as this one so this one has been used for several months, right? So we’re going to have a quick look at how it looks inside. So it’s the same principle. You see you got the axis and you got the rotor that is around that is turning around but now if we have a look at the axis, I remove the rotor and here you can see that the shape of this axis is completely used. Those two pieces they are turning against each other and they use each other. So this one has a very, very limited lifetime when it’s metal.
And if you buy a pump with a metal axis most of the time after a few months you will have to basically renew the pump, while if you buy a pump with ceramic such as this one, you can go for years and this pump is going to stay still very, very efficient.
So also the other thing is here we have less friction on the ceramic because ceramic is so like glass. You know, it’s very smooth so there is a very low friction when the rotor is turning around the ceramic while on the other one, on the metal one, you got a lot of friction between the two elements. That’s why this one is consuming more power and is less powerful in terms of water flow while the other one is consuming less power and is generating a higher water flow.
So obviously, in aquaponics, we want to be sustainable and because we want to be sustainable, we want to make sure we buy a quality pump that is going to use less power for the water movement that we want to generate. If you want to find a good pump for your aquaponics system, first get the free aquaponics guide from the description of this video just below. It’s a free training.
In this training you’re going to find the exact size water pump that you need for you aquaponics system so it’s going to give you basically the water flow that you need to generate for your aquaponics system. From there, buy a water pump with what I recommend with a ceramic axis.
And thanks to this ceramic one, you’re going to be able to have a very efficient aquaponics system that consumes a very low power consumption and that is going to produce sustainable food because obviously, you need less power to generate the same quantity of food. So it’s going to be sustainable and interesting from an economical point of view.
Obviously, when you buy the pump, those ones are slightly more expensive than the classic ones that are with metal axes but it makes a very significant difference and also it’s way longer in the lifetime. So you can spend twice the price on those ones and they’re going to basically consume less energy and they’re going to last way longer.
So that’s all for today, for this short video. I hope you learned a few things and I hope it’s going to help you to select a good water pump in order to get very sustainable and produce some very healthy food in your own backyard. I’ll see you in the next video. Bye-bye.
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