How to Choose a Pump for an Aquaponic System

Choosing a pump for your aquaponic setup can seem like a daunting task at first glance. While there are many things to consider when choosing a pump, most of these considerations are straight-forward and can be done in minutes.

Aquaponic Water Flow

Flow Rate:

The first thing to consider when choosing a pump for your aquaponic system is your required flow rate. Flow rate is measured in Gallons per Hour (GPH). As a general rule of thumb, your pump should be able to circulate the entire system every two hours.

For example: If your aquaponic system is 300 gallons, you want your pump to circulate 300 gallons of water every two hours. This would require a 150GPH pump. (300gal/2 hour = 150gal/1 hour)


Another consideration when choosing an aquaponic pump is lift. Lift is the height that a pump can draw water vertically. Your pump needs to have more lift than the difference between the water level of your fish tank and the bottom of the grow bed.

For example: If your fish tank has a water level 5 feet off of the floor and your grow bed has an outflow 1 foot above the floor, you will need a lift of at least 4 feet. (5 feet – 1 foot – 4 feet)


Once you have found an ideal pump that meets the hard requirements for your system, you can begin to consider wattage and price.

The lower the wattage, the more money you will save from electricity. You can reduce necessary wattage by minimizing the lift on a pump.This can be achieved by either lowering your fish tank or raising your grow bed.

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