What Size Air Pump for 5 Gallon DWC? A standard 5 Gallon DWC system will need a 5-watt air pump that has a rated output of 5 LPM (liters per minute), or 80 GPH (Gallons per Hour ). An air pump of this size will provide adequate oxygen to a plant’s root zone in all growth stages.
How Much Air Does DWC Need
Choosing a properly sized hydroponic air pump can be a bit of a challenge, but a little simple math can help speed up your decision.
In most cases, an air pump should move about 500 cubic centimeters (0.5 liters) per minute of air for each gallon of water. This is a good range for most home hydroponic systems, unless it’s a deep reservoir, or if you’re using a lot of airline tubing.
For simplicity, you can assume that you’ll only fill a 5-gallon DWC bucket with 2.5 to 3-gallons of water. With this estimate that means you’ll need at least a 0.5 to 1-LPM (liter per minute) of pumping power for each bucket in your system.
Hydroponic Air Pump Sizing – What Size Air Pump for 5 Gallon DWC?
How Many GPH for a 5 Gallon DWC
How many GPH for a 5-gallon DWC? A 5-gallon DWC System will need to be paired with an 80 GPH (Gallons Per Hour) air pump to properly oxygenate the nutrient solution.
The General Hydroponics Dual Diaphragm Air Pump 320 GPH (Buy Online) is a perfect fit if you plan on running a 4-bucket system.
How Many LPM for DWC – 5 Gallon Bucket
In a Deep Water Culture hydroponic system, you’ll need to maintain adequate oxygen levels since your plant’s roots are submerged at all times. For optimal growth, it is recommended to use an air pump that outputs 1 LPM (Liters Per Minute) for each gallon of water. Therefore, a 5-Gallon DWC bucket would need a 5 LPM air pump to fully aerate the nutrient solution.
Commercial Hydroponic Air Pump
Eco Plus 200 Watt Single Outlet 3566 GPH Air Pump
The Eco Plus Single Outlet Commercial Air Pump (Buy Online) is one of the most powerful pumps on the market. It is available in 4 different sizes that have a rated output of 793 GPH, 1030 GPH, 1300 GPH, and 3566 GPH.
This pump is a piston based air pump which makes it more reliable than air pumps with a rubber diaphragm. Also, it has a durable metal housing that won’t crack or warp like consumer-grade air pumps with plastic housings.
It also has integrated radiator fins that dissipate heat, which will help prolong the life of the air pump, and it will help reduce the temperature of the air entering your DWC system.
The Eco Plus Commercial Air Pump only has a single output, but it comes with a chrome-plated air manifold. The smaller systems come with a 6 outlet manifold, while the large Eco Plus Commercial air pumps include a 12 outlet manifold for large daisy-chained DWC systems.
General Hydroponics Dual Diaphragm Air Pump 320 GPH 4-Outlet
The General Hydroponics Dual Diaphragm Air Pump (Buy Online) is one of the best air pumps for a DWC System. This high output air pump is rated to move 320 GPH (24,800 cc/min), and it has 4 adjustable 1/4-inch outlets.
This air pump has a redundant dual-diaphragm design that ensures it will run reliably for years. It also has more than enough power to run a 4 bucket DWC system, and if you run your buckets at half capacity it can handle and 8 bucket system.
Silent Air Pumps Hydroponics
Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump, 8 Outlets, 12W, 25 L/min
The Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump (Buy Online) is a silent air pump that’s perfect for multi-bucket DWC hydroponic systems. This pump is available in 4 different sizes that range from a single outlet up to the powerful 8-outlet 25 LPM Active Aqua Air Pump.
This air pump is great for indoor grow tents inside your living space where silence is at a premium. It has a multi-level muffler that reduces noise and vibration, while at the same time it still puts out an impressive amount of air for being such a compact system.
Danner Manufacturing, Inc. Supreme Oxy-Flo High Volume Air Pump AP-100
The Danner Supreme Oxy-Flo AP-100 (Buy Online) is very quiet and it has the power of a commercial-grade air pump. It can move 9,150 cubic inches of air per minute, which equates to 150 LPM.
It has a 3/4-inch FPT inlet and an MPT outlet and it can pump air to a max water depth of 11.5 feet. It’s also very quiet since it has been measured to output a noise level of 45 decibels under peak operating conditions.
Hydroponic DWC Starter Kits
Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit by PowerGrow Systems
The Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit (Buy Online) is a great way to get a 4-bucket DWC system and an air pump for an affordable price. It comes with four 5-gallon FDA approved buckets, and four 10-inch basket lids, along with a perfectly sized air pump and all the airline tubing.
The Atwater HydroPod – Standard A/C Powered DWC Deep Water Culture/Recirculating Drip Hydroponic Garden System Kit
The Atwater HydroPod DWC Deep Water Kit (Buy Online) is a great starter hydroponic system. It includes a food-grade 5-gallon bucket, and an 8-inch mesh bucket lid, and a water level indicator.
You also get a dual outlet air pump with a 4-inch air stone, and an elbow connector along with all the airline tubing you need to run the system.
The Atwater HydroPod Kit also comes with Hydroton growth media and powdered hydroponic nutrients. Also, you’ll get pH testing kits along with two bottles of pH adjusting solution. It even comes with a 6-pack of seed starter cubes to help you get going right away once you set up the system.
What Size Airstone for 5 Gallon Bucket
The size of the air stone for a 5-gallon bucket is less important than the size of the air bubbles it releases. A Stone Disc Diffuser (Buy Online) like the one pictured above is much better at delivering oxygen to a plant’s root system than a large low-grade air stone that outputs large bubbles.
The size of the bubbles that an air stone emits can make a big difference in how much-dissolved oxygen enters the water. Air stones that produce large bubbles are less effective than air stones that produce a large number of fine bubbles.
Surface Area & Agitation
Small bubbles increase the surface area of air that comes into contact with the water irrespective of the air pump output, and this leads to an overall increase in the total dissolved oxygen level of a nutrient solution.
Tiny bubbles also take longer to rise since they are less buoyant, and this gives them more time to diffuse oxygen into the water column.
How Many Air Stones Per Pump
If you plan on using a large commercial grade air pump you can use up to 12 air stones. Most mid-range air pumps can handle 4 to 8 air stones. While less powerful consumer-grade systems are only able to handle a few air stones since they have a lower outlet pressure.
Importance of Aeration in Hydroponics – What Size Air Pump for 5 Gallon DWC?
Plants’ roots need oxygen to grow and utilize nutrients. Oxygen plays a vital role in the production of carbohydrates and energy in a plant’s root system. Plants also use oxygen to produce molecules like ATP that plays a role in every cellular function.
The amount of oxygen your hydroponic system delivers to your plant’s roots will have a dramatic effect on the health of your plants and the yield you can expect from your harvest.
A lack of oxygen can also lead to diseases like root rot, and it can promote the growth of other mold based pathogens. Roots will also become stunted, and develop fewer root hairs in a low oxygen environment, which can lead to a loss of yield or total crop failure.
Prevents Stagnant Water
Static culture systems, like DWC and raft based hydroponic systems, can become oxygen limited since the plant’s roots are constantly submerged in the water. Even if you aerate the solution with an air pump it can still be hard to ensure that there is enough dissolved oxygen in the nutrient solution.
Air pumps can have trouble delivering oxygen to a DWC system if they aren’t properly sized, or if they encounter too much air resistance. Make sure to only connect as much airline tubing as is necessary, and don’t overload your air pump by connecting it to more buckets than it can handle.
Temperature also plays a big part in how much dissolved oxygen can remain in a given volume of water. Coldwater is better at maintaining high oxygen levels, while water that’s at higher temperatures will have a lower dissolved oxygen level.
That’s why it’s not only important to get a properly sized air pump but to also keep the temperature of your DWC buckets low enough that your plants aren’t starved for oxygen.
You can keep the temperature of your DWC system down by protecting the buckets from light, and by running a high powered ventilation system to remove excess heat before it increases the water temperature in your DWC system.