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Oxygen is essential for several functions in plants. The most important among these is nutrient absorption. Improper nutrient absorption leads to stunting plant growth and stress, which makes plants more vulnerable to pathogens.

Why is oxygen important in a hydroponic system?

Oxygen is as essential to plant life as it is to us. From breathing to absorbing hydroponic nutrients, oxygen is responsible for most major life activities. Plants can get an adequate oxygen supply from soil, and other well-aerated grow media if grown in an indoor setting. Oxygen supply is not become much of an issue in an outdoor garden.

Oxygen supply is limited in hydroponic systems. In some systems, it can even be non-existent. For instance, in a DWC (deep water culture) system, where the roots have to be submerged in water for their entire life, it becomes very difficult for them to access oxygen present in the nutrient solution. Dissolved oxygen plays a vital role in helping plants absorb nutrients, and without it, plants stop eating, resulting in halting their growth. In extreme cases, plants end up drowning and ultimately dying.

How to oxygenate water in a hydroponic system?

Oxygenating nutrient solutions is not the most difficult or expensive task in the world. All you have to do is install a hydroponic air pump and couple it with a diffuser or air stone. Your reservoir system will be supplied with ample oxygen, which will then be transferred to the plant’s root zone.

The air pump is installed outside the hydroponic reservoir and is connected to the diffuser or air stone inside the reservoir tank. The pump takes in oxygen and sends it to the air stone, which then transfers it into the reservoir.

Check out or complete guide to diffusers and air stones in our learning center.

Does your hydroponic system need an air pump?

As we have discussed, systems like the DWC require an air pump and stone more than others. On the other hand, Ebb and flow systems especially need extra oxygen to flood the plant’s root zone for a long period before draining it back out. For the roots to be able to absorb nutrients, they should be able to breathe while they are flooded.

Aeroponic and hydroponic drip systems can be further strengthened by using an air pump and stone. These systems have decent oxygenation, but a little push can help increase yield significantly.

What size air pump should I get for my hydroponic system?

Air pump sizes are calculated by liters per minute (LPM), which simply means the amount of air that can pass through the pump in a given minute. The size of the air pump will vary according to the size of your grow area. Generally, small hobby growers will do just fine with a 1-40 LPM air pump; whereas, large commercial growers need a pump with 200+ LPM.

Need help with selecting the right sized air pump? Call us at 866-GRO-INDR and get all your questions answered or also check out the hydroponics section in our learning center.  

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    These chrome air dividers feature individual valves to control each outlet and have an inlet which accepts 3/8" inner diameter hosing.

    $36.95 $22.43
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    These chrome air dividers feature individual valves to control each outlet and have an inlet which accepts 3/8" inner diameter hosing.

    $34.95 $21.21
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    These chrome air dividers feature individual valves to control each outlet and have an inlet which accepts 3/8" inner diameter hosing.

    $32.95 $19.87
  • Chrome Air Divider 4 Outlet

    Chrome Air Divider 4 Outlet

    These chrome air dividers feature individual valves to control each outlet and have an inlet which accepts 3/8" inner diameter hosing.

    $30.95 $18.65
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    Split up the air coming from your pump and divert it to exactly where you need it most using our durable plastic air dividers. Available in multiple outlet options, the 4 outlet divider accepts 1/4", inner diameter hosing and all other divider...

    $26.29 $15.79
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    $25.89 $15.55
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    Split up the air coming from your pump and divert it to exactly where you need it most using our durable plastic air dividers. Available in multiple outlet options, the 4 outlet divider accepts 1/4", inner diameter hosing and all other divider...

    $26.69 $16.04
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    Split up the air coming from your pump and divert it to exactly where you need it most using our durable plastic air dividers. Available in multiple outlet options, the 4 outlet divider accepts 1/4", inner diameter hosing and all other divider...

    $26.49 $15.92
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    AA Dual Diaphragm Air Pump (8/cs)The Active Aqua Dual Diaphragm Air Pump is ideal for all hydroponic applications where quiet, consistent, and powerful airflow output is required. Its multi-outlet divider accepts 0.25" tubing and provides up to four...

    $98.99 $67.02
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    Energize Your Growing Solution & Nutrients With Aeration And CirculationActive Aqua air stones are an ideal way to add oxygen to your hydroponic growing system. The micropore design energizes the growing solution as it aerates and circulates nutrients...

    $30.99 $11.59
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    Active Aqua air stones are an ideal way to add oxygen to your hydroponic growing system. The micropore design energizes the growing solution as it aerates and circulates nutrients. Air stones will extend the life of your nutrient solution, help keep...

    $54.99 $29.05
  • Active Aqua Air Stone6" (15cm), Case of 12 Active Aqua Air Stone6" (15cm), Case of 12

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    Active Aqua air stones are an ideal way to add oxygen to your hydroponic growing system. The micropore design energizes the growing solution as it aerates and circulates nutrients. Air stones will extend the life of your nutrient solution, help keep...

    $42.29 $19.35
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    Active Aqua air stones are an ideal way to add oxygen to your hydroponic growing system. The micropore design energizes the growing solution as it aerates and circulates nutrients. Air stones will extend the life of your nutrient solution, help keep...

    $35.99 $15.47
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    Active Aqua air stones are an ideal way to add oxygen to your hydroponic growing system. The micropore design energizes the growing solution as it aerates and circulates nutrients. Air stones will extend the life of your nutrient solution, help keep...

    $59.99 $30.02
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    Diffuse air with these high quality plastic air manifolds. Double barbed ends for tight seal with tubing.Recommended tubing sizes:Input - 5/16" I.D. (HGTB516)Output - 0.17" I.D. (HGTB25)Available In 4 Outlet Counts:46812

    $26.99 $9.65
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    Multi-outlet divider can be individually opened or shut, for total aeration control.Recommended tubing sizes: Input - 1/4" internal diameter, Output - .17 internal diameter.

    $37.29 $16.44
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    Multi-outlet divider can be individually opened or shut, for total aeration control.Recommended tubing sizes: Input - 1/4" internal diameter, Output - .17 internal diameter.

    $33.59 $13.53
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