Air stones, also called aquarium bubblers, are considered to be very important furniture pieces in aquariums.
These items are often made of lime wood or porous stones and are usually inexpensive.
They do a lot of good for the tank, including preventing large bubbles and eliminates noise.
If you are not sure what an air stone is, why it is important or if you need one in your aquarium, keep reading, and you will find out everything you need to.
Plus, at the end of this post there will be a few frequently asked questions – these questions often come up, and I’m sure some of you will be wondering the same things.
What Is An Air Stone?
As we mentioned, air stones are usually made out of lime wood or porous stones.
They eliminate noise and get rid of large bubbles, but most importantly, they diffuse air into the aquarium.
Water in the aquarium tank constantly needs to be circulated, and air stones help with that.
How Does An Air Stone Work?
The air stones produce tiny bubbles in the tank when an air pump is attached to it.
These tiny bubbles contain oxygen and will slowly fill up the tank, which will help circulate the water.
This is because the water near the substrate (bottom of the tank, so the gravel or rocks) is lifted to the top of the tank and is circulated.
Benefits Of Having An Air Stone In Your Aquarium
There are a lot of benefits to having an air stone in your aquarium, not only that they look nice.
If you want your aquarium to be as healthy as it can be, you should consider getting an air stone.
This point may sound strange, but it is true. In tanks, especially small ones, fish often do not have enough space to do a lot of activity because of the restrictions.
When you add an air stone to the tank, the water circulation provides some resistance for the fish.
This resistance is a very good thing as it will allow the fish in the tank to exercise their muscles more and do more physical activity.
This physical activity is needed in order for them to grow properly.
Aids In Gas Exchange
You can imagine a tank without an air stone to be like a small, stuffy room with no open windows.
The air is stale and unpleasant, and no one wants to be in there.
The same goes for aquariums that do not have proper gas exchange.
The water will gradually get full of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane from the fish and other living organisms in the water.
By having an air stone, these gases will be moved around and moved to the top, breaking the water’s surface.
These unwanted gases then are able to make their way into the atmosphere.
Not only this, but because of the constant movement from the air stone, the layers of water mix together, which is good for the fish.
This is because the oxygen at the bottom of the tank depletes quickly as the fish spend most of their time closer to the bottom.
The air stone ensures that the water that has low levels of oxygen is carried to the top and is circulated properly.
Aids In Better Filtration
Because of the increased gas exchange thanks to the air stone, the biological filtration improves, too.
The constant movement in the aquarium means that no toxic waste is able to settle at the bottom of the tank, which could be harmful.
If this did not happen, things such as metabolic waste, toxins, mucus and all kind of other organic waste would settle at the bottom.
This would cause the water to become cloudy if left unchecked.
Should You Have An Air Stone In Your Aquarium?
The short answer? Yes.
No one wants to be sitting in a stuffy room, and your fish are no different.
Good circulation in your aquarium is an absolute must, and even if you have filters and all the other fancy stuff, it won’t cut it.
If you want to give your fish the best home they could ask for, an air stone is absolutely necessary.
Different Types Of Air Stones
There are two primary types of air stones: aluminum oxide, and silica.
You do get various shapes and sizes of air stones, so you need to know that you cannot just choose any air stone and hope for the best – it needs to fit in your tank well.
You can find air stones that are different colors, shapes and sizes, so you need to make the right choice.
Aluminum Oxide Air Stones
The first thing you should know about aluminum oxide air stones is that they are not recommended for glass aquariums.
This is because of the rough surface that could scratch or otherwise damage the tank.
There is little difference between the performance between this type of air stone and the silica one, but these air stones are more durable.
They can withstand harsh cleaning, and can be used for many years.
Aluminum oxide air stones are most often used in larger or industrial ponds but can be used in smaller tanks where appropriate.
Silica Air Stones
Silica air stones are the most popular.
Most home aquariums will use this type, as they are available in various sizes (anywhere from 1 to 12 inches) and are cheaper.
These air stones do not contain any metal, but they do not last nearly as long as aluminum oxide ones will.
Cleaning Air Stones
Cleaning your air stone is something that should be done every two or three months to make sure it is working properly.
There are a few different ways to clean or rejuvenate your air stone, but whatever you do, do not bake it in the oven like some suggest.
This will most likely result in the plastic hose connection to melt.
If that happens, your air stone will be useless.
How To Clean Your Air Stone
- Thoroughly rinse the air stone in fresh water and carefully scrub the excess build up off, then allow the stone to air dry properly.
- After rinsing the stone and leaving it to dry completely, boil it in fresh water for around 10 minutes, then leave it to air dry completely again.
- Then you need to soak the air stone in a 1:3 solution of bleach and water. Leave the stone to soak in the solution for 24 hours (or longer if the stone is very clogged and requires it)
- Get the air stone out of the solution after it has soaked, and attach an airline to the stone from a pump. Place the air stone in a bowl or container of fresh water and let the water run for five or so minutes, allowing all the excess bleach to be rinsed off.
- After five minutes, take the air stone out of the water, letting the air pump continue to pump through the air stone.
- After another five minutes, the inside pores of the stone should be dry, so the pump can be removed. Now, you need to let the air stone dry completely once again.
If you do not feel comfortable using bleach to clean your air stone, there is another method you can try out:
- Get hydrogen peroxide and let the air stone soak in it overnight. In the morning, rinse the stone and let air blow through it until it is dry completely.
- After drying the stone, let it boil for five minutes, then allow it to cool down before blowing air through it again until it is dry.
- Once dry, put the air stone in water and add a few denture-cleaning tablets, then let it soak in the water overnight. In the morning, rinse the stone and let air blow in until it is dry once again.
- Finally, soak the air stone in a solution of vinegar and water for some time and allow to air dry.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Air Stones
Air stones might confuse a lot of people, and for that reason we have added a FAQ section onto this post.
That way, you do not have to go searching the internet for answers because they will all be right here.
How Long Will An Air Stone Last In Your Aquarium?
The answer to this question does depend on what type of air stone you have.
The aluminum oxide ones will last longer (several years) while the silica ones should be replaced every three months.
It is thought that after six weeks, some air stones begin to be less effective.
Generally, however, you should replace your air stone every three months.
Are Air Stones Expensive?
The price of air stones varies, depending on the type and size, but they are very affordable.
You can get some packs of air stones for as little as $5 or as much as $100.
These prices will change, and the larger ones will be more expensive.
Are Air Stones Bad For Plants?
Air stones generally have no effect on plants, so if this is something you are concerned about, there is no need.
Do Air Stones Help With Algae?
Air stones do help prevent algae from establishing.
This is because of the water that is constantly moving and circulating.
Are Air Stones Good For Fish?
Yes. Air stones are very good for fish as they help the fish use their muscles more when swimming.
Additionally, they circle the water for the fish, so they have access to more oxygen.
Air stones are a great addition to any aquarium and are definitely recommended.
If you want to make sure that your fish are the happiest and healthiest they can be, an air stone is the way forward.
Now you should know everything you need to get an air stone and how to take care of it.