Whether you’re looking for a decorative addition to your aquarium or a way to benefit the quality, aquarium air stones can get the job done.
An air stone in aquarium tanks will produce tiny bubbles to add oxygen and entertainment to the space. If you don’t already have one of these products in your fish tank, now is the time to invest in one.
Best Aquarium Air Stones Overview
Before we take a look at the details of aquarium air stones, here’s a quick overview of the best aquarium air stone products. Each one is best for different aquarium setups.
|Hygger Aquarium Air Stone Kit||This circular air stone kit produces dense bubbles of the size you choose.|
|Pawfly Air Stone Bar||These four air stone bars are lightweight, affordable, and easy to install.|
|NICREW Aquarium Stone Disk||If you want your air stone to be decorative, this product has built-in LED lights.|
|UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone Kit||You can suction this product to the side of the tank to produce quiet, dense bubbles that can be adjusted.|
|AQUANEAT Air Stone Discs||This set of four discs is affordable and easy to set up, but doesn’t come with anything additional.|
|Aqueon Flexible LED Bubble Wand||These stones are in the shape of a flexible wand with LED lights to add decoration to your aquarium.|
|NICREW Aquarium Volcano Ornament||The volcano decoration that comes with this air stone makes it look like red bubbles are erupting out of it.|
What is an Aquarium Air Stone?
Aquarium air stones, also known as aquarium bubblers, are objects that sit in your fish tank and diffuse air. When air is released, it appears as a group of tiny bubbles in the water. These products are used to increase the amount of oxygen in the water while also providing entertainment for your fish.
How Do They Work?
Here are the steps for how these products typically operate:
- To function, air stones need to be hooked up to an electrical air pump.
- Then, they’ll start releasing air and creating bubbles in the tank.
- The bubbles float to the water’s surface, causing oxygen to be diffused into the water.
- While doing this, they create a small current to ensure that oxygen reaches every corner of the tank.
Depending on the brand, the air stone might work a little bit differently. If you’re unsure how to set up and use an air stone, you can check the instructions that come with the product.
Do You Need an Aquarium Air Stone?
An air stone isn’t necessary for every fish tank, but it’s usually beneficial. If you’re concerned about the health of your animals and you have a filter powered by an air pump, it’s a good idea to add air stones. However, it’s ultimately your decision whether or not you need one.
Aquarium Air Stone Benefits
These products have several benefits for your tanks, so purchasing some is always a good idea if you’re able. A few of the pros include:
- Air stones add oxygen to the tank.
- They help water circulate in the aquarium.
- The bubbles add an interesting decoration.
- Some fish are attracted to the bubbles.
Aquarium Air Stone Downsides
There aren’t many disadvantages to air stones for aquariums, but it’s important to acknowledge the few that exist. Here are some cons of these products:
- They require a certain type of air pump.
- In small tanks, the bubbles might clutter the space.
- Some species might get stressed by the water moving.
So, the best way to decide if an air stone aquarium is ideal for you is to consider the size of your tank and the behavior of the fish inside it. If the fish seem healthy and content without it, it’s okay to skip it, but it can always make the aquarium’s conditions a little healthier.
Types of Aquarium Air Stones
There are a few types of air stones that you might want to consider. Here’s an overview of each one before we look at the details. Some might fall into more than one category.
|Classic Air Stone||-Affordable|
-Easy to find
-Easy to use
|-Doesn’t last as long|
-Difficult to clean
-Can’t control the bubbles
-Produces a consistent bubble stream
-Variety of options
|-Can be more expensive|
-Needs to be replaced somewhat often
|Flexible Wands||-Bends around decorations|
-Can hide under substrate
|-Needs to be replaced often|
-Doesn’t always have a consistent bubble flow
-Can be hard to clean
|Decorative Air Stones||-Designed to look attractive|
-A variety of options are available
-Can be a DIY project
|-Doesn’t always produce consistent bubbles|
-Can be expensive
-Not as efficient for oxygen flow
|LED Bubble Devices||-Designed to look attractive|
-Comes in a variety of options
-The air stones might last longer
|-Can be expensive|
-Lights may burn out
-Might not be efficient
All of the types will serve the purpose their supposed to, so it’s up to you to decide which one is right for your aquarium.
Classic Air Stone
A classic air stone refers to any products that don’t have all the extra bells and whistles. They’re just a piece of porous material with a hole drilled into the middle. Most air stones are made of ceramic, rock, or wood. Since they’re created using natural materials, the bubbles usually can’t be adjusted and may have irregular sizes.
They’re usually small and inexpensive. Plus, they’re usually the easiest to find. However, these options might not last as long because they’re not usually easy to clean. Of course, it depends on the product, but classic air stones are usually quick and easy at a cost.
Bubble walls are a bit more expensive than the classic option because there’s usually more to them. They’re typically made from a porous plastic material that allows you to control the size and volume of the bubbles you produce. So, it’s a better choice if you want to make sure your tank doesn’t get too many or too little bubbles.
These options usually come with more options for versatility. Some are flexible to fit around your aquarium decorations while others need to be set up a certain way using suction cups. They’re usually higher quality and easier to clean, so they’ll last longer than other options.
Bubble wands are similar to bubble walls, but they’re more flexible and appealing. The air stones are part of porous plastic tubing that can be shaped to fit around your aquarium decorations. So, the bubbles will be produced throughout the tank rather than in one specific spot.
These products look best when buried under the aquarium’s substrate. However, they don’t usually produce a bubble flow that’s as consistent as a bubble wall. They also need to be replaced more often than bubble walls, but many keepers believe it’s worth it for the style.
Decorative Air Stones
Some fish keepers prefer not to see the air stones at all. So, some air stones come in kits with decorations that cover them, making it look like the bubbles are coming out of that decoration. These options are usually higher quality and meant to last longer. However, they may not be as efficient as other options because they’re designed to look nice, so the flow of bubbles isn’t as high of a priority.
You can make your own decorative air stone by drilling a hole in the top of a decoration and putting an air stone underneath it. Then, the quality and efficiency will depend on the decoration and air stone you select.
LED Bubble Devices
When searching for air stones, you’ll also find a lot of LED bubble devices. These products are designed to decorate the flowing bubbles with colorful lights. The efficiency greatly varies, depending on the product you select.
Like the decorative air stones, these devices are usually built for decoration more than efficiency. So, they might not be as great at dispersing oxygen into the water. Also, they may require more maintenance because the lights could burn out. However, if you find a quality LED air stone, it can make a great addition to your tank.
Best Aquarium Air Stones
Here are some popular choices of air stones for aquarium tanks on Amazon. Each one has unique features but serves the same purpose as the others.
This aquarium air stone kit comes with everything you need to set up an oxygen flow in your tank. It comes with a 4-inch (or 2-inch) Nano air disc stone, a control valve, a check valve, and everything you need to attach it to the aquarium. However, the air tube and air pump must be purchased separately.
The circular product produces dense bubbles without creating too much sound. It weighs enough to sit on the bottom of the tank without any suction cups. It’s compatible with any 4mm or 8mm airline tube, and the output is about 3 L of air per minute.
- Comes with kit to set up the air stone
- Bubble sizes can be adjusted
- Runs quietly
- Weighs enough to sink
#2 – Pawfly Air Stone Bar
If you’re looking for an easy, more affordable option, the Pawfly air stone bars might be the best option for you. This product comes with four air stone bars that can be 4, 8, or 12 inches, depending on the option you choose.
They produce medium bubbles at about 1.3 L per minute. The stone itself is made from a natural mineral material and put in a plastic base. You will need to have an air pump that’s greater than 2.5 W to use these products.
- Comes in a set of four
- Three size options
- Made of natural mineral materials
- Produces medium bubbles
This air stone kit has colorful LED lights in the center to function as a decoration in your tank. The colors automatically change when it’s turned on. Some of the colors include red, green, orange, blue, pink, and white.
The air stone is in a circular shape around the lights, and it comes in 2-inch or 4-inch sizes. It comes with the stone disk with built-in LED lights, a 3/16 in a tube, and a power adapter, but the pump must be purchased separately.
- Built-in LED lights
- Comes with some setup tools
- Colored lights automatically change
This air stone kit allows you to suction the air stone to the desired spot in your tank. It comes with the bubble stone, 2-way control valve, and two suction cups, but you’ll need to provide your own air pump.
It creates a dense cloud of small bubbles without making much noise. The product can be adjusted to produce more or less bubbles in your aquarium.
- Comes with parts to set it up
- Produces quiet bubbles
- Volume of bubbles can be adjusted
- Suctions to the side of the tank
This is an affordable option, similar to the Pawfly bars. Yet, these air stones are circular, but they still come in a set of four. They’re not only good for aquarium fish tanks, but they can also be used for ponds and hydroponic systems.
These air stones only have about a 1.5-inch diameter. They fit 3/16 inch tubing, but the air tubing and pump don’t come with them. They’re made with a safe, washable material that’s easy to use.
- Comes in a set of four
- Made of safe, washable materials
- Small enough to hide in the tank
This aquarium air stone decoration comes in the form of a bubble wand. It’s flexible so it can fit around the decorations in your aquarium, and it uses bubble stones to produce the airflow. It can be purchased in 14 inches or 21 inches.
The product also has colorful LED lights to make your aquarium look more interesting. Once you’ve chosen where to set up the product, you can use the included suction cups to stick it into place.
- Has colorful LED lights
- Suction cups to the tank’s glass
- Uses tiny, durable air stones
This aquarium air stone comes with a volcano decoration to cover it. So, when the air stone is on, the volcano looks like it’s erupting. The circular air stone also has built in LED lights to make the bubbles look red like lava. Multi-color lights are also available.
Each kit comes with the light-up air stone, the volcano decoration, and a power adapter. However, like all the other air stone products, the air pump must be purchased separately.
- Comes with a volcano decoration
- Red LED lights makes the volcano look like it’s erupting
- Can be mounted using suction cups
Aquarium Air Stone Features to Look for
With so many great options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which product is best for you. So, here are the most important features of aquarium air stones to help you choose which one you’d like to purchase.
Many fish keepers want an air stone that’s efficient to improve the health of their fish. Air stones that release dense, consistent bubbles are the best for spreading oxygen in the tank.
Some fish keepers don’t need air stones, but instead, they want them for appearance. Products that focus on attractiveness usually don’t excel in efficiency. So, if you’re hoping to add some bubbles to the tank’s appearance, then you may want to focus on how it looks more than how well it produces bubbles.
Most air stones are fairly small, but they can come in a variety of sizes. Make sure the size is small enough to fit in the tank without disturbing your fish or causing clutter. Luckily, most products have more than one size option.
The shape can also have an impact on the product. Most are a simple circle or rectangle while others are flexible to wrap around your other decor. Before choosing a product, imagine where an air stone could go in your aquarium and find a shape that fits that space.
All air stones need to be replaced at some point, but some last longer than others. Lower quality products may only last a few months while higher quality ones could last up to a year. Products that are easier to clean and maintain are more likely to last. Either way, you’ll need to consider the long-term cost for each product based on how often you’ll need to replace it.
How to Set up an Aquarium Air Stone
If you’ve never had an air stone aquarium before, you might not know how to set it up. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Where to Place Air Stone in Aquarium
Air stones can be placed almost anywhere in the tank, but they’re usually kept on the bottom or suctioned against the lower sides. However, here are some tips for finding the best location:
- Keep it away from the filter. If the bubbles go directly toward the filter, they won’t be able to spread out to the whole tank.
- Place it close to decorations and/or plants. Otherwise, the bubbles could get in the way of open areas that your fish like to swim in. Secluded places are the most common areas.
- Consider hiding it under the substrate. Then, the bubbles will get into the water without the air stone needing to be visible. It will also be less likely to bother your fish.
Of course, you don’t have to follow these tips, but they can help the air stone look the best and be the most efficient without disrupting the animals in the aquarium.
How to Clean an Aquarium Air Stone
If you notice your air stones losing their effect, you may be able to clean them to improve their efficiency. Here are some steps for how to do so:
- Remove the air stone from the tank and detach the air hose. Nothing should be attached to the air stone when you clean it.
- Mix water with a minimal amount of bleach. A 10:1 ratio is ideal. The water needs to be deep enough for you to be able to fully submerge the stone.
- Soak the stone for about three hours.
- When removing the stone from the solution, shake it to remove any debris.
- Rinse the air stone with warm water to remove the bleach. You can gently scrub it with a soft-bristled toothbrush to ensure it’s clean.
- Let the stone dry for at least 2 or 3 hours before placing it back in the aquarium.
You can research other cleaning products to use if you don’t want to use bleach, but as long as you rinse and dry it well enough, it’ll be safe for your tank. Some keepers rinse and scrub the air stone without using bleach first. While it’s not as effective, it can still clean it a bit.
When to Replace
Even if you regularly clean your air stone, it will need to be replaced at some point. If it’s not as effective even after you’ve recently cleaned it, it’s time to change it. Buying a pack with several air stones is a good idea so you can have a new one ready right away.
Most air stones will last between a few months and a year, but it depends on which product you choose. If it’s ever not doing the job properly, you should change it regardless of how long its been.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when adding new equipment to your aquarium. Here are a few things fish keepers commonly wonder about new air stones.
Most aquarium air stones last about six weeks. After that, they start to lose their effectiveness, but they don’t need to be replaced immediately. Some fish keepers have stated that theirs last for 8 months to a year, but only certain brands will have that longevity. If you’re ever worried that your air stone has stopped doing its job, get a new one.
No, air stones barely affect the pH of a tank. If the pH is too low, the air stone may raise it slightly, and it may lower it if the pH is too high. However, if you don’t have a proper pH in your tank, an air stone won’t solve the problem. Here are some ways to safely raise or lower the pH in your aquarium.
Many fish love air bubbles, but not all of them do. Consider the temperament of your fish before including an air stone in the tank. If they get spooked by sudden movements, then the bubbles may stress them out. Yet, most breeds can live happily next to an air stone.
Aquarium air stones might not be the most important products for a fish tank, but they can be great for improving the health of your fish and adding some decoration. So, if you’re interested in purchasing an air stone for aquarium, consider which option would work best for your tank and find the ideal spot to place it.