The Advantages of Adding an Aquarium Airstone

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The Advantages of Adding an Aquarium Airstone

Adding an aquarium airstone is not only for aesthetics, but it increases the amount of oxygen in your water, making it an indispensable addition to any fish tank.  Airstones can be used as part of a fish tank sponge filter, other fish tank decoration, or as a stand-alone piece.

If you don’t have an aquarium airstone, your fish may be deprived of oxygen: this will restrict their development and cause premature death.  Knowing what to do in an oxygen emergency is crucial, but it is even better to prevent it by improving aquarium aeration.

We will help you choose, install, and care for your aquarium airstone, increasing its lifespan.  You need the correct air pump to operate your airstone efficiently.

How To Increase Oxygen In Your Fish Tank?

Oxygen (O₂) deprivation is easy to prevent with an aquarium airstone, an air pump, or a sponge filter.  All of these items will draw water from the lower levels of the fish tank and bring it to the surface of the water.  Using a traditional or sponge filter that pours water back into the aquarium will further increase the O₂ of your fish tank. 

The oxygen levels of an aquarium should be around 5 PPM, and with an oxygen meter, it is easy to test.  As oxygen is depleted from your fish tank, your fish will change behavior.  If you see any of the following signs, your fish may be in distress.

  • Moving gills rapidly (gasping) to filter more water
  • Eating and moving less
  • Fish will move to the top of the fish tank, where there is more oxygenated water.

A low oxygen level is a dangerous situation, and you need to know how to add oxygen to the fish tank in an emergency.

Aquarium aeration is as simple as increasing the amount of water that has come into contact with air, this will allow for the gas exchange where water will release CO₂ and draw in O₂ from the air.

Aquarium Oxygenation in an Emergency

The most effective method is completing a significant water change.  If suitable water is not available, adding an air pump or manually moving the water will increase the aquarium aeration.  Clean a jug with fish tank water, then fill it with water and pour it back into the fish tank until the fish look calmer (the deeper you can place the container, the better). But don’t let the water change be too massive, because it will disrupt the nitrogen balance in the aquarium and that can send the fish into shock. So make sure also to test the nitrogen level before the water change.

Also read – Everything You Need to Know About pH Testers

For a Permanent Solution to Increase Aquarium Aeration

Add an air pump and allow filtered water to pour into the tank like a fountain.  Adding an airstone or another air bubbler to use with an air pump will prevent poor water circulation in the lower part of the fish tank and prevent stagnant water pockets of unevenly heated or dirty water.

Do I Need An Airstone In My Aquarium?

Yes, you do need an airstone, as controversial as having a definite answer in this hobby is.  Airstones are important because O₂ and water circulation are essential for healthy fish and tank inhabitants.  A small airstone or two for larger tanks with a battery-operated air pump could save your fish and thousands of dollars.

Other advantages of an airstone:

  • Dissolves O₂ into the water
  • The bubbles from an aquarium aristone have aesthetic appeal
  • Decreased possibility of a bacterial or algae bloom in your aquarium
  • The fish play and interact with the bubbles (riding them up and down)

What is an Airstone?

An airstone, or bubble stones, work in your fish tank by pushing air from an air pump into the stone creating bubbles streams that release and defuse O₂ into the water.  Airstones are often used with sponge filters or other decorations depending on the look you want to create in your fish tank.

Airstones for fish tanks are available in many shapes and sizes to be used alone to make curtains or columns of bubbles that are pleasing to watch and add amusement for your fish.

How To Install an Airstone into a Fish Tank

The correct placement of your airstone differs depending on the user. Suppose you want to increase water circulation, placing the airstone on the floor of your fish tank.  Consider a center placement of the airstone; this gives your fish more space to interact with it, but if you have a curtain, it may hide your fish. 

If you pair an airstone with a sponge filter, try a corner or hidden placement, and if paired with another decoration, you may want to consider placing the airstone front and center.  Before cutting your air tubing, move the airstone to different locations, and see the effect it has.

Please read all the steps involved before you commence with the task of setting up an aquarium airstone.

Step #1:  Rinse tubing and airstone with aquarium water

Step #2:  Push the air tubing on to the air pump outflow nozzle

Step #3:  Add an airflow valve cut a piece of tubing 1 to 2 inches away from the pump and push the airflow valve on to the pipe attached to the air pump.

Step #4:  Attach the air tubing to the airflow valve

Step #5:  Cut the air tubing about 1 or 2 inches from the airflow valve

Step #6:  Connect a check valve the arrow facing away from the air pump

Step #7:  Push the tubing into the check valve

Step #8: Measure the amount of air tubing required to reach the placement of the airstone cut the air tubing.

Step #9:  Add the air to the air tubing

Step #10:  Place the airstone in your fish tank at the bottom

Step #11:  Allow to soak according to manufactures directions (usually an hour)

Step #12:  Turn on the air pump

On a side note, steps 2 to 7 are optional but recommended.  The airflow valve allows you to regulate the current of the water.  Slow to moderate currents is 10 – 20 GPH for smaller tanks and 20 – 30 GPH for larger ones.  The check valve prevents the back siphoning of the water.

Also read – How to Use RODI Water to Create the Best Water for Your Aquarium

In Addition to the Airstone You Will Need

These items may come with your airstone, or air pump check what you are getting with your purchases before you invest in these items.

  • Airline tubing
  • Air pump
  • Check valve
  • Flow valve

Optional extras can include a sponge filter or decoration.

Things to Consider Before You Purchase an Airstone

  • How much current do you need?
  • What size air pump you want to get?
  • How many bubbles do you want in your fish tank?
  • The overall effect you want to create
  • Placement ideas for the airstone and air pump to determine the length of tubing you may need
  • Any additional decoration or attachments like a sponge filter.

Small Airstones That Can Be Used with a Sponge Filter

The size of your airstone depends on what you want to add it to, a sponge filter, or another decoration in your fish tank.  A small and discrete one is great in a hydroponic or aquaponic growing system or a nano aquarium.

Best Aquarium Airstones

#1 – Uxcell 10pcs 3mm Air Tube Multicolor Striped Plastic Airstone



These airstones are small multicolored, and plastic.  They are small and lightweight perfect used with a sponge filter.  Lightweight and, if used on their own, they will be buoyant and may float to the top of the aquarium. 

It comes as a ten-piece set that each one is 0.12″ in height with a net weight of 97g. 


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Our Verdict​

This airstone is affordable and long-lasting, but its bubbles are larger and noisy.  Adding it to a sponge filter is easy.  This product creates bubbles as air is pushed through the spaces between the plastic dividers.  It is easy to clean this airstone, but I like the smaller bubbles with a larger stream of them in the water.

#2 – Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stone 10 Pieces Cylinder Bubble Diffuser Airstones



The Pawfly airstones are created with crushed stones rebound together, formed into different shapes and sizes depending on your needs.  The color variants are blue and grey.  This airstone makes a beautiful steady stream of bubbles and, if paired with a sponge filter, will give them a longer life span.

Product specifications: 10 pieces that are 0.188 inches in height with a net weight of 80g



Our Verdict

It has a pretty stream of bubbles, but these airstones may get clogged.  Increasing water maintenance and adding them to the sponge filter is beneficial.

Large Aquarium Airstones

If you don’t want to add a sponge filter to your aquarium, it will create a larger bubble stream.  It will increase oxygen in the fish tank and water flow.  The larger the airstone, the more power it needs from the air pump to work and create the correct amount of bubbles.

#3 – Pawfly 4 inch Air Stone Bubble



The 4-inch airstone dome is available in a 1 or 2 pack.  It creates a large number of bubbles and can be fitted to decorations or air sponges large enough to accommodate it.  Larger and heavy, which means it is less likely to float and makes more bubbles.



Our Verdict

The price is going to add up over time with this airstone, and all you are getting is a column of bubbles.  It is hard to add to a sponge filter.

#4 – CNZ Fish Tank Air Bubble 2-Piece Air Stone Bars Green/Blue



These stone bars will create a curtain of air in your fish tank and is available in three different sizes 4-inch, 10-inch, 12-Inch.  You get two airstone bars in each set.  The length improves the Aquarium aeration and water circulation of your fish tank, while the plastic cover will hold it under the substrate.



Our Verdict

The fish have more space to interact with the bubbles, and merely watching the bubbles is therapeutic. 

#5 – Alegi Air Stone Kit Bubble Ring



This airstone ring has two variations of 4-inch and 5-inch.  It creates a circle of bubbles that looks stunning in the center of your fish tank.  The best part about this product is that it comes with accessories.



Our Verdict

In small to medium tanks, this is a better option as the bubbles won’t detract from the fish, but the curtain of bubbles creates an even water flow across a large aquarium.

Also read – Using Aquarium Plants To Create a Living Artwork

Other Bubble decorations

Other bubble decorations will increase Aquarium aeration and add another layer of interest to your fish tank as it is attached to other ornaments. You can glue plants to it too.

#6 – TEEMO Aquarium Air Bubbler Decorations



This fish tank air bubbler is 2.35″ D x 5.5″ W x 3.75″ H, suitable for medium and large aquariums and creates a decent amount of bubbles.  Well-made and considering the weight of 0,65lb, it stays on the substrate.  The hollow head provides fish with a hiding place and with a small hole that won’t allow them to be trapped inside.



Our Verdict

Who doesn’t want Groot in their fish tank?  Looks natural with a live aquarium plant and provides a fair amount of bubbles.  It can overwhelm smaller fish tanks, but if you are only adding one decoration, it is a great one to have.

#7 – NICREW Aquarium Volcano Ornament Kit



This volcano adds lights and bubbles to your fish tank. It has a Multicolored or red light options.  The broad base covers a large area for even water circulation, and the colors are cool to look at.  The tapering top makes it suitable for smaller aquariums too.



Our Verdict

This is a fun and exciting addition to a fish tank.  The lights and bubbles are fascinating to watch but will fade into the background of a planted aquarium.

FAQ’s on Aquarium Airstone

How to Quiet an Airstone In an Aquarium? To make an airstone less noisy, try either cleaning it or decreasing the number of bubbles it creates by reducing the air flowing from the air pump.  If your fish need more current, use a filter or powerhead device to compensate.

Select airstones and fish tank bubblers that make small bubbles to reduce the sound any airstone makes. 

How Do You Unclog an Airstone? If you need to unclog or clean an airstone, remove it from the fish tank and disconnect it from the air tubing.  Use siphoned aquarium water and a brush to scrub it clean.  Reattach it to the air pump and place it back into the fish tank.  The clogging of your airstone can be prevented by using one with a plastic covering that can be taken apart and scrubbed separately with a brush.  Covering your airstone with a sponge filter will keep it cleaner for longer as it has the added benefit of a mechanical filter.

How to Keep a Bubble Stone Down? To keep a bubble stone down and keep your aquarium neater too, use a suction cup and clip the air tubing into it and stick it against the fish tank glass. If it is a taller airstone, you can bury a portion into the substrate.  When it needs replacing, select a heavier airstone.  Attaching it to a decoration or a sponge filter will keep it down too.

How to Regulate Air Flow in a Bubble Stone in an Aquarium? Attach an airflow valve to your air tubing by cutting it about an inch or two away from the air pump.  Push the valve to the air pump tubing the arrow facing away from the pump and attach the rest of the airflow tubing to it.  Play with the valve until you reach the desired strength of the airflow.

An Aquarium Airstone and a Sponge Filter Are a Match Made in Heaven

The value of an aquarium airstone with a sponge filter cannot be overstated.  The sponge filter keeps your airstone cleaner for longer extending its life.  The airstone reduces the sizes of the bubbles of your sponge filter, which reduces the sound and makes a steady stream of bubbles.  They were made for each other.  Together they make a powerful filtration unit with loads of benefits.

If you don’t want to add a large bulky item using an airstone as a stand-alone will be pretty with its steady stream of bubbles or paired with other decorations to add an interesting element for your aquarium.  With all the options, there is no reason your fish should not have enough O₂.

Check out – The Best Freshwater and popular Saltwater Aquarium Fish for a 55 Gallon Tank

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