Last Updated on April 24, 2023 by Coral Realm
One thing that is often overlooked in terms of fish and aquarium health is the oxygen concentration of the water. You might take it for granted that the water will contain enough oxygen for your fish, but if your fish are looking lethargic and are spending a lot of time resting at the bottom of the tank, they may not be getting enough.
Other symptom of oxygen deprivation are rapidly moving gills and refusing to eat. A quick fix is to conduct a water change. If you see improvements in your fish directly after a water change then you have to look at why your tank is depleted in oxygen, as if you don’t change anything the same will happen again. Commonly oxygen depletion is caused by still or stagnant water, overpopulation of fish, overfeeding, and high temperatures.
Some of these are easily fixed, and this is where air stones come in. Air stones serve multiple functions in your aquarium, but the main purpose is to generate a flow of air bubbles which oxygenate the water. They are also a great way to make your aquarium more visually appealing.
Getting the best aquarium air stones available for your tank will ensure you keep your fish healthy and happy, and looking their best.
IN THIS ARTICLE
10 Best Aquarium Air Stones – Complete 2020 Guide And Reviews
The following table shows you a helpful list of the 11 best aquarium air stones and where to buy them online. Read on further in this article for our reviews on each of these products and
Why Should You Use an Aquarium Air Stone?
The main reason to get an air stone is if the water in your aquarium is looking a bit static. Sometimes the filter doesn’t generate enough of a flow of water by itself to product a good flow of water through the whole tank. If you have a large tank with a HOB filter installed you especially may find this the case.
A lack of water circulation in your tank can cause the water to become deoxygenated. The bottom of the tank is especially prone to this. This can affect the behavior and health of your fish, as they don’t get enough oxygen.
Aquarium air stones improve the circulation and aeration of the water by generating bubbles of air at the bottom of your tank, which helps to circulate water. This improved circulation will help the oxygen from the surface reach the bottom of the tank, and the air bubbles directly transfer oxygen to the water to aid in oxygenation.
The water at the bottom of the tank will draw in oxygen and release carbon dioxide directly from being in contact with the bubbles, and the increased circulation will mean the oxygenated water at the top of the tank will flow to the bottom, and the deoxygenated water will circulate to the top to become oxygenated. An aquarium powerhead or wavemaker will also aid in this.
But not only will an aquarium air stone help in water oxygenation, it will also help in keeping the aquarium at a stable temperature. If the circulation is low then the heat generated from the aquarium heater won’t reach all of the tank, or at least not uniformly. This can cause hot and cold spots, and cause great stress to your fish. The increased water flow from the air stone will aid in preventing this unwanted effect.
Top 10 Best Aquarium Air Stones Reviews
1) Pawfly 1.6″ Aquarium Air Stone Bubble Diffuser
One of the best air stone brands around, Pawfly use only high quality, non-toxic mineral materials to manufacture their products.
The circular flattened design gives a wide surface are for the air to come up through, generating a thick torrent of bubbles. Pawfly recommend a 2 – 5W pump and 2L per minute jet volume for these air stones to function at their best.
These aquarium air stones create many very small bubbles, which are more effective at increasing the oxygen concentration in the tank than a stone which produces large bubbles at a lower rate.
They are easy to clean and with four coming in the pack they will last a long time, so are good value for money. You are advised to soak them for at least half an hour before the first use to get maximum functionality.
2) AquaticHI Large Round Disc Aquarium Air Stone
This aquarium air stone by AquaticHI much larger than other alternatives, and is available in either 4.25 inches or 8 inches. This large disk will create a unique effect for your tank.
This airstone is manufactured using high quality carbondum material which produces micro bubbles of between 300-500 microns. These small bubbles will maximize oxygenation of your tank.
Three suction cups are included which prevent the air stone moving and incurring damage from friction abrasion, which will increase the lifespan. You will need a pump of great than 4W, and it fits into 3/16 tubing.
You should soak the air stone for at least five minutes before connecting it to the air hose and using it. It should only be placed horizontally on the base of the aquarium. It can’t be placed on the side of the tank.
3) Yueton Cylinder Aquarium Air Stone Aerator
These aquarium air stones by Yueton are well made and produce nice sized bubbles which are excellent for oxygenating your tank and keeping your fish healthy. You may find the bubbles created are a little larger than other brands, but they are still small enough to efficiently oxygenate the water.
These bright blue air stones have the added effect of putting an injection of color into your tank, which can really brighten up an otherwise monotonous aquarium. They are 1.57 inches long and will fit into 4mm soft tubing. You should aim to have a 2W pump to efficiently use these stones.
You will want to have a suction cup or something to hold the air stone down with, otherwise you may find that they tend to float to the surface, and then they won’t function as they should.
4) DXCEL Aquarium Air Stone with Changing LED lights
- Can connect to air pump for air bubble billow effect (Air pump not included)
- IP68 waterproof rate, excellent sealed design, can be fully submerged in water
- 6 colour changing LEDs and an air stone combined in a single decor piece (2 inches diameter)
- Built-in air stones create air bubbles for improved oxygenation and gas exchange
- Creates a decorative array of bubbles and colorful column of air in your aquarium
The DXCEL fish tank bubble maker can easily be attached to the bottom of your tank with the three mini suction cups found on the base of the unit. The LED lights are housed in the center, with the air stone completely surrounding them. This way you get the changing lights within the column of bubbles, for a great light show.
There is an 8 foot long power cord so you won’t have to worry about reaching the outlet! The 6 changing red, green, and blue LED lights have an almost unlimited number of color variations. And with an IP68 waterproof rating you don’t need to worry about mixing the electrics and water!
As with all aquarium air stones this model by DXCEL works to oxygenate the water and help keep your fish and plants healthy.
You need to soak the air stone for at least 20 minutes before connecting it to an air pump to use. This is to ensure that the bubbles are produced from every part of the stone. To set up the stone you should follow these instructions:
Attach the air tubing to the inlet on the LED air stone bubble diffuser ring. Put the air stone of the bottom of the tank and make sure the suction cups are firmly held. You should move the substrate so that the stone can sit on the base of the tank. You can move the substrate back over the flaps to further anchor it in place. Connect the air tubing to your air pump, and connect the power cord to the transformer. Then plug in the transformer and pump to the outlet.
The only downside to this model is that the air tubing and the air pump are not included. So if you have these sitting around at home already then perfect, but if you don’t then you will need to purchase them separately unfortunately.
5) Nicrew Volcano Ornament Kit
As with the other aquarium air stones on this list, the main effect of this product is to oxygenate the water by producing bubbles near the base of the tank. However this air bubbler also adds a unique look to your tank. Having a lit up volcano is certainly an eye catcher!
It is very easy to set up. Three suctions cups can be found on the base of the air stone and light unit which hold it firmly in place. Once you’ve arranged this you can place the volcano housing over the top. There is a small slit in the volcano which sits over the wires, so it doesn’t press on the cut wires and damage them
The package comes with mostly everything you need to install it; volcano, bubble maker with build-in LED light, airline tubing and power adapter, the only thing you’ll need is a pump.
6) Pawfly Air Stone Cylinder Bubble Diffuser
Another great quality air stone from Pawfly, this air stone is also made from their trademark high quality, durable, no-toxic materials which leads to a fantastic product.
Using high temperature sintering, these air stones are durable, robust, and sturdy. These air stones have a high dissolved oxygen rate and create even and small bubbles rather than a limited number of large bubbles. This maximizes the oxygenation created by using the stones.
They can be used in saltwater and freshwater tank, as well as hydroponics. They have a jetting volume of 1.3 L per minute, an require an air pump of at least 2W to work properly, and the recommended is between 2 and 4W.
They need to be soaked for an hour before use, and can be easily cleaned with a small brush when the bubbles become disrupted. As they come in a pack of 10 this set will last you a good while.
7) CNZ Aquarium Air Stone Bars
The aquarium air stone bars by CNZ are available in 4, 8, or 12 inch bars. The bubbles are emitted from the top of the bar which is about half an inch wide. They look very elegant in the tank, and work well to enhance aquarium aeration and water movement.
It produces small bubbles which maximize oxygenation, perfect for an array of species such as guppies and shrimp. It is very easy to install, having a non-floating and practical design. It is produced using dense materials which ensures that this air stone will remain on the bottom and won’t float to the surface. You do need to buy the air pump and tubing separately.
These air stone bars promote proper gas exchange which helps to reduce carbon dioxide buildup and aid in oxygen replenishment. For a long-lasting life and maximum results it is recommended to clean it with vinegar once a month. Though make sure to rinse the vinegar off thoroughly before putting it back in the tank!
8) Multi-Colored LED Aquarium Air Stone Disk
This air stone by Nicrew fulfills the main function of an air stone by producing a steady stream of bubbles which will increase flow and oxygenate your tank, but will also create a unique attraction in your tank.
It uses six different colored LED lights, which will rotate through and create a lunar night effect in your aquarium. This light show really does look amazing when the sun goes down!
You can choose to buy this Nicrew air stone either as 2 or 4 inches in diameter. If you have a smaller tank go for the 2 inches, but 4 inches with larger tanks. Make sure you have a decent pump to ensure the bubbles are produced as they are meant to.
The air stone has suctions cups on its base, so it will stay in position. This product also comes complete with a five foot long power cord, so it should reach your outlet. Just make sure to add in a drip loop to prevent water from traveling along the cord and coming into contact with the plug.
9) Vivosun Aquarium Air Stone Disc
This aquarium air stone disk by Vivosun can be purchased in three different sizes; either 4, 5, or 8 inches in diameter. It is very thin and won’t be gaudy and take up a lot of space in the tank. It is only 0.8″ in height. The 4 and 5 inch discs fit 4mm tubing and require a 4-16W air pump whilst the 8 inch disc fits 8mm tubing and requires a 16W air pump.
It is designed to produce small fine bubbles which effectively aerate the water and increase the oxygen concentration. It is suitable for all hydroponic systems, ponds, and aquariums. It helps to reduce root rot and bacteria, and is made with high quality and harmless materials, so you won’t have any dangerous compounds seeping into your water.
It has suction cups on the base which enables you to firmly attach the air stone to the bottom of the tank. You can put substrate around it but be careful not to put any on top of the stone.
10) Hygger Aquarium Air Stone Kit
Aquarium life, fish and plants, thrive when the water is well circulated and oxygenated. This aquarium air stone kit by Hygger will ensure this. It produces small uniformly sized bubbles which increases the oxygen uptake rate. You can control the bubble size and outflow by adjusting the pump.
The air stone is compatible with either a 4mm or 8mm airline tube. The output air flow is 3L per min, and requires a pump of 4W or larger. Remember that the deeper your tank is the stronger pump you may need. The stone doesn’t need a suction cup as it is quite heavy, but two are included.
This aquarium air stone kit comes complete with a 4-inch Nano air disc stone, a control valve, a check valve, 2 suction cups, a tee connector, and a reducer of connecting 8mm and 4mm. The air tube and air pump are not included.
You should soak the air stone for around an hour to achieve the best effects. This is an important step as the stone won’t function properly if it isn’t soaked first.
While this means you do need to find a pump and tubing, you are otherwise completely ready to install and set up your air stone with this kit. Pumps and tubing can be very easily found online or in any pet store.
11) Pawfly Air Stone Bar
Made using non-toxic durable materials which have been high temperature sintered, these air stones by Pawfly will not harm your fish in any way and will last a long time if looked after in your tank.
If you have a smaller air pump these may be good for you, as they only have a jetting volume of 1.3L/min, and require a pump of 2.5W. Using a larger wattage pump with smaller air stones may mean that they won’t function properly, and only produce bubbles at the end of the stone.
You get four bars in each pack, so this purchase will last a while as you will have plenty of spares once one stops functioning properly. They can be placed on the bottom of the aquarium or be suspended from overhead, though placing them at the bottom is recommended for increased oxygenation.
You should clean them regularly with a toothbrush to remove any build up to maintain the full bubble producing effect. When the air stone stops functioning properly then replace it with another.
Which Aquarium Air Stone Do We Recommend?
Pawfly is a very respected company which manufactures products with high-quality, non-toxic materials which are perfect for use in an aquarium.
The cylinder bubble aquarium air stones are a great choice for the average aquarium. They do exactly the job they need to do, and come in a pack of 10 which is great, as it maximizes how long each pack will last.
If you want something with a little more fanfare, the multi-colored LED aquarium air stone disk by Nicrew is a great option. It produces a great rate of small bubbles and has a great light show to watch and give added interest to your tank.Nicrew Multi-Colored LED Aquarium Air Stone Disk
Where Should You Place an Air Stone?
In general air stones should be placed at the bottom of your tank to maximize oxygenation and water circulation.
Do not put the air stones underneath the filter as this will dramatically decrease the effectiveness of the stones and the bubbles produced may have a detrimental affect on the filter.
The reaction of your fish to the bubbles produced is a good indication of where you should place the stone. If the fish avoid the bubble stream then place the stone within or behind plants or other decorative items you have in the tank so they won’t be disturbed.
It is a good idea to not put the stone in the middle of an open space, even if the fish seem to like it. Place it towards the edge, so that the fish who enough the bubbles can play in them, but fish who dislike the stream can still swim freely around the tank.
If your fish do really seem bothered by the bubble stream, then you can place the air stone underneath the substrate. This helps to control the stream and should disturb the fish less.
How do you Install an Aquarium Air Stone?
It is pretty simple to install an air stone and it shouldn’t take you too long. Before you start, always read the manufacturers guidelines. All air stones need to be soaked in water first, but the time requirements do differ. Always soak it for a minimum of an hour though. Soaking the stone will remove any dust and will saturate the stone ensuring the bubbles will be produced evenly.
Most manufactures don’t offer an air pump included with the air stone, so you need to buy one separately. In general you want a pump of around 2W for a small stone and around 5W for a large one. Just check with the guidelines, and don’t buy a pump which is too powerful or has too little power to run the stone properly.
Unless you get everything else included, you will also need flexible airline tubing, a regular valve and a one way valve. Attach the tubing to the pump outlet, and attach the regular valve after about an inch. This will allow you to change the flow rate of the air stone, which is extremely useful.
Next, after another couple inches ad in the one way valve. This will ensure that no water can come back up the tubing in the event of a power cut, protecting the pump, and which will prevent anything coming and clogging the pump.
Then simply stick the air stone on the end and place it into the appropriate place in the aquarium.
How do you Clean an Aquarium Air Stone?
Turn off the pump and remove the air stone from the aquarium. Remove it from the hose, so it’s easier to manhandle when cleaning it. Check the hose and pump for any damage. It’s always worthwhile checking just in case it has been beaten about.
To clean the air stone use a bleach mixture. You don’t want to use too much bleach, a 10:1 ratio of water to bleach is plenty. You can use less if you feel it needs it. It’s easiest to use a large measuring cup, especially if you’ve got a small sir stone. You want to completely submerge the stone in the mixture. Always wear gloves with dealing with bleach too.
You want the stone to soak for around three hours for the bleach to get to work. Remove the gunk from the stone by shaking it in the bleach mixture. Run the stone under the tap and rinse it thoroughly; you really want to make sure you get the bleach out of there. Use a toothbrush, hopefully a spare one, to clean the surface and get all the algal growth off. Let the stone dry for around 2 hours before reattaching everything and putting it back in the aquarium.
Another approach you can use to clean your air stone is to use effervescent denture cleaner rather than bleach. If the sound of using bleach makes you feel a little nervous then this is a good substitute. The cleaner contains mild bleach which disinfects the tone, sodium bicarbonate which alkalizes the water to aid cleaning, and citric acid which removes stains. The bubbling reaction which occurs helps any dirt and bacteria to shake loose too, and easier to remove with a brush.
Also don’t knock the effectiveness of just giving the stone a good scrub under the faucet with a hard bristled brush. You’ll have to really work it as the grime won’t have been loosened by any chemical agents, but it does work.
Once you notice that even with a good cleaning your aquarium air stone has lost some of its functionality it means that it is reaching the end of its life. Once it reaches the point where it really isn’t working properly it is time to replace it. This is where the practicality of buying a multipack comes in handy.
Air stones can become an important part of an aquarium, both visually and for the health of your tank. The stream of small bubbles gives a very attractive look to any aquarium, and also help to circulate and oxygenate the water. The water at the bottom of the tank can easily become quite still, and deoxygenate quite quickly. So, having an air stone can breathe a new lease of life into your fish.
There are many different style of air stone to choose from, from brands like Pawfly who produce very high quality products, but which are fairly simple, to the product from Nicrew, which also produces a light show in your aquarium. Choose the air stone that is best for your aquarium, and your fish will thank you!
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