What Are Aquarium Air Stones? Do I Actually Need One?

aquarium air stone

An air stone is also known as an aquarium bubbler. It is one of the most important pieces of furniture in any aquarium. The basic function of an air stone is to supply dissolved air (oxygen) in the aquarium or fish tanks.

Air stones are usually made up of porous stones or lime wood. These small, inexpensive devices efficiently diffuse air in the water and eliminate the noise. They also prevent large bubbles which are a common sight in most conventional air filtration systems.

How Do Aquarium Air Stones Work?

The water in the tank needs to be circulated, and this is what exactly an air stone does. When an air stone is attached to an air pump outside the tank, it starts to produce tiny bubbles.

Within a few seconds, those tiny bubbles which are filled with oxygen will gradually fill up the tank. The bubbles produced by the air stone do not only fill the tank with oxygen, but it also helps circulate the water.

When the bubbles rise towards the surface, the water near the substrate is lifted to the top. As this process keeps on repeating, the water in the tank is efficiently circulated.

Benefits of air stones in the aquarium

You can tell that the water in your tank is not being circulated as it should just by looking at its surface. If you notice that the surface of the water in your fish tank is still or undisturbed, you can be sure that the water is not being circulated enough.

To have a better understanding of the benefits of the air stone, we need first to understand the benefits of water movement in the aquarium. Here are some of the benefits of water movement or circulation.

Helps in gas exchange.

Let’s say that the water circulation in an aquarium is just like a soft cool breeze in a small stuffy room. When the water on the tank is circulated well, the dissolved gases are exchanged rapidly. For instance, the water, along with the dissolved gases at the bottom of the tank remains the same when there is no water movement.

Furthermore, fishes and other organisms in the tank produce gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen. These gases need to be released into the atmosphere.

Moving water carries tiny oxygen bubbles and transports those unwanted gases and transports them to the surface of the water and dispose them into the atmosphere. In addition, water movement mixes different layers of water. This can be very beneficial for the fishes.

We know that the water near the bottom of the tank runs low on oxygen overtime as the fishes mostly live at the bottom. Oxygen-poor water is carried towards the surface, and the water at the top that is rich in oxygen is circulated.

Physical Activity.

In a small environment such as smaller aquariums, fishes do not get enough room for active swimming and their movements are somewhat restricted.

However, when there is enough water circulation, they get the required amount of physical activity needed for their growth and to develop their muscles. The water circulation offers a bit of resistance and this can be really beneficial for the fishes. 

Better filtration.

As mentioned earlier, water movement helps in removing gases such as methane, nitrogen, and sulfur into the atmosphere. As more oxygen is pumped into the tank, the biological filtration becomes more effective as the water movement does not allow the toxic wastes to settle at the bottom of the tank.

Without proper water circulation, toxins, metabolic waste, mucus, and other similar organic wastes will accumulate on the corals. As a result, the reef filtration becomes harder, and the water becomes cloudy within a short amount of time.

Now that we have learned all about the water circulation, you might have already realized how important an air stone is. Let’s find out more.

hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen Diffuser Kit for Aquarium Fish Tank and Hydroponic (Black, 4 Inch)
  • 🐟【Fine bubble】 Oxygen stone refines the air output from the air pump into a particle bubble, which is smaller and denser, like the "atomization" effect, and the bubble size can be adjusted, and the different oxygenation amount can satisfy different use requirements
  • 🐟【High dissolved oxygen rate]】 Compared with ordinary bubble stone, the nano bubble stone emits more bubbles, and the gas and the water surface are more widely contacted, which makes the dissolved oxygen amount larger
  • 🐟【Quality Nanomaterials】: The nano-stone is sintered at high temperature. The material is sturdy and durable. It can be used for a long time and has better dissolved oxygen effect. When the bubble burst into the water, the sound is super quiet
  • 🐟【Air pump wattage】 The weighs of air stone is 15.2oz/430g and is easily placed at the bottom of the fish tank, suitable for fresh water and salt water. It is driven by an air pump of 4 watts or more. PS: The deeper the water, you may need to use a larger wattage air pump to drive it
  • 🐟【Air pump accessories】: 4 inch nano air disk stone, 1 control valve, 1 check valve, 2 suction cups, 1 T-shaped connector, 1 reducer of connecting 8mm and 4mm. Note: Hose and air pump are not included

Last update on 2020-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Do I Need An Air Stone?

If you’re asking yourself this question, be reminded of the soft breeze and stuffy room example we mentioned above. The answer is an absolute yes, it does not matter whether you have a filter in your aquarium or not, attaching an air stone makes the water circulation much better.

Adding an air stone will keep the water cleaner, provide the fishes with more oxygen, and it has a lot of health benefits for the aquatic life. Also, an air stone is cheap. It won’t even make a dent in your wallet.

What Are The Types of Air Stones?

Air stones are available in different shapes and sizes. Although the air stones are all designed for the same purpose, some may be better suited for a certain type of tank. In other words, not all air stones will be a perfect fit for all types of tanks. Here are the types of are air stones you can choose.


This type of air stones are the most common ones you’ll find in aquarium stores. These are available in various sizes from 1 inch up to 12 inches. This type of air stones is mostly used in labs for studies. Silica air stones are metal-free, and they are less expensive. Their only downside is that they are not very durable.

Aluminum oxide.

There isn’t a lot of difference between silica stones and aluminum oxide stones in terms of performance. But when it comes to durability, aluminum oxide stones are a better option. These stones are capable of withstanding years of use and harsh cleaning. These stones are mostly used in industrial or larger ponds.

Aluminum oxide stones are not recommended for use in glass aquariums because of their rough surface. These can vibrate and scratch the glass, which will lead to the development of cracks over time.

For more information on the types of air stones, you can visit this page, where you’ll also learn how to clean them.

How important is an air stone – Are they absolutely necessary?

If you’re concerned about the health of your fishes, the answer is yes. An air stone will be very beneficial if your aquarium has a filter powered by an air pump. It will make the filter run smoothly, efficiently. And of course, it will enhance the appearance of your aquarium.

UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stones, Fish Tank Bubbler, Nano Silent Bubble Stone, Super-High Dissolved Oxygen Diffuser for Fish Tank
  • 🐳🐳🐳 T150 Aquarium Air Bubble Stone,Compatible with 6-12 W Air Pump,Suitable with the Fish Tank 100-300 Gallon.
  • 🐳🐳🐳 Upettools Aquarium Air Bubble Stone is Made of ABS+ Ceramic, This a Special Ceramics which Can Create a Very Dense Cloud of Small Bubbles.
  • 🐳🐳🐳 Noiseless Small Fine Bubbles Diffuse Air Stone.Create Water Circulating Throughout The Tank And The Surface. It Is Heavy So That Can Stay On The Bottom And Doesn't Float Around.
  • 🐳🐳🐳 If the Depth of Water Over 50 CM, Please Add the Power of the Air Pump.
  • 🐳🐳🐳 If You Need the Very Dense Cloud of Small Bubbles, Please Adjust the Air Pump by Hand.

Last update on 2020-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API