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Online suppliers of aquarium air stones, Usage, Forum and FAQ

Aquarium air stone, resized image 1 Aquarium air stone, resized image 2 Aquarium air stone, resized image 3 Aquarium air stone, resized image 4

Brief Description

This page offers information about air stones for aquariums, lists FAQ and answers them, and contains forum with questions asked by visitors of aqua-fish.net. However we also list websites that sell air stones online! In order to be forwarded to the list of online suppliers simply click this link. Additionally you’re welcome to visit the following pages of aqua-fish.net since they're closely related to the purpose and usage of air stones: Aquarium air pump article with FAQ and The purpose of an aquarium filter with questions, answers, FAQ, pictures and forum.

How to use an air stone, purpose of this device and how do air stones work

Air stones can be placed anywhere in a fish tank, there are almost no limitations as to position and numbers of used devices. The device is connected to the air pump via airline which makes it possible to pump air from outside through the pump to the air stone. There’s a motor which drives propeller that sucks air which is then pumped to an air stone. As an aquarium air stone is a lightweight device which is full of little holes intended for displacing air into the water, air is being released into an aquarium once the pump is plugged into electricity and turned on.

The bubbles won’t react with water, thus air stones aren’t actually aerating your fish tank. The process of aeration is secured by waves that are created as air escapes from the stone. Therefore air stones aren’t necessarily required to run an aquarium, however they’re great addition not only in terms of aeration, but also as a decoration.

Air stones don’t have to produce bubbles 24/7 because they are usually capable of producing enough bubbles/waves to increase levels of oxygen to a reasonable amount even if they're turned on only 10-12 hours a day. Additionally many air pumps are too loud and they have to be monitored on a regular basis because many of them use to “dance” on a surface. A good indicator of low oxygen level is to watch your fish whether they stay close to the surface and try to breathe atmospheric air – if this doesn’t occur, level of oxygen in your fish tank is satisfactory.

Bear in mind that ideal position for an air stone is at the bottom of a fish tank, close to substrate (never bury this device into the substrate!!!). All air pumps have to be placed outside of an aquarium, moreover the pump should be placed somewhere above surface level. This measure is crucial to disallow backstroke in case of electricity outage, as water would flow into the pump if air stone was placed even 1 inch (2.54 cm) above pump.

As mentioned already, an air stone cannot produce any bubbles without air pump. Aquarists often come to aqua-fish.net asking why their air stones don't produce any bubbles, so let's clarify basic knowledge:

  • If the stone or decoration is small, the air pump doesn´t have to be powerful and bubbles will come out only from a small area.
  • If you connect a large air stone to a small pump, the bubbles will be produced at the front of the stone.
  • Basically it is recommended to use big air stones in case you own powerful air pumps. Large stones are known to produce nice bubble walls. You have to install these in back stages of your fish tank.
  • Powerful pumps and small stones don’t get along well. Such combination will result in big bubbles which cause turbulent water surface; Some fish species dislike these conditions. Especially fish which build bubble nests need calm water surface, only then they can breed successfully. Another attention should be paid when you’re deciding for depth where the device is being installed at. If you put it at deep levels, then small bubbles at the bottom may turn into very big bubbles on the surface.
  • One air pump can contain more than one outlet, you will need several air stones if you purchased such a pump.
  • Output of air pumps is measured as “liter (gallon) per minute”, wattage isn't that important. Pond pumps can produce 50 liters (12 US gallons, 11 Imperial gallon) per minute, however satisfactory output of air pumps for fish tanks can be only 2 liters (0.52 US gallon, 0.43 Imperial gallon) per minute.

Correctly setup aquarium air stone, pump and airline Incorrectly setup aquarium air stone, pump and airline

Placement in a fish tank - Aerating through aquarium ornaments?

As mentioned above, ideal position for an air stone is bottom, somewhere in the background or behind plants. This is not valid for breeding tanks where surface has to be affected minimally, thus place your air stone close to the surface as much as possible! It doesn’t matter whether you raise bubble-nest builders, egg layers or livebearers, water in a breeding tank should be relatively still.

Depending on length of the stone you can setup bubble walls or you can even attach the airline to decorations that are designed for aeration purposes – they replace air stones as they're porous and more attractive than simple stones. There are caves, shells, pirates, chests, sunk ships and similar ornaments that can be used for aeration. Bear in mind that you cannot simply put the airline into any cave since it would produce big bubbles which are noisy and often disturb fish – a decoration designed purely for aeration is labeled as “decoration aerator” or similarly.

Most air stones will need pre-soaking before they work effectively, leave them in a container of water for approximately 10 minutes before using them in the tank so that they will produce bubbles straight away.

Sizes and shapes

The most common shape of this device is roll, however you can find it also as a globe or disc, even cube. The roll shape can exist in many sizes and colours. The sizes vary from an about 3 cm (1 inch) and 1 cm in diameter to more than 1,5 meter (almost 5 feet) long. Generally speaking longest air stones are usually flexible and not very robust. Additionally there are pond aerators, these are usually too big and too powerful to be installed in a fish tank.

Why is it necessary to aerate the water?

Fish, just like humans, need to breathe the air in order to survive. Even some fish are capable of breathing atmospheric air (Betta fish, Gouramis, Pleco's with primitive lungs, and so on), most fish require a certain level of oxygen in their fish tanks, otherwise they'll spend most of their time close to the surface where level of oxygen uses to be high. Aeration can be secured through several methods, fish keepers may choose one or more of them to be used altogether:

  • Filtration – Waves
  • Air stones/aerating decorations – Waves
  • Open-top aquariums

Bear in mind that it's wise to double secure aeration if you're going on holiday. If a filter becomes clogged up with debris, air stone will still produce enough movement of water to aerate the tank sufficiently.

Moreover many medications that are added to the tank for treating fish with diseases or other problems will reduce the oxygen levels in the water, while medication is being used it is best to run an air stone to keep the oxygen levels at a high enough level for the fish.

Pictures

2 pictures below show an aquarium air pump connected to stones via hose.

Aquarium air pump and stone, picture 1 Aquarium air pump and stone, picture 2

Feel free to visit Air Stones for Aquariums at firsttankguide.net too!

Questions and answers

As you can see below the sponsored links, visitors of aqua-fish.net are welcome to submit questions or share own experience. In this manner we've collected questions and answered them at aqua-fish.net/answers, and later we decided to merge all answers with related articles; That's why you can find answers below. Some of the answers may have been answered partially in the article above or in the comments published before March 19th 2011.

  • Why do we need an air stone in an aquarium?

    Answer: Oxygen levels in the aquarium water need to be maintained at a level which is high enough for the fish to absorb through their gills. If it drops too low then the fish can actually “drown” due to lack of oxygen.

  • What is the difference between sizes of air stones?

    Answer: Bigger air stones can produce more bubbles and they're used for powerful air pumps. Small air stone will not go well with a strong air pump. And vice-versa, a big air stone will not be effective with an air pump of low output.

  • When to use air stones in aquariums?

    Answer: If filters aren't capable to aerate the water enough. Sometimes air stones are used for decorative purposes.

  • Why do air stones crumble?

    Answer: Nothing in life lasts forever, if an air stone has been in use for a period of time it will start to disintegrate as the air flow dislodges particles from it.

  • Why does my new air stone only produce bubbles in one place instead of the whole stone?

    Answer: This is a common problem with new air stones and it is normally caused by trapped dust in the stone or debris. I normally soak the stone for an hour before connecting it to the air line to prevent this occurring.

  • What is an air stone?

    Answer: An air stone is a device that when connected by plastic tubing to an air pump and placed in an aquarium will release tiny bubbles that helps to aerate and circulate the water.

  • What size of air stone do I need to use in my tank?

    Answer: The size of the air stone will only govern the extent of the air bubbles being released into the water. A small air stone will produce a single stream of bubbles to the surface; larger stones that are longer can be laid flat to produce a curtain of bubbles up to the surface.

  • Where do you put an air stone in an aquarium?

    Answer: Generally one would attach an airline to an air stone, submerge the air stone into the aquarium where it creates the desired effect (bubbles). The other end of the airline is attached to the air pump. The air pump should be placed above and away from the aquarium so that it does not back flow (siphon) water back into the pump causing damage. Check valves are available at your pet centre that add additional protection.

Suppliers of aquarium airstones

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