airstoneWe’ve all seen the aquarium airstones or bubblers that look like treasure chests or clamshells that open and close, or floating divers being blown around in the water. They’re a lot of fun to look at, but did you know that aquarium airstones have an actual purpose in the tank?

Airstones and bubblers are extremely important to the health of your aquarium. They add dissolved oxygen into the water, which means there’s more oxygen in the water for your fish to breathe. They also provide movement and steady currents that some fish like to play in. Filter feeders like bamboo shrimp can be seen sitting in the flow of airstones, using the current to catch particles in the water.

There are tons of air stones and bubblers on the market, which can make it hard to choose one. They can be hidden under gravel or sand or they can be put underneath aquarium ornaments. They allow for a lot of creativity within your aquarium.  We’ve reviewed the 8 best aquarium airstones to narrow the search for you.divider1- goldfish

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump Accessories with Air Stones Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump Accessories with Air Stones
  • Two airstones included
  • 3 tubing lengths available
  • Great fit for small aquariums
  • Best Value
    Second place
    CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones
  • Best value
  • 10 airstones included
  • Great fit for small aquariums
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Hygger Aquarium Air Stone Hygger Aquarium Air Stone
  • Available in two sizes
  • Made to last up to 3 years
  • Great fit for medium and large tanks
  • VIVOSUN Air Stone VIVOSUN Air Stone
  • Two airstones included
  • Can be used outdoors in ponds
  • Can be used to create bubble wall
  • Waycreat 4 Inch Air Stone Bar Waycreat 4 Inch Air Stone Bar
  • Cost-effective
  • Brightly colored
  • Good for bubble walls
  • The 8 Best Airstones for Aquariums – Reviews 2021

    1. Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump Accessories with Air Stones – Best Overall1Pawfly7-25 Feet Airline Tubing Standard Aquarium

     

    The Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump Accessories is the best overall aquarium airstone because this kit includes everything you need to get set up except an air pump. The best part is that all of the parts are made to fit together, so there’s no guessing on airline tubing sizing or finding connectors that fit.

    This kit includes two cylindrical airstones that measure 1.2 inches each. These airstones are a great fit for small aquariums and the kit fits with most pumps. It also includes 6 suction cups, 2 check valves, 2 t-connectors, and 2 straight connectors. The check valves will help prevent backflow, which allows you to place the air pump below the level of the airstones without the risk of water flooding your air pump. This kit can be purchased with 7 feet, 13 feet, or 25 feet of standard clear airline tubing.

    The suction cups and airline tubing in this kit may arrive with a strong chemical smell, but they can be soaked in warm water or dipped in a bleach or vinegar solution to help eliminate this smell.

    Pros
    • Includes all needed equipment except air pump
    • Two airstones included
    • 3 tubing lengths available
    • Great fit for small aquariums
    Cons
    • Airstones are only 1.2 inches
    • Some parts may have strong chemical smell

    2. CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones – Best Value2CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones Fish Tank

     

    The best airstone for aquariums for the money is the CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones set. This set includes 10 cylindrical airstones that measure just under 1.2 inches each.

    These airstones fit standard 3/16-inch airline tubing. These stones create lots of fine air bubbles and are a great size for small and nano aquariums. The number of airstones in this pack could last your aquarium several years with proper cleaning and maintenance. These stones are not prone to clogs and will need little more than a quick scrub with a toothbrush from time to time.

    Since these airstones produce fine bubbles, they may need a powerful or adjustable output air pump to produce enough pressure for bubbling. These airstones may break down faster than higher-quality products, but the number of products for the price makes up for this.

    Pros
    • Best value
    • 10 airstones included
    • Great fit for small aquariums
    • Not prone to clogs
    Cons
    • Airstones are just under 1.2 inches
    • Need powerful or adjustable output air pump
    • May break down faster than some other products

    3. Hygger Aquarium Air Stone – Premium Choice3Hygger Aquarium Air Stone

     

    The premium choice for aquarium airstones is the Hygger Aquarium Airstone because it’s a higher price than some other products, but it’s also high-quality and effective. This airstone is flat and circular, available in 2-inch and 4-inch diameter options. The airstone sits inside of a plastic frame. The tubing connector points upward, allowing this airstone to sit flat in the tank.

    This airstone is part of a kit that includes a control valve, 2 suction cups, a check valve, a t-connector, and a reducer connector. The check valve prevents backflow to the air pump and the control valve and reducer both allow for control of air output. This airstone is weighted to allow it to sit flat without needing to be weighed down. It produces a large, round area of fine air bubbles and is made to last up to 3 years.

    The size of this airstone makes it a great choice for medium and large tanks, but it may produce too much bubbling for a small or nano tank. This stone is a great environment for algae buildup, so it needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent clogs.

    Pros
    • Available in two sizes
    • Tubing connector points upward so stone can sit flat
    • Includes everything needed except airline tubing and air pump
    • Made to last up to 3 years
    • Great fit for medium and large tanks
    Cons
    • Needs powerful output air pump
    • Premium price
    • Not good option for small tanks
    • Needs regular cleaning to prevent clogs

    4. VIVOSUN Air Stone4VIVOSUN Air Stone

     

    The VIVOSUN Air Stone comes with two large airstones. These stones measure 4 inches in height and 2 inches around, making these a great option for medium and large tanks and hydroponics and aquaponics systems.

    These airstones are made to be used with standard airline tubing. Due to their size, they should be used with air pumps 4-8w. Nano pumps will not work effectively with these airstones. These produce large bubbles, which make them good for large fish but not a good fit for tanks with small fish or fish that prefer low currents, like bettas. These stones can be used in outdoor pond setups.

    These airstones may need epoxy added around the tubing connector do prevent air leakage around the top part of the stones. These stones need to be soaked for 2-4 hours before adding to the tank to ensure they have proper airflow. These can be laid on their side to create a bubble wall.

    Pros
    • Two airstones included
    • Great fit for medium and large aquariums and hydroponics systems
    • Can be used to create bubble wall
    • Great fit for large fish and fish that prefer high flow
    • Can be used outdoors in ponds
    Cons
    • Not good option for small tanks
    • Needs powerful output air pump
    • Not good option for small fish or fish that prefer low flow
    • May need epoxy added around tubing connector
    • Need to be soaked for 2-4 hours to ensure proper flow

    5. Waycreat 4 Inch Air Stone Bar5Waycreat 4 Inch Air Stone Bar Bubble Diffuser

     

    The Waycreat 4 Inch Air Stone Bar is a brightly colored, cost-effective aquarium airstone option. These bars measure 4 inches in length and the airstone itself sits inside of a plastic frame.

    There are 6 airstones included in this package. The airstones are blue and the plastic framing is green, making these a colorful pick if you want a visible airstone in your aquarium. These airstones produce a strip of fine bubbles, making them great for bubble walls and fish with low flow preferences. The size of these means they can be used in small and large aquariums and also are good for aquaponics and hydroponics.

    The back of these airstones is covered with the plastic frame, so bubbles can only come out of the top, which means these are easily clogged and not a great option for a vertical orientation. These airstones are easily broken if you attempt to remove them from the airline tubing once connected. While these are made to produce fine bubbles, there are often a couple in a pack that produce larger bubbles.

    Pros
    • Cost-effective
    • Six airstones included
    • Fit many sizes of aquariums, aquaponics, and hydroponics setups
    • Good for bubble walls
    • Brightly colored
    Cons
    • Bubbles only come out of one side
    • Easily clogged
    • Easily broken
    • Some may produce larger bubbles
    • Needs regular cleaning to prevent clogs

    6. AQUANEAT 4 Pack Air Stone6QUANEAT 4 Pack Air Stone

     

    The AQUANEAT 4 Pack Air Stone includes four flat, disc-shaped airstones. These airstones measure 1.5 inches in diameter.

    These airstones are made to be used with standard airline tubing and their flat design makes them easy to hide underneath aquarium substrate. They are also a good size and shape to be used inside of bubbler ornaments. These are best for small aquariums and ornaments, but can also be used in ponds, hydroponics, and aquaponics. These can be used vertically or horizontally, and bubbles can come out of both sides.

    These stones should be soaked for at least two hours before use to get full functionality. These need to be cleaned regularly with a brush or they will easily become clogged within a few weeks. These airstones usually only last for around a year before they need replacement, even with routine cleaning. These also can break easily with rough handling.

    Pros
    • Four airstones included
    • Easy to hide underneath substrate
    • Good for small tanks and bubblers
    • Can be used in ponds, hydroponics, and aquaponics
    • Can be used vertically or horizontally
    Cons
    • Not good option for medium and large tanks
    • Need to be soaked at least 2 hours before use
    • Need regular cleaning to prevent clogs
    • Only last for about a year
    • Break easily

    7. Pawfly 4PCS Air Stone Bar7Pawfly 4PCS Air Stone Bar 4 Inch Bubble Release

     

    The Pawfly 4PCS Air Stone Bar kit includes four airstones that are available in two color and shape options. The blue airstones situated in a green plastic frame measure 4.5 inches in length. The white airstones are not in plastic framing and measure 4 inches in length.

    These airstones are made to be used with standard airline tubing and the manufacturer recommends using a small air pump of at least 2w with these stones. These airstones produce medium-sized bubbles, so the bubbles may be too large, or the flow may be too strong for some fish. These can be used in ponds, aquaponics, and hydroponics setups as well.

    These airstones should be soaked for at least an hour before use and need routine cleaning to prevent clogs. These will break easily with rough handling and may be difficult to remove from the airline tubing without breaking them. Even though these are long, they are best used in small tanks due to the low power air pump that’s needed for them.

    Pros
    • Four airstones included
    • Available in two color and shape options
    • Produce medium-sized bubbles
    • Can be used in small tanks, ponds, aquaponics, and hydroponics setups
    Cons
    • Need to be soaked for at least an hour before use
    • Need routine cleaning to prevent clogs
    • Will break easily with rough handling
    • Not a good option for medium and large tanks

    8. AquaticHI Cylinder Air Stone8AquaticHI 2 Pack Large

     

    The AquaticHI Cylinder Air Stone is a two-pack of tall, cylindrical airstones. They are grey-colored and measure 4 inches in height and about 2 inches in diameter.

    These airstones can be used horizontally or vertically and produce fine bubbles. These are best used in medium or large tanks but can also be used in ponds and other setups. They are made to be used with standard airline tubing. These airstones only need to be soaked for around 5 minutes prior to use. With proper cleaning, these stones are made to last longer than some others. These airstones produce fine bubbles.

    The size and shape of these airstones makes them difficult to hide underneath substrate or aquarium ornaments. These airstones should be cleaned routinely to prevent clogs. The manufacturer recommends a pump that produces at least 4w for use with these airstones.

    Pros
    • Two airstones included
    • Good option for large tanks, ponds, aquaponics, and hydroponics setups
    • Only require 5 minutes of soaking prior to use
    • Made to last with proper cleaning
    Cons
    • Difficult to hide under substrate or ornaments
    • Need routine cleaning to prevent clogs
    • Not a good option for small and nano tanks
    • Require a pump that produces at least 4w

    Buyer’s Guide

    Airstone Shape Options:
    • Disc: Disc-shaped airstones are a great option for hiding underneath your aquarium substrate. They are also the perfect shape, and often the perfect size, to be settled underneath aquarium ornaments to create bubble effects.
    • Sphere: Spheres are one of the least common airstone shapes because they are difficult to hide. They can be used inside of bubbler ornaments, though. One of the benefits of spherical airstones is that they usually are able to produce bubbles from all around instead of just one or two sides, increasing the bubble output.
    • Dome: Dome-shaped airstones are generally seated on a plastic base that allows them to sit flat on the bottom of the tank. They are good for creating a large, concentrated area of bubbles and some of them can be hidden beneath the substrate. They are not a good option for hiding in ornaments or creating bubble walls.
    • Bar: One of the most common airstone shapes, bar-shaped airstones are a great pick for creating bubble walls or bubble “veils” to hide unsightly aquarium equipment. The shape makes them easy to hide underneath substrate. Many bar-shaped airstones can also be used vertically oriented.
    • Cylinder: Another common airstone shape, cylindrical airstones are a nice option for small and nano tanks because small cylinders will create fine, gentle bubbles that do not overtake smaller tanks. Larger cylinders are good for larger tanks and ponds, as well as aquaponics and hydroponics setups. Cylindrical airstones are difficult to hide but may be able to fit inside of some aquarium ornaments to create bubble effects.
    • Novelty: The most common novelty airstone shape is turtles, but they are also available in clams and many other shapes. These airstones are a good option if you do not have substrate or if you do not intend to attempt to hide the airstone.
    Tips When Choosing Airstones for Your Aquarium:
    • Choose an airstone that will produce bubbles that are not too large or rough for the fish or plants in your tank. Sensitive fish, fry, or fish that prefer slow currents will appreciate airstones that produce gentle, fine bubbles.
    • Pick an airstone shape and size that is appropriate for the size of your aquarium. A 4-inch long airstone likely won’t be a very good fit for a nano aquarium unless the intent is to create a background bubble wall. Larger airstones will help create more efficient oxygenation in large tanks.
    • Decide what you want your airstone to look like before you buy one. If you intend to hide your airstone within an aquarium bubbler ornament, then you will need one that is the right size and shape to be able to hide it underneath the ornament. If you want a bubble wall, then you’ll want to choose longer, narrower airstones.
    • Check the air pump requirements on the airstones you decide to purchase so you can ensure that you have an appropriately powered pump. Some airstones will not function correctly with pumps that produce too little power for their requirements.
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    Conclusion

    There are tons of airstones on the market in all shapes and sizes, so use these reviews to help you narrow down the product types you’re interested in for your aquarium and then choose from there.

    The best overall airstone for aquariums is Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump Accessories with Airstones because the kit includes everything you need to get started, with the exception of an air pump. The best value product is the CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones because of the great price for a great product. The best premium aquarium airstone product is the Hygger Aquarium Air Stone, which is worth the higher cost for the high-quality and functional item you receive.

    Choosing an airstone for your aquarium should be one of the easiest items you have to choose! Hopefully, we’ve made this decision easier for you by helping you narrow down your search to these great products!


    Featured image credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer, Flickr