We’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.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump Accessories with Air Stones||
|Best Value||CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones||
|Premium Choice||Hygger Aquarium Air Stone||
|VIVOSUN Air Stone||
|Waycreat 4 Inch Air Stone Bar||
The 8 Best Airstones for Aquariums – Reviews 2021
1. Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump Accessories with Air Stones – Best Overall
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.
2. CO RODE Aquarium Aerator Air Stones – Best Value
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.
3. Hygger Aquarium Air Stone – Premium Choice
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.
4. VIVOSUN 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.
5. Waycreat 4 Inch Air Stone Bar
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.
6. AQUANEAT 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.
7. Pawfly 4PCS Air Stone Bar
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.
8. AquaticHI Cylinder Air Stone
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.
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