Ever since the early days of aquarium keeping, hobbyists have been using air pumps and air stones to introduce oxygen into the water. It may seem that the oxygen would enter via the multitude of air bubbles, but actually most of the oxygen enters at the surface of the aquarium water and the air stones help by bringing up a column of water with the bubbles and turning it over from the bottom to the top of the water. The air stones also help prevent stagnant areas from developing where the water may become oxygen deficient.
The options for types of air stones to use are almost endless. The “stone” type air stones are available as a 1 inch to 10 inch long stone, or as 3 to 5 inch oval discs. These stones are usually good for 2-3 months and can sometimes be rejuvenated by soaking them in bleach to remove the algae and bacterial slime that clogs the pores of the air stone. There are “wand” style air diffusers from 14 to 48 inches long. There are also flexible/bendable bubble-walls from 15 to 60 inches long. Obviously the longer the bubble wand, the more air pressure and air volume will be needed to create a mist of bubbles the entire length of the wand. Most wands include suction cups to hold them in place, while others are heavy enough to sink on their own. The wands can produce a “reverse waterfall” effect to disguise the back of the aquarium in addition to helping aerate the water. The flexible bubble wands allow you to weave them in and out of rocks and driftwood to set up a very unique design.
The latest innovation in bubble wands includes the use of LED lighting to add an accent of color to the bubble stream rising from the bubble wand. The LED lighting is offered as a solid color (White, Red, Green or Blue) or color changing LED’s that rotate through the various colors. The effect of the LED lighting on the air bubbles can be quite striking, adding a splash of color to the aquarium décor and to make a nice night light. With standard style air stones, you can add this LED lighting with the use of submersible Aqua Color spot lights.