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.

About The Author Don Roberts

comments (12)

  • I have 2 Bettas in very small bowls – less then 3/4 gallons.
    What can I use to make the water less stagnant?
    air stones etc.?
    or change water frequent?


  • Hi John

    Bettas actually live in somewhat stagnant water in the wild. Typically, they live in puddles. They are able to do this since they have a labyrinth organ that allows them to come to the surface and breathe air. Bettas also form bubble nests, which are groups of bubbles that sit at the top of the water, as well. If you are looking at the aquarium and seeing these bubbles, it is not due to stagnant water, but due to the betta forming bubble nests.

    Water changes should be done once a week at most. Air stones would require an air pump, and the only real benefit for what your setup would be aesthetics.

    If your water quality checks out as fine, your betta looks healthy, and your biggest concern is the bubbles forming at the top of the water, you should be fine. If you have any other concerns, please ask!

  • Is it having a ratio standard? I mean; the size of the fish tank defend of the number of the fish?

  • Hi Matthew

    Typically, you want to make sure you are not overstocking your aquarium. That means you need to take the aquarium size in consideration when you figure out what you are putting in it. For example, a Discus cannot got in a 5 gallon tank. The same thing applies for groups of Tetras or other community fish – they need room to move around, so you need to figure out how much swimming space each fish needs vs the size of your aquarium in order to determine how many fish to put in the aquarium.

    I hope that helps!

  • Hey everyone i was just wondering if i should use an air stone in my 30 gal. Tank. I just put sand in and its very cloudy. Should i turn my airstone off to prevent stiring of the sand? There are no fish yet just really cloudy milky water. Any help would be so helpful. P.s. i did wash the sand but never got the water clear.

  • Hi Andrew –
    It is very common for an aquarium, when first set up, to be extremely cloudy for even as long as an entire week. It really depends on the filter system you are using as to how quickly it will clear up. I would say turn the air stone off for now, wait for the water to clear up, and then try turning the air stone on again after the aquarium is clear. That way, you will know if the air stone causes enough of the sand to be kicked up to cloud the water. I am betting that once your aquarium has settled, and after you have done a couple of water changes in the coming weeks, that if you were to turn on the air stone, it won’t make your aquarium cloudy at all.

    Please let us know if you have any additional questions!

  • Hi!

    I am new here and would like to ask if there are ways where I can get the bubbled of my powerhead finer? Like the ones produce by bubble wands? Is there a way I can regulate the output of water.and bubbles in my aquarium? Thank you in advance 🙂

  • Hi Evita –

    Is your powerhead made to aerate the aquarium, such as the AquaClear Powerhead? Otherwise, your powerhead should not be emitting bubbles. And, if you are using an aerating powerhead, there is not really a way to adjust bubble size that we are aware of. You would have to use bubble wands or air stones for a finer bubble.

    I hope that helps!
    Thanks –

  • How do I change the color on my led airstone from pet solutions??? There are no buttons to be found. Thank you.

  • Hi Charlie – We have a few different LED wands in stock. If you can email petinfo@petsolutions.com or call 800-737-3868 with the name, manufacturer, and potentially the item number, it would really help in identifying what product you are referring to.


  • Hi. My little son has 3 boggled eye fish in his tank they have been with us roughly 16 months . Yet the other day they were all floating on the surface . I thought they were dead buy could see them trying to breath I quickly changed the water . Hoping they would recover and they did . How can I stop this happening again. Pet shop said it can be the warm weather

    • Without knowing all of the details I can’t give an ideal response, but if they were gasping at the surface of the water then the water likely wasn’t oxygen saturated enough. A filter system rated for the appropriate size aquarium to turn the water over and oxygenate it helps, or an air stone with an air pump to help provide turbulence at the water surface for oxygen exchange.

comments (12)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>