Where to Place Air Stone in Aquarium?

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If you are new to fishkeeping, air stones might puzzle you a bit. These are nothing but aquarium bubblers that gradually diffuse air into the tank, eliminating the noise and large bubbles produced by conventional air filtration systems.

This aquarium piece is merely limewood or porous stone that offers several other benefits to your tank fish. You can buy your Air stone in different shapes, sizes, and levels of coarseness.

Air stones circulate the air around your fish tank by producing tiny oxygen bubbles. These bubbles can fill your fish tank with oxygen and promote water circulation by within the aquarium. This is essential for preventing a stale environment and preserving water quality.

Why Should You Use an Air Stone in Aquarium?

Getting an air stone for your tank can prove beneficial in several ways. An air stone works alongside your fish tank pump and ensures ideal water conditions for its occupants by distributing oxygen-rich air bubbles.

Some fish like to dwell at the bottom of your tank. In such cases, your tank’s lower part may suffer from poor oxygen levels. The air stone improves the oxygen content in the tank water, prevents the toxic waste buildup, and prevents your water from getting cloudy. Here are a few other benefits of getting an air stone for your home aquarium:

– Helps In Gas Exchange

Your aquarium setup is nothing but a small stuffy room for your fish. It is a close environment where dangerous chemicals will build up with time, since there is no real gas circulation.

It is pivotal that you aerate the tank well from time to time, as the dissolved gases get exchanged rapidly. For starters, the water may contain dissolved gases at the bottom of your tank as there is not much water movement in that area.

Fish and other aquarium organisms can produce gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen. An air stone promotes water circulation, helps release the unwanted gases into the atmosphere, and creates oxygen-rich air bubbles in different layers of your aquarium water.

– Promotes Healthy Physical Activity

Regardless of the size of your aquarium, fish, in general, can feel restricted and may not have enough room for swimming. Air stones can improve water circulation in small aquariums, providing a great opportunity for physical activity to boost the fish’s growth and muscle development.

The water circulation can also create a bit of resistance, which is particularly beneficial for more active fish species that like to swim a lot. Lazier species can do just fine in a more peaceful setting, although air stones will benefit them as well. Optimal water oxygenation is always a welcoming feature to have in your tank.

– Better Filtration

The air stone pumps more oxygen into the tank, improving the effectiveness of the tank’s biological filtration system. Consistent water movement prevents the toxic wastes from settling at the bottom of your aquarium.

An air stone can prevent your water from getting cloudy, retaining the chemical balance and keeping your fish safe and comfortable. More importantly, it can reduce your burden and save you time and effort by reducing the need for frequent tank maintenance.

Despite that, you shouldn’t rely on your air stone and filtration system to carry all the weight of the system. Maintenance work, including weekly partial water changes, are necessary to preserve the system’s stability and prevent dangerous ammonia buildup.

You can get an air stone for less than $10 and these are durable and long-lasting. They add to the beauty, stability, and charm of any fish tank. They will also reduce the noise created by your aquarium and provide you and your fish with a more pleasant ambiance.

Do You Bury Air Stone in Substrate?

I advise against burying your air stone, especially if you have a sandy substrate. The bubbles may stir away the sand, filling the water with particles and breaking the esthetics. However, you can bury them in gravel or underneath rocks to create a more natural bubbly spectacle.

You can also hold them at the bottom of your tank using stone or gravel, without having to bury them. Make sure you place a rock or two on the tubing to keep it at the bottom of your tank.

How do You Keep Air Stone on the Bottom?

You can install your air stone using suction cups, unclogging the air stone, or reducing pump pressure as such:

– Adjust Air Pressure

The pressure from the pump will determine the number of bubbles diffusing in the tank. You may see fewer bubbles releasing if the water pressure is too high.

A bleed valve can decrease the excess air pressure and keep the air stone down. Bleed valves redirect airflow, reduce the backpressure of the pump, and cause a moderate amount of air bubbles to flow from the air stone.

– Unclog the Air stone

Air stones contain millions of tiny pores, which will emit oxygen bubbles into your tank. Air stones, in general, can wear out within six weeks of use. Bacteria, algae, debris, and calcium can accumulate on these pores over time, reducing the air stone’s effectiveness.

The waste buildup within the pores can cause the bubbles to get trapped inside and make the air stone float on the surface. You can unclog the pores by bleach and washing them once every 5 – 6 weeks.

– Use Mini Suction Cups

Another efficient way to place your air stone in an aquarium is to use mini suction cups to hold the tube to the wall. It is an easy method to keep your air stone from floating. Attach two cups to the tubing, one at the surface and the other at the bottom, and the suction cups will hold the air stone to the wall.

The suction cups can keep the tube at the bottom and keep your air stone stationary at the bottom.

If you cannot find a suction cup or bleed valve near you, use rocks/stones to hold the air stone at the bottom. However, using rocks may not work as well as suction cups. Also, it can be a challenge to find a heavy rock that can hold the air stone at the bottom of your tank but not too heavy that it restricts the airflow inside.

Where To Place The Air Stone?

An air stone must remain at the bottom of a fish tank, closer to the substrate. It may be a wiser choice not to bury it into the substrate. Make sure to place your air stone in places with low water movement and still water areas to help in the circulation of the region.

Placing the air stone in areas with less water movement can bring more oxygen and remove possible debris stuck in the lower parts of your tank.

How Do You Clean The Air Stone?

Keeping an air stone clean is critical to keeping your fish healthy and the water in the best condition. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your air stone:

  • Step 1 – Wash the air stone in clean water, use a brush to remove any surface debris, and allow it to dry for at least 15 minutes. Now, place the air stone in boiling water for another 15 minutes. Remove the air stone from the hot water after 15 minutes and allow it to dry.
  • Step 2 – Prepare a solution with one part bleach and three parts water. Immerse the Air stone into the solution and allow it to soak for at least 8 to 12 hours. The bleach will clean and purify the stone, unclogging all of the pores and improving the stone’s effects.
  • Step 3 – Remove the air stone from the bleach solution, connect it to the air pump and place it in a bucket filled with clean water. Now, turn on the air pump and allow it to run for at least 10 minutes.

Finally, remove the air stone from the pump and set it aside to dry for about 12 hours. Place it back into your tank after it has fully dried out.


Now that you know everything about air stones, it is time to get one for your tank. These can prove beneficial to your fish and the environment, allowing all tank residents to lead long, healthy, and active lives.

Air stones can also save you time and effort, decreasing the need for too frequent tank cleaning sessions. Invest in a good quality air stone to keep your fish safe and happy.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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