Best Aquarium Air Stones Keep Your Tank Water Circulating and Oxygenated (2021 Review)

The best air stones will help oxygenate your aquarium, improve water circulation, and help create a healthy environment for your aquatic buddies.

The bubbles are also fun.

In this guide, I’ll run you through a few benefits of adding an air stone, and then I’ll share with you reviews for the aquarium best air stones for different sized tanks.

Quick Overview: Top Picks For Air Stones

After testing all the air stones, I was impressed with every one. However, some are better for specific situations:

  • Lee’s Discard air stone is best if you need to add it inside a filter or a tight space
  • Pawfly air stones are best for improving water circulation in tanks under 20 gallons
  • Hygger air stone is best if you need to place away from a wall in a tank 20-55 gallons
  • UPETTOOLS air stone is best for blending into the background (20-55 gallon tanks)
  • Windbells air stone is ideal for 55 gallons and up, has a great design and attractive to look at
  • Quickrun air stones are best suited to aquaponics, water gardens or small ponds.
Preview Product
Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stones Cylinder 12 PCS Bubble Diffuser Airstones for Aquarium Fish Tank Pump Blue Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stones Cylinder 12 PCS Bubble Diffuser Airstones for Aquarium Fish Tank Pump Blue
Lee's Pet Products ALE12521 6-Pack Discard a Stone Disposable Air Diffuser for Aquarium Pump, Fine Lee's Pet Products ALE12521 6-Pack Discard a Stone Disposable Air Diffuser for Aquarium Pump, Fine
hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen Diffuser Kit for Aquarium Fish Tank and Hydroponic (Black, 2 Inch) hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen...
UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone Fish Tank Nano Bubble Stone Kit with Control Valve Quiet Super-High Dissolved Oxygen Diffuser Makes Super Tiny Bubbles for Fish Tank and Hydroponic UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone Fish Tank Nano Bubble Stone Kit with Control Valve Quiet Super-High...
NEPTONION air Stone Disc Aquarium Fish Tank Bubbler with Control Valve Oxygen Diffuser for Hydroponics (Air Pump and Pipe not Included) NEPTONION air Stone Disc Aquarium Fish Tank Bubbler with Control Valve Oxygen Diffuser for...
Quickun 4 Inch Updated Crazy Air Disc Stone Cylinder Bubbler Plus Diffuser Aquarium Fish Tank Hydroponics Pump Airstones Diffuser 3/16' 5/16' Hose ID, Pack of 2 Quickun 4 Inch Updated Crazy Air Disc Stone Cylinder Bubbler Plus Diffuser Aquarium Fish Tank...

Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Benefits of Using an Air Stone in Your Aquarium

So, do you absolutely need an airstone for your aquarium?

The short answer?

Nope, you can probably get along without one.

But, they do have a lot of benefits:

  • Increased water circulation in the tank. This cuts down on dead spots which helps fight things like blue green algae.
  • Increased oxygen levels in the water. Always a good thing.
  • Just plain looks cool.

OK that last one maybe isn’t the most scientific reason to add an air stone, but it’s still true.

I really like the look of bubbles from an air stone. I like it so much that I have at least one air stone in all of my tanks.

Anything that looks cool and helps make the tank healthier is a winner in my book.

Always place an aquarium check valve on your airline tubing somewhere in between your air stone and your air pump. This will prevent water from back flowing into your pump and ruining it if the power goes out or the pump gets unplugged.

uxcell Fish Tank Aquarium Red Clear Plastic Air Pump Check Valves 5 Pcs
uxcell Fish Tank Aquarium Red Clear Plastic Air Pump Check Valves 5 Pcs

    Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    How I Tested & Reviewed The Air Stones

    Aquarium air stones

    Each air stone was unboxed and left to soak for about 5 hours before we tried them out.

    Then the air stones were connected to an air pump and allowed to run in one of my 36 gallon bowfront tanks.

    All of the air stones in this article were connected to a SunSun YT-302C air pump that’s rated for up to a 60 gallon tank. A less powerful pump may struggle to push air through the entire surface of the larger air stones in this article.

    6 Best Air Stones for Aquariums Reviewed

    Use the following reviews to help guide you to making an informed buying decision:

    Air stones may not work properly if they are not soaked ahead of time. Each air stone in this article was soaked for 5 hours before it was hooked up to an air pump. Please, refer to the manufacturers recommendations for how long you should soak a new air stone.

    Best Small Air Stone Reviews (For Tanks Under 20 gallons)

    The stones in this category will work in smaller aquariums or in air driven filters, like sponge filters.

    1. Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stones

    These Pawfly air stones are the simple, old school blue air stones that have been around for roughly a million years in the aquarium hobby.

    They’re a great way to add some interest to your tank and increase water flow.

    My biggest gripe about these air stones is that they immediately float to the surface when you turn the air on. 

    To keep them in place, your best bet is to run the airline hose through some holders with suction cups. 

    But, once secure, these are great little econo air stones.

    Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stones Cylinder 12 PCS Bubble Diffuser Airstones for Aquarium Fish Tank Pump Blue
    Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stones Cylinder 12 PCS Bubble Diffuser Airstones for Aquarium Fish Tank Pump Blue

      Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      2. Lee’s Discard a Stone

      I think the Lee’s air stones are best suited to applications like diffusing the air going through a sponge or corner filter. 

      These stones are the best for this because they’re slimmer and fit inside the filters more easily.

      Sponge filters can be really noisy without a diffuser. The air stream that a pump puts out comes out as big bubbles. As the bubbles break the water’s surface, they make the loud “blub, blub, blub” noise I was talking about earlier in the article.

      Believe me, it’s super annoying.

      But, if you add a Lee’s stone, it will diffuse the air stream and greatly cut down on the noise from the filter.

      You can use them like a regular air stone if you want, especially in smaller tanks. I usually prefer the larger blue ones, like the Pawfly, if I’m trying to add a bubble feature, but that’s purely subjective in this case.

      Lee's Pet Products ALE12521 6-Pack Discard a Stone Disposable Air Diffuser for Aquarium Pump, Fine
      Lee's Pet Products ALE12521 6-Pack Discard a Stone Disposable Air Diffuser for Aquarium Pump, Fine

        Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        Best Medium Air Stone Reviews (20-55 Gallon Aquarium)

        These medium air stones are great for tanks 20 gallons (76 liters) or larger. 

        3. Hygger Aquarium Air stone

        I really like this Hygger air stone. It’s made up of a white disc of air stone material, similar to the Lee’s Discard-a-Stone, that sits on a weighted base that keeps it in place. 

        I love the fact that I can put it anywhere in the tank and it just stays there.

        It puts out a cloud of super fine bubbles that look really awesome as they stream up to the surface. It’s pretty darn cool.

        hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen Diffuser Kit for Aquarium Fish Tank and Hydroponic (Black, 2 Inch)
        hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen Diffuser Kit for Aquarium Fish Tank and Hydroponic (Black, 2 Inch)

          Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          4. UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone

          This UPETTOOLS air stone is also awesome if you ask me. It’s another white disc air stone, but it sits on a base made from clear plastic that blends into the substrate.

          It shoots out a giant cloud of super fine bubbles that looks amazing.

          This stone does a great job of staying in place. The intake tube is made from clear, rigid plastic that has two small suction cups that you can attach to the wall of your tank.

          I really like this air stone, but it gets second place because the Hygger air stone will stay in place anywhere in the tank whereas the UPETTOOLS air stone needs to be right next to a wall.

          UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone Fish Tank Nano Bubble Stone Kit with Control Valve Quiet Super-High Dissolved Oxygen Diffuser Makes Super Tiny Bubbles for Fish Tank and Hydroponic
          UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone Fish Tank Nano Bubble Stone Kit with Control Valve Quiet Super-High Dissolved Oxygen Diffuser Makes Super Tiny Bubbles for Fish Tank and Hydroponic

            Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            Best Large Air Stone Reviews (Tank 55 Gallons+)

            These monster air stones are pretty massive. I would recommend these for tanks 55 gallons (208 liters) and larger. They’d also work well for a water garden, an aquaponics set up or even a pond.

            Also, please keep in mind, you need a powerful air pump if you want bubbles to come out of the entire surface of these huge air stones.

            5. Windbells Air Stone Disc

            I will admit, I did not truly appreciate how huge this thing was when I received it!

            This air stone is big, really big. It’s much larger than the palm of my hand. The white disc air stone is mounted on a white plastic base. The base is weighted so you can stick this air stone anywhere you want and it will stay put!

            But, I did note that the glue that secures the air stone to the base was put on sloppily. You can only notice it when you’ve got the air stone in your hand. I seriously doubt anyone would ever notice it while it’s in the tank, but I just thought I would give folks a heads up.

            This disc puts out a super fine column of bubbles that is just gorgeous.

            I like the design of this air stone better than the Quickun one. The base has an intake tube that points straight up. I just think that it looks nicer and makes placing the air stone in the tank with the airline attached a bit less awkward.

            NEPTONION air Stone Disc Aquarium Fish Tank Bubbler with Control Valve Oxygen Diffuser for Hydroponics (Air Pump and Pipe not Included)
            NEPTONION air Stone Disc Aquarium Fish Tank Bubbler with Control Valve Oxygen Diffuser for Hydroponics (Air Pump and Pipe not Included)

              Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              6. Quickun 7.8″ Updated Crazy Air Stone Disc 

              This Quickun air stone is pretty darn huge. Again, I was fairly shocked with how big it was when I unboxed it.

              You could use this air stone if you have a fairly large tank, probably at least 75 gallons (284 liters).

              It has a very simple design. It’s just a thick blue disc made of compressed aluminum oxide, a porous material that’s incredibly durable. You can use and clean this disc for years without it disintegrating.

              The air intake tube juts out of the rim of the disc. This is really my only gripe with this air stone. I wish the intake tube was a little elbow piece instead of being straight.

              The straight intake tube makes it a little more awkward to place this stone. But, once you get the stone where you want it, it will send up a huge column of fine bubbles. I had no problem with dead areas that didn’t produce bubbles.

              I just think that aesthetically, the Windbells air stone looks a bit better than this one and is more suited to being in a display tank than this Quickun one.

              But, the Quickun would be great for water garden or pond applications because it can stand up to repeated cleanings.

              Quickun 4 Inch Updated Crazy Air Disc Stone Cylinder Bubbler Plus Diffuser Aquarium Fish Tank Hydroponics Pump Airstones Diffuser 3/16' 5/16' Hose ID, Pack of 2
              Quickun 4 Inch Updated Crazy Air Disc Stone Cylinder Bubbler Plus Diffuser Aquarium Fish Tank Hydroponics Pump Airstones Diffuser 3/16" 5/16" Hose ID, Pack of 2

                Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                Which Air Stone is the Best?

                100 gallon (379 liter) tank, but they’re the perfect thing for putting inside a sponge filter so it’s not so noisy.

                The big Windbells air stone would blast all the water out of a 10 gallon (39 liter), but it’s perfect for a 75 gallon (284 liter) display tank.

                I would recommend using the Lee’s Discard air Stone for any application where you need to add an air stone inside a filter or any other tight spot.

                The Pawfly Stones are great for adding some circulation to smaller tanks, you’ll just need some airline hose holders with suction cups to keep it in place.

                I was really impressed with both the Hygger and the UPETTOOLS air stones. If you need to place the air stone away from the wall of the tank, I would recommend the Hygger. If you’re looking for a stone that will blend into the background, I think the UPETTOOLS is the best  choice.

                When it comes to the big ones, I liked the Windbells air stone much more than the Quickun. The Windbells stone had a better design as far as how the airline attached and it was more attractive to look at. 

                I think the Quickun is best suited to applications like aquaponics, water gardens or small ponds. It is super sturdy and will be able to withstand being cleaned over and over.

                So, which one is best depends on the size of your tank and what the application is. I was fairly impressed with all of the air stones I tested. It was fun trying all of these out.

                I hope you find this article helpful.

                I wish you and your fish the very best!

                Preview Product
                Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stones Cylinder 12 PCS Bubble Diffuser Airstones for Aquarium Fish Tank Pump Blue Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stones Cylinder 12 PCS Bubble Diffuser Airstones for Aquarium Fish Tank Pump Blue
                Lee's Pet Products ALE12521 6-Pack Discard a Stone Disposable Air Diffuser for Aquarium Pump, Fine Lee's Pet Products ALE12521 6-Pack Discard a Stone Disposable Air Diffuser for Aquarium Pump, Fine
                hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen Diffuser Kit for Aquarium Fish Tank and Hydroponic (Black, 2 Inch) hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen...
                UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone Fish Tank Nano Bubble Stone Kit with Control Valve Quiet Super-High Dissolved Oxygen Diffuser Makes Super Tiny Bubbles for Fish Tank and Hydroponic UPETTOOLS Aquarium Air Stone Fish Tank Nano Bubble Stone Kit with Control Valve Quiet Super-High...
                NEPTONION air Stone Disc Aquarium Fish Tank Bubbler with Control Valve Oxygen Diffuser for Hydroponics (Air Pump and Pipe not Included) NEPTONION air Stone Disc Aquarium Fish Tank Bubbler with Control Valve Oxygen Diffuser for...
                Quickun 4 Inch Updated Crazy Air Disc Stone Cylinder Bubbler Plus Diffuser Aquarium Fish Tank Hydroponics Pump Airstones Diffuser 3/16' 5/16' Hose ID, Pack of 2 Quickun 4 Inch Updated Crazy Air Disc Stone Cylinder Bubbler Plus Diffuser Aquarium Fish Tank...

                Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                How to Clean an Air Stone?

                Air stones tend to get clogged up with algae and other gunk over time. Once this happens, they stop putting out as many bubbles and/or the bubbles aren’t as fine.

                Luckily, it’s pretty easy to clean them.

                Equipment:

                • Drinking glass
                • Hydrogen peroxide
                • Clean toothbrush

                Steps:
                1. Remove the air stone from your tank, take it off the airline tubing and turn off the pump.
                2. Put the air stone in the drinking glass.
                3. Pour enough hydrogen peroxide in the glass to cover it.
                4. Let it soak for several hours.
                5. Take the air stone out of the glass, discard the peroxide and very gently scrub the outside of the air stone with the toothbrush.
                6. Rinse the air stone for several minutes under running water before placing it back in your tank.

                See? Easy-peasy.

                Pro Tip: If you have really hard water, you might want to soak the air stone in white vinegar for half an hour and give it a scrub before soaking it in peroxide. The vinegar will eat up any calcium build up on the outside of the stone.

                Final Thoughts on Air Stones

                There are some huge benefits to adding an air stone to your aquarium. Increased gas exchange means that there are higher levels of oxygen in your tank. This is especially important if you keep any species of fish that come from fast moving waters, like botia loaches.

                I also really enjoy the look of an air stone bubbling away in a tank. I think the bubbles add another layer of interest.

                There are a ton of options out there for sizes and shapes of air stones. So you should have no problem finding one that’s a good match for you and your tank.

                Default image
                Katherine Morgan
                Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

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