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If you’re getting a new aquarium set up or have recently discovered that your fish tank needs more air movement, you’ve probably heard of air stones.

These handy little devices are pretty much a must-have for most aquariums and thankfully, they’re an affordable tool that can help with a lot of things, especially the health of your aquarium.

Today, we’re taking a look at which airstones work best for which aquarium, but first we’ll look at a few basics of what they are, what they do, and how to pick the right one for your tank.

Best Air Stone Quick-Find Table

Image Product
  • High jetting volume
  • Easy to use
  • Small and unobtrusive
  • High jetting volume
  • Easy to use
  • Small and unobtrusive
  • Accelerates oxygen replenishment
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
  • Accelerates oxygen replenishment
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
  • Fun, colorful, and effective
  • Easy to install
  • Easily adjusts to meet your needs
  • Fun, colorful, and effective
  • Easy to install
  • Easily adjusts to meet your needs
  • Adorable and fun
  • Easy to add to your air pump
  • Adds loads of bubbles for aesthetics and circulation
  • Adorable and fun
  • Easy to add to your air pump
  • Adds loads of bubbles for aesthetics and circulation
  • Easy to install
  • Adds to your overall aquarium aesthetics
  • Flexible and easy to position
  • Easy to install
  • Adds to your overall aquarium aesthetics
  • Flexible and easy to position
  • Creates a fine mist of bubbles
  • Evenly distributes the bubbles throughout
  • Made of extremely durable materials
  • Creates a fine mist of bubbles
  • Evenly distributes the bubbles throughout
  • Made of extremely durable materials

What is an Air Stone and What Do They Do?

An air stone, also known as an aquarium bubbler or aquarium air stone, is used in an aquarium to diffuse air into the water of an aquarium. They’re usually made of limewood or porous stone.

They eliminate noise and large bubbles usually created by air filtration systems, yet provide the air movement that provides a number of health benefits for the fish, plants, and other creatures inside the aquarium.

blue fish best aquarium air stone

More and more, aquarium air stones are being made of bonded glass beads and synthetic products such as fiberglass.

One of the other primary reasons folks add air stones into an aquarium is to create more movement without creating strong currents in systems that need gentle movement.

They do help to aerate the water as well, though they don’t directly put oxygen into the water. Instead, they increase the surface area so that more water comes in contact with air at the top of the tank. This enables more carbon dioxide to be released while oxygen is introduced.

What Tanks Need an Air Stone?

Not every fish tank should have air stones. And those that do have different needs – which can be answered by different types of bubblers.

You need to include air stones for any aquariums that need:

  • Extra water or air movement
  • More intentional circulation
  • Tanks with smaller water surface areas
  • Tanks that need loads of aeration
  • Tanks with low power filters that don’t create much movement
  • Aquariums that need additional water currents for specific fish, animal, or plant species

Reviews of the Best Air Stones

We want to suggest the best aquarium air diffuser options possible, so we’ve held up the hundreds we’ve seen to the qualifications we’d look for in air stones for our own aquarium use. We went through dozens of air stone reviews on hundreds of products before narrowing down the list and looking into specifics ourselves.

We chose our selection by looking for the following qualities.

  1. High-quality materials
  2. Top reviews from real-life aquarists (not paid reviewers)
  3. Trusted brands
  4. High functionality
  5. A variety of qualities that will fit different needs for different aquarium types

#1. Pawfly 4-Inch

The Pawfly 4-inch disc bubble diffuser is one of the most highly rated options on the market.

  • Brand: Pawfly
  • Style: Disc
  • Special features: Suction cups for easy placement

This airstone for fish tanks from Pawfly is a really great option for just about any tank, but especially for freshwater aquariums. It’s got a high volume – 12 liters per minute! – and is super easy to install.

It’s also a safe option for any marine or freshwater environment, is washable, durable, completely non-toxic, and seriously adds circulation where it’s needed most. Plus, it’s pretty small at only 4-inches diameter by 1-inch thickness, so it’s unobtrusive.

It comes with three suction cups for easy placement as well, which really can’t be beaten.

All-around, this is probably the best airstone for any aquarium on the market.

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#2. Aquaneat


The best airstone for aquarium use in saltwater tanks is the Aquaneat Air Stone. It’s a four-inch by two-inch round cylinder airstone used for just about any kind of fish tank you have.

  • Brand: Aquaneat
  • Style: Cylinder

This basic air stone is one of the most practical options for your saltwater tank. It fits standard airline tubing (3/16-inch), is made of completely safe, washable, non-toxic material, and amps up the oxygen replenishment in your fish tank.

This air stone increases water circulation when paired with a high-output air pump, or, you can go for low-flow for specialty tanks by pairing with a milder air pump.

And the air stone is pretty budget-friendly, and comes in a variety of packs from 2-packs to 10-packs.

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#3. Normei Volcano

Normei Aquarium Volcano Ornament Kit Colorful LED Spotlight Air Bubbler Stone for Aquarium Fish Tank

If you’re looking for the best aquarium bubbler for fun in your fish tank, this volcano bubbler from Normei is your best option. It comes highly recommended by real-life users who’ve loved having it in their aquariums.

  • Brand: Normei
  • Style: Ornamental bubbler
  • Special features: LED spotlight that changes colors

This bubbler adds some fun aesthetics to your aquarium, thanks to the hand-painted design of the volcano. The paint used on it is non-toxic and safe for your fish, while the spotlight is waterproof and leakproof, offering you hours of fun.

The LED light rotates 180-degrees, with multi-colored light options, along with an “eruption” design that pairs with your air pump (you’ll need to purchase separately) to create a “light show” of sorts with the bubbles.

The volcano is easy to install and easy to maintain, as well, making it a great option for kids learning to keep fish.

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#4. Teemo Baby Groot

TEEMO Aquarium Groot Air Bubbler

If you’ve got any Guardians of the Galaxy fans in the house, this baby Groot statuette bubbler is a great choice for some added fun in your aquarium.

  • Brand: Teemo
  • Style: Ornamental bubbler

The Groot bubbler is not only adorable, but it’s made of eco-friendly resin that’s non-toxic for your fish.

You’ll just need to connect it to your air pump, and it will increase the oxygenation and air movement in the water or your freshwater or marine tank.

The statuette stands 6.3-inches tall and is 2.6-inches in diameter at the base. Thankfully, it’s a “place it and go” bubbler, so there’s very little maintenance, and it’s super easy to clean.

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#5. Aqueon Bubble Wand

Aqueon Multi-Color Flexible LED Bubble Wand

The best aquarium bubbler with LED lights is the Aqueon flexible LED bubble wand. It’s perfect for use in aquariums with lots of décor items like driftwood and rocks, and adds some fun aesthetics that your fish will enjoy when used properly.

  • Brand: Aqueon
  • Style: Bubble wand
  • Special features: Multi-colored lights

The bubble wand provides loads of bubbles for better circulation in your aquarium while lighting things up with fun colors changing from red to blue to green and other colors. And it comes from a well-liked aquarium device brand, so it’s easy to trust.

The bubble wand creates a fun and decorative bubble curtain that your fish will enjoy, and it’s powered by Aqueon air pumps – all you need to do in addition is provide the tubing to connect everything.

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Penn Plax Bubble-Wall Air Diffuser

Penn Plax is an extremely well-trusted brand name, so it’s no surprise that one of the most popular and most highly recommended devices comes from them. It’s easily seen as the best aquarium bubble wall by many, thanks to its ease of use, durability, and flexible placement.

  • Brand: Penn Plax
  • Style: Bubble wall
  • Special features: Comes in 7-inch, 10-inch, or 23-inch lengths

This easy to install bubble wall air diffuser creates a fine mist of bubbles to add aeration to your fish tank while increasing the oxygen levels and improving circulation. The wall evenly distributes the fine bubbles throughout via its super-porous, non-clogging wand.

Its polycyl material is made specifically to endure tough handling, so the bubble wall will continue working for a long time to come, even with near-constant use.

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What are the Different Types of Air Stones?

There are several types of aquarium air stones and bubblers that you may wish to consider for your aquarium. The different types serve different needs.

Flexible Bubble Walls

These air “stones” come in a variety of lengths, but they’re made from flexible rubber materials. This makes them easy to coil, spread, twist, or otherwise arrange around your aquarium in whatever shape you need. There are multiple small holes along the tubes, which spreads out the air movement wherever the tube is spread.

If you weigh down the bubbler, you’ll be able to shape the wall into any basic design you want, but if you don’t, it will float to near the surface. They’re generally more effective to weigh it down.

Bubbler Ornaments

Bubbler ornaments are the pretty little items that come in a variety of shapes, styles, and sizes. Some examples of these might be a statuette, a volcano, sunken ship, or, as in Finding Nemo, a treasure chest that pours out bubbles at increments or constant stream.

Bubble Wands

Bubble wands are long, narrow “sticks” that create a wall of bubbles coming up from many different openings. These may have lights connected to each hole. Many of them have suction cups that help to keep them in place so that they don’t float around the fish tank.

LED Bubbler

These air stones have lights attached them. They may be pretty much any of the shapes or styles, like an ornament, bubble wall or bubble wand.

Disc Air Stones

The final, and possibly most “traditional” style of aquarium air stone is the simple porous stone that simply looks like a disc. These provide a more concentrated collective of bubbles than most of the other styles.

fish with bubbles from air stone

Tips for Installing Your Air Stone

Air stones are very easy to install. They should be soaked in water for at least an hour beforehand, though. This will remove dust particles while also thoroughly saturating the stone in preparation for your aquarium. Be sure to use only purified water to soak the stone, however.

You’ll need an air pump to make the air stone work. Verify that the one you have will fit the air stone you purchase.

You’ll need some flexible airline tubing, a regular valve, and a one-way valve.

Be sure to check your air stone’s needs to guarantee you’ll have the right size fittings, any other necessary accessories, et cetera.

How to Choose the Right Air Stone

There are a few things to consider as you shop for an air stone.

Does it Work?

The most obvious thing to consider is whether or not the air stone works. Make sure that the reviews you read from real-life users verify that the specific model of air stone works in their tanks for the same kind of setup that you’ve got.

Does it Come from a Quality Manufacturer?

There some well-known, trusted brands in the fishkeeping world. And then there are some super cheap knockoffs that sound too good to be true. Trust me – they are too goo to be true and won’t work for long at all.

Make sure that any aquarium air stone you purchase comes from a brand that has received many great reviews, not just a handful.

How’s the Customer Service?

While it is hard to specifically look for this quality if the service is good, products that are accompanied by horrible service are easy to spot. Just read the customer reviews. Are people talking about hang ups, bad service, or no response? Or are they satisfied enough that they’re not mentioning it?

FAQs About Air Stones?

What fishkeeping brands are the most trusted for air stones?

They typically are the same that are trusted by aquarists for other fishkeeping devices. A few, however, are more known for their quality air stones than anything else.

  • Hygger
  • Marina
  • Vivosun
  • Pawfly
  • Penn Plax
  • Aqueon
  • Aquaneat
  • Nicrew

What are air stones made of?

These devices are typically made of rubber material, porous rocks, tough plastic, wood, or sand.

Do air stones work for saltwater aquarium?

Yes, air stones can be used for both saltwater and freshwater fish tanks.

Do air stones come with air pumps?

There may be a few brands that create a “package” deal with air stones and air pumps together, but typically, they do not come as a package. This means you’ll need to buy a separate air pump.

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