Is an aquarium air pump and air stone necessary, and what are its pros and cons?

We all would have seen tiny bubbles coming out of the filter or ornaments in aquariums. You might wonder how these bubbles are produced and what is their purpose. Bubbles are produced when air from the air pump flows through the water that goes up to the water surface. For creating many tiny bubbles, an air stone is used that has many tiny holes. We have explained the use of an air pump and air stone in aquariums, & why it is important to have them.

Air pump & air stone is required for causing surface agitation, water circulation, running filters & ornaments, & keeping fish healthy in the aquarium. Air pumps & air stones are used to break the surface tension. Due to surface agitation, carbon dioxide is expelled from the water & oxygen is added. Air pumps & air stones help in water circulation, which stops anaerobic pockets from building up in the gravels. For generating heaps of air bubbles that add oxygen directly in the water, you will need an air stone. Air stone is used to reduce the bubbling noise coming from the outlet of an air pump. Air pumps & air stones are the best replacement for your filters. If you are using a power filter & it stops working, then it can’t produce bubbles which oxygenate water, & your fish will quickly need a replacement for generating oxygen. It’s unlikely that if you are using an air driven filter, then both air pump & filter stops running at the same time. Fish like air bubbles & they play with them.

Learn how to setup an air pump and air stone in a fish tank:

How to setup an air pump and airstone in an aquarium?

Aquarists like air bubbles produced by air stone, & they use this feature in ornaments. When the surface of water is disturbed, then it will stop oil films from forming at the water surface. You can adjust the flow rate of an air pump using an air valve. Air pumps have multiple outlets for running multiple devices such as filters, ornaments, air stones etc.

So far we have discussed the pros of an air pump and air stone. Below you can find the cons of using an air pump and air stone in an aquarium.

Air pumps generate noise & also bubbles produced in the water are noisy. However, you can reduce the noise generated by an air pump by attaching an air stone. Powerheads disturb the surface more than air pumps which generate more oxygen & they are less noisy than air pumps. For operating an air filter, you need to connect it to an air pump via a hose. Power filters do not need to be connected to air pumps because they come with their own pumps or powerheads. Air stones may get clogged & need replacement. Aquarists do not like the look of submersible filters like sponge filters, & hide them behind decorations, structures or live plants. Air pumps could malfunction so make sure you purchase it from a company that offers repair kits so you can fix it up or otherwise you have to replace it. Powerheads are better for circulating water than air pumps. Air pumps are not good for fish that build bubble nests. 


If you have a filter operated by a powerhead or water pump, then there is no need to use a bubbler. Air pump and airstone is important only if you don't have any other source of oxygenating and circulating water. 

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