How to Clean Air Stones

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Air stones are part of the aquarium that helps in oxygenating the fish tank. These porous stones maintain the filtration in aquariums. However, it needs proper cleaning once in a while. Here is a detailed solution on how to clean air stones.

How to Clean Air Stones

Air stones are susceptible to clogging, and they start losing their effectiveness. So while a lot of people throw them, you can always wash them and rejuvenate their effectiveness.

Yellow and orange fish inside an aquarium

Materials Required

  • Bleach
  • Bowl of water
  • Silicon beads

Step 1: Remove the Stone From the Fish Tank

Before you begin, turn off the power supply to the fish tank.

  1. The air stones are plugged into the aquarium through a wire connection. Unplug the connection of the air stones.
  2. Find and fetch the air stones from the aquarium. If the stones are hidden under the gravel, then you can use a fish net to pull out the stones from the water.
  3. Alternatively, if you don’t have a fishnet, you can do it with your hands, considering you are comfortable with it.
  4. Lift the air stone out of the tank and then remove it from the connected tubes.
  5. The air stones supply oxygen in the fish tank; make sure you do not harm the fish in the process.

Step 2: Wash It With Water

  1. Remove the black rubber pieces that are present at the end of the air stones.
  2. It is crucial to remove the rubber pieces, so the solution gets inside for deep cleansing. The end pieces may seem stuck at first but twist gently back and forth to remove the lube from the air stones.
  3. After removing the rubber end, rinse it off in freshwater. Then, lightly scrub any first build-up on the outside.

This helps in removing any gunk present on the outer surface of the air stone. Let it dry properly before you proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Boil the Stones

The gunk and dirt build-up inside the air stone can’t be cleaned easily. However, boiling the air stones help in breaking the dirt build-up inside the stones.

  1. Take the fresh bowl of water and put the water to a boil.
  2. Let the water come to a boil and then drop the air stones in the water.
  3. Boil it for 10 minutes and then turn off the flame.
  4. When it cools off, put it under the fan to dry off.
  5. Let it dry for 4-5 hours and then proceed to the next procedure. If you are washing a new air stone, then you can skip this step.

Step 4: Make a Bleach Solution

Bleach is a disinfectant that does a fantastic job removing stains and killing microbes like bacteria and viruses.

  1. Measure one fluid ounce, i.e., 30ml and 9ounce of water, i.e., 270ml in a measuring cup.
  2. Pour bleach and water and keep mixing in the same ratio until you have enough solution to clean all the air stones you intend to clean.
  3. Gently drop the air stones in the bleach solution and leave it for 24 hours or two days if the air stones are badly clogged.
  4. In the intermediate time, gently swirl the solution to remove any loosened gunk from the air stones.
  5. Wear rubber gloves to take out the air stones from the solution. You can check the article to know more about disinfecting the air stones.
Air stone inside a small aquarium

Rinse it well in fresh water and scrub with a sponge to remove any remaining residue from the air stones.

After rinsing it well, leave it for 3-4 hours to dry. It is not advisable to use a towel to dry the air stones, breaking the brittle pieces.

Step 5: Put Silicone Beads in the Air Stones

  1. Reinstall the rubber ends that you have removed; the rubber ends need to be securely attached to the air stones, so the air is forced to enter into the stones.
  2. Gently squeeze 2-3 silicon beads onto the edge of the air stone where you placed the rubber end. You can get silicone beads from your local hardware shop.
  3. Use a damp cloth to wipe off extra silicone from the rubber end. Then, repeat the same procedure on the other end of the air stone.

Step 6: Reinstallation of the Air Stones

After cleaning it thoroughly, you have to install the air stones with precision.

  1. Reconnect the air stone to all the tubings that were preinstalled in the aquarium.
  2. Place the stones the way they were originally installed.
  3. Then, place the stones back in the tank the way they were kept before. You can use a long fishnet or put it with your hands.
  4. When everything is installed properly, plugin and turn on the filtration of air stones.

This way, you can rejuvenate the clogged-up air stones. Here is a video guide you can follow for understanding the instruction given in the article.

Other Methods

As an aquarium owner, if you are reluctant to use bleach, you can opt for other successful methods.

Soak the air stones in hydrogen peroxide overnight. After overnight soaking, takes off the air stones and rinse them well in freshwater. Use a blow dryer to dry out the air stones.

  • A lot of people use denture-cleaning techniques to clean the air stones. The procedure is simple, and it is efficient for cleaning air stones.
  • Buy denture tablets from any hardware shop, place the denture in warm water and then submerge the air stones in it overnight. The gunk and debris come out of the air stone.
  • Rinse it off in running water. Let it dry for 4-5 hours.
  • This is a standard method that is a popular alternative to bleach. The effervescent solution contains ingredients like sodium hypochlorite, which is better than chlorine-based bleach.
  • Soaking the air stones in a white vinegar-water solution is an effective way to clean and disinfect the air stones. In addition, the vinegar helps in break out slat build-up which is also known as calcium lime deposits.
  • If you have a hard water region, then you must include this procedure in air stones cleaning.
  • After reinstalling the air stones, use a cycle pump and connect it to the air stone tube. Pump it once or twice, and this will clean any residual left in the air stones. If there is any algae build-up, it breaks off with pumping air.
Clown fish and colorful air stones

Methods to Avoid

While doing some online research on how to clean air stones, you may come across the solution of microwaving an air stone. This is the method you should completely avoid.

This is not an effective way to clean the air stone. Instead, it will damage the air stone. In addition, air stones have plastic couplings; there is no way they will withstand the heat.

The stones will be permanently damaged and will become useless. Therefore, discard this method of cleaning air stones; attempting this method is not useful.

Maintenance of Air Stones

It is better to keep maintain instead of replacing. For example, maintaining air stones in top conditions helps in a continuous oxygen flow inside the aquarium. Likewise, the condition in which diffusers are kept determines the longevity of the air stones.

Diffusers become clogged with minerals and other debris from the water, and they should be brushed regularly.

Air stones that are submerged and kept behind the gravel should be hung once in a while for better oxygen circulation.

Cracked or chipped air stones which with irregular bubble pattern should be replaced immediately. Cracked stones should not be used again, and it is not advisable to repair them as it can lead to disastrous consequences.

It doesn’t matter which air stone you are using; the regular check-up of the stones allows you to find problems before some accident happens.

Yellow fish inside the aquarium with gray air stones

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Air Stones Last?

The effectiveness of the air stone starts to replenish in 6 weeks depending upon the mineral content in the water. Therefore, it is recommended to change the air stone in 3months. This way, it prevents any damage to the tank. Furthermore, changing it regularly will ensure the healthy functionality of the tank.

Should I Leave the Air Stone on All the Time?

It is advisable to keep the air stones on all the time. In this way, the oxygen diffuser ensures the fish can have enough oxygen inside the tank.

The air stones develop algae over time, and it is recommended to pump the air stone once in a while to clean all the debris from it.

How Often Should I Clean the Air Stones?

The air stones get clogged up within a week, and it is advisable to wash them well once a week. This way, you can ensure it does not gets ineffective.


Air stones maintain the oxygen supply in water. However, it gets clogged with debris from the water. Cleaning it improves the life of the air stones along with balancing the oxygen supply in water.

Cleaning it once in a while is good practice for caring for marine life at your home. However, if the air stone does not work properly after cleaning, consider replacing it with a new one.