When plants are submerged in nutrient solution they will need oxygen at the root system for respiration. Airstones and air diffusers are used to break up the air stream from the air pump, creating bubbles so the plant’s roots can absorb the oxygen.
There are several types of airstones and diffusers to choose from. Here are the best airstones and air diffusers for hydroponics.
Hydroponic Air Stones And Air Diffusers
The term air stone and air diffusers are often used interchangeably but are actually two different things.
Air stones are porous stones that break an airstream into bubbles. Airstones do a good job of creating bubbles, often of different sizes.
Air diffusers can go by a few different names, I’ve also seen them called bubble walls and airstones. Air diffusers are flexible hoses with bubbles evenly spread down the length of the hose. Unlike air stones, air diffusers create smaller bubbles that are more consistent in size.
Are Air Stones Or Air Hose Diffusers Better For Hydroponic Gardening?
The smaller oxygen bubbles are easier for the plant’s roots to absorb. In addition to creating smaller bubbles air diffuser hoses also better evenly distribute the oxygen to the roots. For these reasons, air diffuser hoses are more efficient than air stones.
With that being said it doesn’t mean that air stones don’t work well. I typically use airstones for my larger hydroponic systems. They are cheaper and do provide adequate oxygen to the plant’s roots. It’s just my preference but I find air stones easier to use.
The Best Air Hose Diffusers For Hydroponics
Air hose diffusers don’t vary a whole lot, typically only by length and diameter. Since they are flexible you can mold them in the shape that best fits your system.
They also sell some premade diffuser hoses that are circular. These create a great bubble ring that engulfs your plant’s root system. These are great to hydroponic bucket systems.
The Best Airstones For Hydroponics
When it comes to airstones I recommend getting as large as you can. The more oxygen the better! Stay away from using the “mini” airstones in your hydroponic systems. They work on small single plant systems but not larger gardens. Below is a quick video by Vivosun, that show the difference air stone size makes.
When it comes to airstone I would recommend using disc air stones. These types of airstones work especially well with systems like the 5-gallon hydroponic bucket system.
What I refer to as bar airstones are the long, skinny airstones. There are typically 2 types of bar airstones, the ones that are just airstone and the others that are reinforced with plastic.
Air stones are not very durable and break pretty easily, especially the longer ones, so I would highly recommend the ones that reinforced with plastic. They are not that much more and will last a lot longer even with less care.
There are a couple of downsides to using bar airstones. The one that bothers me the most is their tendency to flip over or move. If your hydroponic system is for multiple plants it can be hard to line up this airstone under the plants. You can always glue it down for a permanent solution.
The second downside to this type of airstone is that it creates air bubbles in a line, so they often don’t cover as much of the root system compared to disc airstones. With that being said bar airstones do work and will grow hydroponic plants.
When it comes to oxygenating your hydroponic nutrient solution you can use either an air hose diffuser or airstone.