Aquarium Airstone Cleaning

If you’re using an airstone to keep the water moving in your aquarium, you may want to clean it — rather than spend money on a new one when it gets clogged. Cleaning your airstone is relatively easy!

What is an airstone? It is any porous material (ceramic, stone, wood, plastic) that is used to diffuse air in your aquarium. Running your air pump through an airstone creates lots of tiny bubbles, rather than a few big bubbles. This can make your filter run more efficiently. Using an airstone also helps improve water circulation through your tank.

But fish (as I pointed out recently) are dirty. Uneaten food and waste can clog up the holes in your airstone! Luckily, they aren’t too hard to clean.

  1. Rinse the airstone in fresh water.
  2. Lightly scrub debris/dirt/waste off the outside of the airstone.
  3. Bring a pot of fresh water to a boil and let the airstone simmer for ten minutes or so.
  4. Let your airstone dry. (This can take a few hours.) Don’t dry your airstone in the oven, as this can melt the coupling that holds the air hose!
  5. Mix a solution of one part bleach or vinegar to three parts fresh water and soak your airstone for a full twenty-four hours. Vinegar is good for removing calcium deposits.
  6. Remove airstone from solution and place it in a container of fresh water.
  7. Attach an air line and let the air run for five to ten minutes.
  8. Remove from water and let the air run for another five to ten minutes.
  9. Let your airstone dry completely. Again, don’t dry your airstone in the oven.

This method works for just about any kind of airstone. If you’re going to be cleaning your airstone this way, you should have a spare on hand to keep the tank water moving while you work on the first one.

Why the double drying? This allows your airstone time to absorb the different liquids and expel contaminants.