Growing plants from the comfort of your home can be a slow and complicated process, especially when using soil and minerals to keep your seedlings alive. But did you know that you can grow plants without the need for soil?
Known as hydroponic systems, this technique is a scientific method used to grow plants, which utilizes two of the most important elements needed – water and air.
Whereas water can be easily obtained from a tap or hose, making sure that the water is aerated can be a more difficult task, especially when you consider that the root systems will need oxygen to thrive.
So how can you make sure that your hydroponic system has the correct amount of air? By purchasing your very own air stone of course.
These amazing pieces of technology can be used to quickly aerate the water in your tank, providing the basic necessities that your plants need to grow. So if you want to know how air stones work, then you have come to the right place.
In the following article, we are going to show you how these amazing inventions work and why they are an important part of any hydroponic system.
We will also explain the different kinds of air stones available and how you can find the best product for your plants. So if you want to know how you can aerate your hydroponic tank in a fast and efficient way, then we have everything you need to get started…
Why Should You Use Air Stones?
If you are interested in constructing your own hydroponic garden, then the addition of an air stone is pivotal to ensure positive growth.
Air stones have become a fundamental part of hydroponics because they can be used to supply the tank with the necessary amount of oxygen needed. This is important as the plant’s root systems will require air to receive the nutrients they need to thrive and develop.
Aeration and growth
When plants are grown in soil, they will usually receive the nutrients they need from the earth, which are then absorbed through the plant’s roots. However, because hydroponic gardening eliminates the need for soil, they can’t provide the levels of oxygen needed on their own, which is why air stones are pivotal to ensure plant aeration and growth.
Diffusion of air
Not only are air stones capable of producing the oxygen levels needed, but they are also easy to implement and can be used to enhance the diffusion of air in the water. Because of this, they are particularly useful when constructing Deep Water Culture systems (DWC), as they can supply the oxygen needed to aerate the nutrient-rich water.
Air stones produce this oxygen by creating bubbles in the water, which then spread and become absorbed by the root systems. Some of the best air stones currently available can even push the bubbles so that the plants acquire the various nutrients that they need.
Clean contaminated water
Because hydroponics rely greatly on water, it is common to use tap water to fill the tank, which can be dangerous as tap water is known to contain traces of alkaline and chlorine.
Fortunately, air stones can be used to combat this problem as they come with the added benefit of being able to clean the water. However, it is also advisable to check the water’s ph level before introducing it to your hydroponic system.
How Do Air Stones Work?
Air stones are small rounded objects that are commonly made using porous materials, which are then attached to a tube that needs to be connected to an air pump.
Once the flow of air has been administered, the pump works to compress the air through the tube and into the stone, where it then takes the form of small bubbles being released into the water.
In hydroponic systems, such as Deep Water Culture, the bubbles are then used to oxygenate the plants, which allows them to thrive and enable the production of flowers and produce. This is accomplished by the bubbles defusing in the water and being absorbed by the specimen’s roots, which then benefits the plant.
When used in greenhouse hydroponic systems, air stones can be used to aerate the plants while maintaining the optimum temperature for growth and development. Beyond this, air stones also create a current in the water, which can be used to detract mosquitoes and insects from laying their eggs in the tank.
This demonstrates how significant air stones are when it comes to initiating the aeration process, with the technology being a pivotal part of various hydroponic methods. However, if you wish to naturally aerate the water, then this can be done by creating a current in the water to produce oxygen.
What Types Of Air Stones Are There?
Now that you understand how air stones work, let’s take a look at the different types of air stones currently available on the market. The following examples are considered the best and the most common:
Coke Can Air Stone
Otherwise known as a cylinder air stone, this air stone takes the form of a large reservoir and is suitable for hydroponic tanks that require constant airflow and circulation, which means it can be used on any system between 5-10 LPM.
When the stone is turned on, it produces a unique range of large and small bubbles, which take on a distinctive cylindrical shape.
Golf Ball Air Stone
As the name would suggest, this type of air stone often takes the form of a small blue sphere, which resembles a golf ball in appearance. They are considered to be the standard air stones and are known to produce fizzing air bubbles.
When you purchase this particular type of air stone, they will usually measure around 25mm in diameter, which means they are mainly suitable for tanks with 5 LPM air pumps.
Ceramic Disc Air Stone
Distinguished by their flat round shape, these air stones are made using a ceramic compound, which makes them long-lasting and versatile. Because of their surface area and flat design, these stones can produce enough air bubbles for larger tanks.
In terms of airflow, this particular air stone is capable of producing between 2.5-10 LPM, which is perfect for hydroponic gardening.