How to Use Air Stones in Hydroponics


Hydroponic gardens are a great way to grow herbs and vegetables indoors, all year long. Air stones keep the nutrient solution aerated, delivering needed oxygen to the plants' roots. They work best in a deep water culture, where the plants' roots dangle into the nutrient reservoir. Since the water does not circulate in this type of hydroponic system, it will become stagnant if it is not aerated. Air stones are available at garden centers and pet stores that sell aquarium supplies.

Set Up Your Hydroponic Garden

Step 1

Set up the aquarium and pump where you want your garden. Ideally, you should choose an area with plenty of natural light. Use the extension cord if there is not an outlet nearby.

Step 2

Wrap the aquarium with dark paper or cardboard. Secure it with masking tape. This prevents light from reacting with the water, causing algae growth.

Step 3

Connect the air stones to the gang valve with the plastic tubing. Connect the gang valve to the pump with the plastic tubing.

Step 4

Fill the aquarium with water. Mix in the concentrated nutrient solution, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 5

Drag the serrated knife through the candle to coat it in wax. Use the waxed knife to cut the plastic foam. It should be just smaller than the opening of the aquarium. Cut six 2-inch holes in the foam.

Add the Plants

Step 1

Place the plastic foam inside the aquarium, floating on the diluted nutrient solution.

Step 2

Fill each net pot halfway with HydroClay pebbles. Plant the seedlings in the net pots and fill in with additional HydroClay pebbles.

Step 3

Put the net pots in the 2-inch holes in the foam.

Step 4

Turn on the pump to activate the air stones.

Step 5

Check the water level daily and replenish with plain water as needed. Every two weeks, drain the aquarium and completely replace the nutrient solution.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-gallon aquarium
  • Black construction paper or cardboard
  • Masking tape
  • Small aquarium pump
  • Extension cord (optional)
  • 1/4-inch plastic tubing
  • Gang valve
  • 2 to 4 air stones
  • 1-inch thick plastic foam, such as Styrofoam
  • Serrated knife
  • Plain candle
  • Water
  • Concentrated nutrient solution
  • 6 net pots, 2-inch
  • HydroClay pebbles
  • Seedlings


  • Hydroponics as a Hobby
  • Liquid Hydroponic Systems

Who Can Help

  • Simply Hydroponics and Organics
Keywords: deep water hydroponics, air stones in hydroponics, hydroponic system

About this Author

Tricia Ballad has written professionally since 2004. She has authored three books, as well as numerous articles on parenting and website content involving green living. Her work has appeared in Natural Family Online and Budget Artists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing specialization from Bradley University.

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