But, our main concern here is how to clean air stones for hydroponics. Why is there a need to clean them at all? What happens if we get to reuse those dirty and infected air stones again and again? Well, there’s nothing great going to happen then!
There are several methods to clean the airstones for hydroponics which include rinsing it with clean water, using hydrogen peroxide, using a solution of vinegar and water, using the bleach-based solution, etc.
That’s why it is essential to clean air stones for hydroponics. Before you get to the main subject, let’s take a brief look at hydroponics’ air stones side.
How To Clean Air Stones For Hydroponics Using Different Methods?
There are different methods to clean air stones hydroponics, but they can’t be said effectively. You need to distinguish the best method on your own by learning the ways of cleaning given below. You can also select them as per the availability of different items.
So, let’s start with a simple 5-step strategy on how to clean air stones for hydroponics.
For this purpose, you must not feel high pressure to clean air stones for hydroponics as it is a pretty straightforward process where you have to maintain regularity. Given below are a few steps to ensure their cleanliness.
Steps To Clean Air Stones For Hydroponics By Rinsing
Start by rinsing air stones!
If you ever closely observed the air stones, they are made of those tiny gunk holes. So, you need to remove the dirt from these air stones hydroponics. By following the process carefully, you don’t need to purchase air stones every time they get dirty.
At the very first step, take clean water and soak your air stones in it. Beforehand, you need to disconnect them from existing pipes and soak them in fresh water afterward. It helps the freshwater reach more profound parts of stones and saturates it thoroughly to avoid any blockages.
It’s better if you boil them in water for 10 minutes. Then, take a soft brush and try to remove the gunk as gently as possible. However, it would help if you let them dry a bit before removing any buildup. Once they are a little cool, you can start cleaning. A specialized cleaning solution can also be used for this purpose.
After you are done, clean air stones for hydroponics, rinse and place them again in the clean water. Don’t reconnect air pipes suddenly after removing them from the bleach cleaning solution. Also, remember not to put them in storage while they are damp.
Steps To Clean Air Stones For Hydroponics With Hydrogen Peroxide
To clean air stones hydroponics with hydrogen peroxide, you must have a small amount of it plus the air stones, of course. Well, the process is pretty simple and discussed in the steps given below.
Step 1: Take your air stones, rinse them with clean water, and adequately scrub out their excess buildup of dirt.
Step 2: Let them dry for a few minutes.
Step 3: Take a small container so that the air stones can easily fit inside.
Step 4: Now, you need to fill the container with a hydrogen peroxide solution. Maybe some bubbles will come out from the box, meaning the solution is thoroughly cleaning the air stones.
Step 5: Leave these air stones in the hydrogen peroxide solution for around 20-30 minutes or even longer if they are filthy. You can pour them for a day in case of extreme dirt.
Step 6: Drain out all the water and remove the air stones from this solution.
Step 7: Afterwards, let them dry thoroughly. Once they get dry, attach the airline from the air pump to the air stones and run the water for around 10 minutes to eliminate the entire solution of hydrogen peroxide.
The last step is highly crucial if you want to clean the air stones thoroughly. Running the water via an air pump ensures the complete removal of hydrogen peroxide to get clogged again easily.
Some Alternative Methods to Clean Air Stones for Hydroponics
Before you know how long do air stones last after cleaning, it’s crucial to understand other alternative methods to clean air stones for hydroponics. Given below are some solutions free of bleach solutions to consider.
- The first recommended method is hydrogen peroxide. Take your air stones and soak them in this solution overnight. After a few minutes, remove them from the solution and blow air within after they get a little dry.
- Another preferred solution is vinegar and water to break down the slat buildup and other calcium deposits. This method is often recommended in regions where hard water is accumulated. However, you can include these steps within the steps given above.
- Take clean water and add air stones with denture-cleaning tablets. Soak them overnight and give a good rinse before blowing with dry air. Its effervescent action is said to be way safer than bleach-based solutions.
- Simple rinsing and gentle scrubbing of air stones are also enough if you are regular with the routine even though it will not kill any bacteria but can do a better cleaning from inside out regarding dust and all that.
- There is an air pump method to clean air stones for hydroponics. It requires you to attach an airline from an air pump to an air stone while placing the freshwater and run through it for 5 minutes. The method is also helpful in removing any kind of bleach solution present on the air stones. Check out our other article on disinfecting hydroponic systems.
After following all these methods, there are also some ways you should avoid it. So, you must note that baking or heating air stone in the microwave is a dangerous idea and thus should be avoided at all. This method is also not practical to properly clean the internals of air stones.
All in all, you should better learn how to clean air stones for hydroponics rather than wasting money on purchasing new air stones.
Why Is Air Stones Used In Hydroponics – A Brief Look!
The ultimate goal of using air stones in hydroponics is to increase oxygen in your hydroponics system. It is the oxygen that helps in the process of nutrient uptake in hydroponic plants. As mentioned earlier, you will need the air stones to further protect your plants from drowning.
All in all, small air stones are required for small setups and vice versa. They are not expensive at all for your kind information, but all you need is proper cleaning and maintenance to prevent infectious diseases.
However, air diffusers are also used as alternatives to air stones, but they are quite large and expensive. Thus, for economic purposes, you must invest in the best air stones for hydroponics. Buying air stones with multiple outlets is also a great idea as they have a level of flexibility to consider. You can place them in various areas in the reservoir to avoid stagnant zones.
What Are The Different Types Of Air Stones And How To Clean Them?
You will usually find two significant air stones in the market, i.e., one made with silica and the other made with aluminum oxide. Given below are a quick overview of what they are and their respective cleaning aspects.
Silica Air Stones
They are mostly bought air stones for the hydroponics as well as aquariums. Silica air stones are available in different colors, including blue, green, and white. Moreover, you can have them in various sizes ranging from 1″ to 12″ in size according to the fish tank’s different requirements or hydroponics system.
As per the toxicology study conducted in the laboratory, Silica air stones are the most un-reactive of chemicals and free of metal parts. Also, they are less expensive and require less pressure as compared to aluminum oxide air stones.
However, the Silica air stones have a finite lifespan and can handle only gentle cleaning.
Aluminum Oxide Air Stones
Aluminum oxide air stones are comparatively durable than silica air stones. So, they are a bit strong even though the bubbles they produce are almost the same. It means they can easily handle harsh cleaning and usage across the years. About the material, it is the same construction that is being used to make grinder wheels.
These kinds of air stones are mostly used for commercial, industrial, and large system applications. If you want to know how long do air stones last, keep in mind that aluminum oxide air stones are way durable than silica air stones.
However, you must not use these air stones in a glass system as their vibration can break the glass. You are also required to put more pressure as they tend to create heavy pressure over the compressor.
Why Do You Need To Clean Air Stones For Hydroponics?
If you are facing the issue of hydroponics stones stopped working, you must clean them for this purpose. But, the question is how you get to know the exact timing of the cleaning requirement.
- If you get to see no bubbles
No bubbles mean air stones are not working anymore. Even though the air pump is working, you have to find out why air bubbles are not coming out of the system. So, one of the first ways is to check any kinks in the tubes.
Most probably, the air stone has blockage issues if it does not have any kink in the tubes.
- Thin bubbles from a particular area
There is a problem if you get to see those thin streams of bubbles in a particular area. It clearly means that the air stones are getting dirty and need a replacement for sure.
So, these are two main aspects when you need rejuvenating or cleaning of air stones.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do you have to soak air stones?
Pre-soaking is required to let the air stonework efficiently. The solution is mostly mixed with hydrogen peroxide so that all the dirt from the stone gets entirely out. You can also blow air throughout and let it dry for a few minutes.
2. How long do air stones last?
As discussed earlier, aluminum oxide’s air stones are comparatively Durable than silicon air stones. All in all, the average life of air stone is said to be 6-7 weeks, which further depends upon the mineral or nutrient solution content in your hydroponics setup.
3. Do air stones oxygenate water?
The air stones tend to increase the water circulation throughout the setup of the tank. Increased water circulation means an increased amount of oxygenation into the water.
4. Do air stones affect PH?
Air stones tend to increase the amount of oxygen in water, whereas the high level of Carbon-dioxide causes its PH to fall. A PH of more than 7 is necessary. All you need are air stones to balance off the PH level present in your hydroponics setup.
5. Should I leave my air stone on all the time?
It is said to leave your air stone on all the time to avoid stressing up of your plants when you turn it off. Also, running your air pump is always better than turning it off and on again and again.
So, this is how to clean air stones for hydroponics in different ways possible. You had also introduced different types of air stones, their respective cleaning aspects, and related FAQs over the subject. All this is going to clear the concept regarding cleaning dwc air stones also.