Join Date: Feb 2011
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Re: Air Stone Question
You have to secure the air stones to the bottom, whether you use one long wand or several smaller ones. Years of experimentation have finally produced a very good system for me...
Get a sheet of egg crate diffuser from your local hardware or lighting store. Spray paint it with Krylon Fusion in a color to blend with your gravel, multiple light coats with good dry time between. Let the completed job dry for a week. Tie your air stones to the diffuser with fishing line. Put a dab of super glue on each knot to secure the knots. Cut the free ends of the fishing line close to the knots so the sharp ends don't poke your fish later. Add your air lines, and tie them down too. (Tie gently, don't restrict the air flow.) Use a tiny dot of super glue to attach the air lines to each air stone, but be careful not to clog the opening to the air stone. (After the glue dries, blow gently into each airline and make sure air passes freely.) Bring all the airlines to one back corner and use more fishing line to tie them into a bundle. Then lay the whole assembly on the bare bottom of your tank. Use a couple of large dabs of aquarium-safe silicone to secure the diffuser to the bottom glass, and let it all dry for several days.
Pour your gravel on top of the egg crate diffuser, and over the air stones and and air lines. Once you get the right depth of gravel decided, tie several strands of a fake plant around the bundle of air lines. (Use the black airline material if you can find it...the stuff is stiff but it does hide pretty well.) Make sure the bottom part of the "plant" pokes into the gravel, like the other plants do. Tie a few more plant strands just at the bottom of the bundle, so that they float loose in front of it, and help it blend. Place another plant or two in front of the tied bundle.
I even tie my fake plants to the egg crate, before it gets glued down. Then I can clean gravel without having everything float loose everytime.
I have done several tanks without glueing the diffuser down recently, and so far the egg crates have shown no sign of working its way up. So the "glue down" step might be optional. Another variation that I will be trying in the future is to cut a piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe to fit between the egg crate and the surface of the water, drill a dozen or more holes in it (to prevent stagnant water in the pipe), then paint it the same color as my background (flat black). Then I will put the air lines up thru that to the surface. Fake plants will be tied around the black PVC as described above. The advantage to this is that flat black disappears in my tanks, and I have noticed that the glossy surface of air lines does show a little.