Lets take a look at AeroGarden airstones. Should you add airstones to your AeroGarden? The AeroGarden is an indoor garden kit that uses a hydroponic system. Most hydroponic systems benefit from adding airstones but like anything there are pluses and minuses to using airstones in an AeroGarden. Lets take a look at both the up and downside to using airstones in your reservoir.
What Are The Benefits Of AeroGarden Airstones
The AeroGarden uses a hydroponic growing system very similar to DWC (Deep Water Culture) in which the roots are almost totally immersed in water. The containers are continuously oxygenated usually with airstones.
The AeroGarden does have a built in pump that recirculates the water in your reservoir. A pump just recirculates the water though.
But airstones inject air bubbles into the reservoir. This can help improve circulation besides adding air. When the bubbles burst they add oxygen. Air stones help plants grow but you dont need them to grow plants in your AeroGarden.
Roots need oxygen to survive and stay healthy.This may seem counter productive because we think of air drying out roots and killing them but remember they are in the water at all time. If there isn’t enough air in the water they cant breathe properly.
By providing oxygenation and giving roots continuous access to a nutrient solution the growth is very fast, much faster than a plant grown in soil. Despite the name the AeroGarden is in no way related to an aeroponic system.
The lid of the AeroGarden is hollow and water is pumped through it. If you run the pump with the pods out you will notice there is a little spout inside each hole and water runs down it. It runs along side the pod and falls back into the reservoir.
This creates a waterfall effect and it does provide some aeration. So although the AeroGarden does not have air pump, it can do just fine without adding airstones.
So adding airstones to your AeroGarden will result in faster growth and healthier plants. The AeroGarden website even says “Plant roots love oxygen, and boosting O2 almost always results in healthier, faster growth.”
If you look at the top of your AeroGarden you will notice that in the back of your unit there are 2 black plugs on either side of the telescoping light post. These are ports designed to let you feed air lines into your reservoir. So it is obvious the unit was designed so you can add airstones to your reservoir.
Is It Necessary To Add Airstones To Your AeroGarden?
No, adding airstones is not needed. Your plants will grow fine without them but they might do even better if you add them.
Personally I am not adding any to mine at this time. I am doing an ongoing review of my AeroGarden Harvest so I want to run it straight out of the box. I may add them for my second run though.
Water Temperature Is Much More Important Than Airstones
Yes, water temperature affects oxygenation. 68° is considered the optimal temperature for hydroponic systems. It is a comfortable temperature for roots and it holds more oxygen than higher temperatures do. Also above 72° you can run the risk of root disease. So if you can, dont keep your AeroGarden in a hot place. The warmer the water the less oxygen it can hold so airstones will be less effective.
AeroGarden Airstones The Downside
The biggest downside to adding airstones to your AeroGarden is the noise. Air pumps are loud. Not white noise loud but a single pitch buzz which many find quite annoying.
I purchased a larger Tetra Whisper Air Pump years ago for one of my 75 gallon aquariums. It is quieter than a lot of other air pumps but it certainly is not a whisper. So I find it annoying enough that I dont use it. But hey that’s just me.
I checked the Whisper out on Amazon and noticed now they are made in various sizes so there is a model that is made for 10 gallons or less. That should be just about right for any AeroGarden even the bigger ones. They should be quieter than the one I have and might be worth trying if you really want to add airstones to your AeroGarden.
There are a few other things about airstones to be aware of. They can warm up your reservoir if they are in a warm spot. The other thing about them is they can change the pH of your nutrient solution. I would not be too concerned about this but I thought you should know.
AeroGarden Airstone Setup
If you are going to try aerating your reservoir this is what I recommend.
To complete setting up your AeroGarden Airstones you will also need some 1/4″ airline tubing and of course some airstones. I really recommend installing check valves in your airlines. They are cheap and can save your pump.
If the power goes off or the pump is accidentally unplugged liquid from your reservoir can flow through the lines and flood your air pump. It is always a good idea to keep your air pump higher than your AeroGarden even if you use check valves.
All airstones are not created equally. Some give off finer bubbles than others. The smaller the bubbles the more effective they are. Also be aware they do need replacing from time to time because they become clogged.
Read my AeroGarden Harvest review here: AeroGarden Harvest Review
AeroGarden Airstones Final Thoughts
So now it is really up to you. Your plants will likely do better with airstones. But they will also grow fine without them. So are you willing to put up with a bit of noise from an air pump for a better AeroGarden grow?