Diffusing oxygen is the process of pumping atmospheric air through a diffusing stone or tube to create tiny bubbles which infuse the water with more oxygen. In a deep water culture system this process is essential to allow the roots to stay fully submerged in the nutrient solution while having access to the oxygen normally found in a well aerated soil.
Air stones and diffusers are an essential component in any hydroponic system, and are used with an air pump. Without supplemental oxygen in systems like DWC and ebb and flow, roots could suffocate.
What are the differences between air stones and diffusers?
Air stones have long been the standard for air diffusion in water. In aquariums, air stones provide oxygen to fish and other mammals. They are made with a porous rock containing many small holes and come in many shapes and sizes.
One of the negative aspects of air stones is their small size. This results in a concentration of bubbles in one location rather than an even distribution of bubbles. This can cause irregular and asymmetrical root growth in DWC systems, leading to lower growth rates and plant health issues. They are also very prone to clogging and developing a film build up which can seriously affect the performance.
Take a look at some of the air stones we carry here at Hydrobuilder!
Made from flexible tubes, air diffusers feature a more even distribution of holes. They are much larger than most air stones and can be bent into unique shapes. Because of this, air diffusers do a much better job of evenly distributing the bubbles inside a hydroponic reservoir. They are also able to create smaller bubbles as the material is more like rubber than stones allowing more control in the manufacturing process. Air diffusers also put less load on air pumps than air stones helping them last longer.
For use in gardening, air diffusers are a better choice than the less efficient air stones.
We carry a wide range of air diffusers at Hydrobuilder, and are happy to answer any questions you have have about how to properly oxygenate your water supply at 888-815-9763. Current Culture, the leading manufacturer of deep water culture hydroponic systems recommends changing out your air diffusers every one to two grows for the best performance. Their brand of air diffusers called Aqua Pore are what we recommend for most growers.
Check out our video below to see air diffusers in action!
Take a look at some of air diffusers to get a better idea of the range of shapes and sizes:
Learn more about how water temperature and dissolved oxygen work together in hydroponic systems here.