BIO Wheel

Q. Do I need a BIO-Wheel?

Yes. Biological filtration is critical to the success of any aquarium. If your system has a BIO-Wheel, a culture of ammonia-neutralizing bacteria will grow on its surface. The bacteria will thrive because as the BIO-Wheel provides "wet/dry" biological filtration. As it rotates, the bacteria are nourished by the larger amount of oxygen in the air and water.

Q. My BIO-Wheel isn't turning. What should I do?

If your BIO-Wheel has, in fact, stopped completely, it is probably either because the BIO-Wheel is out of position or because water flow is not strong enough to push the BIO-Wheel.

If water flow is reduced...

  • Unplug your system.
  • Inspect the BIO-Wheel carefully to make sure that there are no obvious obstructions to rotation and that it spins freely when in proper position.
  • Remove the impeller housing and magnetic impeller assembly and make sure the impeller assembly is clear of any obstruction and free to rotate. With a clean cloth or brush, clean the impeller, intake tube and impeller housing.
  • Make sure your aquarium is filled to the bottom edge of the aquarium frame or the level specified in your owners manual.
  • Restart your system. NOTE: If you have a power filter that hangs on the back of the aquarium, be sure to fill the filter box with water.

Q. When should I clean or replace my BIO-Wheel?

Unless it becomes damaged, there is no need to ever replace your BIO-Wheel. A BIO-Wheel actually improves with age. 

Q. My BIO-Wheel is making a lot of splashing noise. Is that normal?

When a BIO-Wheel is new, it has a tendency to rotate more rapidly, which can cause a "lapping" noise. Over time, as the bacteria culture grows, the BIO-Wheel will slow and operate more quietly. (To immediately reduce the sound of water hitting the wheel, grab each end of the wheel simultaneously and gently turn them in opposite directions. This will cause the incoming water to contact one side of the wheel before the other, reducing noise level.) 

Good evening! I have Marineland - Penguin 350. It does a VERY nice job with circulation and filtration, but it is extremely loud. Is this normal? The impeller is obviously working but the rattling sound can be heard three rooms away.

Asked by: HeidiAnderson
We are sorry to hear you are having this experience! No, this would not be normal. If you have sand as a substrate, you may have pulled some into the filter. this will create a lot of noise, and rapidly damage the impeller. You would want to completely clean the impeller and the bottom of the filter box where it resides then put filter floss in the bottom strainer or put a pre-filter sponge over the strainer. If you do not have sand, but have a bubbler near the intake tube, the bubbles will go up the tube, and cause a tremendous amount of rattling. If neither is the case, then we would recommend removing the impeller and impeller housing, and checking for any hair, sludge, hard water deposits, carbon dust, etc., cleaning the filter box and the impeller well, and then re-seating everything. If this does not resolve the issue, please call us directly at 1-800-322-1266 for assistance. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-05

Hello - can the Marineland Penguin 150 filter be used for sand bottom fish tanks? Thanks, Mike

Asked by: Mike B
Thank you for your interest in this Marineland product Mike! Basically, sand is a detriment to most filters, if you do not take precautions. You can make sure the intake tube is not more than halfway down in the tank, the bottom strainer is filled with filter floss or use a sponge pre-filter on the bottom strainer. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-04

I would like to add a pre filter sponge to the intake of my penguin 200 power filter. any suggestions?

Asked by: scary
Marineland does not make a pre-filter sponge at this time. However, there are several on the market that are for this particular purpose, manufactured by other brands. You can also use filter floss instead of a pre-filter sponge. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-03

is the bio flow mini filter discontinued? It uses size P cartridges I cant fund anywhere. This came with an Escape 5 kit we got as a gift.

Asked by: RonnieShay
Thank you for your interest in these Marineland products! No, it is not discontinued, it is sold in almost all of our small kits. The Rite Size P cartridge is available ONLY through Petsmart. If you are unable to find it in a Petsmart store, you can purchase them here: http://www.petsmart.com/fish/supplies/filters-and-filter-media/replacement-parts/marineland-rite-size-p-power-filter-cartridges-5230301.html?src=search&searchterm=Rite%20Size%20P%20cartridges&ps=false. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-06

I have a penguin 150 (came in my 20 gallon kit) my issue is that without a cartridge installed the biowheel spins just fine. However when a cartridge is installed it doesn't rotate at all. How do I fix this?

Asked by: Nick Rha
Thank you for purchasing a Marineland product! Make sure the water level in the tank is to the top of the tank. Also, the cartridge should be facing the back of the filter, with the black plastic side facing the bio wheel. And last, make sure nothing is clogged or dirty, such as the impeller assembly or the well of the motor. If you are unable to resolve this issue, please call us at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-30

We just installed our new Penguin 200 system & the impeller is very loud with a rattling plastic noise.  We've done everything recommended in the troubleshooting guide with no success.  The biowheel also doesn't spin in spite of decent water flow. ???

Asked by: Dawn351
Thank you for purchasing this Marineland product; I am sorry to hear this is happening. Remove the filter from the tank, take out the intake tube, impeller housing and impeller. Check to make sure everything looks correct, and there is no damage or warping. Taking a q tip, run it down into the well of the motor to check for any grit, gravel, sand, etc. If you are using sand, check under the magnet and blades on the impeller assembly for any and remove it. Place filter floss inside the bottom strainer to keep sand from being pulled into the filter. If there is no sand, make sure the water level in the tank is to the top of the tank, and then re-install the filter system and prime it with water. Re-attach the impeller to the impeller housing, and then re-seat them. Start the filter up again. Make sure the purple bio wheel bearings are properly in place, and the bio wheel is not warped. If you continue to have either issue, please call us directly at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-29

My new Penguin 350 is making tons of mechanical noise. Not sure what to do. It's created quite a bit of flow in my tank as well. Is there a way to reduce flow and mechanical noise? If not, can I switch it for a smaller filter? 

Asked by: garrettsfish123
Thank you for contacting us about this product! Mechanical noise can be due to trapped air bubbles around the impeller, an air stone near the intake tube, sand as the substrate instead of gravel, or improper seating of an impeller. It could also be an imbalanced impeller. We would recommend removing the impeller and checking it over, plus cleaning out the well of the motor in case of any buildup of grit or carbon. If you have sand, make sure ALL sand is removed from the impeller and the motor, and then place filter floss inside the bottom strainer to prevent it from being pulled up. In regards to the flow, there is no flow adjustment for this filter. However, the water moves across the surface, creating oxygen, not down into the tank, so it should not affect the fish. If you are hearing a lot of water noise, or getting a lot of splashing, make sure your water level is to the bottom of the top frame of the tank. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-29

Brand new, out of the box. Plugged in the filter and hear the rattle for a while...now dead silent. Checked outlets, reseated mechanism, primed it. Did everything according to other advice. Water filled to top of tank. Help

Asked by: doncald
We are sorry to hear you are having this issue. We recommend taking the filter off of the tank, and removing the water, then the intake tube, impeller housing, and impeller. Check the well of the motor to make sure some gravel or grit, carbon, etc., did not get lodged down in there. You can swab it out with a q tip, if necessary. Check the impeller over for any issues. Plug the filter box into an outlet, without water in it, and drop the impeller down into the motor (without the impeller housing - just the impeller). If it spins, rattles, vibrates, etc., you have power, you just had something interfering with the impeller. If you get this noise, put it all back together again, and re-try it in the tank. If you hear nothing, call us directly at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-29

My impeller isn't working any more how can I get a new one ?

Asked by: Peter42013
We are sorry to hear this! If you are within the three year warranty period of time, simply call us at 1-800-322-1266. If your filter is older, and the impeller is just worn out, you can purchase it through our website, local fish stores, or online vendors. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-28

Hello, I have a 350 that I just purchased in my 55 gallon tank. What is the mid level strainer used for? Should the mid level strainer be opened, or closed? Thanks

Asked by: thespica93
The purpose of this strainer is to increase circulation through the tank by allowing water to be pulled in from the middle of the tank, and not just towards the bottom. Whether you leave it open or closed, or partially closed is entirely up to you and your tank's needs. I tend to remove the gray lever, and leave it open at all times in my own tank. However, leaving it closed increases flow rate slightly. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-26

I have a bio wheel 150 penguin and the bio wheel won't spin what can I do I,re-seated the impeller but still not working

Asked by: Clay123
Make sure your purple biowheel bearings are in place, and clean. Place a thin smear of silicone lubricant on each one. Also, check to make sure the bio wheel is not warped. Seating the impeller isn't all that is needed; make sure it is clean and that the motor region is also clean. Use a q tip to swab out the motor with vinegar, and soak the impeller in vinegar for about 10 minutes. Give us a call if you are unable to resolve the issue. 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-25

is the anyway i can buy the blue tabs that go on the ends of the boi wheels? they're used to help the filter turn easy and keep it in place. i have a penguin 330.

Asked by: dough
Those are called bio wheel bearings. Here is a link to them on our site. Just add them to your cart. http://www.marineland.com/Products/aquarium-parts/Filtration-Products-and-Skimmers/Penguin-Parts/BIO-Wheel-Parts-for-Penguins/BIO-Wheel-Bearings-for-Penguin-PF99B-PF125B-PF170B-PF330B.aspx BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-25

I bought the power filter 350. What do you recommend for gravel or sand?  I have an Oscar and want to use substrate but do not want to ruin my filter. 

Asked by: J467
Great question J467! We don't recommend sand, unless you are going to place filter floss inside the bottom strainer to prevent it from being pulled up. Filter floss comes in bags of what looks like cotton. As oscars tend to dig, gravel is more suitable, and typically either a medium sized one or a mix of small and large will make the tank look more natural, and cause the least amount of issue regarding vacuuming, and oscar health. A depth of no more than 1.5" would be recommended. The deeper the substrate, the more work. Gravel can also be vacuumed, whereas sand can not, and will eventually become less attractive with the growth of algae, etc. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-22

I just cleaned my tank and put a new filter on and plugged it up and now it won't work. What do I do?

Asked by: Kitty29
Thank you for reaching out to us; we are sorry to hear you are experiencing this issue! Pull out the intake tube, then the impeller housing, and check to make sure the impeller is okay. If so, re-seat the impeller housing back into the filter box, snugly, then place the intake tube back into it. If you are unable to resolve this issue on your own, please reach out to us at techsupport.marineland@spectrumbrands.com or 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-20

I need a bio wheel for my 200 penguin outside filter

Asked by: Larrym
Thank you for contacting us Larrym! Here is a link to where you can purchase it on our site: http://www.marineland.com/Products/aquarium-parts/Filtration-Products-and-Skimmers/Penguin-Parts/BIO-Wheel-Parts-for-Penguins/BIO-Wheel-Assembly-Penguins-200B-and-350B.aspx. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-20

What's the difference between 350 and 350B power filter.

Asked by: Wiltron
Thank you for your interest in this Marineland product! B is just a variation code. In this case it implies a second version of the 350. Only difference would be packaging. Everything else is the same. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

Do you need to use any tubing if using the Penguin ?

Asked by: Drica
Thank you for your interest in this Marineland product! This is a hang-on-the-back or HOB filter. They come with everything they need for you to get them up and running in just a few minutes, including an intake tube with a strainer. No additional tubing is necessary. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

Just installed a new Penguin 350. Horrible humming sound! Have to turn TV up. I do not mind the wheel splashing sound, but this humming is horrific! What is causing this? Can I make it stop?

Asked by: onlybigpaws
We are sorry to hear you are having this issue. If you have the filter plugged directly into the wall, and not a power strip with surge protection, you may be having some voltage issues that are affecting your filter. Voltage issues typically occur during periods of high use of AC or heat. If you are plugged into a proper power strip, then unplug the filter, remove the impeller, and the impeller housing, and check them for any issues. Make sure they are properly connected, then re-seat them. If you are unable to resolve this issue, please call us directly at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

Do the biowheels and filters come with Marineland 350B power filter, is it ready to go when set up in tank?

Asked by: fishergirl
Thank you for your interest in this Marineland product! Yes, your first two cartridges, and your bio wheels do indeed come with the filter when you buy it. You just need to remove them from their wrappers, place the filter on your tank, fill it with water, put the cartridges and bio wheels into it, then the intake tube, and plug it in! BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

My bio wheel still will not spin. i have checked its alignment, restarted the system and cleaned everything. There is good water flow coming through. The whelk will soon about 2 rotations every once in a while. Filter is 2 years old. Please help!! 

Asked by: AhsokaTano19
We are sorry to hear this is happening! Here are some tips that usually work: - check the purple bearings at each end of the bio wheel. Make sure they are properly in place, clean them, and rub a thin smear of silicone lubricant on them. - remove the impeller and impeller house; remove debris, algae, hair, etc., from both, soak the impeller in distilled vinegar for 15 minutes, swab out the well of the motor with a q tip and vinegar, rinse everything well, re-seat all parts - using a "baby bottle" style aquarium brush, clean out the intake tube - water level in tank should be to bottom of top frame - using a q tip only, no detergents, etc., swab gently between each fold on the bio wheel If you are unable to resolve this issue, please contact us directly via 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-01

I put 2 penguin 350's on my new 55g saltwater fish only. I keep reading that they are bad "Nitrate Factory". Is this true or have I done the right thing.

Asked by: Rickywthomas
Thank you for contacting us. A lot of marine hobbyists believe that hang-on-the-back or H.O.B. filters are not good for marine tanks. This is not true. They will only create a lot of nitrates if you do not maintain them. Just take them apart and lightly clean out the filter box, intake tube, and impeller on a monthly basis. If you are using the cartridges, replace them once a month. I would also add the media containers filled with bio beads or other biological media. Any filter will create nitrates if not properly installed or maintained. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-03

My bio wheels are still noisy. The sound, I believe, is coming from the bubbles it forms as they turn and pop in the enclosure. It goes quiet for maybe a few hours after adding more water but starts back up with the noise. Please help.

Asked by: StillCantSleep
We appreciate your contacting us! A new filter will have noisy bio wheels, but once it has absorbed water, the sound is pretty minimal. If it is only a couple of days old, take the bio wheels out, and float them in the tank. If it is older, like a few weeks, then take the unit off of the tank, and clean it out well to make sure the wheels are spinning properly. Your water level should be to the bottom of the top frame of the tank to help prevent noise issue and maximize filtration. If you have a bubbler in the tank, near the intake tube, try moving it further away as well. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please call us at 1-800-322-1266 so we may troubleshoot it for you. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-28

i have a emperor 400 new, at what speed should my bio wheels turn at

Asked by: Yoggie
Hi Yoggie! We appreciate you contacting us! There is no particular speed that they should turn at - they should simply turn. They can even start and stop as long as they turn on their own. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-23

Just got a brand new 350 out of the box. And followed the very sparse instructions for the set up. And it doesn't do anything apart from make a lot of noise. And bubbles. It doesn't pull any water in. At all. 

Asked by: izzix251
Hi izzix251! We are sorry to hear you are having this issue, but do you have the water level to the top of the tank? It sounds like you don't have your tank full. The filter cannot prime unless the water completely covers the mid-level strainer, and it will sit and create bubbles in the filter box and make a lot of noise. If you do have the tank full, and the filter is also filled all the way up, then pull the intake tube, and impeller housing out of the filter box. Re-seat them firmly. The impeller housing may have gotten jammed into the box during the production line or shipping. If you need any additional assistance, please call 1-800-322-1266. After 3:30 pm EST today, we are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy Thanksgiving! BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-23

I have a 60 G. Freshwater tank, & all of a sudden my fish started to get the cloudy eyes, and I removed the sick fish, treated tank multiple times, & all fish ended up passing. To re-start, should I change the bio wheel? any tips on restarting this?

Asked by: Brandy Louise
Thank you for your inquiry. Cloudy eyes are often due to poor water quality such as a low pH. You do not need to do anything other than basic maintenance to start the tank again. Vacuum the gravel and replace 30% of the water. Clean out the filter system and replace the media. Test your water quality for pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and alkalinity. Add one small fish around an inch in length per 10 gallons of water to start the tank again, and also add Tetra SafeStart Plus to jump start the biological filter. You do not need to replace the bio wheels. Add the SafeStart while the fish are floating in their bags, acclimating to the water temperature of the tank. Once you have gone through these steps, test the water quality again within a few days. You should be able to wait two weeks for your first partial water change. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-23

Been using a model 100 for a week. Water is still cloudy and have had to rinse filter to keep wheel from stopping. What can I do to fix these issues?

Asked by: M_007
Thank you for contacting us! If the wheel is trying to stop because the cartridge is clogging up, the filter is doing a good job of cleaning the tank, but is overburdened. Sounds like the tank could use a good gravel vacuuming and about 25-33% of the water changed. This would help both issues. If this is a new tank, you may be over feeding. In that case, I would recommend one flake of food per fish, once a day, depending on the types of fish you own. If you believe it is neither of these issues, then I would recommend calling us directly so we could ask some questions and do some troubleshooting for you. 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-01

We have the Penguin 200 with the mid-level strainer. Since the strainer is adjustable, how do we decide where to set it?

Asked by: fishyssoise
Thank you for your question! There is no right or wrong, it is based on personal preference, really. The purpose behind the mid-level strainer is to pull water into the filter from the middle of the tank, and not just from the bottom of it. This improves circulation. I personally remove the lever myself, in my own aquariums to increase circulation as much as possible. However, some folks like to close it at feeding time or leave it closed. If you have very small fish, you may want to close it till they grow some. Again, it's based on what is best for your tank, your fish, and your situation. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-14

i just bought a Oceanic 75 gallon front bow aquarium its been sitting for a couple years it used to be a salt water tank/ filter im planning on making it a freshwater tank i cleaned everything including the bio wheels should i replace them?

Asked by: MustangGuy1999
Thank you for your question. That depends on HOW you cleaned the bio wheels. Typically, you don't need to clean them at all besides rinsing them lightly or taking a q tip and cleaning between the folds. As long as they spin in the filter, there is no need to replace them. They will grow bacteria again. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-09

How do I clean my BIO Wheel? It stinks and it's making my house stink. 

Asked by: Kocoa
You typically don't clean the bio wheel itself, but you can take a q tip and clean gently between the folds. Wipe the plastic ends off with a soft cloth and hot water. We have not received feedback regarding this issue before now. Typically, the feedback we receive from customers regarding odor is more along the lines of the aquarium itself. Our recommendation is usually to vacuum the gravel well, and do a 30% water change. Wait a couple of days, and then take the filter apart, and clean all of it's plastic parts, replace the cartridge, and swab between the bio wheel folds. You could do the entire filter system first though, and wait a couple of days to do the water change. Do not do both on the same day, you don't want to disrupt your biological filter. After both have been completed, I would recommend adding Marineland Bio Spira Freshwater Bacteria. This will help boost your biological filter again, and may eliminate some of the possible causes of odor. Another option for removing odor is fresh carbon. One of carbon's main jobs is to do exactly that - remove odor. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-07

I have a brand new penguin 200 and it's not working. No water being sucked up. This is the second one I have tried with the same problem. I have disassembled and reassemble the product several times with no luck. What is the problem?

Asked by: twinkie13
When customers have reported this issue before, they have found that their water level may be too low for the filter to prime, or they sometimes forget to fill the filter box up with water. You mentioned having taken it apart and re-assembled it which is something that also often works. When you did this, did you also remove the impeller from the impeller housing and then re-attach them and re-seat them in the filter box? BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-06
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