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.) 

my fish died of a bacterial infection several months ago. The bio wheel used for the sick tank has been dry since then. Do I need a new one for a new tank setup?

Asked by: Ioana
No, just float it in the tank for a day or two to allow it to absorb water again. It will once again grow bacteria. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-03

Our bio wheel is not constantly spinning, there are times is pauses or just completely stops. Have you heard of anything to help this or would we need to replace the entire filter?

Asked by: TCRP
Once the bio wheel builds up what is called bio -load; the sludge that houses the beneficial bacteria, it will weight the bio wheel down. This in turn may make it start/stop, start/stop. Pausing is perfectly fine. By pausing, areas exposed to air will reap the benefits of the extra oxygen by doing more biological filtration. As long as the wheel can turn on its own, speed is irrelevant. I do recommend taking the filter system apart and cleaning it, especially the impeller assembly down in the motor region, and the motor region itself, to make sure you have an effective flow rate. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-19

What is the power draw on the penguin 1?

Asked by: kpets
If you are referring to the Penguin 100, it would be 14.4 watts, 120 v. and .12 a. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-03

I have a penguin 200. I've only had it a few months. I just moved and now it is noisy and will not pull water through the filter. I pulled everything out of the top and there isn't anything dirty or blocking anything

Asked by: Mscboston138
I have cleaned the impeller assembly, as well as the hole it fits in. It is still noisy, and will not pull water up through the filter. The rest of the filter housing is clean, as well as the tube that suits inside the tank
Answered by: Mscboston138
Date published: 2016-09-29

Walked by my 10g frog tank & saw the bio wheel was completely stuck. Upon inspection, it was dry too. I just replaced the filter cartridge yesterday (every 4 wks), so that bacteria is gone. Without water, the bacteria has all died, correct? :-0

Asked by: Amandine
The bacteria on the bio wheel have definitely died off, but you still have bacteria on the filter, in the filter system, the gravel, water, etc. Once you get the bio wheel going again, it will re-grow bacteria in no time. Take the filter apart, and clean out the intake tube, the impeller assembly and the bottom of the filter box to get the biowheel to spin again. It is completely dependent on the flow rate of the filter, and debris, sludge, algae, etc., will slow it down. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-28

I powered up the filter without adding water to the box.  Will this damage my filter ? It sounds a bit noisier now. I have single biowheel filter hob

Asked by: Zodiack
It should not, no, as long as it did not run that way for very long. I would just recommend removing the impeller assembly and impeller housing to inspect them. Make sure the impeller assembly blades are not rubbing the housing, pull it out, then re-insert it into the housing, then re-seat both into the filter system. Check the motor region of the filter box for any debris that may have accidentally been pulled in such as grit or sand. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please call us at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-27

My tank is running the double biowheel set up (takes C filters). Since day one, the wheels have been noisy. I can't run it without the wheels bc it's even noisier. I need it to stop with the drip sound. Please help. 

Asked by: CantSleep
Sounds like your water level is too low in the tank. It should be to the bottom of the top frame of the tank. This allows the spillways to rest in the water, eliminating most of the drip sound. If the bio wheels are new, take them out and float them, in order to have them absorb water faster, and reduce the noise of the water returning. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-22

I have had the penguin 100 for yrs. on my 20 gallon tank. will the 150 be better for that tank.

Asked by: thecat18
It would definitely move more water more rapidly through the filter. So it would filter more, yes. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-19

how do you adjust the mid level strainer?

Asked by: mikenan
Lift or lower the gray lever to shut off as much or as little of the strainer as you would like. It is personal preference. I just remove the gray level and leave the strainer open all the time. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-19

How can you determine power consumption on the motor of the Penguin 350? I have 4, and wonder how many volts/watts the power is pulling? I can find anything in the manuals.

Asked by: TimsTanks
It would have that information on the motor itself; you would need to flip the filter system upside down. Watts are 20.4, voltage is 120, amps are .17. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-19

I use 2 penguin 200 filters with my 55 gallon aquarium. Even if I keep the water level good, I have to tilt the filters to get enough flow to turn the biowheel. Do you have any advice on what else I could do to generate enough flow to keep it turning?

Asked by: Steven777
Take the filter systems apart and thoroughly clean the motor region, the impeller assembly and the intake tube. The bio wheels are also subject to the flow rate, which is subject to how well maintained the filter systems are, and our recommendation is to take them apart every couple of months for a good cleaning. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-16

every time i change water in my tank. the pump doesn't start. doy you know why? it is a pinguin 200

Asked by: hernandez
Most likely, you need to remove the filter, take it apart, and clean it, especially the impeller assembly and motor region. It is generally recommended to take a filter system apart and clean it every one to two months. You can get sludge, algae, hard water deposits, and various types of debris that clog them. Cleaning generally gets the filter back up and running at normal flow and prevents it from having issues with re-starting after power outages. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-14

is their a modification i can buy (IE. heaver bio wheel or different filter cartage) to slow the output current on my bio wheel penguin power filter 350

Asked by: Davy
Certainly if you add two cartridges to each side, that will impede the flow somewhat, as will adding any other special media like bio beads in a stocking. We do not make any other cartridges or bio wheels, however. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-14

Just set up a 29-gal kit. The bio wheel filter is splashing up from the slot between the filter and the hood. The hood is wet all the time. I tried a replacement filter with same result. Advice?

Asked by: wetfox
Make sure the water level is to the underside of the top black frame. Also, float the bio wheel for a day or two to help it to absorb water more quickly. This will reduce the speed of the wheel, and thus, the splashing. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-11

I need to purchase a replacement Bio Wheel and bearings for my Penguin 75B. Can you please provide me with the appropriate parts number and location I might be able to purchase the items?

Asked by: Dudley Sockpuppet
Good morning, Thank you for your question. We are happy to help you in this matter. We will email you direclty for further assistance in regards to warranty coverage. MINI
Answered by: MINI
Date published: 2016-09-02

Can I buy the inlet strainer for the penguin set up for a 10-20 gallon tank?

Asked by: NW Gal
Good morning, Thank you for your inquriy. We will be emailing you directly to asisst you with this inquriy. MINI
Answered by: MINI
Date published: 2016-09-01

Will the "limited warranty" help to replace the impeller or housing or whatever is causing the horribly loud noise coming from my filter...This is the FOURTH Penguin 350 I've purchased in less than a year!

Asked by: carrie527
The warranty replaces any manufacturer's defect. It sounds more like you have a maintenance issue though. You did not clarify if each filter was noisy or exactly why you replaced them, nor what type of noise you are hearing, but to replace 4 filters in a year indicates that there is an issue with cleaning the filter system out. Noise is generally caused by sand substrate, which will destroy impellers in a month or two, air stones placed under or near the intake tube, hard water or calcium deposits, and other types of detritus or build up such as hair, algae, etc. To check for any of these issues, remove your intake tube, then the housing it is installed into, which will bring up the impeller assembly. These items are clearly marked in the Quick Set Up Guide that came with the filter. Should you need another copy you may download it right from the Penguin Power Filter product page on our site. Check the impeller assembly over carefully for the above issues, as well as warping, imbalance, damaged fins, and so forth. Using a q tip and/or toothpick or straw, clean out any lodged debris that you find down in the motor which is in the bottom of the filter box and is the area the impeller sits in. This is right in the middle of the filter box. Next, clean this area with a q tip and distilled white vinegar. If you tend to have hard water or have a salt tank, soak the impeller in vinegar every month or two for about 15 minutes. Please call us if you have any questions or cannot resolve the issue. 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-31

I have the penguine bio wheel 75 power filter (that is red) I have everything else in place except for the bio wheel, I don't see any latch or anything so I just sit it on top of the plastic and it falls right out, the videos do not show where it goes.

Asked by: beckysw
The only parts that are red are the bio wheel bracket and the "bearings", two little tiny pieces that fit on each end of the bio wheel. With these pieces on the bio wheel, you can snap it into the red bracket. You may be missing these pieces. Please take a look and give us a call at 1-800-322-1266 so we can talk with you and ensure you are installing it correctly and have everything you need for it. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-31

I recently bought my filter system and they ran it in salt water but I'm going to use it for fresh do I need to replace the bio wheels ? 

Asked by: Ashleyyostuni
Not unless they are warped or damaged in any way. Just rinse them well in a light spray of cool water. If there is a lot of buildup on them, use a q tip to clean between the folds. If the buildup is so bad, they don't want to spin, then I would replace them, but the salt is not going to harm your tank, otherwise. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-31

High I was wondering if Marineland Penguin 350 B could be used with salt, tank size approximately 65 gallons.I have a 350 B currently, I know it takes, filter size C, I also have the blue cartridges you can load with your own charcoal, etc.. Suggestions?

Asked by: John Dixon
Yes, it can definitely be used for a saltwater tank. You just need to clean the impeller and filter box more often than you would with freshwater tanks. For the media containers, I would recommend bio beads or something along those lines to give you more biological filtration. Also, be sure to change the cartridges at least every 3-4 weeks. You may even want to skip cartridges, and just use filter floss and bio beads for your filter system. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-30

Hi, I have a Penguin BIO-Wheel 150. Has good flow, the filter is unobstructed but the BIO-Wheel started to slow down, then start-stop-start-stop and now is not moving at all. Rinsed it using water from the tank but still not rotating. Any idea? Thanks

Asked by: Jacopo
Take the entire filter off of the tank, take it apart, and clean it, especially the impeller, intake tube, and bottom of the filter housing, where the impeller resides. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-09-08

How do I replace my bio wheels they are in need of it but I can't find them anywhere

Asked by: gavin97
If you have the Penguin 100 as pictured, the bio wheels are available through local fish stores, various online vendors and our website. You could have scrolled down the product page and clicked on parts to purchase them: BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-29

I have a new system and I have only had it running for 4 days. I noticed one wheel is spinning at regular speed and the other is barely spinning. I havent gotten my fish yet, but I am worried by it not spinning correctly it will mess up my new system.

Asked by: Juparlia
How fast they spin does not matter. Speed or lack thereof, is not important. As long as they are spinning, that is all that matters. As they build up bio load, they will eventually slow down to a point where they start...stop....start...stop, etc. Just make sure the tank is full to the top black frame of the tank, and that there is nothing inside the filter body or the intake tube, interfering with the filter. Even in new systems. you can pull in various types of debris that can cause an issue. However, if you continue to have concerns, please call the Consumer Relations Team at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-27

Hi I was wondering if I used penguin 75 for saltwater would that work or not?

Asked by: Dylan558
You can, yes. Such filters work for saltwater tanks as well, you just need to keep them well maintained. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-23

I have a penguin 150 filter for my turtle tank that I purchased a little over a month ago and I have cleaned it thoroughly but the water is not being picked up and there is little to no current coming out. What should I do?

Asked by: Bhamel1997
Your water level is probably too low. These do not make great turtle filters because the water level needs to be pretty close to the top of the tank for maximum flow. That goes for any hang-on-the-back filter such as these. However, you could try removing the impeller and cleaning it with white vinegar. Also, clean out down in the bottom of the filter box where the impeller resides with vinegar as well. Water alone may not get all deposits. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-22

I have a Penguin 350 and was making awefull rachet. So I unpluged -cleaned out with toothpick-cotton swab, ordered thru you the impreller assy - bio wheels - both covers, ext tube & mid level strainer. (I do not have fish yet)-It's still loud, any advice?

Asked by: YoYo Beam
No air stones, I have sand mixed with pebbles, no fish yet. But noise was there before sand and stones , plus I removed pump when I added them and hooked back up three days later?
Answered by: Yoyo Beam
Date published: 2016-08-20

is there a spray bar attachment for the penguin 200 series filter? i need to find a way to reduce the current for my axolotls

Asked by: G12345
No, there is not. You might try placing a large natural rock underneath it or a piece of driftwood. Alternatively, place a piece of filter floss on the spillway or stuff some in the strainer to reduce flow rate. Here is a great site for info on axolotls: BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-17

Where do you find replacement wheel filters

Asked by: Chris Taylor
If you mean the bio wheels themselves, you can order them from our website, or you can buy them through a local fish store. To order them through us, go to the filter product page and click on Parts. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-15

hello we have a 75 gallon tank set up with smaller parrot fish. We have 2 50gallon marineland bio wheel filters and the current seems to strong. Is there any way to turn the current down a little??

Asked by: Jeanine
No, the Penguins do not have flow control. The current from the Penguin 200 should not be too powerful for these fish in a 75 gallon tank. I would recommend testing the water quality to make sure they are not overly stressed due to an issue with the water. To help reduce the flow rate, simply place tall plants directly in front of the filters. This will help disguise them and will break up the flow. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-27

How do I remove the bio wheel bearings to replace them?

Asked by: john1john
Depends on the version. Approximately a year ago, we began gluing them in, and prying them out can be trickier. The older version is easier; they just "pop" out. If you cannot pull them out easily, use a flathead screwdriver or butter knife, etc., and carefully pry them out. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-08-12
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