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.) 

Replacing a Penguin 150 with a Penguin 350 on an active aquarium . . . do I need to do anything to prep the bio wheels on the new unit. The 150 bio wheel will not fit into the 350.

Asked by: mcdgen6
We would recommend you float the new bio wheels for a week or so in order to saturate them and begin to develop a biological load on them. After 1-2 weeks, remove them, install the new filter, and place the bio wheels in it. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-21

I'm readying a 55-gallon tall acrylic tank. I've noticed that the filter slot is 1 11/16" (1.6875") from the rear wall. Will a Penguin filter fit in there?

Asked by: Big Ralfie
You will need 3" between the tank and the wall in order to fit a Penguin power filter. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-19

The biowheel isn't turning, unless I remove the filter cartridge. That doesn't seem like the right thing to do. I've added water to the tank & removed/cleaned/replaced the impeller. What else would you recommend that I should try?

Asked by: LoriAnn
Make sure you have the purple bearings in place at each end of the bio wheel, and that they are clean. You can place a thin smear of petroleum jelly on them as well. If you did not clean out the intake tube and/or the motor region, then clean those as well. And if you have hard water, be sure to use white vinegar to clean the parts. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-19

Bio doesn't spin. Water flows back next to the intake tube. Water level is high enough. What's the problem?

Asked by: Scotteh
Your filter cartridge is saturated, time for a change.
Answered by: Big Ralfie
Date published: 2018-11-17

I recently had an aquarium die from catastrophic fungal growth. Are the bio wheels still safe to reuse after cleaning the tanks and the rest of the filter?

Asked by: Psycho4hire
I'm not sure what a catastrophic fungal growth is, never having heard of it in more than 30 years in the business. Tanks can get fungal issues, usually through the water source used during changes or through over feeding. Assuming you mean it was one of these, then yes, the bio wheels perfectly fine. They have probably dried out and everything died off during the drying process so you can re-use them. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-15

Does the Penguin filter range run off 220Vac also, or only designed for 110Vac?

Asked by: ianrwood
It is designed for 110V only. You could use a converter perhaps. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-12

I am upgrading from a10 gallon aquarium kit to a 37 gallon marineland tank and stand the new tank does not come with a filter. Can In use the penguin from the marineland 10 gallon kit and add a second filter?

Asked by: Jrc55011
You can use it, yes, but it won't filter much. It's main purpose will be to help seed the new tank with good bacteria. Other than that, there really isn't much point to use such a small filter on that size tank. I would run it for a week or two while the tank is cycling, then remove it. You need something like a Penguin 200 for proper filtration. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-12

Hey , I cleaned my bio wheel and tank now it is running loud. Can anyone help m out?

Asked by: Butcher
Well, when you cleaned it did you remove the impeller from the bottom of the filter box? Noise typically comes from something being caught in the impeller or motor region. It can also occur if the intake tube is not seated correctly or if there is an air stone near the intake tube. Sand getting caught in the impeller will cause grinding noises. So basically, it is always a good idea to remove the intake tube, impeller housing and impeller, inspect and if necessary, clean them. Also inspect the motor region as well. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-12

For a 30 gallon aquarium is a Penguin 150 or 200 advisable? I don’t want to potentially get a strong one that will be splatter water all over.

Asked by: Karim117
That depends on the tank's needs, basically. The Penguin 150 is rated for tanks up to 30 gallons so you would be maxing that filter out, depending on the type of fish you are keeping. The Penguin 200 is not overkill and is often used in that size tank, especially for goldfish and cichlids which are particularly dirty fish. Neither filter will splatter water any more than any other filter, but we do recommend floating the biowheel for the first day or so to help it to absorb water and eliminate noise in new filter systems. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-12

I have a 150 and a 350 the 150 seems to be moving a lot more water than 350 what do you think the problem might be the 350 is brand new

Asked by: mumblypeg
Well, since the motor and the impeller on the 350 is much larger, that certainly isn't possible. Also, the flow is split between two chambers so keep that in mind. Some possible causes can be clogged cartridges, low water level in the tank, or if you added additional media, this would slow it down too. Also, even with a brand new filter you can pull something into it that may interfere with the impeller. Check it for plant matter, sand, grit, carbon dust, and so forth. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-09

Hi i love live in Barbados and I have the filter but there are no cartridges available what can I do since there is none. Another question is that my water in the tank still isn't keeping clear what might be the problem i have 150 filter

Asked by: Trinity27
As we do not export our products, we cannot advise on how to purchase our products outside the U.S. In regards to the cloudy water, that could be due to any number of possible causes. New Tank Syndrome, adding fish too fast, too many fish for the tank, over feeding, microscopic animals such as heterotrophic bacteria, water changes not frequent enough or too frequent, and so forth. Without any information on your tank, we would recommend testing the water quality, vacuuming the gravel and changing out 25% of the water. We would also recommend adding a bacterial supplement like our Bio Spira. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-07

I purchased a 200 model for my 50 gal tank does it matter that the intake pipe only goes 2/3 rds of the depth or the water?

Asked by: Jsmall
No, not at all. Anywhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way down is recommended. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-07

Hi, My box did not come with an impeller. Can one be sent to me? I can provide proof of purchase. Thank you, Kennedy

Asked by: Keke
Hi Keke, Was the impeller not installed in the filter box and attached to the impeller housing? We install it here on the production line. It would not be in with the other parts in the clear bag. But yes, if it is missing, you would need to email your receipt, full name, address and phone number to BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-06

I need this filter for turtles i have in a tank but do the water have to be filled to the top to use this filter i keep the water halfway so will it still work correctly 

Asked by: Turtles turtle
The water level has to cover all openings and connections in the tubing so it would need to be at least 3/4 of the way up or more. Canister filters or submersible filters tend to be better options for a turtle tank. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-11-01

How many voltages does the 150 handle???

Asked by: Human being John
Thank you for asking! The power consumption for the Penguin 150 is 14.4 watts, 120 v, .12 a. For more help contact Marineland at 1-800-322-1266. We are happy to help you!
Answered by: Customer Service
Date published: 2018-10-31

Can I use a Penguin 150(up to 30 gallon) for my 10 gallon tank? Isn’t harmful for my fishes?

Asked by: Marjan
Thanks for asking! As long as it fits on the tank it will work. Healthy fish will have no problem swimming in a 10 gallon tank with this filter. Over filtration is a good idea for most fish tanks. For more help call Marineland at 1-800-322-1266. We are happy to help you!
Answered by: Customer Service
Date published: 2018-10-29

Would an improper working impeller cause my filters to act like they are clogged? I would change the filters and within days they would have to be changed out. The filters don't look like they need to be changed. Thank you.

Asked by: Larry55
If the cartridges are clean, but the flow is slowing down, that could be due to debris, sludge, algae, hair like strands, etc., on the impeller, in the motor region or in the intake tube. Definitely take the filter apart and clean it well. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-22

My penguin 75 filter is leaking out the top. Its building up water in the corner behind the filter cartridge. How can I stop this? I cleaned the filter cartridge and the tube that suckes in water. It spilled 2 gallons of water on the floor overnight.

Asked by: Kayla89
That's really peculiar as there is a run off built into the filter to prevent it from overflowing onto the floor. Make sure the filter cartridge is installed correctly and take the impeller out to clean it. Also clean out the motor. Typically though, there is nothing I know of that should cause this issue other than the cartridge not being installed correctly or a crack. For more help, email BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-22

My bio wheel 350 has very little flow coming out to the point that it trickles 

Asked by: Lemboi811
Have you tried cleaning it? Take it off the tank and take it completely apart. Using distilled white vinegar, and warm water, clean out the intake tube, impeller housing, and motor. Remove any debris or hair like strands from the impeller, and soak it for about 15 minutes. Rinse everything really well. Do NOT clean the bio wheels other than with a plain q tip, and only if they are really scummy. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-22

Can I use the Penguin 200 for a saltwater tank?

Asked by: WP10601
Yes, you can, but HOB filters like the Penguin need to be cleaned monthly to prevent issues with salt creep and nitrates so be sure to rinse it out, clean off the impeller and change media monthly. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-17

What should I do with my bio wheels if powers went and there dried out?thx

Asked by: Ormond
Just keep using them. If there is some loose sludge or something, gently wipe it off with a q tip. Otherwise, clean the filter system out and start it back up. Add Aquarium Bacteria or Freshwater Bio Spira by Marineland to it to boost the biological filter again. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-16

My biowheel is making a loud squeaking sound how do i fix this

Asked by: Tidedark
Clean the purple bearings that it rests in, and smear a tiny amount of Vaseline or a silicone lubricant onto them. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-16

I have a Penguin Biowheel 200 filter. The BIO-Wheel had stopped spinning so I replaced it. It stopped spinning again. How do I remove and clean the impeller?

Asked by: Richie63
We would recommend at this point to unplug the filter and remove it from the tank. Pour the water out carefully, in a bucket or carry the filter to a sink and pour it out. Remove the cartridge and bio wheel, intake tube and impeller housing. The latter is the piece the tube slides into. You will need to pull up, hard. That will bring out the impeller. You want to clean out the bottom of the filter box as well as all of the parts. White vinegar and warm water work well. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-11

How fast should the bio wheel turn I have 2 emperor 400 on a 75 gal tank

Asked by: cat6208
There is no particular speed for them to turn. They just need to turn on their own, period. If they are not, clean out the filter system and make sure the water level in the tank is at the max. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-29

I just received a penguin bio wheel 350 replacement from marineland. It worked for several days and now has completely stopped working. What could the issue possibly be? I mean its brand new. I am so frustrated with this filter.

Asked by: Crise917
We are sorry to hear you are having this issue Crise917! There are a lot of possible reasons for a new filter to stop operating. - sand in the tank - plant matter - impeller being out of position due to shipping - low water level in the tank Please contact our Care Team at for more help. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-09

Our bio-wheel dried out as a result of our family moving, it is still safe to put back in the tank?

Asked by: Dan R
Great question Dan! Yes, it is definitely safe to use it again. It will need to rebuild the bio load on it, and that may take a couple of weeks, so keep track of the ammonia and nitrite levels for a bit. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-09

I have a penguin 100. Does the bio wheel have to be changed often? If so how often?

Asked by: Damiantthebest
No, you never change the bio wheel at all, unless it becomes damaged. Or lost. You just rinse it lightly every now and then or use a q tip to gently remove the excess bio load. This should not be very often, though. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-02

I have a question regarding a white slime,scumb build up I get on the outside of the power filter and on the edges of the Bo wheel..I have never seen this before..first time I have used a power filter..what is this white gunk????

Asked by: Gizmo2
There are a number of possibilities. Hard water deposits if it is crusty. If it is not, then it is either excess protein which can be from over feeding or over stocking a tank or high level of phosphates in your source water, or a water mold. Wipe it off with a clean cloth periodically and do small water changes more frequently or use a different water source. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-01

Is the penguin bio wheel 150B supposed to shut its self off or run continuously?

Asked by: TxGirl936
All hang on the back filters should run continuously. If it is shutting off on its own, this can be due to sand substrate or an air stone near the intake tube. It can also mean something is caught in the impeller and needs to be removed. If you do not have sand or an air stone, we would recommend taking the filter apart and checking for detritus in the motor or on the impeller. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-09-27

I have a penguin 200 and it seems like the water level in the filter is too high. It keeps overflowing back into the tank bypassing the filters completely. filter cartridges are practically clean like it’s not filtering at all. What can I do to fix this?

Asked by: Lea72793
Take the filter apart and check the impeller and the motor region, as well as the intake tube. Something is clogging it in one of these areas. Could be a bit of grit or sludge on the impeller, hair-like strands wrapped around the impeller, plant matter, etc. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-10-24
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