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.) 

Does the PF0075B - Penguin 75 - 10 gal/75 GPH have a flow control? I want it for my 10 betta tank but they can't handle the full open flow. I have 2 males and a female in the tank separated by dividers.

Asked by: Dianad
The only flow control is the mid level strainer. My betta can handle 150 gph, so they should be able to handle 75 gph pretty easily unless they are stressed or ill for some reason. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-09

Does the water rotator have to be changed like the filters

Asked by: Cliff Bregstone
If you mean the bio wheel, no. You only change it if it becomes damaged or warped, etc. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-09

What are the difference in the penguin and emperor power filters

Asked by: Simba
The Penguin is slightly smaller, slightly less flow rate at 350 gph, whereas the Emperor has 400 gph. The Penguin relies on the water flow through the filter to hit the bio wheels and turn them, so a dirty system will affect this drastically. The Emperor has spray bars that continuously spray water on the bio wheels, constantly turning them. It also has media containers for extra media, unlike the Penguin. It also has a flow manifold housing vs the impeller housing of the Penguin. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-22

I have an Emperor 400 and there is no longer water coming out the little holes for the bio-wheels to rotate. I have disassembled and clean everything and still no water from either bar. I have removed the bars and ran to see if water comes out and nothing

Asked by: TabFish
If the spray bars are not working, you are missing the flow manifold cover or it is not staying connected or is damaged. It can be found at the bottom of the flow manifold and snaps over the impeller. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-04

I will be moving and my tank will be empty and in storage for a week or more. Is it possible to store the bio wheels and keep the bacteria alive or should I just get new wheels?

Asked by: Roblecoptr
You can store the bio wheels, but they will dry out, the bacteria will die off, but it just grows back again once you install them again. No need to buy new wheels. Unless the old ones are in bad shape.... BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-04

How do you adjust the mid level strainer?

Asked by: Yoda
That is up to you. You can leave it open, close it completely, or have it open partially, depending on the types of fish you have, how much flow you want, etc. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-18

We just bought a bio wheel penguin 350 power filter today & we set it up everything was working fine until we got home after being gone for like 3 hours we came home to the filter leaking from the electrical part where the cord starts . Should we exchange

Asked by: DanniJo
Sorry to hear that! We would definitely recommend exchanging it as it either isn't completely sealed or has a crack in it. If you prefer to have us send one to you, please call 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-28

 I have a bio wheel 200. The wheel is terribly noisy due to high speed from being new. I have gently twisted the wheel to improve but did not help much. I have a second smaller filter can I turn off the bio wheel at night and run the quiet one? 

Asked by: Mason305
Just take the bio wheel out and let it float in the tank for a day or two. Also, make sure the bearings are inserted properly. You can also "grease" them with a thin smear of silicone lubricant. Do not turn the filter off at night, no. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-02

I just ordered, but haven't received yet, the Peguin 150 Bio. I read many reviews and Q & As about maintenance.  I understand the dimensions are 8 x 6 x 7.  Are the 8 inches referring to the space the filter takes along  the tank rim?

Asked by: Mont
Yes, it means the distance left to right. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-27

I recently ordered, not received yet, Penguin 150 B.W filter. Do the 6 " width refer to overhang inside or outside tank rim? How many inches either way?

Asked by: Mont
The total dimensions are 8 X 6 X 7. Outside dimensions are 8 X 3.5 X 7. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-27

I have 3 main tanks and several nanos. Have bought many of your fine products over 25 yrs. Recently ordered Penquin 150. I can I exchange right away for smaller unit if won't fit my tank specs? Thank you.

Asked by: Mont
You should be able to exchange it at the store, yes. Since you did not buy it directly from us, we wouldn't be able to exchange it. We handle warranty issues only. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-27

I have purchased a marineland 20 gallon tank. I have had a total of 3 tanks in the past, all with Emperor filters on all of them. I can't remember if there is a way to pause the filter while I feed my fish.

Asked by: Irishkilla79
No, not unless you unplug it. It doesn't have a "switch". BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-27

i have the 350 and it will not suck in any water and ive tried everything.... please help

Asked by: sean24
Okay, make sure the water level is all the way to the top of the tank. Fill the filter with water as well. Pull out the intake tube, impeller housing and impeller. Inspect the impeller for damage, build up, gunk, etc. (you didn't state whether it is new or older). If it appears dirty, clean it and clean out the entire filter box. If it is new, and impeller is okay, put everything back together again and re-install the filter. If you cannot get it up and running, call 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-22

I bought a tank and it came with the penguin 200 filter. I don’t know how long the previous owner had it but it seems to not keep the water clean. Would you suggest buying a new one? 

Asked by: Newbie14
No, not if it is running. It may need to be cleaned well if it has a lot of buildup, but it is fine if it is running. New tanks take a while to establish (approximately 6 months), and cloudy water is normal initially. It typically clears up after the first few weeks, but it totally depends on how fast you add fish, how much you feed, and how often you vacuum and perform partial water changes. A clean tank is not completely due to the capability of the filter, the filter simply reduces maintenance for you. Depending on the size of the tank, you should vacuum and change 30% of the water at least twice a month, more often if the tank is heavily stocked or has big fish. If the tank was just set up, you may have a bacterial bloom or an ammonia spike and should add Aquarium Bacteria to the tank. Call 1-800-322-1266 for more help. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-21

I bought and installed the penguin power filter 4 days ago. It's made an on and off again horrible grinding sound. Please help.

Asked by: Adrienne
Do you have sand in the aquarium? If so, this is the issue. Whenever using sand with any HOB filter, you need to place filter floss in the strainer or slide a foam accessory over it to prevent the sand from getting in and destroying the impeller. If you do not have sand in the tank, remove the intake tube, impeller housing, and impeller. Check for any grit from the gravel or carbon dust in the motor or on the impeller. Also, check and make sure the impeller is not damaged, warped, or inserted too far up into the intake tube. Call for more help if necessary - 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-20

Just bought the 200, I want to know if these filters are energy efficient? Any idea how many watts/hour it uses? Any info on this is appreciated.

Asked by: Ryan123
This particular unit uses 20.4 watts, 120 v., .17 amps. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-20

What is the overall length of the bio wheel 350

Asked by: 99stonecold
The dimensions of that filter are 15 X 5.5 X 7.5. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-13

Had a penguin 75 that stopped working, bought a penguin 100 ( the bio wheel is bigger), where can I put the old bio wheel so it keeps helping with the biological filtration ( since is too small for the new filter)?

Asked by: Vigomateu
Did you try cleaning the impeller and motor of the 75? If this is all it needs, you can run the two filters simultaneously for a couple of weeks. If the 75 is clean but dead, then you can float the bio wheel if it isn't too grungy. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-13

How do you adjust the mid-level strainer? Is that the gray fan-like thing in the middle? Can you give more detail regarding that? There isn't any instructions or details about it in the pamphlet. Thanks!

Asked by: plii
Yes, that would be the mid-level strainer. If you leave it open it increases your flow rate, closing it reduces the flow slightly, and prevents you from pulling water from the middle of the tank. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-09

I put in Ick medication in and it said to take ou the filter do I take out the bio wheel

Asked by: Sonny boy
No, leave the filter operating without the carbon filter, but the bio wheel in place. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-13

Are the filter baskets still available for the Penguin 3e00

Asked by: Vandercook
No, they sure aren't. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-12

I purchased the marineland penguin 200 from PetSmart and when I got it home the biowheel was not in the box. Was it supposed to come with the biowheel or do you have to purchase it separately?

Asked by: Melissad
It definitely should come with the bio wheel so please call our Care Team at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-12

I need a new impeller for 350 modei

Asked by: Clark Saul l
Sure! Here you go - BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-13

Is there a way to lessen the flow rate so it generates less bubbles? 

Asked by: Plii
The power filter does not generate bubbles, unless the water level in the tank is below the filter's spillway. If so, raise the water level. The only way to adjust the flow is to close the mid-level strainer (gray lever). BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-12

Hello, I have a 200 and a 150. Both the bio wheels are not spinning. I’ve tride cleaning intake tube I’ve spun the bio wheels both of them. And it’s like they are not intaking enough water I don’t know what to do. I cleane propeller too. and nothing.

Asked by: Alex11111
Clean out the filter box as well, especially the part the impellers sit in and make your water level in the tank is at the top of the tank. Check the purple bio wheel bearings to make sure they are in properly, clean them, and rub a tiny smear of silicone lubricant on them. If the bio wheels are warped, you may need to replace them. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-03-05

When filtered water overflows the Type A filter and streams out bypassing the filter should the filter b changed ?

Asked by: Jim Nasium
Yes, either the cartridge is clogged or the impeller needs to be removed and cleaned. You may also need to clean out the intake tube and the motor region. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-02-21

A friend gave me a Penguin200 w an established Biowheel for a 27 gal tank. It creates huge current, looks like the 200 is made for much larger tanks. Thinking about switching to 150, but can i use 200 biowheel or would i have to start over?

Asked by: Audlindal
The 200 model is for tanks 20-40 gallons in size, so should be fine for your tank unless you have some pretty small, delicate fish. You would need a different bio wheel for the 150 and would not be able to use the one with the 200, unfortunately. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-02-20

I have a 100B on my 5G hex tank. It's great, keeps our water clean and I finally got my tank to cycle. However, the outflow is too turbulent, even with a full tank. Can I adjust it or modify it in some way?

Asked by: FireworksMom
Closing the mid-level strainer off may help some, but ideally, you should place some filter floss inside the strainer. This will slow it down or you can put a second cartridge in the filter which will provide more filtration and slow it down. Another option would be to add some other bio media in the main chamber. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-02-16

I have a Penguin 150 in my Mainland 20 gallon tank. No issues! But I do have a question. Why is there a spillway located to the right of the bio-wheel? That is unfiltered water...right? Seems all water should be filtered. 

Asked by: Jeff1320
Yep...your right! took it apart and cleaned it all up and works perfect now.  Now...I changed about 1/3rd of the water last night. Added ReadiStart and AccuClear as normal. 8 fish dead. Never had this happen before. I’m taking a water sample to the fish store now. Test strip did not indicate any problems. 
Answered by: Jeff1320
Date published: 2018-02-20

I Have a Penguin 350 That I've Been Using For About a Year. I Took My Aquarium Down as I Was Relocating to a New State. Tonight I Set Everything Back Up & My 350 Will Not Take in Water. I've Tried Everything

Asked by: Hoffa
Sorry to hear that Hoffa! So make sure the tank is filled to the top with water, and the filter box is also filled with water. If they are, then I suspect your impeller has separated. It will do this sometimes when kept dry in storage. To inspect it, hold the top and bottom tips between the thumb and index finger of one hand. Take the other hand and flick the blades. The blades should catch the magnet within half a turn and they should rotate together. If not, it is separated. If you need more help, call 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-02-14
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