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.) 

Do you need to replace the bio-wheel after a case of Ick?? Or should it be okay if it has been drying for several weeks?

Asked by: Bekkerz
No, you do not need to replace it at all. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-08-13

I installed a penguin power filter 75 on my ten gallon,the filter does nothing but make a faint buzz.I filled the water level to the top of the tank.Thank you for your help.

Asked by: Charlotte34565578
Pull out the impeller and impeller housing as well as the intake tube. Make sure you have the filter filled up with water too, and then re-seat these parts. The tube should fit pretty snugly. If you still cannot get it to operate, call 1-800-526-0650. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-07-10

I purchased two Penguin Power Filters(up to 20 gallon) from amazon on 7/5/2018. My order number is 113-0996277-4789857. The bio wheel not/harder spin. Why?

Asked by: Yunqi
Make sure the water level in the tank is all the way up to the top of the tank, as water level affects the filter flow which in turn affects the bio wheel. Remove the impeller, and clean it, as well as the motor in case of debris, and check to be sure the bio wheel bearings are properly in place, and clean. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-07-09

Can I use my Marineland Penguin filter outdoors?

Asked by: Sully47
It is not rated for outdoor use, no. If you are placing a tank on a carport or enclosed porch, etc., and it won't be rained on, it should be fine for that purpose. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-07-09

my bio wheel is not turning I looked and seen it has a 2 inch rip in the paper part is that why its not turning should I replace

Asked by: keesha1994
Yes, that is probably why it isn't turning, although you may also want to clean the impeller and motor as well. The bio wheel is directly affected by the water flow rate, so if the filter has a build up of sludge, algae or other deposits, this could be the issue. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-07-05

My penguin 150 has algae in it. It’s in a 33 gal w Neon, Platy, Loach, shrimp, and 2 dwarf Plecos. There is no algae visible in the tank, water is clear. It’s been cycled for 1yr. I feed 1x / day and regular maintenance. What should I do? Thanks.

Asked by: Grad
Your filter requires maintenance periodically, just like the tank, or your car. Every 2 or 3 months, you take it off, take it apart, and clean all of the various parts, other than the bio wheel. Use warm water, an aquarium wire brush, soft cloth, and if you need to, white vinegar. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-07-03

My emperor is not pulling water through the biowheel spray bar. It is three months old. I’ve cleaned the intake, propellor, and spray bars with the pipe cleaners provided to no avail. The filter is noisy and send extra bubbles into the tank. Thoughts? Thx

Asked by: nlee
The only thing that causes water to not move through the spray bar is a missing flow manifold housing cover, or one that is down in the motor but not snapped onto the bottom of the flow manifold housing. Extra bubbles makes me wonder if the water level in the tank is low or if there is an air stone near the filter. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-28

When I change out the filter cartridge on my Penguin Bio Wheel, white particles get released into my tank right before I put the new cartridge in. Any idea what this is about?

Asked by: jmac
It could be any number of things, all of which indicate you need to take the filter system out, and apart, for cleaning. Regular maintenance is recommended every 2-4 months. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-19

IT SEEMS THAT MY BIO WHEEL IS NOT SPINNING AT ALL, I cleaned the impeller and the entire housing. what is up?

Asked by: Kevin55
Are the bearings in place? Did you clean the bearings? Is the water level in the tank all the way to the top of the tank? If you answered yes to all of these, then it may be too dirty or warped. Call 1-800-322-1266 for more help if so. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-19

Do these filters have an adjustable flow rate?

Asked by: Tom0429
Thanks for asking! No, these filters do not have an adjustable flow rate. For more help call Marineland at 1-800-322-1266. We are happy to help!
Answered by: Customer Service
Date published: 2018-06-18

I am looking for the bar/piece that holds the actual Bio Wheel for a Penguin 125. Got any ideas? Thanks, Scott

Asked by: Lactic
That would be the bracket, and it is not available, unfortunately, since that filter has been out of production for over 15 years. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-14

I have a 10 gal tank and the intake tube is to long, do we need to have the mid level intake installed or can we just use the end piece. The tank is being set for an axolotl.

Asked by: Jay611
You would use just the bottom strainer and intake tube, no middle pieces, as those are in case someone has a 20 gallon tank. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-17

I have two Penguin Biowheel 150's in my 36-gallon bowfront tank. Is that too much? Right now, I have a small fancy goldfish and he seems to get "caught" in the current alot.

Asked by: LakeSuperior
No, that should be fine, especially when he gets bigger. Put some tall plants in front of the filter intake tube to break up the flow for him. Also, test the water and make sure it's okay and he isn't stressed. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-11

I purchased the bio-wheel 150 filtration system 5/21/18. I still can not get the bio-wheel to spin. i have soaked it water overnight and used petroleum jelly to lubricate the brackets. I think something is wrong with the wheel it self. It will not spin.

Asked by: tawny
Make sure the water level is to the top of the tank. If it is, then call 1-800-322-1266 to talk to our Care Team about a replacement bio wheel. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-11

My biowheel won't turn. I returned one filter to Petsmart because the biowheel wouldn't turn, and the one on this new one wont' turn either. I have taken it out an checked for damage, I have gone online and done all the suggestions that were blogged.

Asked by: GrammyKimB
Where is the water level in the tank? Check the bio wheel bearings. If they are in place correctly, put a thin smear of petroleum jelly on them. Call 1-800-322-1266 if you need more help. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-08-29

Do I need the mid level intake strainer because with everything attach strainer will be digging into the gravel which make the filter fit improper I have 10 g with the penguin 100 filter

Asked by: Tyy420
Nope, you sure don't! In fact, it is included in case someone has a 20 high. You just use the intake tube with the bottom strainer for a 10 gallon tank, with no middle pieces at all. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-06

My Marineland 350 Penguin Power Filter just suddenly stopped workin. The day I added in PH-raising substrate, so now my tank is extremely dusty. The filter came with the marineland 55 gallon kit, is there any way some sort of warranty covers this?

Asked by: RanusH
Have you tried cleaning it out? In most cases, it just needs to have the impeller, impeller housing, and intake tube removed and cleaned. You also need to clean out the motor. I would guess that the pH powder clogged the impeller and caused it to stop turning. Warranty is 3 years on manufacturing defects, you would need to call 1-800-322-1266 for the address, and other information. Receipt would be necessary as well. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-06-01

I am considering buying a Marineland penguin 350 C for a live well I am building.  It will require a longer intake tube to work.  Can you tell me the parts I need to do that?  Also, if I extend it twice, will the pump handle it?

Asked by: Mike7631
You would need a mid-level strainer and an extension to lengthen it. It will be fine with one additional one of each of these, but may not be powerful enough for two additional extensions. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-31

New to keeping fish and can't figure how I'm suppose to adjust the water adjuster on the intake tube. i.e if I want to filter the water on the bottom of the tank do I close the upper part of it?

Asked by: c1jackie
You can leave it open or close it, depending on your needs. It helps to increase circulation of the water through the tank, and closing it will definitely pull more water from the bottom of the tank. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-29

I recently added eco-complete and ended up clogging the impeller. I removed the filter, cleaned the impeller and the well where it sits, making sure is all clear, now neither bio wheel will spin. Any suggestions?

Asked by: bookjunkie
Make sure you have cleaned out the intake tube as well. Also, wipe between each of the folds of the bio wheels in case some of the Eco Complete has clogged it. Easiest way is with a q tip. And last, make sure to wipe off the purple bearings at each end of the bio wheels. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-22

I bought this unit from Petco less than a year ago. It was stopping a lot so I thought it was defective petco swappes it out. The new one did the same thing. I emailed you guys and you sent me a new impeller. I installed it and it’s still doing the same. 

Asked by: Anthony M
Marineland is sorry the impeller did not fix the issue, Anthony. We are emailing you now to help. You can also call us at 1-800-322-1266.
Answered by: Customer Service
Date published: 2018-05-17

I'll likely be getting a 55 gallon tank, would you recommend the Penguin 200, 350 or the emperor 400? It seems I can get the emperor 400 for cheap too.

Asked by: WC100
Thanks for asking! The Penguin 200 would be a great option for your tank if it is stocked appropriately. If you are overstocked or have high waste producing fish you may want to use one of the bigger filters. For more personalized advice please call Marineland at 1-800-322-1266. We are happy to help!
Answered by: Customer Service
Date published: 2018-05-15

We have a Penguin 350 that we've had less than a month. One biowheel now doesn't turn most of the time. Both turned at first. It is only one and it doesn't matter which side it's on. The other works on either side. What could be the problem?

Asked by: stonewolf
The first thing to check is to make sure something isn't clogged. Take out the intake tube, impeller housing, and impeller and clean them. Also, check down in the motor. Make sure the water level is to the top of the tank where it should be. If the bio wheel still won't turn after all this, check the purple tabs it rests in and make sure both are properly in place and smooth. If it still won't turn, call 1-800-322-1266, it may have become damaged/warped somehow. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-11

At first, it worked efficiently. However, noise started developing and the biowheel stopped spinning. Smudge forms on the filter cartridge within a day. It's also noisy, because I keep the water a few inches low, to protect my nerite snails. Suggestions?

Asked by: ioinva
Several. One is to raise the water level where it should be, below the rim of the tank. You can drop it a bit, maybe an inch, but any hang on the back filter will make loud water noises if the water has to drop several inches, so you will need to adapt if you want to continue with it low. Low levels also affect the flow rate of such filters, reducing them, and making it harder for bio wheels to turn. The noise issue along with the bio wheel stopping are probably due to something caught in the impeller. You need to take the intake tube, impeller housing and impeller out and inspect/clean them. You may also need to clean out the motor in case of gravel, sand, grit, plant matter, etc. The recommendation for cleaning any filter is once every 1-2 months, depending on the tank size, inhabitants, and so forth. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-10

My penguin bio wheel 200 filter is less than 3weeks old . It continues to go into over flow with 2 days of putting a new cartridge I'm on my 4th cartridge in less than 3weeks . What is the problem with these filters oh an I already returned 1 penguin bio

Asked by: electricman
If it is overflowing, then your tank may simply be dirty, and the cartridge is clogging rapidly, trying to remove the detritus from your tank. In that event, you should vacuum your gravel well, and change out 25% of the water to help balance the tank. If the tank is not that dirty, then you may have pulled some type of debris into the intake tube or the impeller, impeller housing or motor. We would recommend in this case to take the filter apart to find the offending debris/detritus. Cartridges have an average lasting time of at least 2-4 weeks in properly stocked and maintained tanks. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-09

On the tube going into the tank that sucks the water up, what is the adjustment for

Asked by: un13lucky
The mid-level strainer allows you to adjust the flow rate of the filter. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-29

I just installed a 29 gal. marineland aquarium with the biowheel and it is pushing water out with lots of power and splash....is that normal? It's like turbo power!! Kind of noisy too but hopefully it'll calm down over time is what I read.

Asked by: hbheel
That's normal, and yes, it does calm down. To speed the process up, float the bio wheel for a day or two. It will absorb water more quickly, which weights it down, and reduces that noise and splashing. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-07

After a power surge, or a brief power interruption, by pump hums but does not restart filtering. Also the bio wheels never turn and have not since we got the system about 2 years ago. We have moved to a new location with the same problems.

Asked by: Mary53
Have you taken the system apart and cleaned everything? We would recommend soaking the impeller in distilled white vinegar, and swabbing out the motor with vinegar as well. All of the problems you describe are usually caused by a clogged filter system or low water level in the tank. The water level must be to the top of the tank. Last, but not least, check for the purple bearings at either end of the biowheels. If these are missing, the bio wheels cannot turn. They will also need cleaning. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-07

I moved my tank into a new apartment and not my filter is plugged in but not working AT all please help

Asked by: Schmidt
Sorry to hear that Schmidt! Have you removed the intake tube, impeller housing and impeller, cleaned all of these parts and the bottom of the filter box really well? If not, you may have build up or debris that is causing the issue. You can use white vinegar to clean all of them if you see white buildup anywhere on the filter, as this is a sign of hard water. Vinegar will remove it. Soak the impeller itself for about 10 min in the vinegar and clean out the motor well with vinegar as well. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-03

My Penguin 200 is cycling water, but the wheel doesn't spin? and there is hardly any visible dirt on the cartridges when I remove them. But the tank is still dirty? It's only a year old and cycling a 36 gallon tank with live plants and large fish.

Asked by: jess713
If the tank is cycling, there may not be a lot for it to mechanically pull out, but you need biological filtration. Make sure your water level is to the top of the tank as the bio wheels are directly affected by the flow of the water. Also, pull out the intake tube, impeller and impeller housing and make sure there isn't some plant matter or other debris clogging any of them or the motor. Also, if you have large fish, and there are several of them, you may need additional filtration or a larger tank. Cycling a new tank will also look dirty as you can have a bacterial bloom. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-05-01
  • y_2018, m_10, d_13, h_19CST
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvqa, vn_bulk_2.0.8
  • cp_3, bvpage2n
  • co_hasquestionsanswers, tq_695
  • loc_en_US, sid_PF0100B, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=LAST_APPROVED_ANSWER_SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_marineland