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.) 

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

1 Fish in my 55 gal tank is sick. Checked water- high nitrite,6.0 acidity. Did 50% water change. (Tap water is 8.0ph , Can t seem to elevate ph above 6.6. Nitrite is at 20ppm. Changed filters out. Added more oxygenation. Should I replace bio wheel?

Asked by: Eqk9
No to replacing the bio wheel. I believe you are referring to nitrate, NO3, not nitrite, NO2. 20 ppm would have killed anything and everything in the tank by now, if it were nitrite. 20 ppm nitrate is okay, no worries. The acidity could be due to your tap water having low alkalinity, so test for this to see if that is the case or not. If the alkalinity of the tap water is low, then your pH can fluctuate a lot. You would want to add some buffers either regularly or naturally, to prevent the acidity from occurring again. Natural slate, tufa or lava work as do aquarium salt (don't use regularly though) or baking soda. If the alkalinity is good, then you need to really think about what is in your tank and driving down the pH. Since nitrates are at 20 ppm presumably, it shouldn't be these. You can add an ion exchange resin to help such as Purigen. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-25

I have an old Penguin Mini PF99 that seems to be in good working order but can’t find the bio wheel for it.  Did this model even have a bio wheel?

Asked by: Patd
Yes, it does, and the bio wheel is still available. You would also need the bracket it fit in and the bearings as well. Here are the bearings: Unfortunately, the bracket is not available separately. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-24

Is there filter tube extensions for the penguin 200 square tubing?

Asked by: Anthony08
Yes, there are indeed! and BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-24

Am I supposed to clean the bio wheel?

Asked by: Channy
Thanks for asking, Channy! No, you should not clean the bio wheel. It is a place for good bacteria to grow which helps keep your water clean and clear. For more help call Marineland at 1-800-526-0650.
Answered by: Customer Service
Date published: 2018-04-17

My Emperor 400 filters used to get really dirty, but not anymore. 120 gallon tall tank, running 2 Emperor 400's and a Fluval 405. Same set up was on my last 75 gallon tank and filters needed cleaned every 2 weeks, and changed once a month.

Asked by: Chuck 88
Comparing the two tanks is like comparing apples to oranges. One is obviously a third larger than the other, and therefore, less likely to get dirty. However, how fast tanks or filters become dirty, depends on types and quantities of fish, your frequency of partial water changes, feeding regimen and more. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2018-04-12

My filter got really noisy and I had to unplug it.  Can I float the bio wheel in the tank for a day until I get a new filter or will the good bacteria die? I have another filter that’s running still but don’t want to lose this established bio wheel

Asked by: BrandenBar
the magnet impeller at the bottom of the riser needs replacing if you hear a knockin noise online 20 bucks
Answered by: SaltwaterLifer
Date published: 2018-04-11

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
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