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.) 

I bought the power filter 350. What do you recommend for gravel or sand?  I have an Oscar and want to use substrate but do not want to ruin my filter. 

Asked by: J467
Great question J467! We don't recommend sand, unless you are going to place filter floss inside the bottom strainer to prevent it from being pulled up. Filter floss comes in bags of what looks like cotton. As oscars tend to dig, gravel is more suitable, and typically either a medium sized one or a mix of small and large will make the tank look more natural, and cause the least amount of issue regarding vacuuming, and oscar health. A depth of no more than 1.5" would be recommended. The deeper the substrate, the more work. Gravel can also be vacuumed, whereas sand can not, and will eventually become less attractive with the growth of algae, etc. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-22

I just cleaned my tank and put a new filter on and plugged it up and now it won't work. What do I do?

Asked by: Kitty29
Thank you for reaching out to us; we are sorry to hear you are experiencing this issue! Pull out the intake tube, then the impeller housing, and check to make sure the impeller is okay. If so, re-seat the impeller housing back into the filter box, snugly, then place the intake tube back into it. If you are unable to resolve this issue on your own, please reach out to us at techsupport.marineland@spectrumbrands.com or 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-20

I need a bio wheel for my 200 penguin outside filter

Asked by: Larrym
Thank you for contacting us Larrym! Here is a link to where you can purchase it on our site: http://www.marineland.com/Products/aquarium-parts/Filtration-Products-and-Skimmers/Penguin-Parts/BIO-Wheel-Parts-for-Penguins/BIO-Wheel-Assembly-Penguins-200B-and-350B.aspx. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-20

What's the difference between 350 and 350B power filter.

Asked by: Wiltron
Thank you for your interest in this Marineland product! B is just a variation code. In this case it implies a second version of the 350. Only difference would be packaging. Everything else is the same. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

Do you need to use any tubing if using the Penguin ?

Asked by: Drica
Thank you for your interest in this Marineland product! This is a hang-on-the-back or HOB filter. They come with everything they need for you to get them up and running in just a few minutes, including an intake tube with a strainer. No additional tubing is necessary. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

Just installed a new Penguin 350. Horrible humming sound! Have to turn TV up. I do not mind the wheel splashing sound, but this humming is horrific! What is causing this? Can I make it stop?

Asked by: onlybigpaws
We are sorry to hear you are having this issue. If you have the filter plugged directly into the wall, and not a power strip with surge protection, you may be having some voltage issues that are affecting your filter. Voltage issues typically occur during periods of high use of AC or heat. If you are plugged into a proper power strip, then unplug the filter, remove the impeller, and the impeller housing, and check them for any issues. Make sure they are properly connected, then re-seat them. If you are unable to resolve this issue, please call us directly at 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

Do the biowheels and filters come with Marineland 350B power filter, is it ready to go when set up in tank?

Asked by: fishergirl
Thank you for your interest in this Marineland product! Yes, your first two cartridges, and your bio wheels do indeed come with the filter when you buy it. You just need to remove them from their wrappers, place the filter on your tank, fill it with water, put the cartridges and bio wheels into it, then the intake tube, and plug it in! BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-05

My bio wheel still will not spin. i have checked its alignment, restarted the system and cleaned everything. There is good water flow coming through. The whelk will soon about 2 rotations every once in a while. Filter is 2 years old. Please help!! 

Asked by: AhsokaTano19
We are sorry to hear this is happening! Here are some tips that usually work: - check the purple bearings at each end of the bio wheel. Make sure they are properly in place, clean them, and rub a thin smear of silicone lubricant on them. - remove the impeller and impeller house; remove debris, algae, hair, etc., from both, soak the impeller in distilled vinegar for 15 minutes, swab out the well of the motor with a q tip and vinegar, rinse everything well, re-seat all parts - using a "baby bottle" style aquarium brush, clean out the intake tube - water level in tank should be to bottom of top frame - using a q tip only, no detergents, etc., swab gently between each fold on the bio wheel If you are unable to resolve this issue, please contact us directly via 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-01

I put 2 penguin 350's on my new 55g saltwater fish only. I keep reading that they are bad "Nitrate Factory". Is this true or have I done the right thing.

Asked by: Rickywthomas
Thank you for contacting us. A lot of marine hobbyists believe that hang-on-the-back or H.O.B. filters are not good for marine tanks. This is not true. They will only create a lot of nitrates if you do not maintain them. Just take them apart and lightly clean out the filter box, intake tube, and impeller on a monthly basis. If you are using the cartridges, replace them once a month. I would also add the media containers filled with bio beads or other biological media. Any filter will create nitrates if not properly installed or maintained. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-12-03

My bio wheels are still noisy. The sound, I believe, is coming from the bubbles it forms as they turn and pop in the enclosure. It goes quiet for maybe a few hours after adding more water but starts back up with the noise. Please help.

Asked by: StillCantSleep
We appreciate your contacting us! A new filter will have noisy bio wheels, but once it has absorbed water, the sound is pretty minimal. If it is only a couple of days old, take the bio wheels out, and float them in the tank. If it is older, like a few weeks, then take the unit off of the tank, and clean it out well to make sure the wheels are spinning properly. Your water level should be to the bottom of the top frame of the tank to help prevent noise issue and maximize filtration. If you have a bubbler in the tank, near the intake tube, try moving it further away as well. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please call us at 1-800-322-1266 so we may troubleshoot it for you. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-28

i have a emperor 400 new, at what speed should my bio wheels turn at

Asked by: Yoggie
Hi Yoggie! We appreciate you contacting us! There is no particular speed that they should turn at - they should simply turn. They can even start and stop as long as they turn on their own. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-23

Just got a brand new 350 out of the box. And followed the very sparse instructions for the set up. And it doesn't do anything apart from make a lot of noise. And bubbles. It doesn't pull any water in. At all. 

Asked by: izzix251
Hi izzix251! We are sorry to hear you are having this issue, but do you have the water level to the top of the tank? It sounds like you don't have your tank full. The filter cannot prime unless the water completely covers the mid-level strainer, and it will sit and create bubbles in the filter box and make a lot of noise. If you do have the tank full, and the filter is also filled all the way up, then pull the intake tube, and impeller housing out of the filter box. Re-seat them firmly. The impeller housing may have gotten jammed into the box during the production line or shipping. If you need any additional assistance, please call 1-800-322-1266. After 3:30 pm EST today, we are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy Thanksgiving! BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-23

I have a 60 G. Freshwater tank, & all of a sudden my fish started to get the cloudy eyes, and I removed the sick fish, treated tank multiple times, & all fish ended up passing. To re-start, should I change the bio wheel? any tips on restarting this?

Asked by: Brandy Louise
Thank you for your inquiry. Cloudy eyes are often due to poor water quality such as a low pH. You do not need to do anything other than basic maintenance to start the tank again. Vacuum the gravel and replace 30% of the water. Clean out the filter system and replace the media. Test your water quality for pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and alkalinity. Add one small fish around an inch in length per 10 gallons of water to start the tank again, and also add Tetra SafeStart Plus to jump start the biological filter. You do not need to replace the bio wheels. Add the SafeStart while the fish are floating in their bags, acclimating to the water temperature of the tank. Once you have gone through these steps, test the water quality again within a few days. You should be able to wait two weeks for your first partial water change. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-23

Been using a model 100 for a week. Water is still cloudy and have had to rinse filter to keep wheel from stopping. What can I do to fix these issues?

Asked by: M_007
Thank you for contacting us! If the wheel is trying to stop because the cartridge is clogging up, the filter is doing a good job of cleaning the tank, but is overburdened. Sounds like the tank could use a good gravel vacuuming and about 25-33% of the water changed. This would help both issues. If this is a new tank, you may be over feeding. In that case, I would recommend one flake of food per fish, once a day, depending on the types of fish you own. If you believe it is neither of these issues, then I would recommend calling us directly so we could ask some questions and do some troubleshooting for you. 1-800-322-1266. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-01

We have the Penguin 200 with the mid-level strainer. Since the strainer is adjustable, how do we decide where to set it?

Asked by: fishyssoise
Thank you for your question! There is no right or wrong, it is based on personal preference, really. The purpose behind the mid-level strainer is to pull water into the filter from the middle of the tank, and not just from the bottom of it. This improves circulation. I personally remove the lever myself, in my own aquariums to increase circulation as much as possible. However, some folks like to close it at feeding time or leave it closed. If you have very small fish, you may want to close it till they grow some. Again, it's based on what is best for your tank, your fish, and your situation. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-14

i just bought a Oceanic 75 gallon front bow aquarium its been sitting for a couple years it used to be a salt water tank/ filter im planning on making it a freshwater tank i cleaned everything including the bio wheels should i replace them?

Asked by: MustangGuy1999
Thank you for your question. That depends on HOW you cleaned the bio wheels. Typically, you don't need to clean them at all besides rinsing them lightly or taking a q tip and cleaning between the folds. As long as they spin in the filter, there is no need to replace them. They will grow bacteria again. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-09

How do I clean my BIO Wheel? It stinks and it's making my house stink. 

Asked by: Kocoa
You typically don't clean the bio wheel itself, but you can take a q tip and clean gently between the folds. Wipe the plastic ends off with a soft cloth and hot water. We have not received feedback regarding this issue before now. Typically, the feedback we receive from customers regarding odor is more along the lines of the aquarium itself. Our recommendation is usually to vacuum the gravel well, and do a 30% water change. Wait a couple of days, and then take the filter apart, and clean all of it's plastic parts, replace the cartridge, and swab between the bio wheel folds. You could do the entire filter system first though, and wait a couple of days to do the water change. Do not do both on the same day, you don't want to disrupt your biological filter. After both have been completed, I would recommend adding Marineland Bio Spira Freshwater Bacteria. This will help boost your biological filter again, and may eliminate some of the possible causes of odor. Another option for removing odor is fresh carbon. One of carbon's main jobs is to do exactly that - remove odor. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-07

I have a brand new penguin 200 and it's not working. No water being sucked up. This is the second one I have tried with the same problem. I have disassembled and reassemble the product several times with no luck. What is the problem?

Asked by: twinkie13
When customers have reported this issue before, they have found that their water level may be too low for the filter to prime, or they sometimes forget to fill the filter box up with water. You mentioned having taken it apart and re-assembled it which is something that also often works. When you did this, did you also remove the impeller from the impeller housing and then re-attach them and re-seat them in the filter box? BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-06

penquin 200 how wide is the tank that hangs outside the fish tank

Asked by: tonypro
The out of tank dimensions are: 9.5 X 3.5 X 7.5 (LxWxH) BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-02

I am worried about power outages. If the filter loses power all the water drains out, then when the power comes back on the filter just grinds away with no water in it until I refill it. Could filter get hot and catch fire if not refilled promptly?

Asked by: marilyn61278
No, it would not. But to avoid it's not re-priming, make sure the water level in the tank is always to the top, and that the filter is kept in clean, working order. It will restart on its own if these two conditions are met. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-11-02

My bio wheel has stopped moving it will spin the spin the other way and stop. I've cleaned everything. What should I do. I've made sure it's in place. Have had nothing but trouble had to replace the wheel 2 times cause other wouldn't work...

Asked by: Gordon12335
Once they build up bio load, bio wheels should start and stop, but be able to start on their own again. I am assuming yours does not, from what you are stating. When cleaning "everything", be sure to remove the impeller and soak it in distilled white vinegar to remove any deposits along the shaft. Also, take a q tip or I prefer the corner of a paper towel, twisted, and soak it in vinegar, then clean out the motor region of the filter box. Check your bio wheel bearings to make sure they are in place properly, and not damaged. Using a q tip and vinegar, clean them well, then rinse and dry them, and rub a very thin smear of silicone lubricant on them. The bio wheel itself should never be cleaned, so if you cleaned that, you may have warped it. This filter comes with a 3 year warranty, please call us at 1-800-322-1266 if you need further assistance. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-28

Is there a recall or a replacement program for the penguin bio wheel. I am on my second unit in 5 days. The first never worked and now this one is intermittently working. I have to fiddle with it several times a day. Very disappointed in this product. :(

Asked by: mosaiq
No, there is no recall, and never has been one on these filters. They do come with a 3 year warranty on them. There are several possible reasons for the issues you are experiencing. Do you happen to have sand in the aquarium or an air stone near the intake tube? If not, remove the intake tube, impeller housing, and impeller assembly, check them over, then re-attach them and re-seat them. Please call us if you are unable to resolve the issue. 1-800-322-1266 BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-27

Do you have to take apart and clean every once in awhile

Asked by: Kitty2014
Yes! All filters should be taken apart every month or two and cleaned. Media should be replaced monthly. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-22

The motor in pump work and water flows through but little fan doesnt move

Asked by: Kymba
That makes no sense to me as water cannot flow through unless the impeller is turning (the little fan). Take the impeller out and soak it in distilled vinegar for about 15 minutes after cleaning any debris off of it that you find. Swab out the motor with a q tip and vinegar as well. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-17

Just bought tank came with biowheel 200 filter but after I plugged it all it is is really loud not sure what is wrong 

Asked by: LadyC
Well, you have to fill it with water, and the water level in the tank has to be near the top of the tank, so make sure these two things have been done correctly. If so, they pull the intake tube, impeller housing, and impeller out. Check the impeller for any issues, then re-seat it. You may even want to separate it from the impeller housing, re-connect them, then re-seat it. If you are hearing more of a water noise, take the bio wheel out and float it in the tank for 24-48 hours. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-14

Where do I put fluval Aqua clear gravel is in front or in the back

Asked by: Moe1967
We do not make those products, so we are unable to answer that question, sorry. You should contact Hagen Inc. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-14

I'm hoping u can help me my tank was not clearing up. So I went to pet smart and took a water sample with me. They said my ph was off the chart and the ammonia was high so I bought proper ph salt I beleave. I also bought fluval Aqua clear it's still not c

Asked by: Moe1967
If the pH is really high, that will cause the ammonia to be very toxic and you would begin to lose fish. If it is very low, it may indicate that the tank has a lot of organic matter, but your nitrate should also be extremely high in that case. The high ammonia is what is causing the cloudiness, and can lead to the death of the fish. I would not worry about adjusting the pH for now. Do a 30% partial water change and vacuum the gravel. This will reduce the amount of ammonia and help clear the tank a little bit. Use your normal de-chlorinator, wait a few moments, then add Tetra SafeStart Plus to boost your biological filter and bring the ammonia down. Wait 24 hours and re-test the water at that time. If the ammonia is continuing to come down, do NOT do anything else but monitor the tank. Doing more water changes, adding more chemicals, etc., may harm the SafeStart Plus (this is nothing but cultured bacteria), and wipe out the good work you did. In the meantime, only feed once a day, one piece of food per fish. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-14

How do I get the bio wheel to slow down? It spins too fast and is noisy and splashes water. Old design allowed adjustment for this. 

Asked by: Joe F
There is no flow control on the Penguin, never has been. The old Emperor filter had a flow control. For new filters, however, remove the bio wheel and float it for a day or two. It will absorb water faster, weighting it down and making it turn more slowly. This will definitely cut way down on the noise and splashing. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-12

I just purchased a new Escape 5 Hex to replace my 10 year old Eclipse Hex 5 - which I understand is a discontinued model. There is no Biowheel in the new Escape 5? Does this rely totally on liquid conditioners for the health of the tank?

Asked by: Marineland Fan
No, it uses a submersible filter with just a cartridge. Beneficial bacteria grows throughout the entire tank and filter system. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2017-01-27

is there a way to quite a noisy impeller on my power filter or can I buy replacement parts.

Asked by: Rik 37
Depends on why it is noisy. The first thing to do is remove the impeller and soak it in white vinegar for about 15 minutes, after removing any hair or debris you may find. Make sure you swab out the motor region with vinegar as well. Check the impeller for damage. Ensure that the impeller is not pushed too far up into the impeller housing so that the blades are actually rubbing. If after you have tried these steps it is still noisy, make sure to use filter floss in the bottom strainer if you have sand as your substrate, and move any air stones away from the intake tube. Last, but not least, yes, the impeller is sold separately, through our website, other vendor websites, and local fish stores. BREX
Answered by: BREX
Date published: 2016-10-03
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