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  1. #1

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    Default Bio wheel; is it garbage?


    0 Not allowed!
    So when we bought our 29g, the salesperson at the LFS convinced us to go with the Marineland Penguin 200.

    Shortly after joining the forum, I started noticing people referring to sponges as their bio filters and haven't really seen much mention of the bio wheels. I'm wondering if the bio wheel is just a fancy product that sounds good on paper but doesn't really work. Anyone have any experience with them? I'd hate to have to buy a new filter system if I can avoid it, but I also don't want to have a filter that doesn't perform like it claims. Some of the articles I've read show that when people remove their bio wheels they don't really notice ammonia spikes so it kind of implies that the nitrification is occurring elsewhere in the tank.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Sponges are for mechanical filtration. Many of us use ceramic rings or other similar product in our filters for bio-filtration.
    Bio-wheels aren't garbage. But like all HOB filters there are better filters available. As long as it pushes water through media it is doing its job.
    When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    Dear naps, sorry I hated you so much when I was a child... Love me

  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Oh, I thought I read that people will squeeze out their established sponges into new tanks to help seed the BB...I guess I assumed that meant that the sponges were where the bacteria colonies were growing. My bad! :)

    It's also causing some noise. The filter itself is pretty quiet, but as the wheel spins it kind of flings the water up and away from the smoother inflow and creates a pretty steady trickling noise. It doesn't bother us (we think the sound is soothing) but does that constant trickling stress the fish out? I would assume it's no different than the trickling sound of a stream, but I figured I'd ask you gurus while we are on the subject of the bio wheels.

  4. #4

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Doesn't stress the fish as far as I know...but I've read alot of negative things about biowheels

    I'll take an AquaClear HOB over a biowheel any day
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  5. #5

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    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    My first HOB was a bio-wheel type filter, it worked fine. I just hated having to replace the "cartridges" when I did maintenance on the filter. I thought it filtered fine, but the replacement sleeves and carbon got pricey. This was when I had a 10 gallon years and years ago.
    As soon as I was able to I got the Rena Filstar canister filter for my new 29 gallon. Now the Filstar is owned by another company and I saw a decrease in quality in their parts. When I upgraded my tank to a 55 and had problems with both of my Filstars sucking in air and not working more than they were working I started looking for a better option. So as soon as I was able I got 2 Eheim canister filters (and upgraded again to a 75 gallon) and am very happy with them. I also recently started a 10 and 20L tank and purchased the Aquaclear line of HOB and love them because they are entirely customizable and I can omit the carbon and use my preferred chemical media. Had I known about the AC line of HOB filters, I would have gone with the largest for my 75-probably 2 of them instead of the canister.
    5.5g- Shrimp tanks
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    75 Gourami Tank

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  6. #6

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by BluewaterBoof View Post
    Oh, I thought I read that people will squeeze out their established sponges into new tanks to help seed the BB...I guess I assumed that meant that the sponges were where the bacteria colonies were growing.
    People do use their sponges to help seed another filter, in fact I have done this and cycled a new tank in less than a week. Sponges are for mechanical filtration but because they pick up the particles and water is flowing through them their will be a decent amount of nitrifying bacteria growing in them. However, the ceramics are much more porous than the sponges and because of this they have much more surface area and grow much more bacteria.

    The noise is the biggest complaint I have heard about the bio-wheel type filters. I've also heard the wheel can break.
    When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    Dear naps, sorry I hated you so much when I was a child... Love me

  7. #7

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    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Bio-Wheels themselves are great. The rest of the filter is nothing special. I personally would only go with an AquaClear. They have more media, better flow, the media is more easily customized (more options), and you can reuse the media over and over. In the amount of money you save in one year by not buying cartridges all the time you will pay for all or most of the filter, and you get a better filter.
    Aquarist since 1995
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  8. #8

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    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Sponges provide both mechanical and biological filtering. Some people will use only sponge filters in certain cases such as in shrimp only tanks or tanks used for rearing fry. For a full community tank, the addition of other biomedia to the filter provides more area for bacteria to grow. I use Aqua Clear filters mostly and also have a Fluval C4 and C3 which are similar to the AC. I like all of these for their simplicity.

    My son had a bio-wheel filter for years on a 20g high tank, which did a great job. I would not consider them garbage at all, although I was not a fan of the cartridges. After several years, this filter just got too noisy for him (it's in his bedroom) and he has since replaced it with an Aqua Clear.

  9. #9

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Thanks for all the input!

    I had been looking at the AquaClear 50 already since I've seen that line of products mentioned quite a bit here. Sounds like I don't really have to worry about my bio wheel, but the AC 50 seems like the superior filter for HOB. I think I will go ahead and buy one of them and keep it as a spare in case one of the others decides to fail.

  10. #10

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Just a little update...besides, I'm trying to give Slap a run for his money on post counts

    Hearing that the bio wheels aren't necessarily bad, I decided that I will keep this one (Penguin 200) until it goes kaput, and get an AC as a spare.

    I did want to beef up the Penguin a little bit more, though, as I felt that the single carbon pouch that came with it and the bio wheel just didn't seem like enough media for the tank. There are two slots for media cartridges inside the filter. One has the carbon pouch, and THIS will go into the second:

    filteradjusted.jpg

    I stumbled across a media basket for the Penguin and decided to fill it with AC BioMax ceramics (for an AC 50). Cost me $11 for the basket and media and gives me some peace of mind.

    Should I go ahead and get another of these baskets, fill it with the fluffy polyester stuff that I see people mention pretty frequently, and replace the carbon pouch with it? I've been reading that carbon is much-debated and becomes useless after just a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that a basket packed with polyester stuffing will still provide good particulate filtration without the need for buying replacement cartridges throughout the year.

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