MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

  • johnnyphoenix
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johnnyphoenix created the topic: MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

I had previously 2 350 GPH BioWheels filters on my 55 gallon Oscar tank, and while the BioWheels are a great concept, the execution is seriously lacking. The price is very reasonable, however.



After about 2-4 weeks of working just fine the wheels would eventually slow considerably (which is normal to a degree), and then STOP COMPLETELY. This happened to all 4 wheels at some point, and was extremely frustrating in it's regularity.

I've cleaned/replaced the filter cartridges religiously when needed, and even cleaned/rinsed the wheels in tank water out of desperation, which you should never really have to do in the first place...especially since they had been installed and running for a very short period of time.

Also, these units tend to 'sit back' on the back wall of the tank when filled with water, thus making the water flow out even LESS, despite the intake tube flow adjuster set to 'highest.' I had to prop one of the units up in the back with a broom handle, and even then the wheel would only turn for a limited period of time. BOTTOM LINE: NOT ENOUGH WATER FLOW.

Additionally, one of the filters continually would shut off by itself on occasion, and I would have to take it off, rinse the impeller thoroughly, and fill it before it would even power up again. While cleaning the impeller is necessary when needed, this happened far too frequently and became a huge annoyance, and would have been an even bigger problem had I not had 2 running at all times.

Eventually I decided to upgrade to 2 Emperor 400 GPH units, and I have had NO problem since.
The spray bar addition is ESSENTIAL to keeping the wheels turning at all times, and I've had them for several months without incident. The tank looks better than ever, and the BioWheels actually work, which is nice considering the reason why I bought them in the first place was BECAUSE OF THE BIOWHEELS. Do yourself a favor and don't waste the money (the Emperors are only about 20 bucks more anyways) and aggravation on the other models, you'll thank me for it.

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cebosound replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

I have 2 350s on my 55 gallon right now. I have found the BioWheels not very useful for the same reasons; clog up too quickly, slow down of proper spinning, and makes filter more noisy. I have been going with out the BioWheels for a while. I have thought about replacing them, but keep finding reasons not too. (probably because of the reasons outlined). I put some bio max in the back of the filter cartridge to add another media dimension.

So w/o the bio wheel it makes the HOB almost the same as a AquaClear (walmart)filter; same manufacturer. Even considering the short comings of the 350, I have found it is still the best HOB I have ever used. I haven't tried the 400, sounds like that has worked out better for you johnnyphoenix.

My YouTube Channel:http://www.youtube.com/user/cebosound1?blend=1&ob=0
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  • Necromancer4
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Necromancer4 replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

cebosound wrote:

So w/o the bio wheel it makes the HOB almost the same as a AquaClear (walmart)filter; same manufacturer.


the aquaclear brand filter is actually made by hagen( fluval is the parent company) and im my ex[erience with hobs and i have tried both marineland and hagen products i have found that the ac is by far the better. it gives the you the ability to customize the setup of the media that no other hob does and with its largest model the ac 110 it has a flowrate of 500 gallons per hour which is more than any other hobon the market.

Warning..I will offend you at some point!!!


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johnnyphoenix replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

Eventually I plan on going to a large canister filter but as I've fairly recently added the 2 emperors and they seems to be working well I'm going to let it ride for awhile. I use 4 filter cartirdges and 8 mesh bags with ceramic rings right now and the water flow is fine. I guarantee if I had added the bags to my older units they would not have worked even faster...
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Capt Dave replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

I am on my second penguin and i will never buy one again for the exact same reasons that phoenix described. I thought i was the only one with these probs because some people and a lot of articles say they are good. Next time i will try an emperor

I have no idea why the water bill is so high
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johnnyphoenix replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

DO BIO WHEELS REALLY WORK?

"There is a lot of information about bio wheels and their importance in bio filtration in aquariums. In theory they are great idea and I admittedly bought into this idea for years without testing the results to see if the hype was true. In theory the wheel turns into the air where oxygen the aerobic bacteria need to remove ammonia and nitrites is much more abundant. Unfortunately oxygen is not the only requirement for nitrifying bio bacteria; you also need surface area which bio wheels do have although often not nearly as much as many aquarium sponge media or ceramic bio rings. You also need nutrients and often the bacteria in bio wheels are not exposed to enough nutrients.

But after many a wheel stalling with the many customers I serviced aquariums for and after I was challenged by another person in the maintenance business after telling him I was thinking of adding some large bio wheel systems to a couple marine tanks, he asked me if I ever tested them against other filters (he had performed such tests and knew the answer). I decided to start testing these wheels vs. other bio filter methods.

In a more limited test (this is the test my colleague had performed), I removed the bio wheel on penguin filters on comparable (60 gallon) established aquariums with comparable bio loads and fish and found no discernable ammonia spike. Yet when HOB filters that had running Sponge Pre Filters attached to their intakes were removed, there were discernable ammonia spikes. What this means is that the Bio Wheel was not the primary source or even an important source of bio filtration for the tanks with the bio wheels. In other words these tanks were maintaining whatever bio filtration they had via other means such as gravel, filter cartridges, etc, while the aquariums with the Pre-Filters (& a couple with a sponge insert) had these bio filter mediums removed the loss of bio filtration via a discernable spike in ammonia/nitrites was noted.

In another second and more extensive test, I ran some tests with Penguin Filters (as well as one Emperor Filter) with Bio Wheels against Sponge Filters, Aqua Clears and Whisper Filters with the Sponge inserts in equal established tanks fed the same amount, then added large amounts of fish food and although the bio wheels did respond, the sponge filter showed a lower ammonia spike. In fact in these tests the aquariums that responded to the largest amounts of fish food were the multi-filter tanks that included a HOB Filter (such as a Whisper, VitaLife, etc.) AND a Sponge Filters which provided a good example of how much Sponge Filtration via a simple Sponge Filter can improve aquarium bio capacity.

I might add that since these initial tests/studies several years ago, that a new variation of the Wet/Dry, Sponge and HOB filter has emerged that combines the best of both filters and that is the Internal Wet/Dry such as the ReSun BF 200 or the filter found in Bio Cube Aquariums. My reason in pointing out these filter systems is that they combine many of the best attributes of the before mentioned filters which includes excellent bio filtration making this filter style an excellent choice (especially of a bio wheel equipped filter or at least as a compliment to an aquarium that already employs one)

Both these tests were not performed under the best of scientific scrutiny (although the second was much more extensive and gave a better picture of nitrifying bacterial colonies), however they certainly gave an interesting snapshot of the effectiveness of different bio filtration types.

This is not to say a bio wheel does not work at all, especially there is less build up deposits on the bio wheel fiber. What is much more important is to have an adequate amount of dissolved oxygen through agitation of the water surface which is where oxygen and other gasses are exchanged from the atmosphere and the aquarium. I have found a porous sponge filter media to maintain more bacteria in well oxygenated water.

This is an important point as although air can contain much more oxygen necessary for aerobic nitrifying bacteria (which is the theory behind bio wheels), the fact remains that the nitrifying bacteria do quite well at the normal dissolved oxygen level of 5-7 ppm of most adequately circulated and properly stocked aquariums.
In fact a somewhat unknown filter; the fluidized filter well out performed bio wheels and wet/dry filters in test and yet they are sealed filters (this comparison is based on established filters over 6 months old).


Here are a few reasons behind the poor results of bio wheels:

[1] Hard water buildup; although not as much a problem in soft water aquariums, this is a major problem with hard water aquariums and especially marine aquariums (where these bio wheels are a total waste of money). What happens is the calcium, salts and other deposits form in the pores of the bio wheel fiber, not allowing bacteria to form there. This is the main reason for the lack of effectiveness for bio wheels. My tests in Discus aquariums (which are soft water) showed better results for bio wheels (although not as well as sponge or other porous media).

[2] Lack of surface area; a bio wheel does not have the surface of many other bio media products from sponge media to the very porous pumice and ceramic media used by Eheim and others.

[3] Bio wheel stalls; bio wheels have a bad habit of stalling or rotating too slowly for the bacteria to be bathed in nutrients. This can be only a minor reason to not have these bio wheels as this is a somewhat correctable problem.
Here is a way correct this problem (this will be an on going maintenance problem). Make sure the Teflon ends on the bio wheel axle are clean and have no build ups of calcium you can replace these with Teflon tape in a pinch. Also make sure the bio wheel assembly is not to tight, simply remove the bio wheel and gently stretch the assembly apart so the wheel can spin more freely.

SUMMARY;

This NOT to say bio wheels do not work! Bio wheels just do not hold up to the hype and urban myths about them in the aquarium hobby. You can often do better with the sponge in an Aqua Clear or Whisper, the Bio Grid on a Via Aqua VitaLife, a pre filter on any HOB filter, a separate sponge filter or even an aquarium sponge stuck inside a HOB filter without any other bio media. I have used many Bio Wheel (Penguin, Emperor, etc.) filters over the years with good results, my point is again not that they do not work, just if you are purchasing one of these filters for the main reason of having a “better” bio filter, you are not making the best choice based on controlled test data.

I also want to be clear that if you already have a Bio Wheel equipped Penguin or Emperor that I am NOT advocating that you immediately trash this filter and run down to your local fish store (or online) to purchase a new filter, rather to consider their drawbacks and I do STRONLY recommend the purchase of a filter such a Hydro Sponge Filter or Internal Wet/Dry Filter to compliment your Bio Wheel equipped filter (which I recommend for any filtration system anyway; redundancy!).

Finally, what is missed by proponents of Bio-wheels is although the oxygen aspect of the bio-wheel is one aspect of aerobic nitrification, it is not difficult to maintain adequate oxygen levels for most other aquarium bio filters in a properly set up tank. What is more important is surface area and there are many other filter medias with higher surface area than bio wheels such as many quality sponge filters, volcanic rock, ceramic media and MUCH more.

Another important aspect of aerobic filtration is that the faster and more ammonia and nitrites your aquarium bio filter processes the more nitrates your aquarium will have in the end. This is especially noteworthy for marine aquariums which is why I would recommend live rock crumbles, volcanic rock, Bio Home or similar filter media that has deep pores to perform de-nitrification via anaerobic bacteria and why my consideration many years back of a large bio wheel system for a marine tank was/is a bad one. The use of a Protein Skimmer in Marine tanks can be helpful in preventing nitrate buildup as well. Please see this article for more marine aquarium information: “Saltwater Aquarium Basics to advanced”

I will also state that the design of most Marineland (Penguin, Emperor Filters) are very efficient and they are reliable mechanical filters with much less flow-by than some others, most notably Aqua Clears, so with this in mind, ANY filter decision should be based on what you need out of a filter."


---Carl Strohmeyer www.americanaquariumproducts.com
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b-cakes replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPERO

I have four of the 400's and pretty much have to check the wheels every couple of days ( 8 wheels) hard water build up is a big problem, they need lots of rinsing in the tank water (it needs to be very vigorous rinsing).
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cebosound replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

necromancer4 wrote:

cebosound wrote:

So w/o the bio wheel it makes the HOB almost the same as a AquaClear (walmart)filter; same manufacturer.

the aquaclear brand filter is actually made by hagen( fluval is the parent company) and im my ex[erience with hobs and i have tried both marineland and hagen products i have found that the ac is by far the better. it gives the you the ability to customize the setup of the media that no other hob does and with its largest model the ac 110 it has a flowrate of 500 gallons per hour which is more than any other hobon the market.

Your right. Let me clarify my confused comments from earlier. I meant Aqua-Tech (not Aqua-Clear)filters share many common characteristics of Marine Land 350 and may be made by Marineland.
Here is the Aqua-Tech I mentioned...

And here is the Marineland 350; I have 2 of them on my 55 gallon...


BTW, I am thinking of getting 4 of those bio-wheels for replacement for my 2 marineland filters. But I have lost one of the purple bracket pieces that the biowheels hang on. (the little plastic thingees that slide into place and the biowheel rests on). Does anyone know if I have to have those; and if so, does anyone know where to get them?

Thanks


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Tony123639 replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

But remember, the bio-wheels aren't THAT important, without them the bacteria on your filter pad and in your tank can take care of the ammonia and nitrite. Plus I don't change those filter pads because I don't use carbon. I think that it wastes money and carbon is useless in my opinion (unless removing medication from the water). And when you change the filter pads you are throwing all that good bacteria away.
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  • johnnyphoenix
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johnnyphoenix replied the topic: Re:MARINELAND PENGUIN BIO WHEEL FILTERS VS. EMPEROR

Tony123639 wrote:

But remember, the bio-wheels aren't THAT important, without them the bacteria on your filter pad and in your tank can take care of the ammonia and nitrite.


The article above is pretty much in agreement with you.
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