DIY Bio Wheels for AquaTech 30-60 hang filter

  • #1
Its been 35 years since my last aquarium so along with some basic mistakes I also overlooked the opportunity to spend $20 on my hanging filter and buy one with Bio wheels instead of bio pads, considering that we are not just keeping fish anymore but "nutrifying bacteria" . Anyway I read about my mistake after using the AquaTech for a week I diden't want to go back out and spend another $54 for a Marine Land 550 Biowheel filter. I had read on another forum where someone thought it was possible to use Marine land parts form the Bio wheel 330 that would fit the AquaTech as they both had the exact same housing mold. Unfortunatly the only part that is no longer available for the Mainland 330 is the Bio wheel bracket . However I noticed in the schematics that the bio bracket for Marine Land model 170B was still offered and it was almost identical to what I needed except 1/4 inch too long, easy to fix right.
Anyway I ordered that parts I needed for two bio wheel assemblies from Pet Solutions for $15 and here is the DIY modifications that turned my AquaTech 30-60 into a dual bio wheel machine.

Below pic you can see that the Marine Land bracket which otherwise installs into the AquaTech 30-60 perfectly is 1/4 inch too long and will need Mr Dremel Tool's help waiting in the background.

Below you see 1/4 inch cut out from the center to shorten and refasten the two ends.

In order to bring together the two end and provide both rigidity and proper alignment simply and fast, I used aluminum foil adhesive backed tape. This stuff is awesome as it is about 8 times thicker then regular kitchen foil but will still mold into any shape using nothing more then your finger nails yet once applied in just 2 layers is difficult to remove and remains as rigid as plastic.

Below as you can see the Marineland 330 Biowheel and bearing fit perfectly into the housing bracket.

And below the modified housing bracket fit and operates perfectly in my $32 AquaTech 30-60 supposedly never designed for for biowheels LOL.

Below the only thing left was to use a small piece of aluminum tape to fabricate a lid spacer to it could still be used without interfering with the spinning biowheels.

My next DIY will be to the small freezer in the garage to house my air pump when the temperatures here reach 122 degrees and the air conditioner in the house is set at 80, I would still like to find a cheap way to keep my aquarium at 74 degrees. Or perhaps I can find a way to get the ice cube maker to deposit cubes in my aquarium from a thermostat feedback switch LOL.
Nate McFin
  • #2
Great how too. I was looking at the same filter for a QT tank I am setting up and this mod may make it easy to swap out my filter from my main tank which IS a Penguin w/ bio. Thanks for the tip and the nice photos to go with it. -Nate-
  • #3
Nice solution you got there. Ingenious and cost-effective.

Maybe the mods move this to the DIY subforum, where more DIY fishlorians would see it (although I suspect DIY fishlorians come here often as well).

Santo Domingo
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks, I tried looking for a DIY section and like someone new in the neighborhood couldn't find it.
What in tarnation is a QT tank? Don't answer that here, I guess I have to do more required reading on QT tanks.
  • #5
Cool DIY! Although none of my filters have Bio Wheels many people like them
QT tanks= Quarantine tanks, for keeping new fish in until you see they have no disease. Usually 2-4 weeks(I know I don't listen well )
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thanks, but this is still my first cycle and aquarium in 35 years and this mod last evening may have indirectly triggered big changes to my water. This morning when I did all my water test before feeding the fish I noticed a full PPM increase in ammonia to 2 PPM, also for the first time increases from zero to .25 PPM for nitrite and 5. PPM for nitrate. The only thing I changed last night is removal of 12 ounces of ammonia chips I had inside my AuquaTech 30-60 since with no bio wheels there was plenty of room to house them before the mod. I think the removal of the ammo chips I have been recharging every other day may have let to the ammonia spike in this 4 week old aquarium with 27 fish. So I immediately did my 7% daily water change (4 gal), and added 1/4 full dose of ammo-lock and 1/4 full dose of nitraban for 60 gallons. Then I cut a new access slot out of the back hood and used aluminum tape to create a hinge for the cut plastic insert so it could be opened or close to accommodate 12 recharged ounces of ammo-chips suspended in a $2 fish net.

In the photo below you can see the fish net in the cut out with the door open and the fish net handle pointed down behind the aquarium out of sight

In the next photo you can see the suspended ammo chips inside the aquarium positioned over a curtain of air stone baubles. In person unless you look closely or someone points it out you cannot even notice the hanging net.
If this proves to be effective I may suspend both my ammo-chips and carbon like this in the future making it vastly easier to change out and better control contaminants and leaching without having to crack the filter open. I will let you know what my PPMs are tomorrow.

PS- I read an articles about how both ammo-chips and activated carbon although considered effective in their respective chemical filtering roles are considered effective for only 48 hours tops and should be changed and/or recharged regularly, carbon in RO water for 5 days and ammo-chips in salt for 3-6 hours. This means IMHO that having them mixed in with your filter media is a waste and better to have them in a separate easily accessible filter alone so as not to disturb the bio filter too early, in my case a hanging fish net is what I will use until I come up with a separate canister or hang filter exclusively for carbon/ammochip meadia.

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