Marineland bio wheel filter, how are they?

Mikedick77

Member
I've upgraded to these in my aquariums a few weeks back. We had those basic pocket looking Aqueon filters to start. I liked the idea of the bio wheel, and they were reasonably priced on Amazon, so I bought in. I know they're pretty easy to maintain, but how's the effectiveness on these? Is there something out there that people prefer instead of these?

My wife just bought another 10 gallon tank setup today. 85 bucks with Flourescent light hood, and the stand. Used up my last filter. I have a Penguin 350 on each of my 20 gallons, a 200 on one of my 10's, a 100 on my other 10, and a 100 on my 5 gallon hospital tank. I also ordered 5 of these to go on my big tanks if I wanted to swap media

Robot Check

I guess another question would be if there was anything in particular i'd want to look at putting in these cartridges? I guess I got them for the just in case I cant use activated carbon, for in case I had to medicate a tank or whatever. Maybe there's some kind of filtration i'm missing outside of the store bought.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can give.
 

!poogs!

Member
The only reason I don’t use marineland filters is because I find their media systems very proprietary. That said, lots of people have done some neat modifications to them.
 
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Mikedick77

Member
Good to know they can be modded when I get bored :)
 

Leeman75

Member
I am a HUGE Marineland Penguin Fan. I have 2 350s on my 55 gallon, another 350 on my 29 gallon, a 200 on my 20 gallon hex, and a mini on a 10 gallon. They all work fantastic and I love them. You will get the water trickling sound from the discharge, but I've found that to be the case with all HOBs that I've tried.

Some people say that they think they are really loud and don't like them. I'm assuming that they're talking about the trickling of the water because I hear nothing else.

I think they're so easy to use and they have never let me down. I recently took out the cartridges and replaced with sponges as I saw on an Aquarium Co-op video. It just adds way more surface area for the Beneficial Bacteria to grow on.
 
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Mikedick77

Member
I'll have to look into those videos. I assumed I could fill those empty cartridges I linked in the first post with some sort of other media as well
 

Leeman75

Member
Mikedick77 said:
I'll have to look into those videos. I assumed I could fill those empty cartridges I linked in the first post with some sort of other media as well
Here's the one that I watched:
 

bettabo1

Member
In my opinion they're okay. They have high flow so i couldn't stuff a ton of ceramic media in there. I don't remember them being super loud.

Overall i would use mine again, but i wouldn't purchase it again.
 
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Mikedick77

Member
Wow that's some good info in that video. Thanks for sharing that!
 

Cody

Member
I’m a huge Marineland fan as well. I run mine with 20ppi foam cut to fit and I ditch the biowheels also, so no stock media in use. personally and they are extremely quite. I have a 350 pro and an emperor 400 on my 60gallon in our living room and you can hardly hear it over the tv or ambient noise.

I used them over 10 years ago when I first got in the hobby as well and back then i left the bio wheels. On there are debates on if they do more harm than good. Some say the bacteria the hold is minimal and makes little difference and some even claim the raise nitrates. But it’s all speculation and I think more of a marketing gimmick but they cause no harm. The do add a little extra tricking noise, especially at first but as they build up bacteria and gunk up they do not spin as fast and they do Become quieter.

The new Pro models are awesome and have the pump internal for self priming and have improved surface agitation and are even quieter then the older models. My only watch out is if you get the Emperor models. The 400 or 450 pro, they have spray bars to help keep the bio wheels turning. So if you didn’t like the noise you would have to remove these as well since they have a light trickle of water vs the penguin models turn the wheels slowly on flow. I have an easy hack how to plug the holes on the emperors if ever needed! I could be wrong but I believe the new 450 pro models might have this spray bar flow shut off though.

Either way they are excellent filters for the value and coupons can be used on them at petsmart and often you can pick them up pretty cheap!

I also once had a slightly noisy impeller on my Emperor 400 after a cleaning and they send me a WHOLE new filter in box. And it turned out i had not seated it properly and I resloved the issue prior to receiving the new one. So I have a spare ready when needed. So the support is great as well.
 
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Mikedick77

Member
Thanks for the detailed explanation on that Cody! I haven't tried an emperor yet. I found the 350's on Amazon for 23 bucks or so. the 200 and 100's were less. Even got a good stock of standard filters for cheap. It is good to know they stand behind their products too.

Looks like a bit more reading to do before I swap off of standard filters. Those refillable media cartridges arrive today. I'll get up some pics of it and dimensions inside. Maybe it turns out to be a good way to insert alternate media. for $2.50 a pop I figured worth a look anyways.

Thanks again for all those who've given me some great ideas to ponder!
 

ForceTen

Member
I moved from Marineland to AquaClear for my newer tank.
I got tired of the proprietary cartridges. I never tried hacking one.
However, AquaClear HOBs are easily damaged and have more parts. If your AQ filter starts with no water present, the motor burns up very fast. Very fast. There is no wiggle room.
Also the motor is encapsulated with Marineland, so you cannot see it or have to worry about it. The AQ motor can be removed and has the possibility of leaking. There is an O ring present.
And for the filter to start back up after power loss, the tank must be full and so must the filter housing.
So Marineland wins in this regard.
 

fish 321

Member
I hate mine after about a year the impeller started making an awfull sound. If you do get one don't ever use sand in the tank with it if you want the impellar to last.
 

ForceTen

Member
fish 321 said:
I hate mine after about a year the impeller started making an awful sound. If you do get one don't ever use sand in the tank with it if you want the impeller to last.
Sand intrusion with either filter is a problem. I lost a motor because sand got into the AQ intake tube. Once the sand gets in between the magnetic rotor and the housing, its over unless you catch it real quick.
I started putting a pre-filter sponge on the intake tube when doing cleaning. The pre-filters have done the job keeping sand out.
 

fish 321

Member
ForceTen said:
Sand intrusion with either filter is a problem. I lost a motor because sand got into the AQ intake tube. Once the sand gets in between the magnetic rotor and the housing, its over unless you catch it real quick.
I started putting a pre-filter sponge on the intake tube when doing cleaning. The pre-filters have done the job keeping sand out.
Good idea, I took some fine sandpaper to the magnet and it seemed to quiet it.
 

ForceTen

Member
Yesterday I was putting stuff back into the tank and once again, I somehow allowed the smaller AQ filter to run out of water.
I was removing the pre-filters and must have pulled up on the tube.
I think its okay, but will not be certain until I decide to return it to the tank.

Now my AC 70 is making a racket. I must say the AquaClear HOB filters are sure nice, but **** are they prone to mishap.
Marineland never caused these issues.
 

AutisticFishBlog

Member
Mikedick77 said:
I've upgraded to these in my aquariums a few weeks back. We had those basic pocket looking Aqueon filters to start. I liked the idea of the bio wheel, and they were reasonably priced on Amazon, so I bought in. I know they're pretty easy to maintain, but how's the effectiveness on these? Is there something out there that people prefer instead of these?

My wife just bought another 10 gallon tank setup today. 85 bucks with Flourescent light hood, and the stand. Used up my last filter. I have a Penguin 350 on each of my 20 gallons, a 200 on one of my 10's, a 100 on my other 10, and a 100 on my 5 gallon hospital tank. I also ordered 5 of these to go on my big tanks if I wanted to swap media

Robot Check

I guess another question would be if there was anything in particular i'd want to look at putting in these cartridges? I guess I got them for the just in case I cant use activated carbon, for in case I had to medicate a tank or whatever. Maybe there's some kind of filtration i'm missing outside of the store bought.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can give.
love mine!! Has never broken or given me any trouble. Recently I had to reduce the flow manually by attaching a plastic cover underneath the waterfall so slow down the flow. Gets full of calcium deposits drops because it splashed A little when water level is lower. But I love mine! Very quiet too when tank is filled full.
 

86 ssinit

Member
I’m also a fan of marineland filters. Must be modded though. Replace the cartridge for a sponge and add some matrix or similar media in the space in front of the sponge. Lasts for years and all you do is rinse. Sorry but don’t buy into the bio-wheel thing it’s been proven useless :(. Still a great filter at an unbelievable price. It’s been around for probably 25yrs and not another company (even Chinese knock offs) have added a bio-wheel To a filter. I think that’s all the proof needed to prove it useless. Another great hob is the tidal series.
 
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Mikedick77

Member
Thanks for the opinions and real experiences with these! I merely bought into the whole bio wheel filter thing because it was recommended by the site I bought some of my guppies. This was before I found this forum, so i'm relieved I didn't totally screw the pooch!

I did receive my refillable media cartridges yesterday. Look like anything interesting to you guys?
 

Attachments

Chris1212

Member
I modified my 150. Bag of matrix below two aquaclear sponges. My hope is I can use one of the sponges eventually for an instant cycle on a quarantine tank.

MVIMG_20200918_115350.jpg
 

Beneful1

Member
I use a 350 in conjunction with my Fluval 404 on my 75g. as a backup. In two years it's never given me any trouble. Once the supplied cartridges were done, I removed all the filter media from the "frames" and just use 4 pieces of foams cut to that size. A medium and a fine foam on each side. I didn't attach them to the cartridge frame, I just use it to help push them down into place. I don't think those bio wheels really do much,, they seem to work off and on. I should just toss them out because when I see one of them not turning it sort of bugs me LOL
 

Frank the Fish guy

Member
The bio wheel is similar idea to some aerators used in water processing. Basically the wheel will add some additional oxygen to the water which is a good thing.

But this is not doing anything to increase the biofilter. A good under gravel filter meanwhile will increase your bio filter. Or a bigger and better filter.

They should call it Oxygen Wheel, or Aeration Wheel. But I suppose the market folks decided more people would buy if if the lied and called it bio wheel to make it sound like it helps your bio filter.

Oxygen is often overlooked, but is of fundamental importance for the fish. So aeration is much needed, and more is certainly better. There are of course some other ways to get O2 into the water too.
 

Chris1212

Member
My suspicion was the biowheel wasn't doing anything for beneficial bacteria (I couldn't figure out the theory behind why a wheel constantly moving in/out of water was a bonus) but I agree with the oxygen idea. Mine (penguin 150) creates a bit of a waterfall effect at the output so plenty of water agitation and current at the top.
 
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Mikedick77

Member
I'd agree with the oxygen thing. It does seem leaps and bounds more logical. I do also run air stones in all 5 of my tanks. Also I run Penguin 350's on 20 gallon tanks. So overkill, maybe. My 2 20 gallon tanks are both overstocked a tad, but the water numbers continue to look good. Once I do a good bit more reading I plan on going with a sponge setup.

So far i'm relatively happy with these filter units. Leaps and bounds better than those pocket looking Aqueon filters I started with. The ones with the annoying red lights on the top.

I really do appreciate all the feedback on this. Given me a good bit to think about modding!
 
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