Marineland Penguin 150 Bio-wheel Filter Problem

PharmDawgRx

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Ok.... so I've had this tank and filter for 3 weeks now. I noticed tonight that the biowheel wasn't spinning which lead me to investigate further. The water was actually bypassing the charcoal filter pad (as in rolling over) instead of running through it. This caused the water to overflow to the side missing the biowheel altogether. At this point, it clicked that this may have been happening for several days, maybe a week. I replaced the filter pad which was totally covered in sludge (I'm assuming nitrifying bacteria), and water passed through the new filter pad and the wheel began to turn again.

So a few questions...

1. Has my biological filter been decimated? The wheel likely was not wet for several days. I will say my nitrites were 0 and my nitrates were 20 today.

2. Why did the filter pad clog up so quickly? It probably was clogged after only 2 weeks. I feel like I have to watch this very closely now because I don't want to lose my beneficial bacteria on my biowheel.

3. Do you have any recommendations on how to add extra biofiltration to this filter as a backup? I don't know if there is anything designed for this filter, but I figured I could stick something inside it.
 

Nicholas1234

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You could stick ceramic media inside it though I must say Bio Wheels aren't very reliable if you do use ceramic media put it in a media bag so the ceramic media doesn't get clogged up. To answer your first question iit depends on how long your Bio wheel was dry.
 

bgclarke

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Most of your biological filter was on the cartridge you replaced.
Just clean them in old tank water or dechlorinated water.

I had the 100 and placed some biomax and/or matrix between the cartridge and the bio-wheel to ensure there was some other place besides the bio-wheel for bacteria to grow.

As for the wheel, check the ends of the axle. Mine had some excess plastic on one end,
I shaved the ends with a pocket knife and had less issues after that.
 
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PharmDawgRx

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Most of your biological filter was on the cartridge you replaced.
Just clean them in old tank water or dechlorinated water.

I had the 100 and placed some biomax and/or matrix between the cartridge and the bio-wheel to ensure there was some other place besides the bio-wheel for bacteria to grow.

As for the wheel, check the ends of the axle. Mine had some excess plastic on one end,
I shaved the ends with a pocket knife and had less issues after that.
Thanks! So are you supposed to leave the biomax in the net when you place it in?
 

bgclarke

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Yes, leave it in the mesh bag (makes it easier for cleaning).

You could also use other types of biomedia such as ceramic rings that would fit in the space.

While my penguin was problematic for me, it did have a lot of space for extra media.
 

Chaory

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Yeah just clean your filter pads in tank water. If you replace it, use a cut it filter pad. Saves you money and you can just squeeze it in a bucket of tank water when needed.

I put a bag of ceremic rings in my Peguins. Also you can use a corse round sponge for the intake for added bio. Aquarium Co-op sells some.
 

MTSRandy

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You could also ditch the marineland filter pads all together. I use 2 Aquaclear 70 sponges. One in each side and a bag of ceramic rings over them. Much more filtration and bio media plus the sponges last a long time. Just rinse them in tank water to clean them and put them back in. I don't even bother with the biowheels.
 
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