Should I bother replacing a bio-wheel?

  • #1
I'm running a penguin bio-wheel 100 on a 15 gallon tank right now, but I got the filter used and it didn't have the bio-wheel with it. I was able to get the filter cartridges no problem, but I'll have to order the wheel online somewhere if I want to replace it. Is it even worth the hassle of ordering it from somewhere? I've never run a filter with a bio-wheel before, and besides the slot for the wheel this looks just like any other HOB filter.
Heros severus
  • #2
My biowheels didn't turn most of the time. They are not required to get good filtration from your filter.
  • #3
You need the bio wheel for biological filtration. If you don't replace it, you must get something else because you will be replacing the cartridge at some point.
Heros severus
  • #4
The biowheel really doesn't do that much. I mean, how can it have a large bacteria colony if the ammonia is eaten by the bacteria in the filter cartridge before the water ever makes it to the wheel? To me, it's more of a gimmick than anything else.
  • #5
Whether or not you replace the bio wheel you should toss or save the cartridge for later and fill the sump with some quality foam and ceramic media, this will probably make up for the lack of a wheel. Later on you could always get the wheel for some added surface area which is always nice. The bio wheel is 'kinda gimmicky unless your water is not well aerated and I hear they are unreliable. I'm a tried and true Aquaclear fan when it comes to HOB's!
  • #6
The biowheel does a good bit of biofiltration. Just like any filter, passing through some filter mesh or cartridge does not remove 100% ammonia and nitrite on 1 pass. It is the constant flow and re-filtration where is slowly removed. This is why most suggest you have a filter with 5-10 times filtration per hour, meaning 50-100 gph flow for a 10 gallon tank. If the filter did everything in one pass, you could use a 1 times per hour flow rate or even less. So there is ammonia and nitrite in the water after it passes through the mesh and cartridge. Now the bio-wheel doesn't remove 100% of this either. But it does help. It is good to have your bio-colony separated between the cartridge and bio-wheel. If you replace the cartridge then you still have some beneficial bacteria left in the wheel.

As for a bio-wheel not turning, if that is the case you are doing something wrong. Things that help is to clean the "bushings" that the wheel sits in and rotates on, sort of like the axles of a car. Also, keeping the water level high enough that the water passing underneath the wheel catches the wheel and spins it. Also cleaning the intake tube and impeller to make sure they work at optimal speed. I have had several bio-wheel filters over the years, and yes they do slow down and stop from time to time, but with a little maintenance and tlc they get right back to spinning and doing a good job.

So for the OP's original questions, yes you should replace it. I suggest They have just about any replacement part you would want for those filters and super cheap prices. Stock up on all your supplies to save on shipping. They are usually half price of the LFS. Here is a link to the bio-wheel for your filter from assuming you have the Penguin 100B.....

Also, another option as the replacement bio-wheel is $10, you can get a brand new Penguin 100B for $20 or better yet step up to the Penguin 150 for $22. If you went with a new Penguin 100B, you would have lots of spare replacement parts like another impeller if ever needed.
Claire Bear
  • #7
I will occasionally have to adjust my flow but not often and not all my biowheels. They work great for me and I never have issues with them. They in my opinion are a bonus if you will-I like the aquaclear as well but the fluval C is even better-I have both of those.
  • #8
ive found the "biowheel" serves more as an antI splash guard versus as a big contributor to bio filtration. Marineland themselves state that "the bio wheel needs not to turn to work" well with BB needing surface area to grow, how much BB can actually grow on a few fins on the bio wheel...
  • #9
I actually think the bio-wheel is a sound concept. There are other filters that take advantage of the idea that the bacteria thrive in a wet/dry environment more than a fully submerged one. I would replace the wheel to so the filter is working at full capacity. I just don't like HOB filters period.

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