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Dear Biowheel


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  • Regular Member

Hello everyone! I've got a Penguin or Marineland 350 with 2 biowheels in it. The filter is broken into 2 compartments, one side has 2 bags of ceramic media in it, the other side has 2 cartridges in it. Well, I rinse out my cartridges each water change (every 3-5 days), I leave my ceramic media untouched. Well, the biowheel on the side with the cartridges has been stalling a lot lately.

I'm sure the cartridges are getting clogged due to my excessive feeding, which is why I rinse them all the time... anyway, regardless of all the rinsing, their still clogging, causing less water to come through and the biowheel to stall. I'm worried that if I replace 1 or both of these cartridges with new ones that I will completely MESS up my cycle that has taken soooo very long to establish.

I plan to eventually remove 1 cartridge and replace it with another type of media. I was thinking of (for the time being) ripping off the blue part of the cartridge, rinsing it well and stuffing a few of those in the compartment to provide more room for beneficial bacteria to grow. What do you think?

I'm having terrible brown algae problems right now and plan to do a LARGE (maybe 100%) water change and clean the tank walls, floor, dragon and rocks this evening. Don't worry, I'm just going to wipe them down, in the tank... not rinse them in tap water or anything.

Any suggestions/ advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

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  • Regular Member

UGH I have a long response but I promised Shane I would be off by 9:00!!

Okay I'll make it quick! I have the same filter.. My set up is this. I put a cartrige in each side, that way each side has something blocking the big chunks of waste.. Then Behind them I shove in mesh baggies with bio-max.... I feel like it workds really well.. My cartridges have no carbon in them anymore.

My cartridges have never caused a clog, but maybe if you set them up one on each side like that it might help??? If not you could elimate them one at a time maybe?

Final thing. I noticed my Penguin 200's BioWheel wouldn't turn one time.. I noticed that the section with the intake tube was not flush with the rest of it. I took it out, and pushed the.. what's it called, impeller?, in more. Then when I put it back, it worked fine..

Just a few ideas, nothing definate! Good luck! I wish I could write more but Tanya Shane & Taylor are all starting at me and told me they won't stop until I get off the computer.. BYE DES! I'll miss you! They are taking me awayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy..........

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You are too funny, Sue! Thanks for taking the time to respond! Okay, I took your advice and rearranged my media a bit. So now both compartments are identical, with one cartridge and one bag of media in them. Unfortunately, this didn't do the trick, but I do think I'm going to keep it like this.

It really seems the one cartridge is full, even though I rinse it all the time. I think I'm going to replace it and maybe cut up a few extra cartridges and throw them in on top of the bagged media (on both sides). Oh, and maybe some rocks from the tank, under the bags of media... Does this sound okay? Can you have too much media?

In the past, I was an idiot in regards to beneficial bacteria. I would rinse with chlorinated water and replace ALL cartridges every month. Hahah, boy did I learn my lesson. My tank was NEVER quite cycled.

If it seems I'm asking a ton of questions, it because I really don't want to ruin a good thing, ie. my finally established cycle. Keep the suggestions coming! :)

Edited by Desiree
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  • Regular Member

I found this on the Marineland web site. May or may not be helpful.

BIO-Wheel

Q. My BIO-Wheel isn't turning. What should I do?

If your BIO-Wheel has, in fact, stopped completely, it is probably either because the BIO-Wheel is out of position or because water flow is not strong enough to push the BIO-Wheel.

If water flow is reduced...

  • Unplug your system.
  • Inspect the BIO-Wheel carefully to make sure that there are no obvious obstructions to rotation and that it spins freely when in proper position.
  • Remove the impeller housing and magnetic impeller assembly and make sure the impeller assembly is clear of any obstruction and free to rotate. With a clean cloth or brush, clean the impeller, intake tube and impeller housing.
  • Make sure your aquarium is filled to the bottom edge of the aquarium frame or the level specified in your owners manual.
  • Restart your system. NOTE: If you have a power filter that hangs on the back of the aquarium, be sure to fill the filter box with water.

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Thanks Kathy! I will check that out. The strange thing is, the water flow does appear to be reduced, but only on one side... It looks like the filter is pumping sufficient water into it, but it's just not making it through the other side (stalled part) as fast as the side that is working. :(

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  • Regular Member

It would seem like you cant have too much filter media in a filter. I have found however, that if you place too much, or a denser material than was originally intended, you can greatly hinder the flow of HOB filters. I have to add crushed coral to all my tanks because we have 0 hardness here. This has caused some filter flow problems in a couple of my filters. I have to fudge with the sacks every time I touch the filter to make sure the water can get through, and one of them has to have the sack hanging in the waterfall because placing it anywhere within the filter prevents a good flow.

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Can you have too much media?

the more media for good bb the better. but, you can have too much media. the water will not be able to run through as needed, greatly reducing the gph flow rate. just having the cartriges in with growth of bb and debris will do this also. cram as much as you can with out the reduction of flow through, you might have to play with it a bit to get it right.

as for the filters themselves....might sound obvious but, are they level? just a bit off will cause them to pour out the other side faster.

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What I will do sometimes with my HOB is make a small slit in the filter pad to get the carbon out of the filter pad so that the water can go through it alot better before I replace the whole pad...see if that will help :D

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My biowheel on my 10 gallon qt tank does that. Did that. I bought it used, whether that makes a difference. At first it would spin part of the time. Then I got it to spinning pretty good for a little while, then it just completely stopped. I've done everything to get it to work. Check the wheel seating, checked the impeller and its seating. Thoroughly cleaned the uptake tube. Took out all of the media. Nothing. I just finally gave up. The water seemed to cycle, and keeps its cycle, fine without the wheel so, I just gave up on it. But, then, my brain started working. To make the biowheel spin, I need to increase the water flow. So, I found an old 2 gallon ice cream bucket lid (any thin waterproof material would work!) and cut a piece to fit inside the filter right up next to the point where the water begins flowing outward and cut it up a little higher than the current level. Voila! Spinning!

Edited by Lynda Von G
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  • Regular Member
To make the biowheel spin, I need to increase the water flow. So, I found an old 2 gallon ice cream bucket lid (any thin waterproof material would work!) and cut a piece to fit inside the filter right up next to the point where the water begins flowing outward and cut it up a little higher than the current level. Voila! Spinning!

Lynda, this is a great tip! I've not had any trouble with mine so far but will definately keep this in mind should it happen.

Edited by Kathy B
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