Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Filter - Review

Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Filter this was one of the first filtration systems I ever owned so I figured I'd give my review on it since I used it for many years.

The filter itself was decent, it collected a good amount of debris although at times it wasn't enough for my 10gal tank, but with an added air-pump going it definitely helped clear up the water. Buying replacement filters was horrible though because they were bad quality, the carbon was coming out of the cartridge which in turn can be harmful to fish if consumed or perhaps I just bought a bad batch of replacement filters (it was part of the reason I opted to start looking for a new filtration system). Aside from some basic carbon and blue floss I wish it was perhaps more complex and beneficial to the tank however, you can cut the top of the cartridge and replace the old carbon (use a rubber-band to secure it back in place if needed).

The first noticeable glitch I had started with the fan system that intakes the water into the box, the fan wasn't staying where it was supposed to and it was catching inside. To fix the fan I had to remove the tube from the box and press down hard on it to keep it from going out of place, simple fix.

As the filter came of age it was running more slowly than my newer filtration systems. The most useless part of this system is the actual bio-wheel itself, it works at first or sometimes, but generally not at all. Basically the water would run around the bio-wheel and the wheel would sit motionless... I would really just throw that part in the trash to be honest. The bio-wheel is only good if you want to try and keep frogs and crayfish types from crawling into the box (my blue lobster did this once without it on!).

When the system was new it did run a bit more loudly I believe, but it definitely got quieter over time in my opinion as the water had basically become a steady trickling stream rather than a waterfall. You may also notice that as your cartridge gets full of debris the water almost bubbles up through the vent in the filtration lid, which is good if you need an indicator, but bad if you let it go unchanged/cleaned perhaps.

Also the box sometimes needs a jump start when first placed onto the tank, so scoop a couple of cups of water into the box before turning it on. Also, the power at my house is always going off and sometimes the system would not start up on its own and I'd come home to a loud buzzing/grinding noise from the lack of water left in the box for it to start filtering the water out again.

Overall I'd give this system a 3.2 out of 5 since it cleaned better than a lot of other similar filtration systems I have tried but this system could spare some improvement which should've been obvious mistakes to a designer that might've actually used this product before putting it on the market.

Reduce Nitrate (in a new tank)

This will show you how I managed to reduce my nitrate to 0 in clean unestablished tap well-water. Generally my tap-water stats are as stated...

NO3 (Nitrate): 20-40
NO2 (Nitrite): 0
pH: 7.2

I had successfully reduced my nitrate from my fresh tap-water using Jungle Plant Care Solutions Fertilizer and Water Conditioner (Ingredients: Derived from potassium chloride and ferric EDTA. Also contains nonplant food ingredients: 0.1% allantoin) and my stats were as stated (over 12hrs later)...

NO3 (Nitrate): 0
NO2 (Nitrite): 0
pH: 7.8

However, my pH did seem to creep up a bit on me. I also tested this product to see if it had any effect on more established aquarium water which had various chemicals already in it. The stats were as follows...

NO3 (Nitrate): 20-40
NO2 (Nitrite): 0
pH: 7.8

The Jungle product did not seem to alter it at all. So, this test shows that it worked best (for myself at least) during the start of a new setup rather than an already established tank setup. However, results could possibly vary for other people.