tainted penguin? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
beetlebz's Avatar
tainted penguin?

besides what sounds like it could be a cool band, its what I think is wrong with my 30g.

for those who have not been following, all my tanks have cycled fine and are now for the most part healthy, with the exception of my 30g. Ive stripped and rebuilt the tank, swapped out EVERY decoration, plant and even the gravel, and rebuilt the tank. the ONLY common denominator has been my penguin 200 filter that I bought about a year ago (give or take). the tank would seem to cycle fine, then over time the ammonia level would creep back up. Id strip it all down, rebuild it, and id have the same results... ammonia levels about 0.5ppm after a month or two.

this last time I even changed out the substrate, and added a tetra 60 sized (the big double) filter with established bags. after a few weeks the ammonia levels came down, nitrite was undetectable, and nitrates stayed around 30 or so right before water changes (it gets 20% changes every week) and bam! it was running great. So it ran like that for i dunno, 2 months now, I took out the tetra 60 and put it back on my 110g and the 30g params crash all over again.

this morning (its been a couple days since I removed the big filter) the levels were ammonia 0.5ppm nitrite 0.5ppm and nitrates were over 80ppm.

after careful inspection there is absolutely no build up of any type on the penguin biowheel... and its been running for nearly a year! is it possible the biowheel was some how contaminated? maybe I missed something reading the paper work and skipped a critical step in setting it up initially?

for now I put a tetra 30 (i think) filter on it using an established pad from one of the tetra 60s on my 110g and im going to do a 20% w/c right now.

any thoughts? is it possible to screw up a biowheel? oh and to answer the one question i know ill get, no I dont wash or rinse the biowheel :P ive never touched it!

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post #2 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 04:42 PM
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Has the wheel been spinning alright? If it has...well, I just don't know. That's really weird. You can buy replacement wheels for pretty cheap though, so it's probably worth buying one and seeing if you get some growth on it.

As I was writing this I had a thought...have you ever used that filter on a tank that was running anti bacterial meds? Maybe the biowheel sucked up some meds or something and that's been preventing bacteria growth.

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post #3 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 04:42 PM
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IMHO I think that bio wheels can and do get contaminated I've gone to several (LFS) and been told they don't . but I had a bio wheel that I think was bad replaced it and have not had the issue since

"Of all the things I lost in life I miss my mind the most"

Work in progress what do you think so far:
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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the biowheel actually has been spinning TOO well lol its never even come close to looking anything like it had a hint of anything growing on it, and it spins in the racers just dandy <shrug>

im trying to think if i have ever used meds on that tank. I think i actually <ran to check the box> I used maracyn AGES ago when one of my bala sharks had fin rot (in an uncycled tank).

both the maracyn, the balas in a 30g, and not cycling the tank were all thanks to the good ole advice from my LFS lol ooooh if i only knew then what I know now.

could maracyn have sterilized my biowheel like that?

imma go order a new biowheel for it from someone I trust like fosters and smith this week and see if that helps.

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post #5 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 06:34 PM
okiemavis's Avatar
Uhh, I don't think that maracyn will permanently mess up a filter like that. However, it doesn't seem like at this point there would be any harm in getting a new biowheel. You may also want to add a sponge filter to help with filtration.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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i didnt think it would either okie :\ but im at a complete loss, besides a contaminated biowheel.

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post #7 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 08:11 PM
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Hopefully that's what it will turn out to be! That or you may have to consider replacing the filter entirely :( You'd already tried changing the gravel and stuff right?
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
beetlebz's Avatar
yeah i did, sorry for missing it in my brief above...i didnt wanna retread my old thread about the ammonia prob ;)

i took out my lava rock which helped quite a bit but not enough.

like i said i swapped the penguin onto my 110 and used an old tetra 30 with a filter pad that was already running in my 110 in a tetra 60 on my 29g tank. Before the water change, which i just did, my nitrite went from 0.5ppm to 0 and its only been an hour or two since I did the last test! I thought it was my tank but i think i just had too much faith in the penguin.

i cant see how the filter itself would cause the problem... but then again ive been surprised before. If I dont start seeing some buildup on it in my 110 ill scrub the filter really throughly and get new pads and a new biowheel. <shrug> all this time and it was the dang filter ><

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