Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Sadie 04-11-2007 11:13 PM

Penguin Bio-Wheel question
I have a Penguin bio-wheel on my 20gal. How often is relatively normal to have to clean it. I have had it set up since 12/29/2006 and have to clean the intake probably 5 or 6 times and I have totally dismantled it 3 or 4 times.

I had 1 time the water stopped except for a small trickle so I cleaned the intake tube and took out all of the parts. When I put it back together it still wouldn't work any better so I committed a huge no-no and rinsed the wheel itself. It worked but then I ended up with a slight ammonia spike 2-3 days later.

1 time 2 snails had gotten down inside the motorized part where the rubber parts are by going up the intake tube. They were small enough to get through the filter basket.

The wheel stalls a lot. It will sometimes be 3-5 seconds before the wheel moves again.

I change the filters when the water starts to slow. There isn't really a current in the tank any more. The water gently returns but I'm afraid it is not circulating enough of the water from the other side of the tank. It used to circulate enough that some of the fish would play in the water as it returned into the tank.

Should I add an airstone? The platies seems happier sometimes when there is one in the tank? I think part of the problem is I am getting too much algae in my tank and I am overfeeding so I do realize this is part of the problem. I thought about moving the filter to the middle of the tank, right now it is on the left side. Any suggestions? Is there something else I am doing incorrectly?

scottysgirl 04-11-2007 11:48 PM

You don't want to take the bio-wheel itself off ever, that is where the good bacteria are. I have the same problem with my penguin. When it gets slow I take out the filter and swish it around in some non-chlorine water to clean it out and I also clean the filter intake. I have to do this maybe once a month on the tank with the big messy fish and maybe once every three on the regular community tank. I took the carbon out of the filter and haven't replaced those yet.

soulcoffr 04-17-2007 04:20 PM

According to Marineland, as long as the biowheels are turning at all, you don't have to worry about them. They're still doing their job.

That said, you need to swish your filter carts out in your old change water to get the gunk out of them. I plan to switch to sponges or something else to replace those things, but for now, they'll do just fine if you clean them out every PWC.

You may want to check that the impeller is properly seated. I've heard of people having some problems with impellers in Penguins. Sometimes they don't seat in their little hole properly.

I have a friend that's been running one for over a year and it requires very little cleaning of the intakes and such. How much are you feeding? Sometimes if you feed too much, the filter just sucks in the uneating food and it clogs up the works.

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