I have a Tetra-brand filter on my 10-gallon and a Penguin 350 Biowheel on my 55-gallon. I have an unused 29-gallon that I am thinking about starting up. I love the biowheel, but they are pretty expensive. I am less than impressed with the Tetra since all the carbon falls to the bottom of the biobag and most of the pumped water runs right over the top of the carbon rather than through it. Is there a less expensive brand of biowheel? What brands have you all found to be good quality?
Also, is there much difference between the Penguin filters and Emperor Filters? Both are made by Marineland. I was just curious, because they seem nearly identical to me except for the shape of the filters used.
The main differences that I see are that the emperor has space in it to add some small amount of media of your choice and the bio wheel has its own spray bar which keeps it turning better than the penguin. They are both fairly limited in filtering ability compared to a canister. Canisters do tend to be expensive compared to HOB filters so if your hobby budget is small, they are not much of an option.
In most cases, you really don't need the carbon filter and I have seen people advised to just rinse out the mesh filter in tank water that they had drained for their partial water change and use the cartridge until it falls apart. After the first couple of weeks, you would be using it mostly to remove suspended solids and as a biological filter because the carbon would be exhausted anyway.
Petsmart.com has the Penguin 200B and 350B for $20.99 and $26.99 respectively. If you take a print out of they will match the price in the store. I did it for my 150B and got it for $19. You can do that with any other stuff that they sell as heaters and the such which are a lot cheaper at their online site.
Wow! I had no idea that the store will match online advertisements. That would certainly save a bundle off the shipping! Thanks for the recommendation.
Interesting note about the biowheels working better with the Emperor rather than the Penguin. I have heard several complaints about the Penguin wheels getting stuck. Thankfully I've not run into that problem.
Also appreciate the info on canister filters. My budget is REALLY tight, so I try to get by with the best quality I can afford, which is usually just one or two steps above the bare minimum. Someday when our income is higher we hope to put in a 300-gallon tank (yippee!), so the canister info is great to know for future reference.
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