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Penguin BIO-Wheel 170

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 10 months ago

The Penguin BIO-Wheel 170 filters out floating debris from the water. If it stops functioning properly, the water will start looking cloudy. My understanding is that another function of this device is that the wheel acts as a surface where "good" nitrogen-metabolizing bacteria colonize (although they will also be down in the gravel and along the tank's surfaces). Change the filter in the Penguin BIO-Wheel 170 every one to three months.


Immediately after cleaning out the BIO-Wheel, the water should flow very freely, and the BIO-Wheel will be turning continuously. As stuff gets caught in the BIO-Wheel's impeller, the water will flow slower and slower, and the Wheel will move only occasionally. If the water is no longer flowing very freely, you'll need inspect the BIO-Wheel's impeller to remove any gunk that might be preventing it from spinning freely. This is a fairly frequent occurence, since there are live plants in the tank; expect to have to remove stuff from the impeller every two weeks or so.


The manual that came with the BIO-Wheel is in the bottom drawer under tank #2, along with the fish food, brushes, etc. Here is the manual online.


Three big things to keep in mind are:


  • Unplug before handling the Penguin BIO-Wheel 170, to avoid electrocution.


  • Never power up the BIO-Wheel if it isn't filled with water. (I once did this accidentally, and the machine did NOT like it -- it made a bad-sounding noise, and smoke started coming out of it. I immediately unplugged it!!)


  • Never use soap or detergents on this device. Soap and detergent are poisonous to fish and beneficial bacteria.


An opportune time to change the filter and/or clean out the innards of the BIO-Wheel is when you do water changes.


Here's what to do:


(1) Unplug the BIO-Wheel.


(2) Remove the top lid, the J-shaped intake tube, and the fanwheel, and place these on top of the cart, perhaps on paper towels. Also place the bent brush on the cart; you'll find it in the drawer.


(3) Carefully lift the pump assembly -- its reservoir will be filled with water. Dump the water into the fish tank. Then place the pump assembly on the cart.


(4) If you need to change the filter, put a fresh filter on the cart. You can throw away the old filter either in a trash basket here in the lab, or in the bathroom. Bring the cart to the bathroom.


(5) In the bathroom, flush the J-tube, and use the brush to clear out any debris that's inside the tube.


(6) Rinse the top lid if necessary. Wipe it down with paper towels. The outflow channels of the main assembly can get a little slimy; wipe these down with paper towels, too.


(7) I'd leave the fanwheel alone -- it has small light-blue pieces that could get lost down the drain, and chlorinated tap water might kill the beneficial bacteria living on the wheel. If for some reason you need to clean the wheel, be sure to set the small blue pieces aside on the cart, where they won't get lost down the drain, and try to minimize exposure of the fanwheel to tap water.


(8) Remove the impeller component from the assembly; this is the component which attaches to the J-tube. Remove the small white axel from the impeller assembly; it has small "propeller blades" on the proximal end. Remove any gunk caught on the small white axel (look for fibrous plant material, especially in the area near the "propeller blades"), or on the impeller component.


(9) Put the small white axel back into the impeller component. Be careful not to push against the "propeller blades", because they can break. Instead, push firmly against the distal end of the axel.


(10) If you're inserting a new filter, rinse the new filter under tap water, to remove carbon dust. Shake it horizontally, to help evenly distribute the carbon granules. Then place the filter into the main assembly, narrow side down, and black side towards the aquarium.


(11) Bring everything back on the cart, to the tank. Hang the main assembly off the back wall of the tank as it was before.


(12) Use the clear plastic cup to re-fill the main assembly's reservoir with tank water. This will take about 6 or 7 cups. Be careful not to drip into the slots in the top of the tank, otherwise you'll get water into the electrical parts of the light.


(13) Put the impeller component, fanwheel, J-tube, and top lid back onto the main assembly.


(14) Plug the main assembly into power (make sure your hands are dry). Water should run freely, and the fanwheel should turn continuously.

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