Canister filter or just a penguin biowheel for a 20 gal long - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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I am new to the aquarium hobby and I currently have a 15 gallon eclipse tank and hood. I really like the look of a 20 gallon long tank and I am wondering if it is necessary to run a canister filter or will a penguin biowheel be plenty for this size tank. This is going to be a heavily planted tank with a JBJ Formosa SS-JD2 65 watt light and a pressurized CO2 system.
If a canister filter would be best please give me your recommendations. The following is a list of the ones I have read about on this forum:
1) FilStar XP1
2) Fluval MSF 104
3) Eheim ECCO 2231
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 03:36 AM
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Hmm.... skip the Bio-Wheel because it will out-gas the CO2 as fast as you inject it. If you want a HOB filter get a Aqua Clear 150 or 200. But If it were me I would get a Rena XP-2. Why a 2 and not a 1? Well the 2 has twice as much media capacity and will run a CO2 reactor quite well.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 12:08 PM
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I'll second Rexs' reccomendation.



75 gal heavily planted,50/50 Black beauty,Eco-complete substrate, Pressurised CO2 with solenoid, ph controller, AB Reactor 1000, 330 watts 9325K GE PC lighting,Ehiem Liquidoser, 2-Filstar xp3 canisters.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 12:53 PM
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Me, too. I'd just go with a power filter. I'm not necessarily a huge fan of the Aquaclears other than price and reliability. I think I still prefer the Whisper Power Filters for small tanks.

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not using a reactor on my CO2 system so it seems that all three of you recommend the power filter. I am confused on why the Biowheel will out-gas the CO2 and the other power filters do not. Is it just because of the biowheel itself? If this is the case then I will go with the Whisper Power Filter. The reason is because a friend of mine has both the Agua Clear and the Penguin BioWheel and the Penguin is by far more quiet and that is why I was thinking of using that one.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 01:51 PM
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The Power Filters will also encourage gaseous exchange where the water returns to the tank, but not nearly as much as the BioWheel since its design specificall carries the water over a "ferris wheel" to encourage maximum surface contact with the atmosphere. All this will do is release the CO2 gases you're working so hard to put in.

The main thing I dont like about the AquaClear is that the return lip is so small that it doesn't even reach into the water and causes a very small waterfall. The Whisper reaches into the water and helps it slip in a lot more unoticed.

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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After reading more articles on the HOB filters I think I will go with a canister filter.
Would the Rena XP-2 provide to much current in a 20 long?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 06:02 PM
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If you find it causes too much current you can modify the output to a spray bar. If you make the spray bar very long with many holes, the current will be spread over a larger area and generate less current.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2003, 09:01 PM
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I'll say yes, it's overkill. Filstars are pretty powerful units. I'd go with an XP1.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2003, 05:50 AM
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Just an FYI on BioWheels... The thing I like about them is that I can clean the heck out of the cannister filter's filter material without worrying about doing too much damage to my beneficial bacteria colony - since most of it lives on the biowheels, which never get cleaned.

I've got 2 Biowheel 60 pros (i.e. 4 full-sized biowheels)on my planted/pressureized CO2 injected 135g tank. My CO2 usage is not noticeably higher since going with the biowheels.

However, I think this could be the reason:

The Biowheel 60 pros run in completely enclosed compartments with little hinged doors that you can raise up to inspect/maintain the biowheels. My theory (and it is ONLY a theory) is that since the compartments the biowheels run in are enclosed (not airtight but mostly enclosed), the CO2 level in the air inside the compartments rises to approximate the CO2 level in the water running over the wheels... so no large loss of CO2 as the water falls over the biowheels since the concentration of CO2 in the water is nearly the same as the concentration of CO2 in the surrounding air (inside each biowheel's compartment). Now I could be completely wrong. I *can* say, however, that I run about 30 ppm CO2 supplied by a 20 lb cylinder for a 135g tank with 4 biowheels (2 60 pros) and I change the CO2 bottle about every 10 months.

The smaller HOB filters with biowheels DO expose the wheel to the open air. You can see about 1/4 of the wheel rotating out in the open when you look at the filter. With that setup, I could easily imagine a large CO2 loss. I guess the bad news is I don't think they make a smaller cousin to the 60 Pro with a similar "fully enclosed" design. A 60 Pro would be too big for smaller aquariums.

In summary: My answer to the "Will a biowheel cause CO2 loss?" question is "Yes" and "No, not really."

Take care...


Chief 51, Engine 511, Engine 513, Rescue 511, respond to an algae outbreak at...
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