bio-wheel question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2004, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Hi everyone, trying to find out if you lose too much co2 in a fish/planted tank using a bio-wheel filter. I had two on my 75 gallon tank; one on either end of the tank, Penquin 300 double bio-wheels. On another forum someone said they were bad because they churned the surface water too much; so I took ONE off one end and replaced it with a Magnum 350 canister filter directing the air towards the bottom of the tank; left the other on the other end. Then in the same forum someone posted a site with an article saying that bio-wheels are not bad for a planted tank; so needless to say I am totally confused.
It did make sense that churning of the surface water might not be too good for a planted tank but I am not sure.
Also can you filter the water too much? Do I really need two filters? I had the filters and have 9 not full grown Orandas in the tank with my plants and thought since they are suppose to be a dirty fish; I could use all the filtration I could get.
Thanks for any replies.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2004, 12:58 AM
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Bio-Wheels are not really bad for a planted tank. I know because I use them on a couple of tanks. But they do cause CO2 loss. So long as you have a good pressurized setup and don't mind buying extra CO2 you are fine using them. Now if you had a high light tank with DIY you might have more problems.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2004, 04:21 AM
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Even the tiny biowheel on my 6g eclipse tank caused a lot of CO2 loss. Once I switched that to a Aquaclear Mini filter, it's no where near as bad.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2004, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Thanks to both of you. I don't have a co2 setup yet and can not afford the pressurized system unfortunately; so was just going to put on a DIY one for now. Sounds like I made the right choice to changed at least one of my filters. Will now have to find out whether I really need two filters on my tank; not sure if most people have that much filtration for a Oranda/planted tank or not? Is it necessary?
Anyone know?
Thanks again for your replies.
Hugs Wendy
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2004, 05:01 PM
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You can't really have too much filtration. You know you have too much water movement if your fishies and plants get blown around in the tank.

Here is my opinion:
DIY CO2 + BioWheel + 75 gal tank = waste of your time.

You know that you have not enough filtration if Ammonium and/or Nitrite levels are detectable. The magnum 350 doesn't have much room for filter media, so I would be concerned leaving it as the only filter. If you have a lot of plants, it gives bacteria a lot of surface, so you need less volume of filter media. It's really hard to say... depends on water changes, mass of fish, feeding, and many more things.

As I mentioned before, you don't NEED to add CO2 to grow plants. It just helps.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2004, 05:28 PM
Algae Grower
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I have an eclipse3(which has a bio-wheel) with 110 watts of light and i have to run 4 diy 2 litres with a hagen difusor just to keep CO2 at 10. I'm ditching the eclipse for a canister filter soon, but my plant growth has been great including glosso.

New(10/10/2008) 50 gallon! (36x18x18in)
4x39 watts 6700k t5 lights
fluourite gravel mixed substrate
Still figuring out ferts in this tank
pressurized CO2 after a long time of DIY CO2
My last tank
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2004, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Thanks everyone; I am just learning and learning on this board and really appreciate all the imput. I have been doing lots of water changes and if I do hook up this co2 unit at least I don't have to worry that I am creating too much co2 to kill my fish; that was my one worry; so that is good to know. I cut down on my hours of lighting and my algae has almost diappeared and looks like the plants are growing a bit; so if I could just add some co2 I think it would do better.
No, I am not going to just use the magnum and the fish and plants are not getting blown around; just a slight underwater current with it; I put glass mirror on the back of the tank yesterday; tank actually looks fabulous right now; so I am happy. Did a 1/3 water change also. Will do my testing today and check out how things stand; sometimes things might look great but are not always what them seem.
Thanks again.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 12:25 AM
Algae Grower
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I had a similar setup. I was using a Magnum 350 and two Emperor 280's on my 75g. I say 'had' because once I planted the tank and added CO2, I got rid of the Emperors (way to noisy). I only run the Magnum with the micron filter, no charcoal, no nuthin.

I had a very small fish load when I started...6 neons, some Otos, 8" chocolate pleco and a few other various tetras. Since planting the tank I have doubled the neons, added 12 bloodfin tetras, 12 green fire tetras, several more Otos, some SAEs, and traded the pleco for a bristle nose pleco (the chocolate pleco kept uprooting my plants). It has been 3 weeks since adding the extra fish (all at the same time mind you) and I have yet to find any measurable ammonia or nitrites in my tank.

I do have a large qty of plants in the tank which, as previously stated, gives more surface area for the bacteria to colonize on. I guess it just depends on your tank, plant load, and fish load. This is just what has worked for me. Good luck.


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Thanks for the info mat. I first had the paper filter on the Magnum "micron? I think it is; then switched it to the one that you are suppose to put carbon in but I had some phosphate remover stuff from Hagen called Green-x that I stuck in where the carbon goes and the filter fabric over the cartridge. The tank right now is crystal clear and looks very nice.
By the way, my Penquin bio-wheels are super quiet.
Did you install a co2 tank system or a yeast mixture?
Sounds like you have quite a few fish in with your plants; the only thing being is that your fish are probably cleaner then my Orandas.
One more thing if I might ask; with your Magnum, the outflow do you have it under the water heading downward to minimize the turbulence on the top of the water or do you have the outflow facing upwards?
Thanks for replying.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 12:45 AM
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hey Wendy so you came over here from GFP.... also ask about those bulbs you got...
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 01:33 AM
Algae Grower
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Prior to adding plants I used to run the magnum outlet up to maximize turbulence. After planting the tank I had the Magnum outlet pointed downward to minimize turbulence. Since either way gives quite a lot of current in the tank, I made a spraybar attachment that distributes the output evenly across the whole top of the tank. If you're interested in making a spraybar, I can give you the website address where I found the DIY instructions.

I have read in many different forums that DIY CO2 is very difficult to use on larger tanks. So, since I had an old CO2 tank and regulator that I used to use for "Homebrewing' beer, I use pressurized CO2.

Im not sure about the fish being cleaner. Would you rather have a few big 'turds' in your tank or a thousand Little ones?


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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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You got a point there:-).
Doesn't the spray bar cause more turbulence on the surface of the water then pointing the outlet downward? If you think it is a good idea; yes, I would love the link.
I use to make homebrew beer too but never used the pressurized co2, just put a teaspoon of sugar into each bottle. Very time consuming though.
Hi Fishy, I doubt if anyone has heard of these lights yet; might be a Canadian thing; no one really knew about them on the other forum; so figure I would just see how I make out; then post the results.
If anyone is curious, they are called Envirolites and are full spectrum mid day sunlights 6500K; 95 watts each, used for growing plants. They look like a compact flourescent and I put one in each end of my 4 ft. long hood. They light up the bottom beautifully; the middle is a tiny bit less lit but not very much. . I now have them on for only 10 hoursa day and the algae isn't growing like it use too; thank God. Also the tank doesn't heat up with them at all.
Anyway if you can get back to me Mat on that; it would be appreciated; I know our tanks are different, different water, etc., but at least they are the same size.
Thanks again.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 02:03 AM
Algae Grower
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Location: Dayton, Ohio
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Here is where I got the idea for my spray bar:

I made mine so the holes on the spraybar sit about 2" below the water surface, so there is no surface turbulence. I made the spraybar itself (the piece with the holes) 37" long. I also placed the holes 2" apart. I would probably go 38 when I make the next one and space the holes 1" apart. Gonna use black pipe this time Good Luck


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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Thanks so much; just saved it and will check it out tomorrow. It does look interesting.
Have a good night.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2004, 02:56 PM
Algae Grower
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Location: RSM, CA
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Hey wendy

Do they sell those envirolites online?

Do you have a link please?

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