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Hi, I've got an Emperor 400 Bio-Wheel and I'm wondering how I can reduce surface agitation with this filter. So far searching the forum has only returned things about positioning spraybars. I am wondering if constructing some kind of box/tank that sits up high right next to the return stream would reduce agitation. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

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I don't have a big bio-wheel, just an Eclipse 12 gallon, but mine has two little spouts on the bottom that the water from the biowheel comes out, each about 1/2" wide. To reduce surface agitation from the falling water I have thought of getting some thin clear tubing and squeezing through the two spouts to form a good seal and allow the water to go down the tube which would have the end down in the tank. I haven't actually tried it so I'm not sure how much air would travel down the tube and then bubble up, but maybe that could be prevented with a turn/loop in the tubing. Should be able to find suitable tubing at any hardware/home improvement store.
 

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With the Bio-Wheel and similar filters, I think you wind up losing more CO2 from the movement of water over the wheel itself than its return into the tank. I really don't believe that surface agitation is an altogether terrible thing. You will use more gas to get your CO2 to desired levels, no doubt, but CO2 is pretty inexpensive (compared to the rest of the stuff we wind up buying for our tanks), so my suggestion would be to get/make a drop checker, and turn your CO2 up slowly (if this is an option) until you've got about 30ppm. If you're using DIY CO2, this is going to be tough to do.
 

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I have the same filter and used it at times previously. I now use canister filters. The best way I know of to reduce agitation is to keep the water level high.
 

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A lot of people that use these filters will remove the biowheels. As SuRje1976 said that is where most of the out gassing occurs. Once you do that just keep the water level high enough that the filter output is flowing into the tank not falling.

Brian
 

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I posted this response to a similar question a while back:

"I have had all three, regular HOB's, Biowheel HOB's and cannisters. I've been seeing a lot of posts about Biowheels causing CO2 loss lately and decided to take a logical look at all 3. IMO, all HOB's cause CO2 loss. I don't think it's an issue of Biowheels. The Biowheel itself doesn't hold a lot of H2O as it turns, so I don't think there's a lot of CO2 being exposed to the atmosphere. It's basically just "dipping" the Biowheel media into the return H2O to keep the bacteria damp. If the concern is the amount of agitation caused by the Biowheel on the tank's H2O surface, I don't see that either. If anything, the Biowheel usually causes a "softer" return of H2O to the tank, so the concept of increased agitation of the tank's H2O surface may be more or less a myth. In any event, if you run low enough H2O level you'll always have a lot of surface agitation, regardless of filter type.

The highest H2O/air contact in an HOB is due to the turbulance in the chamber between the pump outlet and the filter media, not at the Biowheel. On almost every HOB design I've looked at, this area is vented or open to the atmosphere. On filters that use foam for biological filtering there's even more H2O surface area exposed to the air to off gas the CO2.
Just my $.02"

Tommy <9))>>{
 

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Tommy, one of the additional benefits advertised by companies manufacturing filters with bio-wheels is the tremendous air/water interface they create, sometimes substantial enough to run a non-planted tank without an airstone. I removed a bio-wheel from one of these filters (before I used CO2) and noticed fish gasping for O2 at the surface.

Marineland's Website said:
BIO-Wheel never competes with your fish for oxygen. It exposes beneficial bacteria to both water and air, which means far more oxygen... as much as 30,000 times more. More oxygen means more bacteria working many times harder (and many times faster) to keep your tank ammonia-free and sparkling. No breakdowns, no filtration bypass...no other biological filter can match that.
Surely this increased oxygen saturation that is described as a direct effect of the bio-wheel itself is also capable of agitating off more CO2 than a standard, Non-Bio-Wheel type filter, no?
 

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This is an interesting topic. I've always been very conflicted over surface agitation. I try to keep, like Brianmiles mentions, my water level sufficiently high so that my outflow is just under the water. There are two competing issues for me. First there is the potential Co2 loss with too intense surface agitation. I don't want to reduce my concentration of co2. period. However, since I never had the Co2 @ max (where fish are @ the surface and then back off) what I do inject I want to keep. But my second issue is surface film. Ugh. I absolutely hate this but it is easily eliminated with a minimal amount of surface flow. So I typically advocate providing enough flow to cause ripples that will extend to the entire surface but only minimally. In this way I have been able to achieve both goals and extend the time between tank refills and so far no fish deaths!
 

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Tommy, one of the additional benefits advertised by companies manufacturing filters with bio-wheels is the tremendous air/water interface they create, sometimes substantial enough to run a non-planted tank without an airstone. I removed a bio-wheel from one of these filters (before I used CO2) and noticed fish gasping for O2 at the surface.



Surely this increased oxygen saturation that is described as a direct effect of the bio-wheel itself is also capable of agitating off more CO2 than a standard, Non-Bio-Wheel type filter, no?
I believe the air/H2O interface they're talking about is the biowheel material itself, where the bacteria are colonised. I don't think they mean that there's more surface area of the H2O coming into contact with the air. Also, the increased O2 in the H2O is because the bacteria no longer need to pull it from the H2O, they get it from direct atmosphere exposure,. That leaves more O2 in the H2O for the fish. I don't think it's from the biowheel adding more O2. O2 content has little or nothing to do with CO2 saturation. They're two different things. You can have max O2 saturation and still have WAY too much CO2. Conversely, You can have very little CO2 saturation and still be O2 deficient.

I could be wrong on the Biowheel/ CO2 loss thing. I'm just kind of thining out loud.

Tommy <9))>>{
 
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