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Old 04-03-2011, 01:49 PM   #1
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Has anyone had problems with Penguin 150 or similar filters?

I have a 16g FO tank and I bought a Penguin 150B a couple weeks ago and already sand getting into the impeller unit has caused it to get a lot noisier. Looking at some reviews online I have seen that this isn't an uncommon problem, and others have had to replace the impeller units in their Penguin filters for the same reason. My question is, will I have the same problem if I upgrade to an Emperor 400 filter? Should I think about getting a different type of filter instead, like a protein skimmer?
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55 gallon reef tank. AquaticLife 4-bulb T5 HO with 4 LED moonlights. Reef Octopus BH-1000 HOB protein skimmer. TLF Phosban Reactor 150 running 400ml of NPX Bioplastics with a Maxi-Jet 1100 and a BRS Reactor running activated carbon with a Maxi-Jet 900. Vortech MP10w.
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:00 PM   #2
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How long has the tank been running?
How long has the sand been in the tank.

It takes a few weeks of cycling for the sand to become coated by bacteria and heavy enough to settle and stay on the bottom. But some livestock or you can disturb it and it will blow around the tank for a few minutes till it settles again.

I imagine that any HOB filter will have this problem. You need to clean it more often any time sand is blowing around the tank unless there is some way to prevent it from getting in the filter in the first place.

I chewed up the impellers of 2 PHs while cycling my tank. Now the only problems are cleaning them 2x/year.
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:22 PM   #3
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When I started this hobby with my 40g breeder I had problems with them after they sucked up sand. They were a huge pain to get working again, even after cleaning and getting the sand out. Sometimes they'd seriously work after tapping them. But when it worked, it worked well! I'm afraid I don't have a solution, I eventually ditched the HOB's and used a wet/dry sump and a canister filter and never had any issues since.
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:05 PM   #4
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It has been up and running for a few months now, but I got a diamond watchman goby last week and he decided this week to undertake a major redesign of his favorite cave by moving sand to block the entrances so only he can get in (it was fun to watch). I'm sure this is the reason the sand got into the impeller.

Do you think placing a sponge filter on the intake will prevent this problem in the future? I don't want to replace the impeller if it will just happen again. I'd rather get another filter that won't have this problem. But if the sponge, which I already have, will prevent the problem, then I will order a new impeller and happily continue to use this filter.

I was also wondering if anyone has ever run this kind of filter in a sump or refugium? Why or why not?
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55 gallon reef tank. AquaticLife 4-bulb T5 HO with 4 LED moonlights. Reef Octopus BH-1000 HOB protein skimmer. TLF Phosban Reactor 150 running 400ml of NPX Bioplastics with a Maxi-Jet 1100 and a BRS Reactor running activated carbon with a Maxi-Jet 900. Vortech MP10w.
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:07 PM   #5
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Dlwn88: How do you like your canister filter? Would you recommend? If so, Any brand better than others?
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:02 AM   #6
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I added a foam pre-filter sponge on the intake, and shortened it up so it's not taking water from so near the sand. Hopefully that helps. I ordered a replacement impeller unit that should be here Thursday. If it happens again I think I will just upgrade to the Emperor, either the 280 or the 400 and hope it doesn't happen to that one as well.
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:06 PM   #7
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The impeller on the Penguin 150 got really loud and annoying, and then quit turning all together. I kept taking it out to try to clean it in hopes that it would last until the replacement I ordered came, but yesterday I checked the status on the shipping and it was delayed for some reason. It was supposed to be here yesterday, but now it was estimated to be here next Tuesday.

So I decided to go out and get an Emperor 280 instead.

I was a little surprised by its size when I took it out of the box. It looked like it was the same size as the Penguin from the pics online, but it is probably 50% larger. I set it up and filled the included media cartridge with Seachem De-Nitrate and Seagel. This morning I tested my water parameters (I have been battling a mini cycle since last week) and for the first time in a week I had no traces of ammonia, so the cycle is hopefully coming to an end!

Like I said, the Emperor 280 is pretty large, and it is a little louder than the penguin was (when it was running well). But I am very happy with the Emperor so far, and I am very hopeful that this will be a much longer term part of my aquarium.
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:27 PM   #8
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I wish I read this before I bought my Penguin 200. Started cycling the tank 2 days ago, but I added sand yesterday so it's really cloudy. Currently have the penguin 200 running and also an aqueon quietflow 30. Hopefully the HOB filter wont break
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:30 PM   #9
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I have the emporer 280 on my 55g I like it so far
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:49 PM   #10
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Henry: I might consider putting a sponge cover on the intake to your filter while there is a lot of sand in the water. I got a $2 fluval sponge filter and made it fit over the intake on my 150 to keep sand out of it, but it was too late. That's what killed the impeller on mine. I would also take the impeller out and run it under some tap water to make sure there is no sand in it. It will grind the sand until the shaft is all scored and then it gets loud and you have to replace the impeller unit.
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