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Old 01-12-2006, 06:21 PM   #1
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Top Fin vs Penquin Bio wheel Filter. Difference?

Hey all, need some expert advice here. Had my 29g setup since July using the kit included 30gph Top Fin regular outside filter as well as dual powerhead UGF and so far my tank has been doing well for the most part. However i've been reading more into the biofilter wheels and they seem like they do a better job at cleaning the water and maintaining a better bio filter as well. I have the higher end filter for my Topfin that has a blue foam filter that stays on so that bacteria can grow on it but I wonder if thats just as good as a Penguin BioFilter Wheel I see at my local Petsmart

Anyone have experience if my aquarium would gain anything from upgrading to a biowheel or if it aint broke, don't fix it the best approach here?
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Old 01-12-2006, 06:44 PM   #2
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i have always used the biowheels on my filters. i find that it only holds the bacteria as where a sponge placed inside the filter holds alot more crud that is not needed. there is no maintence in the bio wheel at all and u never have to replace it. it is much nice to have if u decide to tear down your tank becasue u can just set it in water and it is fully ready to go when your tank is set up. i personally pefer them but that is just my opinion and i hope other people coment on this. this has always been a debate on what is the best filter and i love penguin.
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Old 01-13-2006, 04:12 AM   #3
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I think it really depends on the tank setup. If your injecting co2 then the bio-wheel is going to outgas seriously fast. Without co2 or plants, then you probably want to run charcoal on occasion to keep good water quality. With the Bio-wheel you can replace the cartridge and not worry about loosing your bacteria.

I'd say it's actually a toss up. At some point that UGF is going to become a nitrate factory, and I don't think the Topfin is enough filtration without it. I could be wrong on the Topfin, I'm not familiar with that model. If it's enough without the UGF then you don't really need another filter, just lose the UGF before it gunks up on ya.
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Old 01-13-2006, 08:08 AM   #4
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TopFin = Tetra Whisper.

I find the biological design on these to be horrible, but they are good for mechanical filtration.

I wouldn't use a UGF, they are a rather old concept that doesn't last over time and removes the ability to have plants.

I would look into getting a cannister filter, or a biowheel if you don't want to have plants. Tetra filters are only good as a secondary filter (mechanical) IMO. (and I have the whisper 60 which I'm gonna replace soon)
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Old 01-13-2006, 01:06 PM   #5
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Really? Loose the UGF? Why? Isn't that like a defaco standard for an aquarium? And I do have plenty of plants in my tank and my levels are acceptable when I suck away the gravel with my Python.

Please explain more.
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Old 01-13-2006, 01:23 PM   #6
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It was the defacto standard before power filters came onto the scene. There are many reasons why UGFs are really a poor choice now :

1) Efficiency over time. Water follows the path of least resistance. Over time a UG filter will become clogged in some areas and water will flow through the easier routes. This can also lead to anaerobic pockets.

2) Maintance is tough because once the plates are in, they're not coming out short of stripping down the tank. Sure you can clean a lot by a gravel vac, but if you have plants or decorations there are places you can't get to.

3) Plants roots + grate slots = No water flow eventually

With a power filter you're pulling the stuff you don't want in the tank out of it. A UG filter leaves it in the tank. Cleaning a power filter involves pulling out a filter pad. Of course you have a UG filter in there already so taking it out now probably isn't a good idea either

The BioWheel is my personal favorite powerfilter. I've used them for years and they've been very effective
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Old 01-13-2006, 04:28 PM   #7
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So, could I get away with removing my power heads, leave the filter mesh as is and then install 50gph Penguin biowheel and everything will be ok?
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Old 01-13-2006, 05:20 PM   #8
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You need a lot more than 50 GPH. But since they don't sell a model with that I assume you meant the 150. I'd go for the 200 personally at a minimum. You can never have too much filtration

You could pull the powerhead...I did that to my mom's tank once and left the plates under the gravel.
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Old 01-13-2006, 06:46 PM   #9
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What about this one? My local Petsmart carries it

http://www.marineland.com/products/c...on_emperor.asp
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Old 01-13-2006, 06:56 PM   #10
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I would look into Cannister filters, they are the way to go with plants.. I think a Fluval 204 is rated for 40Gal or 50.. it would do the job very well..
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