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Old 02-03-2010, 07:38 PM   #1
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Penguin Filter Completely Stopped Working - Cycling Tank

OMG, I am SO ANGRY!!!!

My 10 gal. tank was just about fully cycled; however, last night I noticed that the filter was making a very loud noise. I checked it and it wasn't turning or processing any water. It's a Penguin biowheel filter that is just one month old. I tried everything I could think of to get it running again - the motor was running, but it was not taking in any water. I cleaned out the intake tube, checked to make sure there wasn't any substrate in the actual mechanism of the filter, and spent nearly 20 minutes pouring water over the filter and wheel, trying to get it going again. No luck. So, I pulled the Penguin out of the tank and put in the spare Tetra Fin filter that came with the tank. It's better than nothing, I'm sure, but it's certainly not a fabulous filter.

Now my tank's cycle has wigged out. This morning's readings were ammonia .25, nitrites .50, nitrates 5. The rise in ammonia made me groan because I had been getting 0.0 readings for about a week, with higher nitrite and nitrate readings.

So, if I get a new, better filter, the tank will essentially have to start the cycle all over again, as most of the good bacteria lives in the filter, right?

With a new filter I'd be starting from square one; yet, I don't want to be stuck with the not great Tetra Fin filter forever. Furthermore, I'm scared it might stress my fish out, having wildly fluctuating chemical levels for an extended period of time. We have eleven baby mollies in the tank (that was a surprise - thanks, PetSmart!) that are almost microscopically tiny, plus two adult mollies, three lyretail guppies, an albino cory catfish, and one African dwarf frog.

Ugh, I hate inadvertently getting stuck with crappy products . . . I'm really upset about this :| I'm definitely going to take the Penguin filter back to PetSmart and insist on a refund.

So, any recommendations for a filter for a 10 gallon tank?
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:53 PM   #2
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aquaclear 100000000000% i have an ac50 on my 10g multi tank and it is amazing... an ac20 would be sufficient though. i had the same luck with a penguin, havent bought once since
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:29 PM   #3
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I had a Marineland Penguin 350 on my 46 gallon tank, and had a problem with the pump as well as the wheel.
It was returned to the store for a Marineland Emperor 400, and haven't had a problem with that filter since. ( 1+ year)
I think the Penguin series is made as a cheaper price point for chain stores etc.
The Aquaclear 30 is on my 10 Gal. and it has also been problem free.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:33 PM   #4
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Welcome to the wonderful world of junk.

they wont do a thing for you and its out of the stores return period, get an aquaclear and forget about it.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:49 PM   #5
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Yeah, seems like it's hit and miss with just about everything these days. Penguin... they work or they don't I suppose. I've got a couple of old ones that have lasted forever but that doesn't mean anything. Absolutely try and take it back. One thought, if they don't want to refund your money but will replace it with a new one you could transplant the filter material from the old to the new and maybe save some of the bacteria. Then maybe later when your tanks fully cycled you could get a more reliable filter. Ummm, Aquaclear, Eheim, Fluval, Magnum... lots of good filters out there.

Hang in there
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:24 PM   #6
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I have several Marineland filters including penguins. I've had others as well and they all can fail at the wrong time (like there is a good time). Backup filters are a must for any serious fish people. But for the price I find the penguins a good deal. My hard water is rough on any mechanical filters and the penguins for the most part hang in there. I've only had one brand new one that would not draw water and had to take it back.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:42 PM   #7
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The only negative about the Aquaclear I have, is mine is SUPER noisy. Sometimes to get my crappy temp. AquaTech one to work, I have to actually pull the part that sticks into the water up and down to get water to go thru it. I have never had a problem with my Bio-Wheels.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:22 PM   #8
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i think something is wrong with yours dkpate... mine is silent (except the water noise like all filters make)
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:31 PM   #9
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Nothing is wrong with it lol, it's brand new. Since I pulgged it in and started using it, about every 3 minutes it will make this horrid buzzing noise, like it's vibrating on something. I tried putting padding on the little back thing, but it's coming from the inside. Other than that, it's a good filter.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:21 PM   #10
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you said the motor was running. was the impeller spinning? sometimes it would get out of alignment and stick. I would lift up on the impeller cover and wiggle it and that would get it started.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:25 PM   #11
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:16 AM   #12
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Yeah, I have the same problem with my penguin bio-wheel (20g) filter. My solution was to stick a piece of paper bag that I'd folded up a few times underneath the arch of the intake tube. This kept the impeller from taking the full weight of the water, which caused it to jam up, I think.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:48 AM   #13
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Yep.
Penguins are notorious for the impeller to stick.
While plugged in (with water in) remove the intake, and play with the impeller with your finger. I have a penguin I use to break the water on my 60gal and everytime I do a pwc, I need to do this.
As Aquarium1 Said... AquaClear all the way!
dkpate, My Aquaclears also made this noise (like a vibration). I think it's the impeller not being 100% balanced.
They have gotten better with time, and now I barely hear them.. (Or maybe I got used to the noise)
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:39 AM   #14
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I dont know what you guys are talking about..

Ive had marineland bio-wheel filters before and currently, and have never had a problem with noise - beside the water trickle noise from the bio-wheel.

My impeller has never stuck either; it has once not re-started upon a power outage, but totally different issue there.

Im going to run and knock on some wood before I jinx myself...LOL
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriznat20 View Post
I dont know what you guys are talking about..

Ive had marineland bio-wheel filters before and currently, and have never had a problem with noise - beside the water trickle noise from the bio-wheel.

My impeller has never stuck either; it has once not re-started upon a power outage, but totally different issue there.

Im going to run and knock on some wood before I jinx myself...LOL


We were talking about "Aquaclears" being noisy
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supradupafast View Post
We were talking about "Aquaclears" being noisy
Ok.. thats it.. meet me at the forum bike rack in 20 minutes... wear your boxing gloves


LOL j/k. I dont know what to say... I thought this thread was about the marineland filters and wasnt paying attention. I will go back to my usual hiding spot, in the corner now
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:47 PM   #17
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big fan of the Aquaclears too. I had 50's when I had 10g and have now put two on a 30 long. I've even attached a hose to one to pull water further to the left from the return, creating a right to left current in the tank. I don't know that Penguin products don't have ease of media exchange/mixing that the AC's have, but I really like being able to switch out sponges, etc as they get gunky. Being able to see inside is nice.

I have found that using the little "pitch wedge" on the bottom is pretty important to keeping the water level in the box AND allow even pressure on the impeller. Once I had one of two misaligned with the same media and 'setting' on flow and the output differences were significant. Weak flow vs steady wall of water pouring out.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:35 AM   #18
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I have used nothing but Penquins for years without the first problem . Even after my own laziness of going weeks without cleaning the impeller I have never had had a problem with the impellers sticking on any of them . The one I use in my 30 Gal. community has been running everyday , 24/7 since 2004 and still runs just as quietly and smoothly and rock solid as if it just came out of the box .

The last two Auguaclears I have used when I first started were a noisy pieces of junk , one went down only after a few weeks of use and they are now safely tucked away in the local land fill . No matter what brand you get there is always a chance that there will be a mechanical failure , they are machines after all . So , I guess it's all a matter of preference and what you have had the most luck with .
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