- Quiet and powerful filtration
- Durable construction
- Long operating life span
- Excellent bio-filtration
- Easily customizable inserts
- The bio-wheel is relatively fragile
The Ugly(How it looks)
- The design fits in with most aquarium designs
Marine Land Power Filter Penguin 100, 150, 200, 350
Testing Length – 60 Days (With some models up to 2 years)
The Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel filter is an excellent and durable HOB (hang-on-back) filter that can be used in a wide variety of aquariums setups. It combines quiet operation with outstanding filtration, and to top it off, has a price that is lower or comparable to its major competitors.
One of the main selling points of Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel filter is that they are extremely durable. It’s not unusual for a Marineland filter to still be going strong after three, four – or even fives years. Compare that to several other filters on the market, which are lucky to give you one solid year of operation.
Another major advantage that the Marineland filter boasts over other filters, is that it has a spacious and easily customizable interior. This allows for the addition of bio-balls, filter floss, and numerous other filter add-ons that can greatly improve the water quality of any aquarium.
The Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel filter also offers a wide array of replacement parts and does offer products that can be used for refilling the carbon insert in the filter (which saves a fair bit of money in the long run).
Perhaps one biggest selling points that the Marineland filter brings to the table, is that it remains far quieter than most of its rivals in the long run. While it’s not unusual for a filter to be whisper quiet right out of the box, the Marineland filter is one of the few that is still reliably quiet after several years of operation – which is mainly owing to their unique design.
While the Marineland filter is one of the best HOB (hang-on-back) filters on the market, it does still have its drawbacks. The two main problems that you are likely to encounter with a Marineland filter both relate to its bio-wheel.
The first problem is that the bio-wheel – the most important part of the filter, can easily sustain damage. With that being said, any damage to the bio-wheel normally occurs during regular maintenance, and it’s almost unheard of for damage to occur during the operation of the filter. Most of the time the damage is caused by applying to much force to the filter, or the simple act of dropping it.
While a damaged bio-wheel can be easily replaced, the loss of the beneficial bacteria on the existing bio-wheel can cause a mini cycle and it may take several weeks for the filter to be back to peak performance. Luckily this problem can be avoided by simply taking extra care during any handling of the bio-wheel.
The second problem is a little harder to avoid, and occurs almost exclusively on the smaller filters. If the filter is allowed to become too dirty, then the reduced flow of the water won’t be enough to spin the bio-wheel. And if the bio-wheel stops spinning, then the water quality can quickly decline because less beneficial bacteria is available to filter the water.
This problem can be easily rectified with a good filter cleaning, but it does mean that you need to regularly ensure that the bio-wheel is still spinning. Because of this minor problem, you should always stick to a regular maintenance schedule (once a week works best), on the smaller Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel filters.
The four Marineland filters that I tested, all ran for 60 days straight on a variety of tanks (all filters were seeded with bacteria). All models were cleaned once a week, and the tanks were all in excellent condition prior to the start of the testing.
The larger model filters were completely problem free and ran for 60 days with no incidents. However, the smallest model (Penguin 100) did succumb to the “low flow” problem on a single occasion.
It should be noted that the on the one occasion that the “low flow” problem occurred, it was the day of the planned weekly maintenance, and the water levels had dropped slightly in the tank. So the issues may be influenced by the low water level, or it may have more to do with the reduced water flow as I suspect.
I have also owned several Marineland filters in the past, so these results should not be considered atypical or only related to the fact that these filters were all new out of the box.
I have used Marineland Pengiun Bio-Wheel filters for nearly a decade now, and all of my current tanks either have a Marineland or Aquaclear filter. While both filters can suffer from small issues, they are nearly identical in long term performance, and I would recommend the Marineland filter to anyone looking for a filter.
With that being said, I do tend to choose the Marineland filter for my tanks with higher bio-loads – such as goldfish and cichlid tanks, since I can easily add extra bio-filtration to the filters. I usually add some extra inserts and bio-balls to help with these tanks.
Marineland filters also tend to retain their flow slighty better than Aquaclear filters when dirty, and never suffer from catastrophic leaks like Aquaclear filters have on more than one occasions with my fish tanks.
The Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel filter is recommended for new and experienced fish keepers alike. You can read more reviews on the Marineland Penguin Power Filter at Amazon.com