How to add DIY Bio-wheels to an Aquaclear 110

Posted in All About Equipment

This will surely ease the tensions between those who prefer the AC 500 and those who prefer the Emperor 400.

Not only does the AC 500 have a larger volume, higher flowrate, use less electricity and cost less than an emperor 400, with the addition of Bio-Wheels it is hands-down the best HOB you can buy/make.

List of materials needed to add the Bio-Wheels:

  • two Penguin 170 Bio Wheels (i just realized that only the 170 bio wheels are the right length)
  • side cutters
  • monofilament fishing line
  • drill and drill bits
  • permanent marker


  1. Remove the bearings and the brackets from the bio wheels
  2. Using the side cutters, cut one end of each Bio wheel axle completely off. The other end of the axle should stick out about 3/8”.
  3. (The objective is to make one large bio wheel, therefore you need to somehow attatch the two wheels. Once attatched, they fit perfectly over the outflow area of the AC 500.) If you look closely, you will see that on the rims of the Bio wheels there small notches with enough space to thread some fishing line (i used 6 pound test). Now thread the fishing line in between these notches all around the wheel and make some knots to hold the wheels in place.
  4. (Now you should have one long bio wheel that fits perfecty over the Ac500 outflow, wiht no more than 3/8” sticking out from either end.) Hold it on the water outflow and watch the exact spot that the axle ends touch the the side of the filter while the wheel is spinning. Make a dot with a permanent marker on the exact spot that the axle touches the filter (do this for both ends). By the way, it is very helpful that the Ac500 is see-through because it easily allows you to make a mark on the outside of it as the wheel is spinning.
  5. Using a drillbit with a diameter of about twice that of the biowheel axle, drill a hole through the side of the filter in the exact spot that you made the two marks with the marker.
  6. insert the axle ends into the holes (you may need to cut the axle a little further and bend the whole wheel to get it into place). The bio wheel should spin freely with 0” of the axle sticking out through the other end of the holes. this will allow you to remove the bio wheel in case you need to clean excess film build-up around the wheel (you may need to bend the bio wheel a little in order to remove it).

The AC 500 lid will no longer fit on the filer. I did not even use mine in the first place because it vibrated alot and made lots of noise.