Marineland Penguin Power Fish Tank Filter Review

Is your fish tank filter on the fritz? Maybe it just isn’t keeping your tank as clean as you like. If you are looking for the best fish tank filter, you came to the right stop.  The Marineland Penguin Power Fish Tank Filter will work hard to keep your beloved marine life safe and happy.

This fish tank filter is affordable, efficient, and the technology is excellent.  You can trust Marineland to keep you and your fish satisfied.  Your tank will never look so healthy and clean.  Let’s dive in (forgive the pun) and find out more about this excellent fish tank filter.

Why do I need a fish tank filter?

Unless you want to clean your fish’s tank every couple of days, I would highly recommend getting a filter.  A good fish tank filter will pull out excess food, organic matter, ammonia, and nitrites.  This allows your fish to breathe in clean water and thus stay more healthy.  It also aerates the water which will keep your fish very happy.

Marineland Penguin Power Filter Specifications

The Marineland Penguin Power Filter is Amazon’s #1 choice for fish tank filters and for a good reason.  It has a lot of amenities at a very affordable price. We are going to be talking about the 50-70 gallon model but there are smaller options available for smaller tanks. So what’s so special about this fish tank filter? Let’s check out the options and then look at the larger filter as a good example of what you can expect.

  • Different sizes to suit your tank – Up to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 50 and 50-70 Gallon Tanks
      • A lot of power in a small package
  • 100, 150, 170, 200, 330 and 350 GPH
      • Can clean a lot of water efficiently
  • Fresh or Saltwater Use
      • Versatile for all of your aquarium needs
  • BIO-Wheel Power Filter
      • A unique filter operating system that will efficiently clean  your tank
  • 3 Stage Filtration
      • Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological
  • Rite Size Cartridges
      • A, B and C Cartridges fit perfectly and no messing around trying to find the right size
  • From only 5.5 x 5.5 x 8 inches up to 15.2 x 6.1 x 8 Inches
    • Will fit your aquarium nicely without looking too bulky or obstruct your visual appeal.



There are a lot of reasons to buy the Marineland Penguin Power Filter. Let’s walk through all of my favorite things about this particular fish tank filter.

  • Affordable
    • At just over $25.00 for the largest size, you could buy a couple of them for a couple of tanks without batting an eye. Other fish tank filters may cost less but you won’t get the same quality you get from the Penguin. In fact, even though the warranty is for 3 years, a lot of customers buy a couple of them to stock up.
  • Fresh and Saltwater Capable
      • The versatility in this filter is really handy. A lot of filters are specific to freshwater or saltwater. I like that you could switch it out if you decide to do a change in your aquarium.
  • Sure Clean
    • Three stage cleaning system to ensure that the most waste and toxic ammonia and nitrites are removed.
    • Stage 1: Mechanical Filtration
      • The ribbed back carbon in the filter ensures the most debris and dirt are caught with the filter floss.
    • Stage 2: Chemical Filtration
      • Here comes the big hitter. The Black Diamond Premium Advanced carbon filter is like magic for aquariums. It really filters about anything and everything you don’t want in your tank out including: odors, discoloration, and impurities.
    • Stage 3: Biological Filtration
      • Introducing the BIO-Wheel! The Bio-wheel is an evolutionary biology based piece of technology that is going to work wonders on your tank. It eliminates ammonia and nitrites to help keep your fish breathing healthy water.
      • Not only does the BIO-Wheel get rid of the bad stuff, but it helps grow good bacteria that your tank needs for its own biological filter.
      • It also has 50% more surface area now.  This enables the filter to work faster at getting rid of toxic elements from your fish tank.
  • Made for up to 70 Gallon Aquarium
      • You can use this filter for up to 70 gallons which is incredible. However, you can also use it for smaller tanks. At the price you are getting it may be worth it to buy this size for whatever tank size you have.
  • Two Piece Vented Cover
      • This makes it really easy to get to your cartridges without getting your hand stuck. No more weird angles and inconvenient contraptions.
      • The other great part about the two piece vented cover is that it helps drown out some of the noise for you so it’s not quite so loud.
  • Adjustable Mid-Level Intake
      • Circulation can be a major issue for your fish tank. If you have poor circulation a whole host of issues can happen. The Penguin attaches directly to the intake tube. It provides improved circulation for your entire tank.
  • Easy Installation
    • Really, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Just carefully follow the instructions and you will be set to go in no time. I like that everything is for simple and user friendly in setting the filter up. The easier it is the less chance of error and malfunction on the filter’s end.


While I really like this fish tank filter, the Marineland Penguin Power Filter does have some downsides you should be aware of before purchasing. It’s best to know the whole story before you purchase something like this.

  • Longevity
      • The warranty on this filter is 3 years. However, there have been complaints it does not last this long. A lot of users have claimed they don’t last more than a year. I would say some of that is on the user but if there are enough complaints, it’s something to be aware of.
  • Loud
      • This is very specific to the user. Some people don’t mind a little noise and others are extremely bothered by it. I will admit that after reading customer reviews, there are a lot of complaints on noise so it can’t be a quiet filter.  However, there are also a lot of tips on how to make sure the filters are not noisy and these tips seem to work.  Marineland also provide tips on their website as they recognize that sometimes there is a noise problem.
  • Grinding Noise Issue
      • This falls into the same category as being loud. There seems to be a grinding issue inside the filter itself. Some buyers speculate it has to do with the BIO-Wheel, but that is speculation at best. I would say to make sure you install the filter correctly and then send it in under warranty if you think something is wrong.
  • Filter Purchases
      • We all know that owning an aquarium is an expense. Well, after you purchase the filter itself, you will have to purchase additional filters every few months or so. The added expense can be a pain. On a positive note, most fish tank filters operate this way. So you aren’t being ripped off.
  • Customer Service
    • I don’t really have anything positive to say here. There’s no making this sound better than it is. The customer service is basically non-existent. I’m not sure that their phone number is even operational at this point. All you can do is physically mail your filter to an address and hope to get a return if something goes wrong. This is a major strike against this filter.


How to set up the Marineland Penguin Power Filter?

The installation for the Penguin is easy breezy. In fact, if you have kids, they can probably do it themselves or at least help. It’s only a few steps and will be done before you can say, “I love my fish!”. All you need is an able mind, the instruction manual, and some basic cleaning supplies.

The biggest thing to remember is to follow the instruction manual carefully. Connect all of your parts appropriately. When you are satisfied that everything is put together correctly, just hang it on the back of your tank.

This is the number 1 mistake new tank owners make: NOT PRIMING YOUR FILTER. Make sure you prime your filter before you plug it in. Often times that just means letting it soak completely in your aquarium water for a set amount of time. If you don’t do this it can ruin your filter and you are going to be very unhappy.

Now you can turn your filter on! Using the mid-level strainer, you can adjust the water flow to your liking. A lot of people have said if you turn the water flow down, the noise isn’t such a huge issue. Just make sure you have enough power to filter your tank properly. Better a louder filter noise than some unhealthy fish.

To see videos for setting up these filters go to our review of reviews post here.

What maintenance should I do on this filter?

Another easy feature of the Marineland Penguin Power Filter is that it is very simple to maintain. All you have to do is remove the old cartridges every month and add fresh ones. Another good habit to get into is to make sure you have the appropriate water level so your filter doesn’t suck in air. You are also going to want to get in the routine of cleaning your filter occasionally. You can get mineral build up and just general debris caked on.

What size filter to buy?

With this fish tank filter, you can use the biggest size we mentioned, the 50-70 gallon model, for any size tank. However, if you are on a budget or if you don’t want that strong of a filter for your tank, there are smaller models available. The Marineland Penguin Power Filter has the 20 gallon, 20-30 gallon, 30-50 gallon, and finally the 50-70 gallon tank varieties available. When in doubt, size up.

How to clean this fish tank filter?

To clean this fish tank filter, you can follow any number of generic instructions. I find the more gentle your approach, the better for your filter. Make sure you have your clean cartridges along with a sponge and two buckets. That’s it!

Fill a small bucket with some tank water and set aside. Place another small bucket and fresh sponge aside, too. Turn off your filter and remove the cartridges. Place the filter into the fresh water bucket. Soak your sponge in the tank water a little bit and use to gently clean your filter.

Place filter back on tank and insert new cartridges. Make sure it is primed and then turn it back on. You are all set. It’s not a difficult or particularly grosse task. It sure beats cleaning the whole tank once per month.

When to change fish tank filter?

Are you reading this because you think your old filter is on it’s last sea legs? You might be right. Generally, if your filter has to have it’s cartridges replaced more often than usual or your fish are looking dull, it’s time to replace it. You will probably have a good idea if your tank doesn’t look good that it’s nearing the end.

What does a fish tank filter prevent?

We talked about this a little bit before but a good fish tank filter is going to enhance the life of your aquarium friends. It will help keep the toxins like ammonia and nitrites at acceptable levels. The debris that comes with having marine life and their food is filtered out. Finally, it’s going to allow for the good bacteria to grow in your tank so that it works in synergy with your filter. There is such a thing as having your tank TOO clean.

The Verdict

The Marineland Penguin Power Filter is my number one choice for a fish tank filter. I love the marine biology science backed BIO-Wheel along with its three stage system. The Black Diamond Carbon filters are above par on quality and efficiency. This filter really does keep your aquarium at it’s top notch capability.

The other huge benefit is that the cost is fairly low while the quality is high. Maintenance and cleaning is so low key even your kids can take this on as a chore. They asked for the fish tank in the first place right?

The moral of the story is that the Marineland Penguin Power Filter is your choice for the ultimate fish tank filter. It’s affordable, low maintenance, technologically advanced, and a healthy option for your marine life.


7 thoughts on “Marineland Penguin Power Fish Tank Filter Review”

  1. Besides the great features of this Penguin fish tank filter, I just love the name! I would probably buy it for that alone, lol. I probably need this one since it’s good for kids to clean.

    In your opinion, do you like salt water tanks or fresh water better? We have a fresh water now, but my son really wants a salt water tank… I know with that comes more upkeep right?

  2. I was surprised at how quiet my friend’s Marineland Penguin filter was. I always thought these things would be loud… not the case.

  3. I will write the Penquin tank filter down to get next time. I always stayed away from this one because of the cheaper price… but after what you said I want to try it now. The 3 stage filter looks solid! I also think the fish store place was trying to sell me a higher end filter so they could make more $$. Thanks for the honest review.

    • My brother has this one with the Bio Wheel. It’s sturdy and durable and does its job. We haven’t tried it yet but are also probably going to buy it next time.

  4. The Penguin filter I had on my bigger tank had the nicest waterfall sound to it. I had this one in my bedroom and it helped me go to sleep, I didn’t have to use my fan anymore. Sadly my hubs didn’t enjoy it, so I put a sponge under the water flow to reduce the current some.

  5. I’ve never used Penguin, but I’ve heard great things. My friends have some smaller ones they’ve used for the longest time. I always scale my filters up a size for my tank, it makes it super clean.


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