10-09-2011, 10:20 AM
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Most hobbyists here, myself included, do not typically use carbon except for special cases (to remove chemicals or tannin's or such). It has a very short effective life span.
If I was you, as Romad indicated, I would simply periodically rinse the filter cartridge in tank or treated water (not in the tank!) and use until it can't be used any more.
Also, the other poster (with the pictures) was confused. Beneficial bacteria require an infrastructure to attach to which is why various types of bio-media become quite beneficial. Admittedly, the plastic grid is prolly slightly less effective than more porous (rough surface) materials, but still has value.
I've even heard of sumps filled with inexpensive plastic pot scrubbers to effect a bio-filtration infrastructure instead of bio-balls.