02-14-2013, 08:24 AM
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I've had a couple of small Aquatech 5/15 that I used for 5/10g tanks. You could custom cut some foam to fit in there and maybe that's an option for you. Another option would be to 86 the cartridge and stuff the cavity with polyester fiber.
However, the amount of carbon inside those cartridges is very small and is effective for a very short period (prolly a week at best). I'd suggest you use the cartridges until they nearly fall apart and just periodically rinse them to remove the crud. You'll find that they will last a long time... and if you do see a need for periodic use of carbon, well then you replace the cartridge.
Carbon gets a bad wrap from 'plant people' because it adsorbs a wide range of impurities (including nutrients) that plants need. For a moderate to heavily planted tank that gets ample weekly water change volume and is dosed with fertilizer, then carbon would be counter productive and an unnecessary expense.
On the other hand, carbon also adsorbs impurities that plants don't use, so in some situations, periodic use can be effective in creating even greater water purity.