Yeah I agree it does collect detritus easily. I've changed the cartridge once a week so far. I started the cycle with turbo start I had for work, which should do the trick for biological. I just tested the water again and got .001 UIA, 0 nitrates and .01 TaNF. Ill be keeping a close eye on it things go south I always have my sons planted tank to transfer into.
As for a new filter, I have several aquaclear models but all of them have been modified for saltwater... Never heard of the other brand, ill look it up. Thanks for the info.