These two mods are for the Marineland Penguin 100, but I'm sure they would work with other filters too. I tried contacting Marineland about these mods, but they told me not using their cartridges results in the spontaneous explosion of your tanks and/or house.
Are you tired of paying for their overpriced cartridges? Are they so pricey that you're considering switching your investments from gold to Marineland cartridges? Then try this mini DIY project.
You will need polyester batting. I got this one from Wal-Mart. I found out that magically, it put the word "aquarium fiber" over it, it triples in value instantly. Huh, weird.
This is what it looks rolled out and badly cut by an amateur like myself.
You will also need very specialized and high quality scissors...That I purchased at the 99 cent store.
You will need rubber bands, to attach the polyester batting. And also to just give it that DIY look.
And finally, you will need a hand. Eyes are optional, but recommended.
Now, take your cartridge (gingerly please, as they are very valuable).
And rip out all the blue stuff until it more or less looks like this.
Now, if you want, you can make a cardboard cutout of the filter so that you will have a guide for cutting the polyester fiber. Here's mine. No, I wasn't drunk at the time I was cutting it.
Cut the polyester fiber to size, like this. No, this was not done by a trained monkey.
And attach it to the plastic cartridge by using rubber bands. Make sure it looks really DIY-ey, like mine.
Finally, congratulate yourself on being such a resourceful person, and wonder where your life has gone wrong where you are reduced to the point of saving money on filter cartridges.
The second and much more dubious DIY mini project involves using eggcrate to make another layer of mechanical filtration.
I noticed there was a space behind the filter cartridge where perhaps a piece of eggcrate with some polyester fiber would fit. So I tried, and lo and behold, it fit almost perfectly.
First, you're gonna need a piece of eggcrate 4 squares wide by 7 squares long. ( In case you're wondering, no, squares are not a scientifically accepted standard of measurement)
Make sure the edges are really smooth or it won't fit the space. I sanded mine because I'm a perfectionist...who uses rubber bands.
Cut a piece of polyester batting ( make sure it's not too thick or it won't fit the space). No, this wasn't cut by a kid with ADD.
And attach it to the eggcrate using the effective but painfully unattractive method of rubber bands.
Add it to the filter like shown in this picture, and you're finished wasting your time on an useless mod!
I am not responsible for any exploding houses or tanks that may occur from these DIY projects.