I did my first big maintenance on the tank yesterday. I have done some water changes and cleaned the filters on and off over the last few months but a full vacuum, water change and filter cleaning was needed. My levels have been fine which I attribute to the water vs. fish ratio I guess.
I built my own python over the weekend. This consisted of an old 15' garden hose I had in the garage, a barb adapter, a barbed on/off valve, an old siphon hose I had from the 10g, a $6 water bed fill kit from ebay and 2 $4 goose neck faucet adapters from Home Depot. With used parts this ran me about $15-$20. It worked great in the hall bathroom.
I also got rid of all the reusable blue air conditioner filter. I was cutting new pieces every other week, rinsing in between and I was finding that after a few weeks it was breaking down littering the sump, pump and tank with blue particles. I ran by Walmart and picked up some poly-fil in a roll for $5. I can cut this up into a ton of pieces so it should last me a few months. It's already grabbing much more debris because it's a tighter mesh. In just 1 day it's already got a ton in it :/
Anyway, it's SUPER clear right now even after running out of carbon a few weeks ago. I don't know if I'm going to replace the carbon after reading about using it with plants and having it strip nutrients from it they need.