Dear Mike W,
With the Aqueon HOB
filters many people take the cartridge, cut a small slit to get rid of the carbon and then use the carbonless cartridge until it falls apart (just rinsing in tank water to clean.)
You should not have a mini-cycle when you take out the carbon or when you just rinse it out in tank water.
I continue to use my Aqueon 55 that way and have added as many bio max ring-things as I can, in front of the cartridge, to boost the BB. It sounds noisy until the filter is full of water but works well.
Hope this helps.