Filter for 5 gal tank w/one betta

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Okay, I'm doing another 25% water change tonight w/o a gravel wash. A friend suggested I was stirring up the Nirates from the gravel washing. Anyway, if it's still an issue in a day or two I'll open a new thread.
To answer your question about the noise, when I disconnect the air pump I can still hear the Duetto, it's a steady hum, but it's not too loud. When I did the water change last night I tried out your technique of putting the bottom half in the tank first. That part worked out okay, lots of bubbles once the top was connected, but it was annoyingly difficult to remove the top half. It took three tries. I hope it loosens up a bit or I get the technique down.
I almost never get the top popped off on the first try. It can be annoying but then again, it's good that it's nice and tight. The filter would lose its "suction" otherwise. This is what works for me - put your left hand on the bottom part and your right hand on the top (reverse if you're left-handed). Face the directional spout area toward you (you can leave the spout itself turned however you had it). Put your right hand near the flow directional spout and pull up and back. I found that it was very hard to hold the filter with its length from left to right (as it appears in the tank) and try to pull the "width" of the top part up and back. You'll need too much force that way. I hope this made sense!
Thanks. I'll try your technique this weekend.
Just FYI, I did the 25% water change last night, just two days after the last one, and my Nitrates did not budge. I'll call it 20 ppm since the color matches the card, just darker. I've come to the conclusion that's just what I get and I'll have to be extra vigilant with water changes, which I would be anyway. I'm not going to open a thread on this.
The Duetto is still running well. I had a thought today I wanted to run by you. Have you considered putting a second biological sponge in the space for the carbon cartridge instead of floss? It looks like it would fit.
It probably would fit. It's the same shape. You could try it. If you're wondering if that would help lower your nitrate levels, it won't. Excess nitrate can only be removed with a water change, or more fast-growing plants. If you try it, let us know how it works. I'm wondering how or if it would slow the flow.
I was thinking it would be a good way to seed another filter in case I ever need to set up another tank in a hurry. I could even put it in my old 1 gal if I ever had to shift my betta out of the 5 gallon in a emergency.

I have the flow set midway. I'm not sure how I would know if another filter slowed down the flow, but I could always increase the setting if it did. Anyway, just an idea I may try later.
I think it's a good idea. To see if it does slow the flow, hold your finger in front of the output spout. You should be able to tell if the flow is decreased. I hold my finger there after a water change to make sure the filter is running again, since it's so quiet, so I would be able to detect a flow change.
Just FYI, I went ahead and put another biological sponge filter in the Duetto. I tried to put the image on Photobucket but couldn't log in for some reason so I created an Aquarium Advice photo album and put it there. (I finally returned the borrowed biological filter so there is a picture of my tank there too.)

I actually bought this filter a couple of months ago before I ever heard of the Duetto. I had it in the tank with my Penguin Biowheel. As you can see, it is not quite square. It probably would be if it were new. You can't see it, but there is a small hole in the top, in the center, because I had it attached to the Biowheel's intake tube. Regarding your concern that it would slow down the water flow, if anything it may have increased it compared to the floss that was there before. I figure I'll rinse this sponge off monthly in the discarded tank water so it doesn't clog up.
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