Ok - so I've been going for a week and a half with a combination of 45 pounds of new live rock and about 75% of my original bio-balls.
As it stands now my ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0, pH is ~8.2 and my nitrates are still insane but a tad lower than before.
My last water change was Sunday night, so the levels have been decent like this all week (after the approximately three day tiny ammonia/nitrite spike from the live rock being added). Prior to Sunday I did about four 20 gallon water changes in five days.
Here's my plan for Saturday after I mix and heat (to tank temp) about 20 new gallons of water - any input would be appreciated:
1 - Stop pumps
2 - Pump off part of the sump water into a 5 gallon bucket
3 - Move the bio-balls to the 5 gallon bucket
4 - Pump off remainder of sump water to a clean trashcan
5 - Place LR
from sump in the trashcan water
6 - Pull out wet/dry and hose it out... it's got TONS of light brown, sandy crap in the bottom that I think is fueling the particulate in my water of late
7 - Put newly cleaned sump back and fill about halfway to previous level with new water
8 - Put LR
back into the sump after swishing each piece around lightly in the old sump water to get off loose detritus
9 - Pump more clean water into the sump
10 - Return bio-balls minus 20%
11 - Finish filling sump to level of step 2
12 - Finish normal water change from the tank using the remaining new water
Anyway, the goal here is to combine the routine water change with a much needed sump cleaning as well as the first partial removal of bio-balls in the transition to all LR
I also might move a little more of the less attractive LR
from the main tank down into the sump to take the space freed by the 20% bio-ball removal. I want to reserve tank space for premium rock that I order when things are calmed down on the nitrate front.
Any additional suggestions here?