I'm a few weeks into my gradual BioBall to LR
transition (detailed in numerous prior posts like this one
I'm at about 90 or so pounds of rock in my 90 gallon tank (counting the pounds in the wet/dry) and will add more in time. My bioload is rather light but will be increasing a bit soon as I add some new livestock. My skimmer seems to work quite well and is by no means overtaxed or even at its working capacity.
I'm still a few weeks away from getting all of the bioballs out of my system - I'm probably halfway there or a little more by now. My nitrates have gone from over 160 (ruby red on the color chart) to 20ish or less (down into the lighter orange and hopefully soon hitting yellow on the chart). I've been doing about a 20 gallon water change each week during this process (usually on Saturday or Sunday).
My question is in regards to the trickle plate in my wet/dry. Right now I'm still trickling over the ever-reducing collection of bio-balls. Some always stay above the water line and some below and the gap between the submerged balls and the base rock/rubble in the bottom of my sump gets larger with each removal. Eventually all the bio-balls will be gone and I suspect I'll have a really noisy trickle plate just splashing down into the sump water to the submerged rock below.
Once all the balls are gone, can I remove the trickle plate and maybe just run the hose from the tank right down into the sump? I'd think I could just take the hose off the lid and lay the hose right down in the sump on top of the rocks.
Since the rock is completely submerged, is there any value to the water showering down through a trickle plate?
Would I be better off leaving the plate there but adding a layer of something just underneath it somehow? I've seen mention of micron bags. Would I place one of those in the equation somehow?
I'm working on a plan to move all of the undertank equipment into the basement soon with a much larger pump and turning an old 90 gallon tank into a huge sump. This will rid my living room of all the noise and make my sump roughly equal to my tank and therefore approximately double my water capacity. That's still a few weeks or more away, so I need to keep planning my current bioball->LR
transition with the existing equipment for the meantime (and in case I delay the basement project for a longer time).
On a related note... if I change my plans a bit and decide I want to wait on adding more new rock, would it be ok to just move all the rock in the sump up into the tank? Does its location in the sump give me any advantages in its role of replacing the bio-balls? I want it to stay wherever it is most beneficial for filtration, but I don't want to waste the added beauty if I can, in fact, aquascape those additional pounds of rock into the tank itself.