Week 1 update
Nitrates typically have been around 30 ppm prior to a 40% water change, with 10ppm tap water. Equalizing around 20ppm after the water change drum is flushed through. With a gradual nitrate creep up into +40ppm every few months.
I started this week at 15ppm and am currently at 15ppm. Prior to my weekly water change routine.
Week 3 update.
Nitrates slightly above 15ppm before weekly water change.
Ammonia has been zero, but I still am holding 5 gallons of bio balls in a chamber post scrubber, as a safety. Mostly if my diy lights fail.
The fluidized balls are producing lots of long strand fine hair algea. Which accumulates daily for easy harvesting.
I noticed a drop in growth which was quickly cured with adding more iron, steel dust.
The balls could use a little more turbulence, bigger air pump, as the lights need a weekly cleaning to remove algea that restricts the angle of light spread. From 120 degrees to 45 degrees. From the 4 inch strands. Attached near the light that the balls don't mow down.
Nitrates at 20 ppm after going 2 weeks between water changes.
Really good with 30 plus full grown african cichlids and daily feeding of about 60 fry, the fry water bypasses the algea scrubber. So I am counting the 5 ppm increase to the grow out compartment inside the sump.
The top tank is at 30 ppm with the scrubber lights needing a good clearing of algea. I unfortunately had to drain a finger nail last week and have a hole in my thumb nail, so time to seal it with some epoxy and get back on top of maintenance.
Top tank upflow scrubber, lights are a little weak, as its missed its weekly scrubbing. It's a scum slime that fish will not eat, but packed full of daphnia.
The sand screen is still holding long stand turf roots, so a good scrubbing will not effect it very much , after a couple of days it will be back at full power.
Mean while ammonia build up will be burned up in the secondary moss Hob.
It's been untouched for a year or so.