Alright, so today was interesting to say the least.
I came home from work to find my Eco-complete waiting, so I got busy getting the tank filled. I used 4 bags of Eco-complete and 2 whole bags of Miracle Gro. I definitely could have gotten away with just 3 bags of the eco-complete. This is where I got into trouble.
The problem is I had initially put the 4th bag aside, thinking I'd save it for another project. The brilliant idea then hit me to dump some of it into my sump so I could grow some stems in there. Though it seems really obvious in retrospect, this wreaked havoc on the utility pump. It repeatedly got clogged with the tiny rocks that kicked up.
Once I kind-of sorted that out, my next headache came once the tank was filled with water. I unplugged the pump for a minute so I could get the siphon started without worrying about the tank overflowing. I completely forgot that I was supposed to drill a new air-hole in the return line. I left the room for a second to get a part and I come back to the sump overflowing. Wasn't as bad as it could've been, but it still made a mess.
It was definitely a frustrating day, and to think I thought stupid rookie mistakes were behind me. Anyways, all the hardware stuff is nearly sorted but not quite. Still on my list to do:
1. Raise overflow weir slightly. It's already as high as it can go, so I'll need to lengthen the notch.
2. Add a standpipe to the overflow box. It's really noisy right now as it is constantly belching air. I'll have to unplug everything at night for the time being so I can sleep.
3. Pump is running a bit loud still, so I need to take it apart and get all the debris out.
4. I think I'd like to add an airstone to the sump just below the bio-balls. This is one of the many reasons I like the idea of a sump, you can keep most of the ugly stuff out of sight. The airstone is to improve dissolved O2 levels and hopefully boost bacteria growth.
So far I'm pleased with the amount of circulation I can get with just the sump. The water's really moving well in the display and I have a feeling the pump is still not at 100% because of debris. If needed I have a very good power head and a 160gph canister standing by. Water is still very cloudy, some organic stuff got stirred up, and the miracle gro layer is belching a lot still.
Despite the problems, I feel pretty good about it overall. Still undecided on how I'm going to cycle, might just throw some endlers in there this weekend.