been planning a reef tank all along...i just wanted to get the tank settled, matured and prepared before i put any corals and anemones. when it gets about 6 months old, i'll start putting in corals, followed by anemones.
I would definetly use aragonite based sand of different grains. Buffers ph - natural denitrifier - yada yada yada. But more importantly why not try the Jaubert method. It will definetly drop nitrates to near zero. I did my old 300 reef like that and besides a protien skimmer ( a really good one) I had no filtration what so ever. Ran like that for 3.5 years untill I upgraded to a 600g. My nitrates never went above 5ppm and I only did 10% water changes every month.
i agree with you here. CC has been the way to go for me.
my sand bed grew so much algae and other..... I was about to give. I yanked the sand bed and put in clean/clean/clean CC, and the tank is crystal clear, no algae, and shrooms have perked up.
I use CC and yes, we have to clean the cc sometimes. It is better to do an almost empty tank to clean it fast because the nitrate and phoshate will flow when we clean the cc. The advantage of cc is they color wont change like sand does (to black) and more life creatures inside of it if you see carefully (like worm, etc etc, once I had lots of small starfish inside of it and all of them travel around the cc). So, I dont think CC is total useless..
Just change our water 15% and keep the "old" water separately when we want to clean the CC (like I said at above). Remember to use the phophate media!