Heya, if your going to go with corals, anemones, your going to need like 250 to 300 watts of light, like 5-6 per gallon, but since it's a hex tank, you might need more because it's taller. Being a hex tank one 400 Watt MH
bulb centered might do the trick, or a 250 if it's not to deep, lighting is IMPORTANT with corals though, so you should research this and not go into it blindly...
I'd go with sand if I was you, CC
requires constant cleaning, sand can take care of itself with the right critters, ie. crabs and snails, maybe a cuccumber, to clean it for you, and I agree with you, sand looks better.
Mixing Saltwater really isn't that hard, but if you can't afford a RO
unit it's tricky to get the water right. Depending on what your lfs
charges for saltwater, you will probably save a lot of money in the long run to buy a RO
filter and mix your own.
You'll also need a protein skimmer if you want to cut down on the maintaince, most corals don't tolerate nitrates well at all. AquaC makes a hangon for tanks that size for a pretty good price. But I'd look into an overflow and a sump, it makes life sooo much easier, and it clears up a ton of room in your tank because you can put your heater and filters all in the sump.
You can get a 500 gallon an hour overflow u-tube box for like 40 bucks on ebay, and you could easily use a $10 10 gallon tank from walmart as a sump, then use a mag 7 which at 4 feet is like 450 gallons an hour I think. That is like a 60 dollar pump, but it would give you good water movement, and get your tank opened up for your reef and wildlife.
So I'd say first things first, get your sand, I'd go with 4-6" of sand, but with a hex tank that will take some computing to figure out how much that is, then get around 75 pounds of LR
, and I'd do the sump setup right away and the protein skimmer, then you'd better ready to go!!!
, this isn't cheap, haha...