okay, my one thought on the sand: imagine if you got a sand sifter, and it started doing its ting. the smaller the sand particles, the more of a sandstorm that it will create.
also, the reason that you had a hard time keeping it clean was that because it was so white that it just couldnt stay clean, and also because you had no clean up crew. with all of the algae and stuff in the tank, unless you vaccumed it frequently, had a good clean up crew, and good filtration, you wouldnt get to keep that perfect white color for very long.
also, what lighting is on the tank at the moment? its probably just some stupid standard FW
lighting right? but if its not, then you could sell it to help you get some better lighting.
have you thought about what kind of lighting you want?