I do not use sand, instead I use 1-1.5" base of crushed coral which is comparable in price to normal decorative gravel. sand is fine, but can be a little more messy IMO
. Since I have no intentions of doing a reef CC
works fine. If you like sand sifting stars and feather dusters then sand might be more preferrable. Search this site there are plenty of discussion on sand and what type to use.
As for base rock I used, tufa, Lace rock, coral skeletons, and some fake decorative coral. I then seeded it with a small amount of live rock (15-20#).