Originally Posted by Jaybird
Don't waste your money on live sand. Just get regular aragonite sand. Over time the sand will become "live". If you cycle the tank properly you can get away with just using base rock and regular sand. If you want to speed up the process you can buy some live rock. Also, make sure to put the rocks into the tank before the sand. It will save you some headaches on avalanches later on.
As for snails and hermit: they don't really add much to the bioload of the tank. They really don't eat all that much or excrete all that much.
If all you had in your tank were corals, some snails, and some hermits the act of adding a single fish could cause a mini cycle. They just don't produce that much waste to keep the levels of bacteria high-enough.
True jaybird, but it does depend on size of tank to how much/many ratio. But I have to disagree about the hermits, from personal exp. they excrete quite a bit. At least mine do, but mine are a bit big. And all their waste goes straight into the sand and rots. And they are almost constantly eating. but yeah in a good size tank they won't add too much to the bio load.. no where NEAR to what a fish does.