Yeah, it does take up some space. I would have loved to get the Reef-Ready corner tank by AGA, but it was way too big for the area I was using. So drilling a smaller tank was my only option.
As far as the sand, what you see in the first picture of Day #1 is all the sand pulled to the front of the tank so that I could place a piece of eggcrate under the rock and then stack the rock before pushing the sand back. I did not want the rock to be sitting atop 3"+ of sand and risk a topple. If you look at the second picture from Day#1, you see the rock in place and then the sand pushed back into the aquascaping.
Furthermore, you can see that the Koralia #3 pumps have a tendency to push enough sand around that they've created a groove in the front of the substrate as depicted in the last picture from Feb. 2008.
Hey, don't forget to vote OBAMA