How big is this tank? How much LR
/Base Rock do you have? Lighting? Water Parameters?
1. I would not add any chemicals to the tank. SW
, Sand and time is all you need.
2. Are you testing your water? You should be looking for an Ammonia spike, then a NitrIte Spike and the finally a NitrAte spike and then drop.
3. I don't run carbon in my tank unless I need to. It's isn't good or bad. You do need to change it very frequently!
4. I don't usually worry about the little pieces that fall off...but if you really want clean up you will end up stiring the sand up no matter what.
5. Sand becomes live because of bacteria colonies developing in it, color doesn't have anything to do with the sand. If you sand is turning colors then you are having an algae bloom which means you are well into your cycle.
6. I personally don't like Canister filters. Some people put LR
rubble in them, you can do that if you want to. I would recomend 1.5-2lbs of LR
per gallon a good protien skimmer and frequent PWCs. That is pretty much all you need to keep your tank healthy.