Welcome to AA!
Alright, lighting. You say you need 260+ watts of light, but that really depends on what your plans are for the tank. Are you planning a Fish Only system (FO
), Fish Only with Live Rock (FOWLR
) or a full blow reef with corals? I assume not FO
since you said you plan to get LR
, but are you planning on corals too? If so, what kinds do you want, as this will affect how much lighting you really need.
As for sand, I recommend getting dry aragonite sand. It will liven itself up and you don't have to worry about getting bad stuff. Most of the "live sand" you find on the shelves of the pet store isn't alive because of how long it's been sitting there, so you're paying extra for nothing.
For circulation, you'll likely need more than 1 powerhead. If you're planning on corals, you'll want to aim for 20 - 30 x turnover. What this means is if you have a 75 gallon tank, you want 1500 - 2000 gallons per hour of pumping going on.
Sumps are of a real benefit for many reasons. First, it provides for additional water volume. Water volume is important because the more you have, the more forgiving your tank will be as it will be more tolerant to things that will likely happen as you're learning the hobby. Also, the sump provides a place to hide most of the unsightly equipment from the display. Heaters, skimmers, etc. Refugiums provide additional benefit, in that growing macros lets them absorb the excess nutrients and they help you towards having an algae free display tank. Yes, the 29g you have can work, that's precisely what I did, turned an old FW
system into my sump.
overflows are a risk - it's true. But I think that for every "horror" story you read, you'll find 1000 people using HOB
overflows with no issues. Me included.