is the way to go, distilled if RO
not available. Opinions vary as to the use of so-called 'live sand.' Basically if you use regular playsand, once you put your LR
in there, the sand becomes 'live' after a while. But yes, if you plan to add pre-packaged live sand, then salt up half a tank of water, then add the LS
. I would stay away from the CC
as this can potentially lead to 'dead pockets' (search for more on that here). Other than that yup, once it is stabilized, add the LR
and let it cycle. I would make up a batch of SW
in a brand new clean container so that when you place the rocks in the tank (obviously you want to work with just the half tank of water), you can then top off the tank with the pre-made mix.
Yes, it is a lot of work, but if you are committed, it is also enjoyable especially when you add your first specimen HTH