If you want a low-fuss factor, in my opinion, just go with plenty of live rock, a HOB
protein skimmer, and some type of HOB
filter that will allow you a place to run chemical filtration (carbon, phosphate remover, etc). No need for a cannister filter. With no sump or tubes going over the back of the tank, you don't have to worry about plumbing issues that come with those things. On the flip side, you end up with stuff hanging off the back of your tank, and heaters in your tank. With a sump, you can hide those things in the sump. It all depends on what is more important to you.
Either setup will give your fish a healthy place to live... as long as you keep up on the maintenance. I'm sumpless and cannisterless, and normally run my nitrates around 1.0 ppm
Just a comment about the Remora Pro, since I have one. For a 38g FOWLR
, you probably don't need the Pro. The regular Remora will be fine... unless you plan on overstocking that 38g with a ton of messy eaters/poopers. I have a Remora Pro on a 46g reef. It keeps the water clean, but the pump that comes on the Remora Pro (Mag 3 pump) is NOT the smallest bugger in the world. It takes up a fair amount of real estate in the tank. The regular Remora comes with a Maxijet 1200, I think. Much nicer footprint.