First off, Oolite sand is sorta difficult to work with because of it's fine grain size. Easy to stir up and famous for ruining filtration equipment. But if you really do like the fine grain size, then just ignore me.
1. I think it does help to speed it up yes, but I wouldn't buy their suggestion of "add the sand, add the creatures". It wasn't that way when I used it. Still had a cycle!
2. It's aragonite based, so it will. But it's not needed to buffer your water. Freshly mixed saltwater is already buffered when it's mixed, unless you are using extrememly soft tap water.
3. White to off-white. I bought the Carib-Sea Special Grade Reef Sand and am happy with it. It has a natural off-white appearance.
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