I would and have gone with sumps. I used a old scratch 20 gallon tank as a sump on a 30 gallon Mandarin Goby tank and managed a 5 gallon refugium all under the 30 gallon stand. The added water makes the system more forgiving and gives a place to hide equipment. Now that 30 gallon is a refugium for my 180 reef. IMO
you won't be sorry if you add a sump.