you can run it empty just as a sump would be.
I would turn the pumps off while adding and do it slow so it doesnt cloud the water.
The lighting schedule depends on what macro you use. some need 24 hr lights. I use macro that doesnt and light it for 12 hrs opposite my main.
I would highly recommend chaeto. easy to prune and doesnt go sexual. does not need 24hr lighting. also a great place for pods
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40lbs livesand(bag from LFS
), 30lbs live rock(LR
2 O. Clowns
1 peppermint shrimp, 5 red leg hermit crabs,
4 mexican turbo snails, 15 nassarius snails
ricordea mushroom, candy cane coral,
super color polyps, hairy mushrooms
bubble coral, hawiian feather duster
coralife lunar 2x65, HOT magnum canister
10 Gal refugium(chaeto) & seaclone skimmer