05-21-2011, 04:13 PM
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Is there a reason you are going canister and no sump? I wouldn't run carbon only in the filter for a marine tank. Carbon will remove too much that a marine environment requires to survive and thrive, and you will likely end up having to spend a ton of money on chemicals to replace it all. You would be better off filling the canister with live rock rubble instead. Also, be sure to put enough power heads in the tank for circulation, a canister on its own isn't going to provide enough and will leave "dead spots" in the tank, which can cause a lot of problems.
It would also be a good idea to add some type of fiber/floss type media to your filter to catch larger particulate matter. Carbon won't do that, live rock will, but then it collects and causes higher nitrate levels later... and a skimmer is only going to remove surface proteins, so won't help with that either.
In regards to the pvc, if you add the live rock before the live sand, the sand will help to anchor the bottom pieces of rock to help with stability. Pvc shouldn't be needed if you start with larger pieces of rock as your base pieces. Anything (rock or pvc) that isn't sitting directly on the bottom of the tank has the ability to become unstable if animals start to dig through the sand underneath it.
Is there any chance you would reconsider the sump option? That would make it much easier to accommodate a skimmer and would make your entire filtration set up more effective as well as easier to maintain.