HUZZAH!!! Sounds like things are going really well for you! Thanks for posting up shots of the stand. I'm so jealous that you have the materiels for things like this just laying around at work. . . lucky, lucky boy!
So, again, I don't know anything about saltwater, but you're nice, so I've decided that it's probably okay if I badger you a little bit. . .
What is the target for Alkalinity and Calcium, or does it depend entirely on the setup? We don't have these things in freshwater, so I'm clueless. Is a nitrate reading of 0 what you're wanting in a tank like this?
I am seeing a pod population start jumping like fleas along the sand bed.
I wish you could capture this on video, somehow, so I could see it! It just sounds too darn cool. Obviously I'm kind of fascinated with the life that forms in these tanks without ever having been added intentionally. I guess you didn't kill them all off with your mini cycle during the tank switchover. ^.^ So neat!
Let us know if you get your scoop-full of precious buggy sand, lol. . . detritivores. . . detritus. . . so, things that eat crap, basically, right? If there are no fish making a mess. . . do you have to bother to feed these kinds of critters?
I just did a Google search for blue and red-legged hermits, and pretty much swooned. Excited for those! And snails. Any snails. I have a thing for snails. . .
Good luck over there, and please don't forget to keep us posted!