As for the substrate you can go with half argonite and 1/2 live sand. How deep would you want the sand bed. We can't really tell you a depth because its all in what kind of apperance in what. Do you want a deep sand bed which is 3" or more or do you want a shallow sand bed? If You can get an idea of how deep you want to go let us know and then we can go with how many pounds of live sand and how many pounds of argonite to use. Also the tank dimensions. Thanks.
1 1/2" is the easiest but is not considered a beneficial filter. 3"+ is considered a deep sand bed. If you are just starting out, plan on 1 1/2" for looks and get the best skimmer you can afford.
I only use Aragonite. It's been my favorite and trouble free. You can buy a couple of 40lb dry bags and add a few pieces of live rock or a couple of cups of sand from an established tank to seed it. Within 2 weeks it will all be "live". A note for our Eastern folks. A rumor is that you can buy Southdown in Hdepots. If so that is an excellent substrate. It is a calcium knwon as Sugarfine in the trade. It will break down and leech valuable minerals into the tank like aragonite does.
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