REEF2REEF Saltwater and Reef Aquarium Forum
I had a set up that had a 35 watt light shining through the side of the tank like you are talking about. Coralline grew pretty fast on the glass and would block the light. Removing it was just another time consuming thing. I am not sure if a brighter light or color shift would have changed that, but I switched to lighting from the top to make cleaning less work. I only ran that set up for a couple months. Flow was about 400 gph. It grew the Cheato that I had seeded but nothing other than brown slime showed up.
What you are describing seems like a combination of the two. I don't think you will need the air.
I still keep a skimmer in my main tank. I have one system that has been established for just over 2 years that I pulled the skimmer out of. It has been about 3 months. It looks like it is doing ok. I dose 2 part to it and grow Cheato in the main display. I can give you some details if you like, but I am not super experienced in running a system without a skimmer. #Scrubbersteve on this thread said he runs without one and linked a photo of his tank. Maybe reply to one of his posts and get some feedback.