Your first paragraph sums it up perfectI like coral. Coral does not grow on sand. Some may be able to grow over top of sand, but nothing grows on sand. If you go diving on the reefs you swim over open areas of sand to get to the actual coral reef where all the coral are growing on dead skeletons/rock. They aren't just out there growing on the sand flats.
You can get a lot more water flow in a tank without the issue of sand blowing into corners.
Coral will grow across the bottom or on tiles in essence giving you more space to grow coral.
I can understand having sand when there are sand dwelling fish on your must have list, but other than that bare bottom all the way.
That is one nice softie tank. Gezz!Started with sand in my first set, but found the maintenance a problem. I do miss the fauna that occurs in a sand bed and the critters that need sand but I guess I've found ways around that for the ones I really want. A stable pH is also a benefit of a sand bed, but I have a deep sand bed in my refugium so That has helped quit a bit. I also worry about potential rock falls and not having that cushion if they hit the floor of the tank, but i have enough rubble to hopefully be there if that ever happens. But despite those negatives I still think for me the pros out weigh the cons. I really love that I can have my power heads full blast with little consequences especially when I need to get rid of accumulated detritus. I really think random and strong (almost-blowing-away strong) flow is a key ingredient to a successful tank. Besides at this point I could even see a sandbed in my tank if I had one!
I’m considering removing my sand bed. It’s only about 1” deep and I have plenty of actual live rock in my tank. I could move 1/3 of the sand down to the sump if that’s a better idea. The tank is around 3 years old.Life is better with a bare bottom. I could never keep sand clean and my OCD about killed me. Every day cleaning sand. The goal is to have corals covering the bottom. Maybe someday. Highly recommend IF and I mean IF you got ocean sourced live rock or very established LR when starting or else it’s gonna be 9 months of unstable hell. And don’t decide a year later you want a BB and take out your sand. My self and others have had bad issues that way.