Thanks for adding to the thread Pugman, as you already know I absolutely love your build! I like the rocks I had gotten, but will pick up lava rocks as well, try some different scapes, and post pics. As for the RKE, I mostly got it for safeguards, but also a few added benefits.
I do want it to control lights, and will likely use the MLC to have moonlights on an actual lunar cycle, not cause I think it actually will help fish or plants, but mostly cause I think it will be cool.
I want the ability to easily set up an ATO on the fly if I go on vacation or something, and I know a quick float switch addition can make that happen.
The PH meter, eh, I may get a replacement probe if needed. I'm mostly going to have it monitor for if I get a failure in my CO2 system causing a PH drop, or anything strange like that.
The biggest benefit I'll be getting from it are the timers, to time lights, CO2, dosing pumps, etc... And I do plan to set up a reef tank again in the future, so it's also a bit of an investment to control all my tanks I ever have down the road.
Dont worry about being a negative nancy, differing opinions are what made these hobbies work! I also appreciate the advice on substrate, I think I've pretty well decided on ADA AS, and I'm hoping 4x 9l bags will do the trick!