Tell you this much no more heading to the LFS to pick up 50 gallon buckets of salt is a nice thing. However, I still wonder if I should of just downsized my reef. Part of me has some regret and the other part of me knows I will go back to it some day just not now.
There's that, or making your own water/marine mix. I use RO for drinking if the tap is hard etc, high KH. Tap is insanely high grade where I live now.
Good skimming and other methods can avoid weekly or water changes every 2 weeks. I do water changes every 2 weeks, about 50%. But, the tank is small............larger reef tanks require different management to be a decent trade off with water changes. 30 Gallon vs 300 gallon etc.
Not so with Freshwater plants, I'd say the FW planted tanks require more labor.
But as mentioned, for many, the techy stuff is 1/2 the fun.
I use to be that way, but.........over time...........I've KISS, less stuff to go wrong, and more design based on redundancy. But also choosing really nice tanks, light, stands, placement in the home, high grade equipment etc.
Since you are not out of the Reef idea totally, do a smaller frag tank and grow those out and in 1-2 years you'll have nice stock to add to larger tank. A couple of 5 gallon buckets, a small RO system, you can do the water changes once every week or two and not have to do much else other than feed and add traces etc, light etc.
Also, if you have ample planning time, hire a plumber to add a tap water line (hot and cold) and a drain to the FW plant tank, then with a sump, you can do an easy automated water changer.
Done for a reef tank, you can simply plumb a line for the drain and refill to the reservoir and a float switch etc. 101 ways there.
Use the Apex for the FW plant and the Reef stuff then.
Since you are already using it and like to use it, no sense in NOT using it.