Well, quick update. I've picked up all the bits and pieces my friend was giving me, and wow...this will take all weekend just to inventory. Pretty much everything you could want to run salt and fresh water tanks.
On the soil front, I've started the rinse process (some pics to follow). Questions to post in the substrate forum.
The blasting grit is a no-go - two different shops, one promising Black Diamond, one promising Black Beauty, both supply something made locally out of nickel slag - pretty sure that is toxic to any living thing out there, nevermind fish. So to avoid wasting more time hunting this stuff down, we're just biting the bullet and ordering some Fluorite Black or something. Anyways, I have a $12 toxic (and 88lb) lesson sitting in my garage: Ask questions, even if you feel you're inconveniencing people!