I personally can't stand white sand b/c it's impossible to keep clean. The people I know who've used it and kept it looking nice for long periods of time did things like vacuum it all out, clean, and put it back on a regular basis.
If I were to use inert sand, it would be pool filter sand.
Flourite black sand is another story, however... I quite like it.
If you don't have any rooted plants, you might as well stick with only 1" of sand, and then shouldn't have to worry at all about anaerobic spots.
If you want to go deeper than that, then consider adding some Malaysian Trumpet snails to keep it aerated. They're poop machines and white sand wouldn't stay white for long, though...
Oh man, that sounds like a chore. Regular basis... as in every week?
Will shrimp like amano's keep the sand clean? (Do they even eat anything besides eating algae?)
How dark is pool filter sand? A link would be great!
Yeah I'm planning for only +/- 1/2" at the front to +/- 1" at the back. The tank is only 9.4" tall anyways.