Update. 28 months since going skimmer free just water changes, ATS, and 1/2 cup of carbon per week. Tank is doing awesome. I get a slight brown on the sandbed towards the end of the week after siphoning it takes about 3 days for it to show up again, minor nusiance other than that tank has done great.
Sorry Don't have as nice of camera and they turned out pretty blue but you can at least get an idea.