Thank you for the very in-depth response! Indeed my goal for the last 4 years I've had this tank was to sustain a full blown mixed reef. I actually had more rock in the system a month or so ago, but I rid of it after a terrible cyano infestation that I have just recently cured with chemiclean. After stupidly removing these rocks and washing them with freshwater every few months in an attempt to 'clean' them off, and consequently with each algae population growing back more vigorous than the last, I figured they were doing more harm than good. I now realize that washing these rocks was essentially resetting them of their bacterial populations, and supplying existing algae with a nutrient source.
I make all my water changes with water purchased from Aquadome. I never invested in an R/O system. I do a 20% every other weekend. my skimmer is a workhorse- the skimmate typically is tea colored as I skim pretty wet. I have also just recently nuked my sump, which used to be a phosphate and nitrate factory. I did this after I was forced to relocate 8 snails, 9 hermits, and two fish to the sump after the trigger snapped one day and raised hell in the display. I had since never seen the fish again (My sump used to be so dirty I'd lose track of where livestock in it was), and the snails went one by one due to lack of food in the sump. I admit this is terrible husbandry and quite frankly inhumane, and I have since resolved to stay on top of tank maintenance. I refuse to buy anymore livestock until I can prove to myself that I am capable of sustaining them. The sump is now bare except for equipment. I think in that respect I have narrowed down that the nutrient abundance rests in the display. The algae problem I face today is more a monument to my sins than is a chance happening.
I will also definitely reduce photo-period, although I plan on ditching Kessil in the near future. I actually attempted another reef tank with all the bells and whistles, only to have all the coral brown over time due, in my opinion to the Kessil's quality of light. this is just my experience.
The pump and bactiv8 just shipped this morning, can't wait. After about a month or two of running them I think I will then consider how much live rock I need restored to the display. This time I'll actually let it mature lol.