Thanks for the warm welcome folks.
To answer your questions:
1. The longest I have had a small tank running is my previous 5.5g pico reef that I had running for 4 years. This year I got the small tank itch again so I started this new 5.5g reef and I'm working on setting up a new 8g reef tank as well.
2./3. Smaller tanks are a hell of a lot more difficult and challenging than bigger tanks. This is because the volume of water is so small, the chemical tolerances of the water quality are razor thin. That means you cannot slack off at all in your tank maintenance and have to be mega disciplined.
If I slack off on a few days with my pico, it can be disastrous. Yet I can skip scheduled maintenance on my 50g reef for a couple of weeks or even a month with no big issues.
That is why pico and nano reefs are generally not recommended as a first tank. But if you have done all of your research and are highly disciplined you will be able to do it. Then when you move up to a bigger reef tank you will find it a piece of cake and easy in comparison.
4. Tank flow is only from the AC30 at full flow. That is sufficient and all that is needed for the tank. You only need higher flow if you keep SPS.
5. A 'micro elegance' is a very small elegance coral. I have been fragging my Indo elegance coral for 7 years now (on my 7th generation now). Once in awhile when fragging, a very tiny piece of skeleton with a few tenticles breaks off. Within three to five years these tiny pieces have been able to grow a full disk of tentacles and a mouth and grow from just a few mm to about the size of a loonie. Of course the elegance will continue to grow over time.
6. One general advice I would have is to keep control over feeding of your tank to avoid excess waste matter. I use Kent MicroVert in the pico tank so that there is always nutrients in the water column. Kent contains about 2-3% protein as well as vitamins and amino-acids. Feeding is limited to twice a week maxiumum (fish twice a week, dendros twice a week and corals once a week) with flakes, pellets for the dendros, PE mysis (the highest protien levels of any mysis - check labels when buying) and that killer food Cyclopeeze.
7. Also deep sand beds are not feasible in small tanks in terms of their biological action. As such try to keep the amount of sand/gravel/argonite in you tank to the bare minimum just to cover your tank bottom. Too much gravel in a tank and you create a mega trap for waste matter. I also stirr up the gravel every week when doing my water changes.