Do you dream of watching natural beauty of undersea reef life while sitting in your living room?
Whether your goal is a nano reef tank or a 150 gallon aquarium with an ecosystem of coral and saltwater fish, following five steps will lead you on your way to success.
1) Commit! Decide you are going to spend $$ it takes to make a proper go of it. At a minimum, most tanks, (from 10 gal to 55 gal) take between $250 and $500 to get going. Can you do it cheaper? Yes, but usually not your first one. You have to know what you are doing and understand how things can and will go wrong before you can choose less expensive husbandry options and/or equipment. Save up if you have to, but count on that first tank being expensive.
Realize that this is not a short term commitment. And as much fun as it is to collect coolest coral fragments out there and show them off to your friends, there WILL come a time when you are hauling all of those same 'frags' out of tank and into temporary storage when your six year old cracks side of display tank with a pool ball or some other calamity occurs.
2) Study! Spend time on internet, in books and watching nature shows on reefs BEFORE you get your animals. Understand animals that you are going to keep and how they interact with each other. If you count on LFS (Local Fish Store) or your buddy down road to keep you out of trouble and don't do your homework.. You will fail. That is one guarantee in this hobby. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.