I agree w/the above. My dh is a really experienced aquarium enthusiast (we have 90-gal salt reef/fish tank in oak stand now) .
I have to say if there is ONE way to sum it up: DO NOT RUSH IT and don't be CHEAP
.....you will lose fish, you will spend a LOT OF MONEY getting it right. BE patient.
Get a really good book on the subject. Go to a trusted store where they have people who KNOW what they are talking about to HELP YOU. (NOT Petco, Petsmart, etc). Find an individual business if you can. Ask around.
My dh is a member of an online aquarium enthusiast's group (the forum is the same as allnurses is, actually) and these guys have BEAUCOUP knowledge. Some have tanks exceeding 500-1000gal in their homes. I will get the web addy for you and you can just go check it out and read up. (if you are interested).
Truly, It's a whole lot of trial and error and patience, my friend, but the results are stunning
. We never cease to draw attention and compliments on our amazing and beautiful tank. It truly is a work of art and blends into our motif well. It's the centerpiece of our living room, and the first thing many people see when they come into our home. And I take ZERO credit for it.
If you ever want tips or helps, I can put you in touch w/my husband. He has been keeping tanks and fish for nearly 15 years and knows so much. Good luck.