Thanks, kribbz. Yeah, Iwas referring to and have been to both the Clayton Pet Emporium and Saltwater City. I think both are really nice stores with friendly and helpful staff. The tanks are clean and the livestock is beautiful (at least, to my novice eyes...). My concern was that the prices were not reasonable. But again, I'm new to reef keeping. Actually, I thought the equipment prices were high compared to what I've seen on the internet (e.g., at the Clayton Pet Emporium, a JBJ lighting fixure was nearly $70 more than I expected). I guess that's to be expected, though. I'd but that stuff over the internet anyways. The livestock prices seem good, though. And thanks for the advice on the live rock! I'll definately look into that.
And, oh yeah--I like Reef Systems in St. Charles, too. They do seem to have a nice selection of equipment not found elsewhere, the staff was friendly, and the tanks there too were really nice.
Anyhow, that's my inexperienced $0.02. Please keep me up-to-date on any other LFS