Wolf, I too am brand new to saltwater and decided to do a 10 gallon build. Just started it 3/10/11. I ran across a series on youtube by a guy that works at Indio Pacific Sea Farms that inspired me. I followed (so far) most of his step by step with some modifications of my own. For example I bought cured live rock from my lfs
at a bargain rate of $4.99/lb, instead of making aragocrete rocks and purchasing some starter bacteria. It wasn't premium rock, just fiji, but because they were smaller pieces, they were mostly at the bottom of the curing tub and I think almost fully cured. Good coralline on it, minimal ammonia spike, zero nitrites.
Anyway, so far I've spent in the neighborhood of $250 using his method and everything has worked VERY well so far.
Here's the link to the first video in the series. YouTube - Nano Lagoon (1): Tank and Filter
His light mod on the hood that came with the tank really works, plenty of light for a 10 gallon I think, much more than any of the standard "cube" kits i've seen set up.
Email me if you have any questions about what I've done so far. I haven't added anything yet, just waiting for things to be stable. My ammonia has been zero now for 3 days, nitrites have always been zero, have to do a water change to get the nitrates down (my own fault for using tap water as suggested by the video, because after testing my filtered tap water, it's high in nitrates. I figured since I had a Pur filter on it, it would at least filter out some nasties. Now buying RO
water from the grocery).
I know I'm new and don't mean to be any kind of authority, but I'm just saying that I'm very pleased with how this setup has been working, and it benefits from some built in cost cutting. I have a lot to learn yet that is for sure!!!