From all of my reading, every author has made it a point, atleast for the beginner aquarist, to avoid small tanks. Your livestock in return will be more forgiving to a mistake made in almost every aspect simply because of the size difference. Temperature takes longer to increase/decrease at a constant rate in comparasson, waste is not as toxic when its spread in something 5.5x the size of a 10gal.
Fenner (The consciencious marine aquarist) has said he considers anything below 40gal a small tank.
On the same note, its not impossible to have a small tank thats SW
, one of my LFS
has a 5gal with an anemone and a true percula on the counter. However, i cant think of something ive taken up where i havnt screwed up in atleast a small amount, and when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of inhabitants - i think its worth it to start with something than can withstand mistakes with a little more ease than something thats practically unforgivable when it comes to maintenance and upkeep
a suggestion is you could use the 10gal for a QT, it doesnt need all the equipment a regular tank needs =D
And as a fellow beginner, let me just say that actually reading books upon books of all of this stuff has made me 10 fold more excited about starting mine, and anything i dont understand from the books (or more modern practices) i simply come to this forum and ask, there are PLENTY of knowledgable people here, and responces are on the good side of instant.