I am also starting my first saltwater tank and I agree that this as well as other forums can be a tremendous resource, but they should not be your only resource.
Do yourself a favor and go to the local bookstore or library and get a book on starting a marine aquarium - there are lots to choose from. Try to get something recent so you will be up to date with the latest information and techniques.
The book I picked up and just finished today is The Simple Guide to Marine Aquariums
by Jeffrey Kurtz. I picked it up at Barnes and Nobel for $17.00 I compared it with a couple other books they had at the store and found it to be the most informative, and most in line with the information I had already gathered from this forum. Here's a link if you are interested http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...xS&cds2Pid=946
Having a book on hand allows you to confirm much of what you may have read online and also gives you a single resource to turn to for an easy reference. After reading this book, I can definately tell you that I am very glad I did not start my tank prior to reading it, it has definitely prevented some mistakes I was likely to make.
Also, if you are able, you may want to ask your dad for assistance since he apparently has some saltwater experience.