Originally Posted by Hannya
Ill make up a spreadsheet (coz I'm that anal) on what I want vs what they need and stop back to see what ever one thinks about it
Ahhh... and here I thought I was the only one that made up a spreadsheet while trying to figure out what equipment to go with!
From one anal person to another, here's the hardest part of what you're getting yourself into: learning patience, and the desire to "fix" something immediately.
Regarding that spreadsheet... the second great use I found for it was to compare where to buy all the hardware, and total all the $$ up before I even started spending money. You'll be surprised how quick it all adds up and it's better to know what you're going to be spending up front versus realizing half way in that this hobby isn't cheap. As noted earlier, you'll find that your LFS
will have prices that are probably at least 2x what you can find online. While I like to support local businesses, with that much savings I just couldn't justify it. I bought my tank locally, and that was it. Even my sand and live rock I did mail order. However, except for a colony of zoanthids, all my livestock has been bought locally. When buying hardware, seek out the online vendors, see who has what, and keep track of who has the best prices. I think I split up my hardware among three vendors and saved a ton of money.
Paletta's book is great and what I recommend folks read first. The second book you should get is Bob Fenner's "The Conscientous Marine Aquarist". It goes more in depth on things than Paletta's book does, and has more complete information on fish species. But don't read it before Paletta's book or you'll probably get lost!