I had a 10 gallon reef tank set up for about five years. I had about 25 lbs of live rock, a Skilter HOB
filter with the built in protein skimmer run from an airstone, live sand and tons of soft corals. I had a single clown fish in it for the first four years and he was super healthy until he managed to jump out. My corals were xenia, toadstool leathers, mushrooms and assorted polyps. I had to sell about 15 xenia and toadstools to various LFS
's because they were just everywhere.
Trust me, you can do it. The best thing to do is get a good book on mini-reefs (the idiots guide is great) BEFORE you start the tank. A Skilter filter works wonderfully for small reefs. It functions just like any other HOB
filter but has a mini skimmer built inside of it. To get it to work quietly you have to use an air pump and fine airstone. Use live rock for biological filtration, consider keeping some plants for nutrient absorption, try Purigen and carbon for chemical filtration, 2 T8 tubes for fish only or 2 T5 tubes for corals and for salt you can use any brand and size container you like. RO
water is a must but RO
is a little better. One fish is truly all you'll want to keep. You could have some hermits, snails and peppermint shrimp as well. Trust us here, one fish is fine. It is possible to have a second but it complicates the whole viability of the system, especially when you're new to saltwater. My 10 gallon was amazing and never had a single issue (wasn't my first tank though). It can certainly be done. Again, the best place to start is with a good book.