OK I'm a newbie too, but I've read a TON lately, and the opinions herein are not mine, but those of people i'm listening to...
1) build a sump. 20 gal
should be good.
2) Get a good skimmer for your sump.
3) get a pump for your sump that flows a LOT, but doesn't overrun your system draining back to the sump
4) build a refugium, either in your sump or otherwise, which has a DSB
and macro algae, but with relatively low waterflow. I plan to build a baffle system into my sump when I build it
5) Get at least 1.2 pounds of "live rock" per gallon. you can start with 90% good "Dry" rock.. then cycle your tank using a dead cocktail shrimp. After this is done, add the last 10% of true Live rock.
6) Use a very fine aragonite sand as a base. "tropical play sand" sometimes is this kind. it will fizz when hit by vinegar. Add some true "live sand" to seed it as well. Do not use a DSB
in your main tank if you want fish that will disturb the sand bed. This is the basis of my refugium recommendation
7) get enough PH
's to get at least 10x flow
8) buy good lights, especially if you want to keep corals.
the above is my plan based on weeks of heavy reading.