its good that you realize that it would be nearly impossible to keep substantial livestock in a tank so small. i know that what malkore said is probably true, but my first salt tank was a 10 gallon too. on mine i had a simple penguin 125 HOB
filter (yes, whisper does suck), 50 W visi-therm titanium heater, and a BakPak skimmer. i would def. just stick to inverts tho, maybe try some of the more exotic shrimps or some hardy LPS
, like mushroom or leather corals. (since this is your first experience in salt!)
my biggest advice to you is to NEVER neglect water parameters!!! esp salinity- a little evaporation can do a number on salinity in a small tank. make sure you give your tank lots of time to cycle and use plenty of LR
for added filtration. also, dont skimp on your equipment. a heater that goes haywire can be far more devastating in a small tank than in a large one.
my 10G nano has been operating happily and without incident for years now, despite the fact that everyone told me i would never suceed with such a small first tank.