I was really hesitant in starting my first reef tank and did exactly what you did as well. However, I started watching videos from lafishguy.com and was able to learn exactly what was required for a fowlr
or and a reef tank. Maybe look at some of his videos and decide for yourself. A fowlr
is not much different from a freshwater tank.
Then slowly make the shift to a reef tank when you have more experience and money. It also helps to be patient and wait for those great bargains from people who are getting out of the hobby. I ended up buying my live rock for only $2.5 a pound.