List of required items:
Filtration- use of a sump or filter
Power strip, or many outlets in a small area.
Atleast one powerhead- 2 recommened
Temperature gauge- Go digital, simpler to read
Heater-Avoid glass, titanium is much more stable IMO
Salinity measurement device- Refractometer is most accurate, the swing arm and bobbing measure will suffice.
Substrate- I prefer aragonite for it's buffering attributes.
Saltwater test kit- liquid drops are best.
recommened as it gives you water without all the unwanted stuff or else use a chlorine remover.
5 gallon bucket- This is for your fish tank only and only your fish tank. so buy it new and keep it clean0Rinse with water not soap or chemicals) store it upside down to keep things from collecting in it.
Protein Skimmer- I highly recommend the use of one, but for a tank under 55 gallons it's not required.
Live Rock- will provide some filtration recommend is 1-2 pounds per gallon of water
If I missed anything someone will chime in.
If you cycle with live rock, it will cure your rock- I would suggest going 70% base rock with 30% live to be most cost effective. Your live rock will seed your base rock and it will become live.
If you cycle without live rock, it is strongly
suggested you cure your live rock before sticking it in the tank so you don't have ammonia spikes and nitrate spikes which are harmful for your fish.
Question 3: I don't know of any but do research more research and more research.
I will compile my list for you of how I would set up my next tank.
1.) Get tank and required hardware
A.)Decide your tank size, research the fish you want so you know that it will fit in your tank healthily. I.E. A tang needs six feet of swimming room
B.) Buy tank and stand
C.) Buy all your hardware and required items- safe bet on most is buy it overrated for your tank size but not buy a crazy amount just the next step up in hardware size. Research each part before you buy it to make sure it's what you want and is reliable.
2.)Buy your salt- research this as well don't just go buy petco's brand of salt because it's what the sales associate said to use.
3.) Get the tank on it's stand and your plumbing hardware etc placed where you want it. (Do not add water yet or substrate.)
4.)Buy or order your live rock and base rock.
5.) Get everything prepared for adding water while you wait for the rock to arrive at your doorstep. (Still no substrate in the tank)
A.) Clean your substrate(Research how to do this)
B.)Mix your water
6.) Unpack and put your live rock in your tank. Do your aquascaping(Setting up your rock work) now.
7.)Add your substrate now after it has been cleaned I will do it this way so it isn't undermined by sifters etc etc.
8.)Add your water using a plate so as to not stir things up.
9.)Cycle your tank(research again)- IMO
a fishless cycle is the best way to go about this.
9.5) Order a clean up crew towards the end of the cycle(Research again)
10.)Once the cycle is over do a water change, part not your entire tank like 10 to 15 percent
11.) Acclimate Clean up crew and add upon arrival(Research acclimation)
12.) Get your fish in their.
13.) Maintain your tank
a.)part water changes
b.) water testing
c.) watching temp
d.) watching salinity
e.)changing bulbs out annually or bi annually depending on your bulb
My final words for this post- Use a quarantine tank before adding any living creatures to the tank.
Post Script- Those with more experience and know how than I please read this through and let me know what I've missed. It would be great if we could make this a sticky for the Saltwater and Reef getting started this would be a Fish Only with Live Rock, as I have no experience with reefs.