1) Get sand, dry aragonite sand works best in my opinion. Rinse this sand a lot before putting in tank, if you don't it's not a huge deal but it will cloud up the water for a few days longer.
2) get liverock and start your cycle, usually about 1-2 lbs/gallon is the general rule i think. It doesnt have to be all live rock, one piece of live and the rest base rock is fine. Try to find nicely shaped pieces, with lots of holes/caves.
Cycle your salt tank
3) Get a good test kit, the API liquid one seems to work well, strip tests suck. Test the water often looking for the ammonia to just then drop to zero. The cycle should take a few weeks, could be more.
4) once there is zero ammonia and nitrite (a little nitrate is okay), then i would do a large water change and add a clean up crew which would consist of snails, crabs, ect.
5) Let the clean up crew get used to the tank for about a week or so, no major deaths and you should be able to add a pair of clownfish.
upkeep: I would go with weekly water changes on an 8 gallon personally, this will reduce the risk of an algae outbreak and keep the fish happy and healthy. To do a water change get a bucket with a power head and mix up some saltwater that matches the salinity in your tank (1.025), most people leave it overnight so the salt mixes in completely. You could also get a heater to make the temp the same as the tank. Then you just bucket the dirty water out and clean back in. You should also only use ro
water in your tank, this also reduces the risk for an algae outbreak since there is who knows what in the tap water. Top of the water in your tank with fresh ro
water when it gets low, i just keep a small bucket beside my tank and do it daily.
There might be the tanks that are set up and running at the pet store as well. I would just get the water tested before purchasing it. Check the ammonia and nitrite.
-make sure the clowns are eating before you purchase them and that they are truly a mated pair, this means one is usually larger than the other and they wont fight.
-don't overfeed, this causes algae, every other day is fine for fish
-feed a variety of foods (mysis, blood worms, flakes, and brine which is not nutritial for the fish but a nice treat)
-no additives are necessary for your tank, water changes should keep all levels stable
- Important Information for those new to the Aquarium Hobby
- Curing live rock? I didn't even know it was sick!
there are also other articles on this website that would be helpful to read, I'd check them out.