First off, Welcome to Aquarium Advice!!!!!!
Since you plan on going reef, I will offer what help I can.
Lighting will be the most important factor in a reef, but in order to help you figure out which lighting, what kind of budget are you working with? After knowing this, we can figure out if you would/could get halides, power compacts, VHOs, T5s, etc.
Protein Skimmer: I use a Coralife Superskimmer which I absolutely love. Its honestly a little sickening to see all the crap thats in the water. Ew. Just steer clear from Seaclones (they suck without heavy modding)
Live Rock, you could either buy a bunch of live rock. Or if you don't mind waiting, get maybe 40lbs dried reef bones (base rock) and 35-40lbs of LR
. General rule is 1-1.5lbs of LR
per gallon of water.
Substrate: Some will preach sand, some will preach crushed coral, and some rebels will tell you to go bare bottom. Honestly it's all what you want to look at. I like the look of the sand personally.
As for the canister filter, I'm not too well versed on these. On my tank I have a phosban reactor running the phos-ban media and carbon which returns through a spraybar. This set up seems to work well, all levels are zero.
You would be fine with just a skimmer and a good amount of live rock/sand. But I feel more comfortable having some type of mechanical filtration running which is why I have the phosban/carbon reactor running.
Hope this helps,