First, is anyone aware of some good online aquarium stores or sites where I could find the tank and necessary equiptment at reasonable prices?
Second is a filter question. What is the difference between cannister vs. wet/dry and what other equiptment is needed for each (e.g. powerhead)? Which would be better for a 55 gallon eventual reef?
Cannister filters are kind of like swimming pool filters. It is a closed filter system that filters the water. Wet/Drys operate a bit differently. They provide an aerobic (with oxygen) area in some leg of the filter cycle. Both types provide the tank with more water flow, mechanical filtration and chemical filtration. They also provide the thris type of filtration, biological filtration, but neither really does a good job of it. Enter the live rock. LR
is your best source for biological filtration and one of the best things youcan add to a marine tank. 1.5-2lbs/gal
, 4-6 inch DSB
and a good protein skimmer are really all you need for a great filter system. Two or three powerheads can be added inside the tank as used to water moverment/current.
Lastly, I live in a small town, fairly isolated, and was wondering if anyone has ordered fish etc. online and how it has gone for them?
Many people order supplies, fish, invets, corals, LR
online. There are several companies (some listed above) that do a great job at packaging these items for transport and many are actually only in transport for less then 20hrs.
The next thing I suggest you get is a good book. I like "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner. The book will become invaluable.
Lastly...Welcom to AquariumAdvice.com!!